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Alumni Updates and Recollections 2008

Here are some personal updates and recollections we've received so far...

Polish Constitution Day was the result of my elevation to "House Pollack" shortly after my arrival. The discovery that ethnicity, religion, and of course social status, had much greater weight in Boston than Berkeley was a relevation to me. My response was to embrace the opportunity, and soon heard all the pollack jokes everyone had to offer. I also had a good joking relationship with a senior (Boris Nicoloff), who was Bulgarian. I benefited from establishing relationships with many of the upperclassmen and oldtimers in the house.

I decided to start an annual celebration of Polish Constitution Day (May 3), featuring a dinner of sauerkraut and kielbasa, awards for select house members (Polish freedom fighter, honorary pollack, etc.), followed by a speech.

—James Maslach '69

 

Suresh is better at remembering funny stories, although perhaps the squirrel that had lost its tail is no longer with you? It lived in the backyard of 3 Sac and the neighbors always assumed it was a rat that liked the poorly tended compost pile. They'd call the City and the inspector would come out, say hello to the squirrel and go on his way. And is the Chang Sho parking lot still there or did it get built on? Are the rotting logs to hop the fence and sneak in the back of 3 Sac still there?

—Margaret (Molly) McCauley '95

 

Please put me on your e-mail list. I am a coop grad, class of '80, with many fond memories of 3sac and 05. In fact, just this afternoon I was doing some communal cooking at my synagogue and impressed everyone by using the industrial dish washer. "Ah," I said, humbly, "just one of the many useful and intellectually satisfying skills I learned at Harvard." As for vips -- are you in contact with Immy Humes ('80 or '81). She just made a documentary about her late father, Doc Humes. You can find out more in the New York Times, where it was reviewed. In addition to being Immy's dad, Doc was one of the original founders of the Paris Review, and then was a figure of some prominence around Harvard Square in the 70s and 80s. He had many interesting ideas. A few that I remember are: the government was monitoring his (and our) activities;there are clouds (yes, the kind in the sky) with consciousness;and smoking very skinny joints on a daily basis was good for our health. Or something like that. I'm not sure about my June schedule, but since I'm in not so far away New Haven I might be able to get up to cambridge for a co-op reunion. Send me info please.

—Shoshana Zax '80

 

I'm not a fetishist for material objects, buildings included. But as physical structures go, the Co-op has a huge amount of soul. At the very least, that place is connected with a lot of good memories for quite a lot of people. As I like to tell people: I went to college at Dudley Co-op, but attended lectures and used the libraries at Harvard University.

—Vladimir Klimenko '82

 

Brief news: Based in India for 18 years now, I am spending this year in Catalonia to get married (last June 27), have a son (last Dec 2), and fundraise for the purchase of property for the Open Centre, where our Open Dharma meditation retreats would be better able to integrate ecology, arts, family/relationship/communication, healing arts....

—Jaya Julienne Ashmore, '89-'90

 

i'm from the class of '95 and lived at the co-op for 3.5 years. i regard it as one of my life's top joys (and pains). I was there for the fire, sleeping right above it in the bridal suite, out in the snow in the dark hours of the morning watching 3 Sac go up in smoke. I'm so glad your fire wasn't too bad, since living in the freshmen dorms for weeks on end and having none of our stuff and eating in the dining halls was terribly depressing.

—Deborah Kory '95

 

I used to do the gardens at 3 sac for awhile, but they appear to have pulled up everything I planted...except the Day Lilies along the side of the chimney -- which, by the way, were sent to me UPS from my Dad's garden in Minnesota. Some gorgeous hybrid iris, too, but they appear to be gone now from the front (right hand side) of the house.

—Lisa Bromer '91

 

The Coop enabled me to finish my Harvard education when my father told me he couldn't/wouldn't pay for my return to Harvard after being in the army during Vietnam. It gave me a community when I had lost my class and classmates. The example of the whole house coming together to pay for the vet bill for our poor multi-toed callico cat will always be with me.

In the spirit of a good cooper, I turned down two chances to become an MD, became a nurse and now a tai chi instructor as well. The counterculture has a bit of life with me.

I was only in the co-ops for the years 69-71 after returning from the army. My father told me I could go back to Harvard--in his mind my education was safely paid for by my being a West Point cadet, but if I did, I would have to pay for it. Only the co-op made my GI bill last long enough to graduate. Does anyone else remember Missy, a delightful cook whom I believe was a Leslie student?

—Geoff Lister '71

 

Me and my dad, who I put in touch with you (Stillman ROgers). [...] He's got some amazing stories about how it was in the earliest years -- back when it was a poor-students penance to live there. When I wanted to be a cooper in the '90s he was really down on it, because of the stigma he'd felt living in Harvard's poor-house. He was happy to learn how it had changed. I don't know how I'd have survived college without the Coop.

—Juliette Rogers '94

 

Here, in case you are keeping track of what alumni have been doing since the last reunion, is a brief summary of my own activities. My wife Helen (nee Breslich, Radcliffe '65) and I still live near NYC on the grounds of St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, where I have taught since 1973. Helen still teaches at Hackley School, Tarrytown NY, where she has been Head of Performing Arts for a number of years. At the seminary I served a grueling term as Dean (2002-07), in the course which I was ordained as a priest in the Orthodox Church. With the completion of my term as Dean this past June, I reverted to simple professorial status, and this semester I have been on a sabbatical. Right at the moment I am packing for the afore-mentioned trip to Tanzania, where I will be teaching in a little seminary for roughly five weeks. Helen and I anticipated retirement from our respective institutions following the 2008-09 academic year and a move to Tucson AZ, where we purchased a vintage adobe a few years ago. I hope by then that our two children will have moved their mountain of possessions into places of their own. At the present time our older son, Paul (Harvard '99), is a graduate fellow at the Ford Institute for Public Policy at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, but this coming year he will be in a tenure-track position at Wesleyan University, Middletown CT. Our younger son, David (University of Chicago '03), is Director of Migrant Worker Health Outreach for Hudson Valley Community Health, a not-for-profit based in Peekskill NY. I trust that one or both of them will let us crash with them when we return to the East Coast for visits.

As I sometimes say - to the great annoyance of my wife – the happiest years of my life were the 3 1/2 that I spent at the coop house.

—(VRv) John H. Erickson '66

 

former food steward and survivor of Henry Sandow's motorcycle climb up the front stairs and into the foyer, naked dinners, controlled substance parties, etc

—Dan McDowell '78

 

I was a member of the Coöp for its first year, 1958-9 and was one of three veterans there. We had one Air Force guy, an Army guy, and me—an ex-sailor. The Army guy (whose name I have forgotten) was elected president, the Air Force was Treasurer, and I was work chairman. I'll tell you the hat story when we get there. Byron Stooky was the Administration's resident representative and did a lot to launch the Coöp that first year. Mrs. Holmquist was our cook; probably the most important member of the ménage.

—Alfred Hurd '59

I've been living in Juneau, Alaska since graduation. Got married, have two kids (Rosie, age 6 and Alder, age 2 months) and after several forays into different careers became a journalist. I publish/edit the Alaska Budget Report, an independent publication covering state policy and government and other shenanigans—it's a lot more interesting than it may sound, especially given the rampant and sometimes laughably low-brow corruption that's recently come to light.

—Rebecca Braun '94

 

I am doing pretty good, I just got back from Spain a few days ago, so now I'm back in California. WWOOFing was mostly really fun and occasionally incredibly awkward, altogether a good time...

—Sasha Harris-Lovett '07

 

pictures from Rachel (Perry) Schrank '97 sent by email

 

Claudia here from the Magnetic Fields (also a dudley house affiliate, but I didn't live in the Co-op). [...] Sam had this amusing response which I thought I'd forward you:

>A proper tribute would be a performance art piece where SM, CG
> and SD
> conduct a mock rehearsal in the basement while John sits on a chair in
> his former room upstairs, wearing earplugs, reading.

This is because John didn't join the band until after graduation, when we'd all moved to NY. He only remembers us as having disrupted his studying!

—Claudia Gonson

 

I was a member of the Coop from January 1959 until graduation in June 1962. I had left Harvard to go to West Point during the summer of 1958 and returned to Harvard at the beginning of the spring semester 1959. My advisor was Byron Stuckey and he had been charged, as I understand it, with setting up and starting the operation of the Harvard Coop. While I was negotiating my release from West Point Byron asked me to become the Jobs Chairman of the Coop, and I agreed to do that. I did that job until I graduated. When we began, we had to eat in two sittings after the acquisition og the Mass Ave building because the dining room was too small. I got together with Byron and others in the University and talked them into an expansion of the dining room, the room now used today. Originally the dining room had rounded bays like the second floor. There are many great tales from those days. I think my daughter and I are the first two generational graduates to have lived there.

—Stillman (Tim) Rogers '61

 

Tell Tyler that two weeks ago I was woken up again by another phone call from United Natural Foods looking for someone to open the door...

—Sarah Jessop '06

 

unfortunately there is an ocean, a big and fat ocean between here and there (aka I am not coming). I miss the coop. Here in copenhagen, I tried to keep living like that and found a sister-community: Jomsborg. It's been a good continuation, but in one month, I am moving on my own - not, hopefully, to become a boring single, but to have even more freedom (jump house meetings, and fears of the collective) to have people over, to open the doors to the wind, to invent, invite, create.

—Rut '05

 

Jon and I are coming - would love to see you. We overlapped a little. We left in 1980, after living there the last year as married students. 25 years later our daughter Anna lived in the same room at the end of the hall on the 3rd floor of 3 Sac where we had, and it now had a nickname that I believe referred to us!

—Kathy Duhon '80

 

 

Hmmm, co-op stories. I'll have to think about that.

I just have fond memories of eating dinner on the steps on lovely spring days, playing pre-dinner soccer games on sundays, chillin' out on the porch of '05 (is that what we used to call it? I can't even remember.)

Oh, I was the compost steward for a while and Roona made a documentary about composting. I took a bath once in 3 Sac. Crazy grey-bearded men coming to talk to us about being a "professor of metaphysics". Ah, and the lovely parties. Oh! and the world premiere of the chicken coop!

—Page McClean '03

 

I won't be at the 50th reunion, sad to say. I lived at 1705 (?) Mass Ave for one semester, Fall 1964. I had the backmost room, what had been a rear entrance hall, in a four-man suite. Two were seniors and friends. Steve Raudenbush and I were freshmen (me for the second time) and became good friends. I already knew some folk and blues guitar. Steve took up banjo and later blues harp. He and I studied for the Nat Sci 5 (Nature of Living Things with George Wald) exams with charts on the walls.

For me being at the Coop was a return to a childhood neighborhood, with Harvard the local university. I had graduated from Lexington High School not far distant, but from the ages of 3 to 10 had lived in Holden Green, Harvard's student housing off Kirkland Street. This meant that from Kindergarten through 5th grade I attended the (old) Agassiz Elementary School at the corner of Sacramento and Oxford. It was a very different looking and feeling school from the new one. Most students were working class kids from the then working class neighborhood, well before gentrification. There was a store across the corner from the school that sold snacks, for the rare times that we had a nickel or dime. Hostess cupcakes were a dime but Devil Dogs were 5 cents. A favorite fall sport was battling chesnuts on strings. In fifth grade a classmate and my best friend was the son of the minister at the Unitarian Church in the Square. He and I often had the fun of ringing the steeple bells. So when I think of the Coop I think of happily of a youth twice removed from my present.

—Larry Sullivan '68

 

I have practiced law in Riyadh since 1988, a period of time which has covered two wars, an on-going local terrorism campaign, and extraordinary change in this isolated desert Kingdom. My mother and father once visited me in Riyadh just after the 1991 Gulf War, and upon their return home to Montana their local newspaper said it all in the headline of its coverage of their trip: "Johnsons Visit Alien World".

Aliens are as complex and as interesting as we are, I have learned. Saudi jihadis conceived and executed the 9/11 attacks, perhaps the most brilliant and horrible act of non-state terror the world has seen. On the opposite extreme, Saudis are among the kindest, most generous, humane people I know. Saudi Arabia is coming to grips with the 21st century, a process made much easier by $115 per barrel oil. My family now includes Saudis, and we have many close Saudi friends. We celebrate religion (last year Hanukkah, Christmas, and the Eid Al Adha) but we are secular people. We will be voting for Obama in the Montana primary on June 3rd.

—Neal Johnson '80

 

I went back to visit the Co-op some years ago but was incredibly saddened to see that all the wonderful murals had been painted over with plain, white paint. I'm glad I lived there before those days.

Great memories of going to Haymarket with a huge framed backpack on the T to do grocery shopping for the co-op with my friend Karen Lease, who now lives somewhere in France. Another funny memory is of a peer coop member making bread that was so dense and hard, that we used a loaf of it to pound bottle caps into a wooden tree trunk stool that was in the dining room. The peer baker was incensed, insisting that the bread was perfectly edible, and he managed to saw off a sliver off the end of it and eat it to prove his point!

It was fun to stretch strings of cheese across the dining room on Fondue night. A very rewarding house project was sanding off multiple layers of black, blue, and other colors of paint off the bedroom floors in 1705 Mass. Ave. to reveal the natural wood and seal it. Those who lived there in the late 60's early 70's will remember how it looked in those classic years. :)

Other great memory: After dropping out of school for the second time (depressed but didn't know that's what it was at the time), in 1976, I wrote John Marquand, our house master, a quirky letter about how I would not be returning to Harvard, as I was now living in a community of women beekeepers (I kid you not) in Eugene, OR. John, thankfully, smoothed everything over for me, and sent me a letter stating, "Danielle, I have forwarded your request for a leave of absence to the ____committee and it has been approved." He left the door open for me to eventually return and finish college, and was incredibly supportive through that whole experience.

Me (Danielle), a child & adolescent psychiatrist working at the Walker Home and School in Needham, and also the psychiatric consultant to the Newton public school system.

Married to: Ben Wolozin, MD PhD from Wesleyan, now at BU Medical--met him in medical school and shared a cadaver (how romantic can you get?).

Daughters: 1. Rebecca Ruth Wolozin, 22 yrs old, graduating college this Mem. Day weekend 5/08, spent a semester in Senegal and loved it, writes plays and for newspaper, literary type.

2. Jackie Murstein Wolozin, aka "The Woz" graduating high school June 5, 2008, creative, quirky, live-wire, does theatre tech, stained glass, ceramics, etc. Is going to be a camp counselor at Middlesex School in Concord, in case anyone has kids who will be attending. She will be co-teaching the ceramics classes.

—Danielle Murstein '78

 

I was class of 1992, which is sounding a lot longer ago than it seems. Now married with two sons, working as an OB-GYN in Palo Alto, California. I eventually lived in the yellow house, and had the big room downstairs which at that time was painted forest green. During my time there, construction was going on with my windows so I was windowless for almost an entire summer. The homeless would come sleep on the front porch, separated from me by a sheet of Indian-print fabric tacked over the window hole. There was also the old gray unkempt mean cat, I can't remember her name. She was missing an ear and had a sharp twig stuck in the side of her head for months until Christian Willauer finally pulled it out of her. Before that I lived in the Blue house, in the tiny corner room near the smoking area. I had a little loft for my bed up near the ceiling. At that time, the corner bathroom didn't work but my mom would call me on the pay phone next to it. Johnny Walker would answer the phone and then come get me. There was a big controversy regarding whether or not Johnny should be allowed to live there. He had been living in the basement for many years, if not decades, by then, counseling various coopers on their addiction issues. Lots of coop meetings and hurt feelings. I think that was when Johnny finally left. Anyone know whatever became of him? Rumor was that he was going to California to find an old girlfriend.

—Lucy Stapleton '92

 

* the front porch scene. I really liked it that people would hang out on the front porch--this saved me from having to run & open the door for people so much, which I had to do since I lived in the Bike Room (see below), not that I really minded so much--I liked feeling useful.

* the Bike Room. Oh, do I ever remember the Bike Room. The heavy drip of water from upstairs. The bucket. The heavy drip of water from upstairs into the bucket. Plop, plop, plop. (You get the picture.) On the bright side, having the bucket in the middle made sure that I always *did* have room for my bike on the other side of the room. :)

* the room next to the Bike Room [I've forgotten the name, please insert it here if you know it!]. I enjoyed the relative spaciousness, compared to the Bike Room, and the fact that there was room for all my nonsense poetry books and my collection of red-card-mounted quotes scattered across the walls.

* the room above the room next to the Bike Room [I've forgotten the name of this one too, sorry, again please insert the name here if you know it!]. Spacious AND quiet, being on the second floor and all. Generally speaking, I liked the Co-op for being the *opposite* of quite--for its many interesting noises & general sense that there were always interesting things happening. But at times one needs to retreat, & write a senior thesis...

* the green bread in the kitchen (no, of course I'm not talking about moldy bread--I'm talking about the bread with the green dye in it). Very tasty.

* & of course most of all the people! giving me the feeling that I belonged, that I was a Co-oper as well as a Cooper. I may have forgotten most of your names now, but it's you as *people* that I remember--a amazing set of people, without which the *place* would not have been nearly so amazing. Thanks for everything!

—Alix Cooper '89

 

(somewhat risqué) picture from Stuart Ambler in email account – also:

Regarding the anthology, what comes first to mind is the attached photo of me. I hope it doesn't offend you, but time was limited to get to know you first. It need go no further than your inbox, and maybe it shouldn't go in an anthology, maybe mores haven't changed that much, and there are people from ages past to consider. I don't think it was secret, though I don't know who saw it, because when I happened a while later on the spur of the moment to take a picture of someone else from the co-op, that person was quick-witted enough, with a straight face, to hold his hands as in the other attached photo (a small piece of the original), as I discovered after the film was developed.

One co-op resident of my time evidently didn't approve of me, though I don't know if the photo played a role. Someone told me she had considered, but decided against writing med schools I was applying to, to warn them about me. As it happens, I got into Stanford (interviewed by a med student whose later first and only social interaction with me was to take me to visit a transexual person he knew) and not to Harvard (the interviewer asked me if I'd like to spend some time on the beach in Hawaii, and said he was glad I'd gotten in somewhere else). I was encouraged just now by the report that Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality is a popular concentration.

In general, surely there have been lots of people who've taken photos in the co-op, and I'd like to see some in an anthology, if the photographers and subjects are willing. I know of a photographer or two. Also, I took acceptable photos of three or four people, that I'd be willing to contribute, but would want to ask them first.

I can also write, including things that wouldn't need censorship. For instance, my roommate's odd habit of sleeping in a sleeping bag in our room, led to my sleeping in a sleeping bag for the next 35 years to date, but I didn't emulate his cloves cigarette smoking.

—Stuart Ambler