OF 1964 QUESTIONNAIRE SUMMARY
40th Reunion, August 2005
by Martha Lowder Kimball, '64
Class of 1964 enjoyed an overwhelmingly meaningful 40th reunion, our
first in fifteen years and the first since graduation for a surprising
number of classmates. In advance of the occasion, several of us collaborated
on a yearbook-style publication that offered then-and-now photos as
well as detailed biographical updates based on Part I of a questionnaire
that Bill Sheldon and I dreamed up. Ultimately, for logistical reasons,
the product of Part II of the questionnaire was relegated to separate
addendum status, but we're happy to be able to share the results here
in the hope that our kindred Milnites find them thought-provoking and
amusing. Hereby follow: my note to the Class of '64, the anonymous Part
II tallies, and some personal recollections of Milne.
Thank you to those who submitted responses to Part II of the questionnaire,
thereby allowing us to play amateur sociologist. Part of the impetus
for the questions was a book, What Really Happened to the Class of '65,
that a friend who knew its authors recommended when I first mentioned
the Milne reunion to him. It was written in 1975 as a follow-up of a
1965 Time feature that had depicted the authors' senior class in the
affluent West L.A. suburbs as somehow typical of our era. I was repeatedly
struck by how much more fortunate we were, and how much better we had
"turned out," than those children of excessive privilege.
Milne, and/or our parents, had clearly done something right.
Bill, as a military history buff, was interested as well in the ramifications
of the draft and the issues of Woodstock and protest. As a generation
on the cusp, on which side of the great divide had we fallen?
Of course, since Bill and I were neither Time reporters nor sociologists,
we had to keep our questions general and polite in order to have any
hope that you'd answer them. Can you imagine what we might have liked
to have known?
It seems to me, having considered your thoughtful responses, that the
draft produced a group of young men who educated themselves up to their
eyeballs and achieved a few more post-graduate degrees than they might
have been otherwise inclined to amass; and with them a group of young
women who married, on average, earlier than they might have done otherwise
- with the exception of several who married unusually late: products,
perhaps, of the women's movement and the new perceived freedom to pursue
We divide quite evenly politically and philosophically and seem equally
passionate about the rationales for our stances. We are engaged and
socially responsible. Clearly our class beats the national averages
when it comes to success of first marriages and marital longevity. Although
we can't agree on what constitutes a good time, whether musically or
athletically, as a group we are thinkers, world travelers, hard workers,
good-humored jokesters, but rarely jocks. Above all, we are diverse.
Vivent les differences.
years of post-secondary education: 6
years of military service (men only) including those who didn't serve:
Average years of military service (men only) excluding those who didn't
Range: 0 - 21
age at time of first marriage: 25.75
Range: 19 - 40
length of longest marriage: 25.5
Range: 1.5 - 38.98 (on date of reunion)
number of times married: 1.28
Range: 1 - 3
number of times divorced: .45
Range: 0 - 2
"0 (no current plans - cannot speak for my wife)"
number of children: 1.98*
Range: 0 - 4
*One wise guy deferred the question pending DNA testing.
number of grandchildren: .7
Range: 0 - 6
"None, but hope springs eternal."
"None yet - at least not that I know about."
types of music:
15% Rock 'n' roll, "oldies"
4% Easy listening
romantic song or artist from the Milne years:
22% Johnny Mathis (no specific recording)
17% The Beatles
13% "Sealed with a Kiss"
5% "Chances Are"
"A Certain Smile"
"If I Loved You" from Carousel
Nat King Cole
"Someone to Watch over Me"
"None. I didn't figure that stuff out until much later."
"NOT Johnny Mathis."
of respondents who have played an instrument or sung professionally:
One sang backup in the band "Otis and the All Night Workers."
Another was a paid first soprano, ages 8-10, at St. Andrew's Church,
A third played bass and guitar and continues to perform the occasional
gig for fun.
"Get outta town."
"My singing has been compared to a Briggs and Stratton that needs
of respondents who have taken part in community theatre: 6.
A seventh helps with children's theatre.
An eighth has reviewed community theatre for a newspaper and has given
Number of respondents who have acted professionally: 1.
A second has danced professionally.
"Some say [that I don't act professionally] even on the job."
"No, mostly I try to act as non-professional as possible."
"Have given many presentations about buses - isn't that acting?"
"Does television journalism count?"
who currently belong to a gym:
who have played pro or semi-pro sports: 0.
15% College basketball
13% Basketball (non-specified level)
Auto racing (NASCAR)
"Baseball, provided teams are not owned by Nazis and comprised
of rapists and other types of criminals."
6% Mountain hiking
"Getting women to buy me drinks"
Hip-hop and salsa dancing
Walking on a treadmill
who will try to lose weight for the reunion:
"Yes, [for the reunion]; also to survive another decade."
"No, but I should."
"I am always trying to lose weight!"
"I would like to but doubt the possibility."
"No. May try to gain a few pounds to complement my baldness."
who have attended the Super Bowl:
Bob T. (three times).
Jane: "No, but I attended every Pro Bowl from 1979 - 1999!"
who have attended the Summer Olympics:
who have attended the Winter Olympics:
Bill L., Lake Placid
Bob T., Lake Placid
Martha: Had one event ticket for Salt Lake but sold it on eBay
24% Boston Red Sox
19% New York Yankees
10% Detroit Red Wings
Green Bay Packers
New York Giants
San Francisco 49ers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
registered with a political party:
7% Registered Independent
who have run for political office: 1
Bob T., take a bow.
9% Don't remember (it was the 60s)
2% Johnson (are you sure about that?)
who attended Woodstock: 1
Hank! You did it for all of us!
* "I was stationed overseas."
* "I was with the Army overseas."
* "Yes, but not for the festival."
* "Almost, but I couldn't get a ride. I'm glad I didn't make it."
* "I attended Woodstock II."
* "Only in my heart!"
* "Not in person, but in spirit. I did make it to the Filmore East
* "No. Wife was. She got separated from her backpack, money and
ride home - interesting story of survival in the woods."
* "I was vacationing at Cinnamon Bay, St. John, Virgin Isles, thank
* "I got as far as a rest area on the Massachusetts Turnpike and
celebrated Woodstock privately with a new friend."
who participated in Vietnam anti-war protests:
* "No, I was participating in the war."
* "Absolutely not."
* "Yes, but that did not mean that I did not support the troops.
I just believed that they should not have been sent there. I hope that
this does not offend anyone."
* "Yes, I was a college-based organizer of the first anti-war March
on Washington in 1965. And I did many more."
* "Yes, I was in Washington for the mass protest against the war
in Viet Nam and the march to the Pentagon, along with a bus load of
my fellow college classmates from Beloit College. There were at least
500,000 people there that day, and we were very orderly. When we got
to the Pentagon, the march had petered out, and we went home."
* "One or two, to observe and meet loose women - trying to get
through engineering school was enough work."
who hold a current passport:
"Not yet, but plan to get it this year."
"Almost out of space for any more stamps."
foreign place visited:
#1 with five mentions: Greece
#2 (tie) with two mentions: Bali
# 2 (tie): China
#2 (tie): Israel
#2 (tie): San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Bangkok and Pattaya Beach, Thailand
Eagle's Nest, Hitler's mountaintop aerie
Inca ruins, including Machu Picchu, in Peru
My neighbor's bathroom (good thing this is anonymous!)
South of France and Italy
"That's a tough one. Istanbul? Athens? Rome? London? Barcelona?
Venice? Vancouver? Quebec?"
American place visited:
#1 with eight mentions: New York City
#2 (tie) with three mentions: Washington, D.C.
#2 (tie): San Francisco
All of the fabulous national parks in Utah
Berkshires: Lenox and Lee, Massachusetts
Denali National Park, Alaska (3-passenger plane flight over glaciers
near Mt. McKinley)
Grand Canyon floor
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Las Vegas Strip
Organ Pipe National Monument
Our family lakeside camp
Summit of Wheeler Peak, NV (13,000')
Mountains: Adirondacks, Sierras, Tetons, Rockies
"There's NYC and then the rest of the World."
"Also tough. NYC? Chicago? New Orleans? San Francisco? Honolulu?
Kalaupapa? Waimea Canyon? Alaska? Lake Tahoe? Lake George?"
#1, with six mentions: to travel more; to see more of the world.
* A passion for justice.
* Artistic success.
* Completion of a textbook that is now in its third attempt.
* Connecting with people; change.
* Devoting more time to weaving and photography.
* More inventions in the head/still ahead.
* My work seems to take up most of my energy these days. I am interested
in travel, history, music, theatre, and miniatures (as in dollhouses).
* My work and travel, and that possibility of falling in love and living
happily ever after.
* Not wanting to feel too old.
*Publishing articles and book reviews and perhaps, someday, a book.
*The fashion retail industry. It motivates me every day!
*To be a good father and husband and give something back to the community.
*To be healthy.
*To become an even better teacher, and I have not ruled out becoming
a principal. I also want to continue to develop my skills as a photographer.
*To expand as an author; to be a class-A, fully involved mother and
grandmother; to tackle German and maybe, finally, calculus.
*To help others attain their maximal level of independent function.
*To learn all I can about the American Civil War and WW II.
*To move the country toward universal health care.
*To never be bored or sit still.
*To see the USA become a great nation again.
*To try to make a difference; to facilitate creative work by artists
and writers that will survive us all; to expose and work to correct
political incompetence, corruption and injustice, starting with my immediate
who are retired:
75% Primarily no, or retired from principal career and doing other work
25% Primarily yes
"Just resting for a while."
"Never, but I always say yes on credit applications."
"No way. Still have college to pay for."
length of time since retirement: 3.5 years
Range: 2 months - 10 years
Median: 3 years
Mode 3 years
Respondents with at least one surviving parent:
who have exceeded or fallen short of their goals formed during high
40% Exceeded them
14% Met them
14% Didn't set any
8% Fell short of them
24% Other answers
* "Fallen short. Never got a Ph.D., but life has been good."
* "I am a happy man - did what I wanted and accomplished most everything
I set out to. Wouldn't have done it any differently."
* "I feel pretty much 'on track,' although it would be ever-so-nice
if I was independently wealthy
lucky for me that I still enjoy
* "Exceeded in terms of satisfaction and what I feel are contributions
* "Neither; I've wound up doing completely different things, things
I never even imagined were there to be done. (Now that I've reread my
answer, I wonder if maybe I just didn't set any goals for myself in
* "Just totally changed them."
* "I don't think that I really set any career goals in high school."
* "Met my goals, neither over/underachieved."
* "I regret not getting my Master's degree, but it probably wouldn't
have changed my career path very much if I had gotten it."
* "Far exceeded - was fundamentally lazy and unfocused; I knew
it and still am."
* "Who ever set goals in high school? I probably exceeded my vision
of myself by getting a master's; also by working all my life rather
than being a homemaker, which was the prevailing notion in high school.
If I could go back, I would probably try to go to medical school since
it was something that interested me, but I was discouraged from even
considering that route by my father, who was a doctor. It wasn't fair
to go through the training and then drop out to have a family. Boy,
have times changed."
who would become teenagers again if they could go back in time:
50% Definitely not
18% Modified options
* "It's more responsibility to be an adult but also much more rewarding
to accomplish life works. No thanks!!!"
* "Been there, done that!!!!"
* "No. I would not want to go back in time to ANY stage of my life;
I like moving forward."
* "Not on your life."
* "While I had a great time as a teenager, I don't think I would
go back again - the memories are just fine with me!"
* "Heavens, no!"
* "ABSOLUTELY NOT - it was horrible!"
* "Are you kidding? But I wouldn't mind being 40 again!"
* "Not that far back, although life was simpler."
* "Probably would go back to college, rather than high school.
High school has too much anxiety associated with being liked and accepted."
* "No, that would be too far back. However, if you asked about
late 20s to early 30s, maybe
* "I'd like to transfer my mature brain into my youthful body and
kick around for another 60 years."
* "Of course!"
* "Yes. Maybe this time I would listen a lot better."
* "Yeah, maybe just to NOT punch Andy in the nose. Public apology."
* "Absolutely, [but] would not change much."
* "Only if I knew what I know now - in a New York minute!"
On a Personal
remember a specific announcement that Milne was in my future. From the
day when my family moved to Albany in 1952, that was part of the background
noise. Because my parents discussed the school in the most positive
of terms, it didn't occur to me to question the desirability of leaving
the third new set of friends I had made (at P.S. 19, Altamont Elementary,
and then Westmere/Guilderland) to begin life at yet another school,
walking two miles a day and entrusting my punctuality to the utterly
unreliable Schenectady bus. But on the opening day of the pre-seventh
grade summer program, somehow I bought into the Milne experience.
Would my life have followed a different path had I boarded the school
bus with my neighbors and gone to Guilderland Junior High? Absolutely.
I suspect that it would have been easier but more commonplace.
We arrived at Milne from many places, both geographically and symbolically,
to undergo an intense communal experience. The small class size, the
six-year program, the unusual nature of the student body, and the school's
particular philosophy all contributed to that intensity. Still, though
we labored side by side and went through the same motions and emotions,
many of us were mysteries to one another. There were unspoken traumas,
silent sorrows, petty insecurities, hidden talents, miscommunications,
and missed opportunities. One of the joys of helping to plan this reunion
is the chance to see classmates come to terms, from mature points of
view, with who we all were then and who we have become. With luck, that
is a work in progress.
In learning more about numbers of people than I knew about them in the
fifties and sixties, I'm realizing with pleasure just how well all of
us learned the lessons of Milne - and not only, or even primarily, the
academic lessons. Having endured and triumphed, in the short run or
the long, each of us made substantial contributions in utterly individual
ways, whether to family, political or religious life; whether to the
arts, media, academia, business, literature, or the service professions.
We've written, published, catalogued, and reviewed books, plays, and
journal articles, edited magazines, produced television programs, taught
children and young adults, healed the sick, patented inventions, served
our country, advised the government, counseled, audited, litigated,
legislated, prosecuted, engineered, marketed, volunteered, and explored.
That's not bad for the scrawny bunch that I see in my seventh-grade
Because Milne was never a neighborhood school, and because it then literally
ceased to exist, it remains only, like Brigadoon, as a mythical construct
that endures in our memories and reconvenes periodically through reunions.
It is the hope of some of us who find that old friends grow more precious
with age to set aside one weekend a year for a spontaneous reunion with
no preplanned activities. I hereby volunteer to serve as repository
of address and e-mail changes.
Thank you all for the wonderful updates and reminiscences that you shared
for the making of the reunion book. In case anything was left out, here
are a few of the things that I remember - or simply can't forget.
x 5 note cards; afternoon World Series games apprehended secretly via
transistor radios; the Albany Liberal; Alley Oop; the Alma Mater; alphabetical
seating (always behind Lewis and Lockwood); the Alumni Ball; assemblies;
away games; Bernie Bryan getting down; the Big Gym; Bob Newhart records;
Pete Seeger at the MGAA banquet; book reports; the Boulevard Cafeteria;
bowling after school; breaking in green student teachers; Brita Walker's
encouraging smile; brush cuts, pompadours, and D.A.s (I don't mean district
attorneys, Mark); Bunsen burners; the C&W B&I dance; Cecil Johnson's
Cherry Valley rock formations; charm bracelets; cheerleading tryouts;
cheesecake in the cafeteria; Cherie and Mary dancing the pony; cherry
phosphates; circle pins; class meetings; the cold sweat preceding oral
reports; the Co-op; dancing nose-to-navel with Terry Heffernan; the
day we spent an entire class period discussing the poem "So much
depends upon a red wheel barrow glazed with rain water beside the white
chickens"; the Dewey decimal system; Dr. Fossieck's inordinately
puffed-up chest; election posters; evil looks from Mabel Jackman in
the library; filmstrips; flips, bouffants, pageboys, and French twists;
French journals; the French trips to New York, Montreal, and Quebec;
Gerald Snyder puffing and tugging at his belt; the ginkgo tree in Washington
Park; gym suits with bloomers; hall passes; hanging out in Page Hall;
the horror of the late bell; "I love you" notes created with
Sweetheart straw wrappers; ID bracelets; ID cards; intramurals; Jack
Krail's drillmaster act in homeroom 130; the jitterbug; Joe's roast
beef sandwiches; the Kingston Trio; lab coats; lingering in the stairwell
for a kiss; the Little Gym; lopsided ceramic ashtrays created in shop;
lunch on Page steps; the Madison theatre; the mid-September start of
school; Mike's Log Cabin; milk cartons; Mrs. York's enormous witch-like
shadow cast on the auditorium wall as she conducted; the NFS; notes
passed furtively in class; pajama parties; penny loafers and pointy-toed
flats; the peristyle and Minerva statue; physical fitness tests; pin-cushions
sewn (badly) in home ec.; the pipe fence; the powdery smell of the girls'
locker room after gym; purple dittos; Quin and Sigma; Regents Week;
remedial slips; Roy York's sweaty brow, hopeless comb-over, and contagious
love of classical music; rubbery worms in dissecting trays; Ruth Wasley's
bounce; the Senior Ball; senior photos; the Senior Room; "Seniors
first!"; spin the bottle; square dancing in gym class; the stag
line; the stroll; summer vacation; "Teddy" Bayer; trampoline;
the uncooked macaroni at the Future Homemakers' picnic; upperclassmen;
the "Valentine" from Mike and Jeff that contained a genuine
frog's heart skewered with a dissecting pin; "We are the Raiders,
mighty, mighty Raiders"; what mildly passed for "dirty"
jokes; white shoe polish on sneakers; wooden desks; wool pleated skirts
and angora sweaters; yearbook picture day; yearbook-signing.