P.A. 1964
Tom Seligson
15 Bradley Street
Westport, CT 06880
April, 2000

Thanks to the group site Matthew McClure established for us back in December, our class has become closer, in many ways even more connected than we were some 36 years ago. The quality of intimacy, respect, and trust that was evident at Doug Cowan's group encounter session last reunion has been more than duplicated on-line. As of this writing (late February) almost 60 classmates are registered with pa64@onelist.com. That's more than one fourth of the class. And the degree of active participation is overwhelming. A typical day finds 25 to 30 messages in our mail boxes. For the benefit of the classmates who have yet to join us, here's what you can expect to find: a combination confessional, debate forum, middle age man and parenting-self-help-site, literary salon, and unparalleled collection of vivid memories from our years together on the hill.

Many of the early postings revealed that most of us remember feeling secretly vulnerable and insecure as students. Nat Semple says that he survived by spending hours in Graves Hall wailing on his alto sax, and playing in the Torques. Dick Howe's expression of alienation and homesickness surprised Doug Everett for whom Dick was his running hero. That's the beauty of this forum: we no longer have any reason to hide. Both Jim Torbert and Ken Gass admitted enduring the special hardships of being compared to accomplished older brothers by the less than sensitive Bob Maynard. Lots of us suffered at the hands of PA's finest. Dave Mason recalls feeling terrorized by Tom Regan, who gave him a 61 for writing a final exam with a broken ballpoint pen. Both Matthew McClure and Dave Gang have equally unpleasant memories of slogging through "The Waste Land" and creating homeric similes with Dalton McBee. Randy Elkins' nightmare was math with Clem Morrell, Bill Stowe was turned off science by chemistry with Elbert Weaver and, Fran Crowley John McCullough, yours truly, and a lot of "the other brethren" still carry the scars of Cornelius Banta's sarcastic wit. But hindsight has given us appreciation for the true masters - Fitts, Gierasch, Lyons, Gibson, and the formidable Humphries, who John Carr credits for his career as French escort/interpreter for the State Department. Richard Kalin wrote that "my favorite memory of Andover is Hammond playing the cello during advanced physics labs." One of Pat Cathcart's favorites was Scotty Royce, recalling the time Royce caught Randy Clark imitating him, and was amused. There were men who taught us in ways beyond the classroom. If swimming coach Reagh Wetmore reacted to Kennedy's assassination by immediately calling his broker, chorus instructor William Schneider simply canceled practice with the sign "I don't feel like singing."

Our on-line clubhouse is a great place to reveal secrets. "Remember the morning the Chapel got raided, and all the prayer books and seat cushions got 'Rearranged' somehow? I was in on that and other pranks," confides Owen MacNutt. Nat Semple confesses that he took full advantage of instructor Colby's nearsightedness. Twin brother Bill, who was much better in Latin, often recited in Nat's place. They weren't caught until the last day of the term, and got off with only a few demerits. Mike Cathcart admits that Steve Spare accepted blame for some posting offense while Mike was on probation, which kept him from being booted out. Jim Torbert and Bob Chessman tried to ferment cider during lower year, before Jim graduated to the real stuff, smuggling in vodka, while on a weekend pass. His co-conspirators in that crime were Torby MacDonald and Chai Kambhu. Other less postable memories include Bob Hirsch's description of the different areas in Commons, where jock, honor student, "in there" and "non-in-there" types would congregate, Jack Sartore's fond recollection of how Tory Peterson kindly took him under his wing lower year, and Sean Kennedy's word for word recall of the ditty he and Henry Hobson sang about the saintly Dolly of infirmary fame. Pete Schandorff still remembers some of the Saturday Night movies - The Manchurian Candidate and The Hustler and reveals the news (at least to me) that it was biology teacher and cross country coach John Kimball who chose them. But the real winner when it come to strolling down our collective memory lane has to be Randy Hobler, who kept a diary every day he was there (along with the 36 years since). Randy has shared many of his detailed diary entries on line. But classmates who have yet to log on shouldn't think that we've been stuck in the past. Much of the appeal of our cyberspace Ryley Room is that no subject, whether it's George's campaign, being gay in the military, guns, the death penalty, even hitchhiking and snakes, has failed to generate informed and spirited debate. Pete Pfeifle and L.E. Sawyer have been our former cheerleader's cheerleaders. Bob Dieter wrote about his participation in the Iowa Caucases, and Bob Marshall compared George's politically charged smirk to his own involuntary smile. Eric Chase, a frequent contributor, shared his knowledge on why we dropped the atomic bomb. Edward Harris brought our own generation's war all-too-vividly home. Steve Kroll wrote about quitting smoking, Steve Lerner about his experience with stronger weeds, Jay Heard nominates prozac as the drug du jour, and Bryce Muir's musings about drugs, spirituality, and the making of a Maine philosopher definitely belong in print. And I'm not forgetting Frank Holland, Paul Gallagher, Bruce Kauffman, Chris Roper, Don Vermeil, Rob Auld, Alan Wofsey, John Seegal, Tim Booth, Didi Pei and Randy Roden, all of whose contributions make pa64@onelist.com a site all other classmates should visit soon. See you there.

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Last updated 23 May 2000