1974-Spring ’19 Class Letter
Class Agent: Jan MacLeod
Greetings, Classmates! Is everyone getting excited about our 45th reunion?
Plans are coming along and the fire pit outside the Union has been reserved for us to relax and hang out on what I hope will be a lovely June evening (dinner will be served inside). Be watching for registration materials coming your way soon or visit online at https://www.ripon.edu/alumni-weekend/.
This has been a challenging winter for so many of us. I feel very fortunate to be able to say the worst thing I have had to deal with is a mild case of cabin fever. My volunteering duties at the public library have given me ample opportunities to get out of the house, and the new book group I started there keeps me busy reading about new book possibilities. Andy will be retiring in another month, so we will be spending more time with our two grandchildren as well as helping our younger daughter plan her wedding. Time flies when you’re keeping busy, and having fun!
In late November, I met CHRIS OVERLY WALLACE ‘74 of Homer Glen, Illinois and her Green Lake neighbor at Norton’s, and let me say, the old fashioneds we’re just as good as you remember. After dinner we made our way to Thrasher Opera House in downtown Green Lake for a fabulous concert by Judy Collins (photo on the left). We were joined there by DEBRA HORN-PROCHNO ‘74 of Ripon, Wisconsin. We had a lovely evening reminiscing, and listening to many of the songs that made up the soundtrack of our Ripon College years. Judy’s songs and stories made for a truly magical evening.
In other Wallace news, Chris got a new puppy just before Christmas and named him Rip! Her granddaughters adore him and Chris says he is lots of company. He’s not too fond of going out in the cold, but if you ask me, that’s a sign of intelligence.
GEORGE BOOTHBY SR. ’74 of Montvale, New Jersey, was selected to be a Scoutmaster for Northern New Jersey Council for the 2019 World Scout Jamboree that will be held in the U.S. and hosted by Canada, Mexico, and the United States.
In addition, he was asked to serve as the Contingent Leader for all eight troops and leaders for Area Five in the U.S. Northeast Region. George will be responsible for providing guidance and supervision to a total of 300 scouts and scoutmasters. He was honored to be asked and thrilled to assist everyone. Troop meetings will begin in late fall 2018 and run through June 2019. The 2019 World Scout Jamboree will begin July 22nd at the Bechtel Summit in West Virginia.
Boothby became involved with the Boy Scouts of America in 1992 as an assistant den leader in his hometown, and he was hooked. Volunteer activities run in the family, as his wife, LOUISE RENIER BOOTHBY ’75, volunteered with the Girl Scouts of America for 12 years, his son, George Jr., is an Eagle Scout, and his daughter, Catherine, is a Gold Award recipient.
Thanks to decades of volunteering with Boy Scouts, George is always prepared. While eating lunch with a business friend in New York, he found himself in the midst of a life-or-death situation. George’s associate began choking, his facial color changing with every passing second. While other patrons were frozen in place, he acted quickly, performing the Heimlich maneuver and saving his friend’s life. George was driven to respond quickly after decades of experience working with the Boy Scouts of America.
XAVIER POLANSKI ’74 of La Grange, Illinois, writes, “I turned 65 last December 5, and I retired in the middle of February 2018. I worked as an engineer with Commonwealth Edison’s (now Exelon’s) nuclear power plants for my entire career, most years as a ComEd employee, but the last 15 years as an “outsourced” contractor doing Exelon work. We will continue to live here in our La Grange, IL home, where we have lived since 1987. So far, retirement is very good. Since my wife Joanna is doing very little around the house because she is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, I have taken over all home-care chores, including cooking. This is all fine, since my mom taught her two children, both boys, to cook and clean. Joanna had maintained an extensive garden, and since I have loved plants since Boy Scout days, I enjoy doing that, also. I am doing more at my parish, St. Cletus (where I have joined the Chancel Choir), and I continue to play racquetball twice per week. Add visits with friends, and life is full.
Joanna, who is five years older than me, is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. That means that she still mostly manages by herself, and it is safe for her to be in the house alone. At this stage, she has trouble finding words when she wishes to say something, and she can no longer handle complicated things like the checkbook. The Illinois primary elections in the spring baffled her, so she is no longer voting. She gave up driving a couple of years ago. We enjoy the goodness of each day, as it comes. There is an Alzheimer caretaker support group in La Grange, and they can offer advice as the disease progresses.
Our son Tom, who graduated from Beloit College, is fluent in Spanish and spent his Beloit junior year studying in Quito, Ecuador. (Yes—all classes were in Spanish.) He later married a young lady from Quito that he met while studying there. They live in Quito, where Tom is just completing a successful five-year program in Clinical Psychology. He will be glad to help any of you with psychological issues, but know that the trip to appointments would involve connecting flights and would take a minimum of eight hours of airport travel time. You’d be alright, because he still remembers his English.”
ELIZABETH HENDERSON BARRATT ’74 of Carmel Valley, California, writes, “I’m continuing to devote hours on research and article publishing activities at the Carmel Valley History Center. Dick and I had a fantastic SF Giants Spring Training trip to Scottsdale, AZ this spring! Life is Good!”
DENNIS FRAHMANN ‘74 of Cambria, California, has written a new book which came out a few weeks ago. I ordered it on Amazon and then dropped him a line right after I started it to say how much I was enjoying it. I also asked him if he and husband Robert were planning to come to Ripon for the reunion. Dennis said that sadly they were not planning to join us this year but definitely plan to be back on campus for our 50th. He then added, “Yikes, can’t believe I said that. Graduation only seems like it was yesterday.” How true, Dennis!
So while we will miss Dennis, I hope YOU will be there and that you will contact your Ripon pals and urge them to be there, too. Mark your calendars now to attend Alumni Weekend June 27-30, and call your favorite hotel to reserve yourself a room. I will be looking for you on campus, and we’ll see each other around the fire pit outside the Union. S’mores for everyone!