For our 25th Reunion in 1990 we contributed to a "Memory Book" which became a rich resource of reflections on the paths we had followed since leaving Hollins in 1965. Some have chosen to remember aspects of Hollins that have come to matter the most to them. Others have again looked back on lives for which Hollins helped to prepare them. This year, for our 50th Reunion in 2015, our Memory Book has become pages of "Reflections" on this special reunion website for the class of 1965.
I arrived on the beautiful Hollins campus a stranger in a strange land. Born and brought up in Sao Paulo, Brazil, never having lived in the U.S., this was a new world for me. I owe much to Connie Galbraith, my roommate for 3 years, who welcomed me, introduced me to her family, and has remained a friend through the years. Marion Larsen lived across the hall. Sallie Reeves, whom I still correspond with, lived down the hall. Ann Hopkins (Hoppy) and Anna Coatsworth were my roommates senior year at Rose Hill. I learned and grew through these and many other friendships at Hollins. I served as managing editor to the Hollins newspaper when Sylvia Doughty was the editor, and had the unimaginable opportunity to interview Flannery O’Connor and Eudora Welty. And my dear teacher, Julia Randall, became a mentor and friend, someone whom I communicated with by mail until she died, the one person who steadfastly advised, cajoled, chastised, inspired, goaded me on to read deeply, to think, to be a good teacher, to be brave, and to question.
I remember many other Hollins professors whose lives enriched me in a myriad ways. Not surprisingly, because Hollins had such a fine English department, I became an English teacher, first in the public schools in Boston, where I taught for 10 years and where my son was born; then at the American Samoa Community College, in American Samoa, where my daughter was born; finally, at Kapi’olani Community College (KCC) in Honolulu, where I taught writing and literature for 21 years. Although I retired from full-time teaching in 2012, I am still active: I volunteer as a writing tutor at KCC; visit my amazing children in Oakland and NYC; travel to visit my friends in different parts of the country and the world; read voraciously; and take fascinating online courses through Coursera and edX. Most importantly, I remember those four years at Hollins as some of the best and most important years of my life. I haven’t returned to the campus for 50 years. I hope the copper tree near the Chapel is still there!
Mary ('Muffie') Brown Preston A.B. Philosophical and Religious Thought
Jill Marie Abbott A.B. English
Several memories come to mind when I remember my time at Hollins. The best is the year abroad where I had incredible exciting freedom. In addition to the required Sorbonne and language classes, no one told me what to do with my time. So I took a course at the Institut Catholique on Martin Luther! Also got to know some folks with whom I spent a week in Provence during the summertime (got my parents to say that I needed a rest from the required summer trip - ha ha). Another very positive experience was Dr. Stuart Heidegger's Humanities course - what a wide ranging intro to philosophy and literature that was.
A "learning" experience occurred in the 1st semester of my sophomore year: I was tired of studying so hard, working for that "A" and decided to see how I would do if I put in minimal effort. Conclusion: minimal effort = minimal grades. Hmm. This lesson served me well in medical school. Since college, I have married (twice), have a now 45 year son and 12 year old granddaughter, have taught French, and am practicing Internal Medicine (UVA). Another "perk" that I never expected is the value of having minored in French. For years I thought it was an elitist, non useful language (Spanish generally better for medical) but over the last 13 years I have been volunteering intermittently in Haiti where Kreyol is easier to learn if one has first mastered French. I have taught nurse practitioner students there in French and Kreyol - but do receive lots of corrections from them!
Patsy Brawley Murray
After graduating from Hollins, I went to the University of Georgia for an M.A. in art history. I think I got the best of both worlds - an undergraduate degree at a small woman's college and a graduate degree from a large co-ed school. With no real plans after college, I attended Georgia on a whim; thank goodness Hollins made us take the GRE! I married after graduation and had two sons. I moved with my husband to New York City, Florida, Chattanooga, and finally back to Atlanta. After we divorced, I went to work for the next 15 years as an agent with an Atlanta Real Estate firm. I have also worked as a career counselor, and at Emory University in their alumni office. I retired several years ago. For me, retirement feels like extended summer vacation. I love being on my own time, staying up late to read, and never having to go to the grocery store after work in the dark! As a member of the Friendship Force, I took a wonderful trip last June to Bordeaux and Toulouse, staying with members of the local Friendship Force clubs. It was an all French-speaking trip, but my French from Hollins Abroad was definitely rusty! I spent a few days on my own in Paris near the Left Bank apartment Florida Smith Ellis and I shared on HA. The trip to France was definitely a sentimental journey. (Florida and I see each other at a book club we've been members of since graduation.) I have enjoyed hosting visitors from Turkey and Ukraine through the Friendship Force, as well.
Both my sons live in Atlanta, and I am lucky to have my two granddaughters nearby. We "play" a lot, and I take them to museums and the Atlanta History Center. I am a docent at Emory's Michael C. Carlos Museum, and I teach an ESL class for hispanic women at a local church. In the summer, I volunteer at a clothes closet for elementary school children at my church, All Saints Episcopal, in downtown Atlanta.
In the future, I am hoping for continued good health and more travel!
Unfortunately, I will be unable to attend our reunion because I am having knee replacement surgery April 2nd. Sandy and I now spend the winter months in Naples, Florida and are in Columbus, Ohio during the summer. We have been married for 50 years and have a daughter, Ridgely, who lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and three sons ages 10, 9, and 4 yrs. We are enjoying our retirement years playing golf and traveling as much as possible.
Joshan Backus Wise A.B. Economics
Anna Coatsworth Larkin A.B. Philosophical Thought
Hollins was a highlight of my life, and the platform for everything since. I had arrived with a European upbringing, a family flung apart, at barely seventeen years old. Hollins was the nurturing, safe cocoon I needed, providing warm friends, caring professors, challenging classes where I did well in most – History and Phys. Ed. excepted. I still don’t have a head for history but married a man with that kind of interest and memory, who is my encyclopedia. Athletics, I converted into tennis and sometimes surprise myself with a good, competitive game. At Hollins I learned leadership and management skills and to speak in public. All so useful. (And I learned how to act “American.”)
Compressing 50 years into a short paragraph: Professionally and for fun I’ve been involved in various enterprises, most recently in arts management (Easton’s Academy Art Museum, Chesapeake Chamber Music) and in real estate here on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. A few years ago I got a Masters in Business from Johns Hopkins. Been married for 46 years to Tim, a brilliant, funny, self-made writer/artist/ from Hoboken; we have two boys who gave us fits early on and are now, with their amazing wives, our support system and our dearest dears, along with three and a half little ones. Life is good.
When I think of Hollins, the campus is always sunlit. I remember arriving in September 1961 scared and uncertain and how, when I met some of my classmates, I relaxed -- they seemed even more upset than I.
A few weeks into sophomore year, Stuart Degginger told us that the Cuban Missile Crisis threatened the world and that we might never see our families again. If he was looking for a reaction, he got it. I thought that John Aldridge was exactly what an English professor should be -- blonde and pipe smoking; he wore a jacket with leather elbow patches.
Julie Randall arrived our sophomore year. She told me, repeatedly, that my papers were "adequate." I was annoyed, but she was probably being kind. The next year I watched as someone in Literary Criticism class asked her if she were related to James Ryder Randall, author of Maryland's bloodthirsty pro-Confederate state song. She looked chagrined; her family had been pro-Union.
English majors sat in the Green Drawing Room when Robert Penn Warren put his lit pipe into his pocket; his jacket began to smoke. James Dickey arrived and read a poem about spending the night in a motel with someone else's wife. We didn't hear poems like that everyday.
So much of what I remember has to do with gratitude that I was one of Louis Rubin's English majors. He seemed to know everyone in the literary world and brought as many authors as he could to Hollins. He was largely responsible for making my time at Hollins an extraordinary experience.
But I most value the friends I made at Hollins. I think of those who are gone almost daily.
Susan Barnes Titus A.B. French
I arrived at Hollins sight unseen. I was just about to put in applications to other colleges when a friend of my sister’s, who had been a Dutch exchange student at Hollins, raved about her experience and suggested I consider it. I decided to look it up, to placate her, and immediately fell in love with what I read in the brochure. Loving French and travel I immediately had my heart set on the Hollins Abroad Program.
Hollins lived up to, and even exceeded my expectations and the Abroad program was something that changed my life forever. The years after Hollins took me to New York City where I met my husband and then to Wilmington Delaware where I raised two girls and became actively involved in the community, serving on many boards and committees. Due to my husband’s job I also had the opportunity to live seven years in Geneva, Switzerland where I took the opportunity to immerse myself in the French language once again.
Alan and I also travelled extensively for business and pleasure to many parts of the world during our forty two years of marriage. We retired to Bermuda where I am currently living. I lost Alan three years ago but now, after a long period of adjustment, my life is full again. I am so sorry that I won’t be there to celebrate the fiftieth but I will be thinking of you all and recalling with great fondness the memories of wonderful times and special friendships.
Judy Breen Hoge A.B. French
50 years! So much has happened, and I’ve loved (almost) every minute. Through it all Hollins has been an inner gyroscope, keeping me on course. We graduated, just as Title VII made it illegal for employers to discriminate against women. Marriage trumped careers. Even so, I felt I, “just a girl,” could do anything – and I did. First the “expected” things – marriage, Jr. League, charities. Not as “fulfilling” as Women’s Home Journal promised, I went to law school, after my children were in school all day.
CHILDREN – Amanthis (Mandy) Bullitt Hoge was born in 1970, Peyton Harrison Hoge V was born in 1974. Mandy went to Hollins 1988-1990, and transferred to graduate from UVA. Peyton attended Centre in KY, and graduated from U of Louisville. Both live in Louisville, with their spouses, Mandy right across the street from me (heaven!).
GRANDCHILD – At age 65, I had resigned myself to not having grandchildren. However, Mandy had Maisie (now 7), and life took on a new dimension. She is the light of my life. Indeed, my life revolves around work and family, and almost every Sunday extended family and friends gather at a family farm to walk dogs, hayride with kids, eat, drink, talk.
LAW – I loved law school, was editor of the school paper, and have enjoyed it – still do, still working full-time. I did the corporate route as in-house counsel; quit to retire, got bored, and am now at a firm in suburban Anchorage.
Diane Peters Auslander A.B. English
I remember Hollins fondly, although I had personal issues that clouded all my experiences as a young adult. After Hollins, I ended up tuning in and dropping out. I married against my family’s wishes, was written out of all the wills, and moved to California where life was often difficult. I ended up raising my two fabulous sons on the Marin County coast, where I worked in restaurants and was intensely involved in a theater company until the economy in the 1980s meant more work and less time for theater. By this time, I was raising my kids by myself. I developed lung problems and was often unable to work, which made life extremely precarious.
After much struggling, in 1995, I moved back to New York with my younger son, Jordan, to start the Master’s program at the Gallatin School of New York University. My older son, Grant, joined us after 9/11. I received my MA in Individualized Study at NYU and went on to the City University of New York Graduate Center where I earned my MPhil and, after more illness and other problems, I completed my PhD in medieval history in 2010. I couldn’t have done it without the excellent education I received throughout my early life, especially at Hollins. I have been teaching as an adjunct at Lehman College, CUNY, for eight years and have published quite a few articles and book chapters. My boys have done brilliantly well here and we all feel quite lucky.
Yolande 'Landi' Branham Voigt A.B. Sociology
At 72, I am breaking into the world of coffee. Purchased Mirage Coffee, Victoria B.C. -- a franchise complete with Roastery, 2 corporate cafes, one franchisee -- based on a dream for expansion and being on the cutting edge of a vibrant evolving industry, one whose burgeoning popularity and diversity is reminiscent of wine's exemplary run. Before this I didn't even drink coffee. Now I'm hooked on the dream of our coffee's potential.
Our Government Street cafe is our open door to supply coffee around the world since it is Victoria tourists' first and last stop on cruise ship visits. For new cafes, a franchisee-friendly agreement will set us apart. We are on the cusp of ever greater things. The sky is the limit.
God's path for me has been totally surprising and better than I could ever have imagined since Hollins graduation. My M.A. Degree in Journalism from UGA set me on a professional public relations/photography career including WGTV Public Television, Athens, Ga.; MDAA, Western Electric, & finally my own agency and consulting service, Atlanta, Ga.
Next, Farm Manager of the family farm in Palmer, IL followed by real estate sales and investments in Prescott, AZ, retirement in San Juan Capistrano starring a 30-foot sailboat, then back to investing in Big Bear Lake, CA and Yavapai County, AZ.
The man of my dreams suddenly appeared, after my 30 years being single; our third wedding anniversary is July 21. We divide our time between his/our home in Peoria, AZ and Victoria B.C. where we cool off in the summers. Our shared fun includes bicycling, jeeping, kayaking, hiking and RV'ing down the road together into forever.
Sally Keene Craig A.B. English
I recall singing “Lift Thine Eyes” with the chapel choir, feeling privileged to room with Sylvia in our “homey” Rathaus room; singing with the Hollypoofs. I admired Mollie Bidwell’s musical talent, and that of the other music majors. Mr. Diercks deeply impressed me. He showed us respect by addressing us by our formal names: “Miss Brawley.” His music theory class challenged me, but it makes sense now, after years of playing music.
The most embarrassing time of my life was my senior music exam. I played on stage in front of all music faculty, in Bradley Hall. Suddenly, my brain froze. I COULD NOT think of what to play next. Miss McClenny tried to talk me through it from her seat, to no avail. Finally, they took pity on me and told me I could leave. They still passed me. I graduated with a Music History degree. Luckily, I didn’t major in piano! Hollins Abroad changed my life. The myriad museums and palaces blend together, but I vividly recall our Swedish (Finnish?) sauna, when we beat our naked bodies with switches and then ran into the lake, with Mr. Degginger peeking at us from afar. I’ve had a life-long love affair with Paris, and France.
I’m grateful for the care-free girl I was during my Hollins years - learning about the world, and having fun. Fortunately, I’m still doing exactly that!
I regret that I cannot make it to the reunion. Best wishes for a laugh-filled weekend for all who do attend.
Barbara Beaman Sieg A.B. English
Having arrived at Hollins a tentative teen from Tennessee, I was fashioned by the marvelous professors and positive atmosphere of the Hollins campus into a completely retooled young woman by graduation. I was instilled by Hollins with a confidence and a belief in myself which has enriched my life in countless ways. Having moved to NYC after graduation, ready to seek my fortune, and wanting an active, travel-oriented job, I called American Airlines and asked to speak with the PRESIDENT of American Airlines. His receptionist properly asked me what this was regarding, to which I replied, "It's a personal matter." The very next morning I was ushered into his luxuriously paneled office as the double doors were closed behind me by an eyebrow-raised receptionist. I introduced myself to a more than apprehensive executive, said I was 'considering' working for American Airlines, and asked what position HE thought might be best for me! That was the self-confident product of Hollins. (Eventually I had to reveal that I did not type and had no intention of being a secretary!)
Beyond the educational and psychological advantages offered by Hollins, I have reveled these 50 years in the warmth of friendships formed there. I love returning for reunions to rekindle former friendships, but equally important to develop new ones with fellow students I had not previously known very well. This benefit is also true in participating in 1842 Weekends and meeting Hollins graduates from so many different classes...with the binding bond already established of Hollins.
I lived over ten years in NYC and then moved to Charlottesville to raise my three children, where we all now live... with an added four grandchildren. In addition to tennis, travel, golf and grandchildren, I am involved in cultural organizations here, especially the Paramount Theater. I published the travel newsletter "La Belle France" for twenty years and love travel of all types. Envying you Hollins abroaders, I still have that year in Paris on my bucket list!