Possibly in an effort to recapture their youth, class of ‘67 co-presidents John Hufnagel and Allan Stern embarked on a three-day road trip from Williamstown a few weeks ago. With the blessings of their wives (who may have been eager to get them out of the house), they headed out across Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts in Hufnagel’s trusty Subaru Outback.
Although one would think any self-respecting car on a Williams road trip would head automatically to Smith, Bennington, Vassar or Mt Holyoke — with no GPS needed — the main goal of the trip was actually to visit with classmates, and to encourage participation in the 50th Reunion in June, 2017.
To that end, they stopped by to visit with Will Hurd in Jacksonville VT, Harry Tether in Sunapee NH, Jon Stableford in Strafford VT, Bob Steele in East Longmeadow MA, and Charlie Parham in South Amherst MA.
Here is some of what they learned:
Will Hurd – we knew him as “Bud” Hurd — lives on an amazing piece of property in southern Vermont. It’s 100 acres of forest land, and over the years Will has manicured it and worked it so that there are meditation vistas, fantastic garden arrangements, and a network of trails in and around streams. It’s kind of like an English country garden. He took his two visitors around in an ATV and they were blown away by the beauty of the place. Will would welcome visitors. Give him a call at 802-368-7683.
While Will is dealing with knee problems (there’s something about 70-year old cartilage), he hopes to make it back for reunion.
Harry and Suzanne Tether live in a beautiful home overlooking Lake Sunapee in central New Hampshire. They have a direct view of the ski area at nearby Mt. Sunapee and can look out the window to decide if it is a good day to ski or not.
Although Harry is ostensibly retired from his second career working in other countries for the US Department of Treasury, he is still doing some consulting. He says, however his most important and most fun job now — one shared with Suzanne — is that of being a grandparent.
They have enjoyed many of the Williams-sponsored trips over the last few years and done a lot of independent travel as well, Harry often with a fly rod in hand. One of their most recent trips was to the UK to attend the Chelsea Flower Show and cross that off from Suzanne’s “bucket list.”
They are both very involved with several local organizations, including their nearby land trust. Additionally, they were part of a group which founded and built the Northern Stage Theater in White River Junction, Vermont.
Harry has been very active in our class, currently serving on the Reunion Fund Committee, and he and Suzanne have been advisors to your presidents. They are definitely returning for reunion.
Jon Stableford and his wife Cindy live in central Vermont, about 30 minutes west of Dartmouth. It is part of a family compound that Jon and his family bought in the 1970’s. They have a separate small house next door for visiting children and grandchildren. There is a motorcycle, a log splitter, and a zipline in the backyard.
While the zipline was ostensibly built for grandchildren, Stern couldn’t resist trying it out. Luckily, the system braked perfectly before he could go headfirst into a tree at the other end of the line. Huff wisely declined to take part.
Since Jon retired after over 30 years as a teacher and dean at Andover, one of the things he’s been doing is teaching at the Institute for Lifelong Learning at Dartmouth. He just finished teaching a course on Robert Frost.
Jon and Cindy are definitely coming back for reunion.
Bob Steele and his wife Bev live in East Longmeadow, MA, just south of Springfield near the Connecticut border. They are both now retired (Bob from Prudential Financial in Hartford), and have their four grandchildren living within 15 minutes, and love their two-day-a-week baby-sitting duties. Stern and Huff had a delightful visit with three-year old Anna after she woke up from her nap.
Bob and Bev are very active in their church, but they also travel a lot – they have been to all 50 states and a good number of countries. In the summers you will find them in their place on Cape Cod, near Eastham.
Bob was one of our classmates who went into the navy right after graduation. He served on a fuel tanker just off the coast of Vietnam but never saw direct action himself. He was in Wood House his junior and senior years and remembers Lonnie Hest very well.
While he hasn’t kept in touch with too many William classmates, he fondly remembers being on the soccer team (with Alan Dankner in goal). He and Bev are thinking quite seriously of coming back for reunion.
Charlie Parham and his wife Roxy live in South Amherst MA. Charlie is now retired from being Curriculum Director at the Smith College Campus School in Northampton. He is actively involved in gardening, taking part in a 100-year old garden club in the area.
Charlie and Roxy love to go on extended bicycle trips. In addition to lots of trips in Maine, they have ridden in Thailand, Ireland, and France.
At dinner, Charlie regaled Stern and Huff with stories of summer canoe trips in northern Canada. Did you know, for example, that – like the “cow tipping” stories from the Midwest – one of the backcountry rites of passage is to leap from your canoe next to a swimming moose and jump on. Apparently, this can be done – best while not completely sober – and is not that dangerous. You can steer the moose to the left or right by pulling on its ears. Just be sure to jump off before the relatively docile swimming moose reaches shallow water and becomes a pissed off walking moose.
Charlie has actually done this a few times himself.
Charlie and Roxy will be back for reunion. You can ask him more about the finer points of moose-riding then.
Other things learned on this trip:
Stern is completely anal about having a clean windshield. Huff had to pull over several times to let him clear all the dead bugs off. Stern was outraged that Huff did not carry a rag in his car.
Huff is a Garmin GPS guy while Stern is a Google Maps GPS guy. They had dueling GPS competition going on to see which product could get them to their location faster without getting lost. Conclusion: Google Maps has a friendlier interface (“Turn left at Whiteacre Lane” vs just “Turn left”) but Garmin is less likely to take you on a “shortcut” over an isolated mountain dirt road.
Williams classmate road trips are still worth it. A little less alcohol, a little less late-night driving, but the camaraderie is still the same, even 49 years later.