Cover to Cover
The fall ’14 magazine arrived yesterday and I promptly dropped everything and read it cover-to-cover. It was marvelous!
Mary Harris Leban ’55, Lake Worth, Fla.
One thing I discovered when I went back to college as a Davis Scholar at the age of 55 is that sisterhood is not complicated at Wellesley.
Wellesley College is, and always has been, a women’s college. It is a nurturing place that encourages all forms of academic learning and experimentation. The transgender issue is no exception (“The Complexity of Gender,” fall ’14). But when women take steps to become men, I feel it is time for them to transfer to coeducation and not complain about the traditions of women’s colleges.
That said, when men take steps to become women, they should be allowed to apply to and flourish at any women’s college. I would welcome them to Wellesley with open arms, and remind them that when it comes time to sing certain verses of America the Beautiful, written by our fellow alumna, they should shout out “and crown thy good with SISTERHOOD” along with all of the rest of us.
Constance Fulenwider CE/DS ’06, Weston, Mass.
The Complexity of Gender?
One way to stymie discussion of an issue is to declare it unequivocally “complex” and “fluid.” The transgender situation at Wellesley must be handled in a timely manner—by policy, not palaver.
Clearly, an advantage of attending a women’s college is the avoidance of potential (and potent) intrusions of sexuality 24/7. It would seem, however, that now the personal conflict of the few has become the conflicted concern of the many. This is an unfair diversion. Simply put, if he doesn’t identify as a woman, he shouldn’t go to Wellesley.
Doris Schaffer O’Brien ’54, Pasadena, Calif.
Before Facebook, There Was …
Thank you for your recent article about Wellesley’s Facebook presence (“Wendy Posts It,” fall ’14), but before Facebook began in 2004 and before the Wellesley Community was established on Facebook in 2011, Susan Klee ’58 founded an online Wellesley community in 1998. Called the Sister List, our class group is now 16 years old with over 25 percent of the class either posting or lurking.
Having a spot to gather online every day has meant that we’ve enjoyed a convoy of peers to take us through the storms and triumphs of life in our 60s and 70s. We hope to keep it going with the help of Mary Edwards ’58, until the last woman is standing.
So, a bow, please, to what seems to be the oldest, established, floating netgame in the Wellesley online community, created by Susan Klee before Facebook was even a gleam in a Harvard eye.
Mel Walsh ’58, Carmel, Calif.
Sail of a Lifetime
Professor Dick French and I were on different shifts on the Charles W. Morgan during her return to sea in July this past summer (“Call Me Navigator,” fall ’14). We both, however, had the thrill of a lifetime in being on the Morgan when, for the first time since she sailed in 1921, all 19 sails were hoisted and whales were spotted from her masthead. As a longtime and active Melville scholar, an interest that began in my American literature class at Wellesley with Patrick Quinn, I was able to imagine myself as Ishmael during the sail. This led to my writing a collection of poems, titled “Ishmael on the Morgan” for Mystic Seaport, which owns the Morgan and which sponsored the ship’s renovation and its 38th voyage. Wellesley magazine readers might be interested in going to the Mystic Seaport site to experience the wonder of this sailing experience, especially as revealed in these three short videos: “Friend of the Whale,” “Whale Ho,” and Ivan Turk’s blog.
Elizabeth Schultz ’58, Lawrence, Kan.
I was one of the 560 people who took the beginning Italian online course designed and taught by Daniela Bartalesi-Graf (“Italian Lessons,” fall ’14), and I have to say, it was one of the most satisfying learning experiences I have had since I was at Wellesley, lo, these many years ago. My daughter recently married an Italian whose parents speak no English, and to be able to converse with them, I had been studying Italian here in Philadelphia for several years. But my progress was slow, and when the invitation to join the course arrived, it felt like a gift.
As I wrote in my evaluation, the course was designed exactly way I learn. It was hard work, but its many diverse learning modalities made it fun! I looked forward to each module and was sorry when it ended.
Professor Bartalesi-Graf so inspired me that I made a special trip to Wellesley last fall to meet and to thank her. And, I am proud to say, I am no longer mute with my daughter’s in-laws.
Bobby Bayley Harvey ’67, Swarthmore, Pa.
As the founder of the Wellesley Ballroom Dance Club, I was thrilled that it lives on! A fellow Wellesley dancer called me even before I saw the article myself (“Dance Partnership,” fall ’14). In January 1974, MIT had a ballroom-dance course and held a dance at the end of it. John Chancellor’s TV news was there, and that is where I met the future leaders of the MIT club, and the rest became history. Some of the happiest memories of my time at Wellesley were with the club members, dancing the night away at the Stone-Davis dining room, Schneider, or other venues.
Trudi Berlin Hays ’77, Herndon, Va.
Thank goodness you are still printing in magazine form so I can continue to “thumb” (“From the Editor,” fall ’14)! And, yes, I do have a computer, iPhone, and tablet.
Gertrude Bove Parton ’63, Little Silver, N.J.
Thank you for launching a responsive site! I live abroad and this makes it so much easier to stay connected. Thanks again.
Julia Shew ’11, Marseille, France
Fifty-Seven Years Later…
I very much enjoyed the piece on poets in the summer ’14 issue (“A Way of Words”). Just want to put in a word for the wonderful poet who taught my Freshman English class in 1957–58: Philip Booth. I have been grateful ever since for his introducing us to the essays of E. B. White—and various other insights. He never taught us his own poetry, but I went right out and bought his collection, Letter from a Distant Land, the 1956 Lamont Poetry Selection. Thank heaven it is a hardcover edition, because it has survived 57 years of wear.
Judith Goodson Blatchford ’61 Fair Oaks, Calif.