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Williams College Class of 1953 Bulletin

Williams College Class of 1953 Bulletin, April 14, 2012

Good Dr. Merselis, author of the following observations and advice on aging, has diagnoses and prescriptions for us.  Let him know how you have fared on his regimen.  Email him at:


 The top 10 ways to know youíre really 80

10 Ė Young men in uniform call you ďSirĒ and gray-haired women hold the door for you

9- Work is a lot less fun and fun is a lot more work

8- It takes longer to rest up than it does to get tired-out

7- Everything you have has worn out, spread out, or fallen out

6- You wake up with the ďmorning-afterĒ feeling but you didnít do anything the night before

5- You have learned that ice is an effective pain-killer and that it works best if you pour a little scotch over it

4- You donít care where your wife goes Ė as long as you donít have to go with her

3- There are five women for every man Ė but it no longer matters

2- You have to stop in the middle of a stairway and think whether you were downstairs going up or upstairs going down

1- Youíve learned just about everything worth knowing but you canít remember your anniversary or your wifeís birthday


Advice from others:

ďIf I had known I was going to live this long, Iíd have taken better care of myself.Ē Ė Eubie Blake

ďThere are three signs of old age.  The first is loss of memory.  I canít remember the other two.Ē Ė Mark Twain

ďI donít feel old.  I donít feel anything until noon Ö and then itís time for my nap.Ē Ė Bob Hope

ďAge doesnít matter Ö unless you are a cheese.Ē Ė Billie Burke

ďThe best tunes are played on the oldest fiddles.Ē  Ralph Waldo Emerson


Advice from me

     1- Carry a song in your heart Ė others will hear the music even if you donít sing

     2- Keep chasing rainbows Ė someday youíll catch one

     3- Love is the most precious gift you can give Ė be generous



 I donít know what it takes to be eighty

Since Iíve never been eighty before,

But if itís anything like the seventies were

Who could ask for anything more?


There are no guarantees they tell me

You can never be sure whatís in store

If Iím lucky Iíll get to figure it out

With bold new adventures galore


Itís hard to believe Iím an octogenarian

Needing so much more than neglect

Iím finally entitled to be a contrarian

Iíve earned a bit of respect


Of course it all comes with a few aches and pains

And joints that are stiff whenever it rains

Ears that donít hear well and eyes that grow dimmer

Why do bellies protrude as oneís hair becomes thinner?


Watch where youíre going, you donít want a tumble

You worry that bowels may suddenly rumble

And urine occasionally comes in a hurry

Or else not at all, thatís a much bigger worry


As arteries harden, becoming sclerotic

The brain loses its grip; we become more neurotic

Old timers are touchy, sometimes they cuss

Or act a bit sullen or make a big fuss


So I try to be careful Ė I donít want to fall

Donít worry much about cho-lesterol

It doesnít take much to keep me in line

Just a good book or one glass of wine


Iím an elderly gentleman Ė not an old geezer

A bit of a Scrooge, like old Ebenezer

But Iím not a curmudgeon, just a little bit grumpy

When the coffee is cold or the oatmeal too lumpy


Donít call me ďSirĒ and donít call me ďHoneyĒ

Ask my advice but not for my money

Love, and not wealth, is lifeís greatest treasure

Be sure that each day you give your full measure


My years now add up to an even four score

God willing, perhaps there will be a few more

Next year at Bear Island Iíll be back in the boat

Assuming, of course, that weíre both still afloat


Tonight Iíve been granted one of my wishes.

Somebody else will do all of the dishes.

I can sit back, relax, and take in the view

Just savor the moment with each one of you


No regrets about eighty, no need to feel sad

Iím a most-happy spouse, and a very proud dad

And with beautiful grandchildren, numbering nine

Everythingís bound to keep turning out fine


Happy Birthday to Me, Iím now an old-timer

Still writing verse, still a pretty-good rhyme-r

My journeyís been great, and itís perfectly true

Thatís entirely because of each one of you




Our Class President John Dighton sent me this Email following a recent visit to Williams in an official capacity (representing us) and I send it along to you:


Dear Bob,

Last night I took part in the second annual performance of a newly instituted "tradition" of accepting the soon-to-graduate members of the senior class at Williams into the Society of Alumni.  Members of the Berkshire chapter of that austere organization were invited to stand along the campus route of march of the senior class from the Hopkins Gate, snaking around to Goodrich Hall where a reception was held to welcome them.

You and our classmates will undoubtedly be pleased, but not surprised, to know that '53 was the earliest class and yours truly the oldest alumnus to take part. This resulted in the fact that, representing my classmates and holding aloft a '53 placard, I was in position to welcome the seniors to the reception.  On behalf of you all I accepted several hugs and even more expressions of wonder that someone older than their grandparents could still maintain a vertical position and still be awake at 10 PM.

Williams is still in great shape.

Best to you and Barbara,



In response to the last Class Bulletin, November 2011, I received two letters concerning adventures of classmates.  First, Timothy Beard, genealogical maven and Nutmeg State original:

Dear Bob,

I was in Maine over the Columbus Day week-end. Attached is a photo of me on Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park on Mt. Desert Island. The weather was in the 80's. I was there for a meeting of the First Families of Connecticut. I am the immediate past president. A young cousin drove me up, as it is a 7 hour drive from here. [home in Midwestern CT].
Thanks for all the pictures of the reunion.

All best,



Second, world-traveler Dave Doheny who found evidence of purple influence in a distant corner of the world:

Rev. Bob:

Thanks for your always illuminating photos and comments.  Sorry to have missed all these events, but we were in far Japan on a Williams Alumni tour while most of these went down. 

I had not realized that Brother Dighton had descended from tenor to baritone.  But you may tell him and the Irish tenors (?) that on Saturday evening October 15, this baritone had the honor, as the senior Eph present, to lead the singing of The Mountains by assorted members of the Williams Alumni Association of Japan and our tour group.  The venue was far from the Purple Valley or any other mountains, but on the 28th floor of the Park Hotel in Tokyo, in the Shiodome/Shimbashi highrise district adjacent to the Ginza, in the midst of an endless Japanese dinner.  The Japanese alums present included the Hon. Tsuneo Tanaka '55, a former ambassador, and Mme. Naoko Saiki, '85, a prominent official of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who must be one of the highest ranking women in Japan.  Our tour leader Prof. Emeritus Peter Frost led a panel discussion among these and other locals on current trends in Japan.  What would Mark Hopkins have thought?

Later, I visited Amherst House at Doshisha University in Kyoto, founded by Nishima Jo, Amherst class of 1873, the first Japanese graduate of an American college.  He converted to Christianity whilst in America and upon his return to Japan founded Doshisha as Japan's first Christian college.  With all due respect to Amherst, the seeds of Doshisha must have been sowed by the overseas missionaries inspired by the  Williams students of 1806, as described on the Haystack Monument.

Have noted the dates of the 2012 Mini, Oct. 12-14, and plan to attend - deo volante

With best to you and Barbara,

Dave D


And from a Middlebury '60 grad, with a close connection to our Fred Preston, news dated February 27th:

Hi Bob,  I just wanted to make sure you knew that Dudley Baker flew to FL last Wed. with Barbara Weedon and all is well.  Johnny Beard  had lunch with them on Sat.  Barbara W. returns to VT after 2 1/2 weeks.  Hope you and your Barbara are both well and enjoying winter. 

Love, Granthia

[Similar messages concerning the hospitalization and recovery of Dud have been received from Todd Mauck, Don Goldstein, and Mike Lazor, each of whom has been to see Dud during his hospitalization.]


Barbara and I shall be visiting this coming Saturday (April 21) with Steve and Joanne Klein in South Orange NJ, for what is becoming a semi-annual culinary treat.  My contribution this time will be Italian stuffed clams from a recipe from Le Cirque, where the key ingredients include not only quahogs but prosciutto, hot pepper flakes, and shallots. Steve will, as is his predilection, ply this Methodist teetotaler with aquavit and, though not necessarily at the same time, India pale ale.  


Lastly, though by no means least, you are reminded to get your reservations soon for lodging for the mini-reunion this coming October 12-14.

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