Hall of Fame

40th Reunion, August 2005
by Martha Lowder Kimball, '64

The 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 independent goals.

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.

Average years of post-secondary education: 6

Average years of military service (men only) including those who didn't serve: 3.9
Average years of military service (men only) excluding those who didn't serve: 6.5
Range: 0 - 21
Median: 2.5
Mode: 0

Average age at time of first marriage: 25.75
Range: 19 - 40
Median: 23
Mode: 23

Average length of longest marriage: 25.5
Range: 1.5 - 38.98 (on date of reunion)
Median: 27.5
Mode: 35

Average number of times married: 1.28
Range: 1 - 3
Median: 1
Mode: 1

Average number of times divorced: .45
Range: 0 - 2
Median: 0
Mode: 0

"0 (no current plans - cannot speak for my wife)"

Average number of children: 1.98*
Range: 0 - 4
Median: 2
Mode: 2
*One wise guy deferred the question pending DNA testing.

Average number of grandchildren: .7
Range: 0 - 6
Median: 0
Mode: 0

"None, but hope springs eternal."
"None yet - at least not that I know about."

Favorite types of music:
19% Classical
15% Jazz
15% Rock 'n' roll, "oldies"
8% Rock
6% Folk
6% Blues
6% Country
4% Easy listening
4% Celtic
4% Pop
4% R&B

Also mentioned:
Show tunes

Favorite 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"
5% Elvis
Also mentioned:
"A Certain Smile"
"Blue Angel"
Buddy Holly
Everly Brothers
Girl groups
"If I Loved You" from Carousel
Kingston Trio
Nat King Cole
"Someone to Watch over Me"
Tom Lehrer

"Can't remember."
"None. I didn't figure that stuff out until much later."
"NOT Johnny Mathis."

Number of respondents who have played an instrument or sung professionally: 3.
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, Albany.
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 oil."

Number 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 workshops.
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?"

Respondents who currently belong to a gym:
50% Yes
50% No

Respondents who have played pro or semi-pro sports: 0.

Favorite spectator sports:
23% Baseball
20% Football
15% College basketball
13% Basketball (non-specified level)
8% Hockey
8% Tennis
Also mentioned:
Auto racing (NASCAR)
Drag racing
Figure skating
WWF wrestling

"Baseball, provided teams are not owned by Nazis and comprised of rapists and other types of criminals."

Favorite participation sports:
12% Golf
9% Tennis
6% Fishing
6% Mountain hiking
6% Skiing
6% Snorkeling
6% Walking
Also mentioned:
Drag racing
Flying (airplanes)
"Getting women to buy me drinks"
Hip-hop and salsa dancing
Mah Jongg
Pistol shooting
Scuba diving
Walking on a treadmill

Respondents who will try to lose weight for the reunion:
36% Yes
64% No

"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."

Respondents who have attended the Super Bowl:
Bob T. (three times).
Jane: "No, but I attended every Pro Bowl from 1979 - 1999!"

Respondents who have attended the Summer Olympics:
Hank, L.A.
Martha, Atlanta

Respondents 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

Favorite pro teams:
24% Boston Red Sox
19% New York Yankees
10% Detroit Red Wings
Also mentioned:
Arizona Diamondbacks
Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Sabres
Chicago Bears
Green Bay Packers
L.A. Lakers
New York Giants
San Francisco 49ers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Toronto Raptors
Washington Redskins
(Duke basketball)

Respondents registered with a political party:
57% Yes
36% No
7% Registered Independent

Respondents who have run for political office: 1
Bob T., take a bow.

First presidential votes cast:
41% Humphrey
39% Nixon
9% McGovern
9% Don't remember (it was the 60s)
2% Johnson (are you sure about that?)

Respondents 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 many times."
* "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 you!"
* "I got as far as a rest area on the Massachusetts Turnpike and celebrated Woodstock privately with a new friend."

Respondents who participated in Vietnam anti-war protests:
58% No
32% Yes

* "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."

Respondents who hold a current passport:
74% Yes
26% No

"Not yet, but plan to get it this year."
"Almost out of space for any more stamps."

Most interesting 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
Arctic Circle
Bangkok and Pattaya Beach, Thailand
Dijon, France
Eagle's Nest, Hitler's mountaintop aerie
Firenze, Italy
Galapagos Islands
Havana, Cuba
Inca ruins, including Machu Picchu, in Peru
Katmandu, Nepal
Krakow, Poland
My neighbor's bathroom (good thing this is anonymous!)
Panama Canal
South of France and Italy

"That's a tough one. Istanbul? Athens? Rome? London? Barcelona? Venice? Vancouver? Quebec?"

Most interesting American place visited:
#1 with eight mentions: New York City
#2 (tie) with three mentions: Washington, D.C.
#2 (tie): San Francisco
#3: Hawaii
All of the fabulous national parks in Utah
Arches, Utah
Berkshires: Lenox and Lee, Massachusetts
Denali National Park, Alaska (3-passenger plane flight over glaciers near Mt. McKinley)
Florida Keys
Grand Canyon floor
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Las Vegas Strip
New Orleans
Northwestern Montana
Organ Pipe National Monument
Our family lakeside camp
Summit of Wheeler Peak, NV (13,000')
Mountains: Adirondacks, Sierras, Tetons, Rockies
Sonoran Desert

"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?"

Motivating ambitions:
#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.
* Creativity.
* Devoting more time to weaving and photography.
* Family.
* 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 surroundings.

Respondents 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."

Average 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:
65% No
35% Yes

Respondents who have exceeded or fallen short of their goals formed during high school:
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 working."
* "Exceeded in terms of satisfaction and what I feel are contributions and accomplishments."
* "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 high school!)"
* "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."

Respondents who would become teenagers again if they could go back in time:
50% Definitely not
32% Yes
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 Note:

I don't 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 yearbook.

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.

2:22; 3 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.