This year, for our 50th Reunion in 2015, our Memory Book has become our website pages of "Reflections." 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.
Susan Edwards Prados A.B. Spanish
There it is in my mind’s eye - front quad surpassing itself in beauty with every change of season. I hear the chapel bells and recall the library, now extinct, my preferred workplace. I also catnapped there. The dorms on the other hand were for laughter and silliness, true confessions and serious talk. I never missed male students and will defend same-sex education to the end.
Most of my classes were worthwhile. Faculty members were accessible and seemed to enjoy being so. A very special spot in my heart remains for John Ballator. However, some of my courses were a disappointment. So after my sophomore year, I declared myself in open rebellion, left Hollins and invented my personalized version of junior year abroad by enrolling in classes at the Universidad Complutense in Madrid. I fell in love with Spain but had enough good sense and enough academic credits to return to Hollins the following school year and graduate with my class.
I received a master’s degree in Spanish from Middlebury College in Madrid in 1966 and met and married my husband Juan, a Spanish national, that same year, setting aside forever my previous plans for an academic future in the US. Spain, under the dictatorship of Francisco Franco at the time, has been my home ever since. What changes there have been!
I have done some teaching, but most of my life has been family oriented. No regrets. Well, maybe some. Juan and I have four marvelous children, all married, and eight lively grandchildren ranging in age from eleven years to eighteen months. My oldest daughter and her husband live in Virginia but visit often and stay in close contact with the rest of the family who all reside in or near Madrid. Life is good. Love to all.
Gay Franklin Best A.B. Religious Thought
I can't tell you the joy it gives me to be asked to talk about myself! She is the person I know best and find it easiest to speak of! I may not be asked often! Hollins was a nurturing home for me during years when I was blooming slowly and needing the safety and encouragement of that beautiful, kind place. Two of the kindest who knew my struggles were Dr. George Gordh and Alvord Beardslee! The fact that I could get into Hollins and graduate from there with all the necessary credits was astonishingly wonderful and life has continued to be a series of rich and unanticipated blessings ever since! A particular joy for us has been to travel with our youngest daughter and her family. Barbara's husband, Greg, makes high-end furniture. His work can be seen on his web-site: gregklassen.com. His wife and 3 young children travel all over the US for Art Shows that display the work of many prominent artists. And we get to go along to help out with the display and the children. We are very big fans of them all as well as of Greg's work! We just got home from 2 weeks with them, travelling to La Quinta, CA, and driving a big van full of furniture. The move to BC has opened an opportunity to serve at the local food bank. This may not seem a big thing, but for me it has been life changing as I have learned to know and love the street people in our own small town. It is wonderful to be old and to have the freedom to look all people in the eye with no fear or judgment, rather with affection and with an open heart. We are thankful to have good health and to have the opportunity to live these days with each other. When we wake up each morning we commit ourselves to the Lord and forge ahead with anticipation and few particular expectations. We are full of joy and thanksgiving. Excited to see you all at Reunion! May God bless us all!
Ruth Bushnell Grell A.B. Politics
A couple of weeks ago I went online to see what information I could find about our reunion. The first thing I saw on the Hollins website was the news about Sweet Briar closing. I read the information with a great deal of dismay and that dismay stayed with me for many days. I finally realized that I was really thinking was “what if Hollins had closed while I had been a student there?” My time at Hollins was such a happy time and I could not get my head around the idea of Hollins closing. My whole life would be different had I not graduated from Hollins. The children I have would not have been born because I would never have met their father. Of course, the four grandchildren I love would not exist either.
Beyond that, would my love of history and music have been nurtured as they were at Hollins? Those two things have influenced the travel I have enjoyed in the last 20 years. They have influenced the kind of books I have loved to read all my adult life.
A couple of leadership roles I had at Hollins helped me overcome my shyness and reticence and gave me confidence to speak up, to step up. The confidence I gained has continued and grown with me. I am the person I am today because of the years at spent at Hollins. Although I have missed Hollins in the years since I graduated my adult life has been satisfying and rewarding and I owe much of that to Hollins College.
After college, I found myself in D.C. for 4 years trying to be a round peg fitting into a round hole and everywhere I tried to find employment, they kept sticking me into a square hole. It was very frustrating and also infuriating. They would ask "how fast can you type?" when all I wanted to do was research. After marriage, I moved to Cleveland while my husband was finishing up at Kent State and then we moved to Atlanta where our son John was born. Right after that, we moved back to Cleveland and settled in husband Bill's home town of Chagrin Falls.
When my daughter "PJ" (Parlin Junior) was born I finally discovered that to be a round peg in a round hole, I should become a librarian. So when the kids were in school I set off to obtain my MLS. In '84 I was hired by the Cuyahoga County Public Library system worked in a variety of branches for the next 21 years. I was also on the executive board of the union for 13 of those years and boy was THAT an education!!! Over the years, I continued to knit (remember my standing in the dinner line with knitting in my hands in Botetourt Hall?) and also delved into upholstery and crewel work. Then it was time to learn to weave, which I've been doing since and REALLY enjoy. We retired at 62 and lived for most of the year in the Florida Keys. Last summer we moved to Rockland Maine, after moving to a "new" house in Key West which we've been working on since! I'm doing volunteer work and travelling; took a trip 4 years ago with Sally Thompson, Susan Hocking and Sherry Thrasher Langley to Machu Pichu and the Galapagos.
Son John Charles, recently married to a wonderful woman out in L.A., is an actor on stage and screen (as is his wife Etienne). Daughter Parlin, after spending 9 years sailing on tall ships, earned her masters from UMd in architecture and real estate development and now lives in Portland, ME where she works for a small LEEDS-certified architecture firm, designing modular zero-carbon-footprint homes.
Nola Gould Miller
As a student from a small town in upstate New York who grew up on a dairy farm and was the first in her high school to take the SAT’s, I was profoundly influenced by the diversity of backgrounds of the students in our class. They came from public and private schools, from New York’s Greenwich Village as well as the Upper East Side, from states from Rhode Island to California, and from countries such as Vietnam. But I also noted that while the kitchen and cleaning staffs were all African American, the diversity of classmates did not include students of color.
Some of my fondest memories are of classes with favorite professors: Julia Sawyer, George Gordh, and Louis Rubin. I also remember a visiting faculty member, literary critic John Aldridge. He was so cool and sophisticated we all thought he was an Oxford don. Our bubble burst when we found out he was from Iowa and had gone to college in Tennessee.
While my years at Hollins weren’t my happiest, the friends I made remain life-long. I still get together annually with my freshman roommate, among several others. We graduated at a time that was on the cusp of amazing political and cultural upheaval in the country. It was time for changes at Hollins, too, and I’m glad to see they have come. After all, now students can wear pants on front quad!
At Hollins I met friends and faculty who gave me the self confidence to open my mind and heart to broader horizons. Julie Sawyer became my beloved primary mentor in this adventure. Largely due to her influence. I have led a life of deep spiritual and psychological exploration.
After graduation from Hollins, I attended the University of Chicago Divinity School for three years. Then, in 1968 I married Lawrence Larsen, an Episcopal priest, whom I met in my home parish in Southport, CT. One highlight of our marriage was living in Zurich Switzerland for two and a half years, where my husband studied at the C. G. Jung Institute and became a Jungian therapist. During this time, I also learned about Jung – a life changing experience. Eventually, I became a credentialed counselor myself, and have been counseling in the addictions field for 20 years in White Plains N. Y. and in Sarasota Florida, where I now live. Very important to me has been the principle of trying to “give back” and help others.
My spiritual journey has ranged widely in mysticism. It has included being an associate of an Episcopal convent in Peekskill, NY, joining a Sufi community in Sarasota, Fl, and being strongly engaged in Episcopal churches wherever we lived.
My husband and I had a fascinating 36-year marriage until 10 years ago, when cancer took him after we raised our three marvelous children – Lawrence, Hannah and Sarah. Now I have the joy of watching them raise well my seven beautiful and intelligent grandchildren. Our family reunion last summer numbered 17 people (which included my wonderful new sweetheart of two years)!!
Connie Galbraith Nolan A.B. Music
I think often of Hollins, the beauty of the campus, the enthusiasm of the professors, and the strength of the friendships we made. I think about the millstones, the rocking chairs, Tinker Day, and the quiet of the Chapel. I think of Jill, Sallie, Lisa, Hoppy, and all of our wonderful class members. Was it really 50 years ago? Coming from a small local high school, I was completely overwhelmed on the first day of Humanities class when Mr. Degginger assigned a paper on the Iliad (or was it the Odyssey?) I did not know where to start! However, as we all did, I gradually began to understand the world of learning to which we were being introduced.
Don and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary this summer. While he finished Medical School at UVA, completed a fellowship in London, an internship in Winston-Salem, and a three-year residency in Neurology at UVA, I received an M.A. from UVA, and held jobs that I loved, in music, personnel, grants-writing, and marketing. Our family continues to grow - two daughters, one son, two sons-in-law, one daughter-in-law, and seven grandchildren – the youngest born on March 1, 2015.
When I think back, my time at Hollins is a blur of friends and studying, and hours of practicing each day on either piano or organ. I wish that I had studied less, and spent more time enjoying the swirl of excitement around me. Our four years passed so very quickly!
Patricia Griffin Stewart A.B. English
In hindsight, entering Hollins as a teenager was a bit like being given a mysterious gift box and not being quite sure when--- or even how--- to open it. I was eager to try everything, make ripples if not waves, and of course, earn rave reviews from peers and professors alike. Hollins Abroad gave me the tools to try all of the above--and then some. Fish out of water, yes, but the resonance of the place, the incredible opportunities for personal growth, and the self-confidence gained, served me well back at Hollins. The college had its own richness of offerings: A top-notch English department, faculty mentors, collaborative studies. Along with the close-knit friendships forged over four years, that gift box was filled to the brim.
On to another year in Paris, working (sort of) and traveling as "hostess" on the Greek Line. Then back to New York and a stint at Cowles Communications. Marriage, Army posting during the Vietnam conflict, then on to Hartford where I reported at "The Courant" for several years. Back in New Canaan (CT) where my husband practiced law, I raised three sons, hung out at hockey rinks, carpooled to the beat of Jimi Hendrix, Junior Leagued, served on community boards and PTC's. Back in the working world, I dabbled in travel consulting, a specialty book shop and for 15 years, was associate at an art gallery and frame shop.
The "Golden Years" find me in a new era. Ten years divorced, I have yet to join "Match". I am the unabashedly proud mother of three talented and generous sons, and the unabashedly proud grandmother of eight (four boys, four girls). Back to the rink and baseball field, with "hip-hop" thrown in. A special commitment is the mentoring of kids in downtown after-school programs. A devourer of lit classes and Lifetime Learners seminars, I also do publicity for the historical society, am a member of a church outreach program and get to NY galleries when I can.
Priscilla Fitzhugh A.B. Art
I am flying home through the clouds to Seattle after a month of travel in Istanbul and Iran. I carry bags of Turkish spices and Iranian saffron, photos of mosques, Persian wall tiles, gardens, Persepolis and smiling Iranian people. My travel helps to recall memories of my year in Paris on Hollins Abroad; a year of French language, culture and art and our summer European tour. How fortunate I was to have that opportunity and for the friendships I made at Hollins!
In 1977 when my husband and I moved to Seattle from New York City with our three month-old daughter, it seemed very far away indeed. Seattle was certainly not on anyone’s radar in those days. So why is it, when so many children are now flocking to Seattle for high tech jobs that I must fly back to the East coast to see our daughters and 3 young grandchildren?
After graduation I worked in Boston and NYC -making some use of my Art History major as an art editor, and later worked for a weekly newspaper. I considered business as a career but marriage, babies and my move to the West coast interrupted my working life. I got busy doing other things- volunteering in the community and raising my family.
As my plane descends into Seattle, my thoughts are on our granddaughters who in my mind’s eye are still blowing good-bye kisses. I give myself a reassuring look at their photos on my phone.
Sylvia Doughty Kraemer A.B. English
Hollins was special to me partly for what it didn’t have. It didn’t have a football program to suck the oxygen out of the atmosphere and funds out of our pockets. It didn’t have fraternities and sororities to protect us from mixing with those with whom we might never have become friends. It didn’t have undergraduate men eager to prove that their deeper voices signaled greater intelligence and authority.
The other part of what made Hollins special was what it did have: a community committed to enabling young women to find their voices, and to discover their own capacity to speak with intelligence and authority. It had faculty like Louis Rubin and Janet MacDonald, who disallowed stupidity, gently, either with a chuckle or a cocked eyebrow. And the architecture and landscape--oh, those buildings, that beautiful valley, those rolling, blue moutainsides. Hollins offered possibilities beyond the limited worlds from which we had come. The only thing was—I had attended ONLY “girls’” schools when I went on to Johns Hopkins for graduate school, and was ill-equipped to tangle with all those young men who seemed already to have graduate degrees from Harvard, Yale and Princeton. I was rescued by Renaissance historian Frederick Lane, who advised, “All you need is to learn to BELLOW!” I never did learn how to bellow, but I managed to survive anyway.
I’ve been blessed with opportunities to pursue several rewarding vocations, three of which I will pursue until the lights go out: Mother, researcher, and writer. Hollins launched me, well equipped, for all of them.
Jane Gould Frankel A.B. History
Confessions and Inspirations Motivated by MADMEN:
FRESHMAN YEAR—RANDOLPH: Fontaine: Awesome! Known first name only (before Oprah ) * Shanty Towns: They do exist * Illegal abortion: Freshman sent home * Lesbian rights: Senior sent home * Civil Rights: March on front Quad, Hollins WILL play basketball * Date Rape: I managed to escape. No one talked about it. * "Lord of the Flies:" William Golding—could it be better? * Solid friendships: Susie, Ann and Laney.
SOPHOMORE YEAR—WEST: Speed: Diet pills before exam mistake---Thank you Professor Hanchett * Love at first sight: Howard Nemerov walking Front Quad to breakfast * Reverend Beardslee: Friend, amazing teacher, ADMIRATION * Telephone booth: 2 friends outside booth, 1 inside, all crying * Shotgun marriage: Sophomore sent home, you were missed, kindest, "funniest " dear friend * Feminine Mystique: Thank you, Betty * West Parking Lot: So many "balloons",was there party last night? * Kleptomaniac: Junior sent home. Freshman year she helped me unpack-nothing missing. Shocked and sad * New friend: Joanie Mischo
JUNIOR YEAR—WEST: JFK assassination: Sad year * Where is everyone? Hollins Abroad * Kitchen break-in: Men W&L blamed. We know better * Hall Monitor: Was "ink" stunt too much? * "I have a Dream": History at its finest * New friends: Bryan, Gayle, Susan, Barbara, Ludie (and the monkey)
SENIOR YEAR—BARBEE: Nice to have a car: student teaching, better than expected * Johnny Carson: Some of us are hooked * Bulimia: Who knew then? * Cover Newsweek: Classmate’s father. Anti-Semitism roars ugly head * Engagement ring: Prerequisite for graduating. What were we thinking? * Broken windshield: Night watchman gets back * Job Interviews: If you were a man, "I would hire you now"
It's hard to believe that it's been 50 years. I certainly don't feel that old!! After 4 wonderful years at Hollins, I married my high school and college sweetheart, Eben, and moved to Austin, TX where he went to UT law school. After he graduated, he accepted a job in Odessa, TX. I felt like I had moved to the ends of the earth! But friends were made and children born. Morgan is married and lives in North Augusta, SC and is the mother to our 2 precious grandchildren. Ellie is 14 and Bo is 11. Allison is engaged and lives in Lake Clear, NY where she teaches math at a community college and builds Adirondack guide boats by hand. Quite a difference for a child raised in the desert. And they are both W&L grads. They are all way too far away. After many years as a stay at home mom, I got my real estate license and sold mainly residential real estate for 20 years, retiring in 2006. Along the way, I was actively involved in many non-profit organizations in Odessa. I still serve on the boards of our local art museum and the symphony. I also chair the Zoning Board of Adjustments for the city. Let's me keep active in what's going on. We have been blessed with good health and have been able to travel to many wonderful and interesting places. We will have been married 50 great years in August. For fun at home, I play Mahjong, onze and bridge with friends, garden and read. Hollins was great preparation for the ensuing 50 years. With good leadership, it has stayed strong. There is still definitely a need for a women's university in today's world! Will be glad to revisit a place that is dear to my heart.
Lura Davis Warner A.B. Sociology