Class of 1953
- Carole Schwartz Kessner
- 165 West End Avenue, Apt. 28N
- New York, NY 10023
June 7-9, 2013
On March 27, I turned 80, a number I knew was coming but was also shocked by! I asked how others in my class felt about reaching this milestone and what they were doing about it. The responses are remarkable and inspiring — and should be required reading for all the younger Brandeis classes. Ruth Banks: “Yes, it is almost unbelievable that we are already reaching for or have reached the amazing age of 80. I got there in June 2011. I don’t think I ever thought about the aging process when I was at Brandeis; who did? But I still feel blessed that I have my health and mental capacities — well, most of them anyway.
I am very involved with the Monroe Township League of Women Voters, as well as the New Jersey League. We are currently deeply immersed in the study of the privatization
of government services. This study has been
an eye-opener for all of us. Other than that, we have grandsons at the University of Maryland, Oberlin and Cornell. Our children are
all well and employed. We are also very upset — angry, even — at the current war on women’s health. And the polarization of the Congress and the nation is a very disturbing trend.” Natalie (Hittner) Coch: “I, too,
am 80, Carole. In fact, my birthday was
Oct. 31, so you are a mere child.” Ruth Abrams Goldberg: “Hi, Carole — happy birthday! Eighty is great, but now that I turned 81 on March 16, I can say that 81 is better!
I feel fine, am very active, and firmly believe that volunteerism keeps one younger and more alert. Do regular exercise, be sociable, go to theater and concerts, read and enjoy grandchildren.” Cecilia Silverman Greene: “I’ll be 80 on Oct. 19, and, yes, it’s hard to believe. I’m still doing the work I love (psychotherapy) and have no plans to retire.” Richard Hirshberg: “I am 80 and well.” Anita Komoroff Kantor: “As I have said before, my age is an unlisted number!” Paula Lederkramer, G’12: “Yes, I am the same age as you. I can’t believe the whole thing. I visited Brandeis recently to see a Hillel-sponsored play; my granddaughter Jade Sank ’12, who graduated in May, was co-director. I can’t believe that either.” Audrey Rogovin Madans: “Yes, I, too, have become an octogenarian (I think that’s the right term). However, my mind tells me that I am only about 65 or 70. As long as I keep very active doing so much volunteer work, I may not ever reach 80. My friends, including Ruth Goldberg, and I have celebrated our attaining this glorious age. And, yes, who would believe that we’ve made it? By the way, when did my children and grandchildren and great-grandchild get to be so old?” Elliot Morrison: “I turned 79 on Feb. 28, so I guess I’m just a kid. I wish
I felt like one. I’m finding that between three sessions a week with a personal trainer (one
of the ways my wife and I spend time together, so I guess that’s a good thing) plus doctor’s visits, intermittent chiropractor visits, and a short course of physical therapy for neck and lower back issues, I have less time than I did when I was working. I retired completely at the end of 2010. Maybe I’ll go back. All in all, I figure I’m not doing too badly. I can still ski (downhill). When I look around at my age peers, I actually feel pretty fortunate.” Sumner Packer: “I am past 80 but still working full time at Home Depot and still married to Sibyl (55 years in June). It looks to me as if there are a lot of us who have made it this far.” Barbara Koral Raisner: “I’m still in good health, singing in a great chorus (the Oratorio Society of Queens; I’m on the board of directors), traveling with my 80-year-old boyfriend, enjoying my grown-up grandchildren (one is married) and generally ‘carrying on.’” Roz Spielman: “I celebrated my 80th birthday in May with a bang-up party. It hardly seems possible that this big round number has sneaked up on us.” Al Zadig: “I can’t help but wonder — when we look at a calendar that says, ‘You are 80!’ — whether it feels real. My youngest son, who suffered significant brain damage after being hit by a car, called on my birthday to say, ‘Dad, I keep forgetting: Are you 60 or 70?’ Since I feel as if I am 50, it took me a minute to say, ‘No, Andrew, I’m 80.’ And I really doubt that I am much different in that regard from most other members of the Class of ’53. Or am I wrong? My physical ailments are really quite minor. Also, it is so very energizing to be the full-time priest of a growing parish in a beautiful ‘Norman Rockwell-like’ town, especially as the flowers come into bloom and the birds serenade us each morning. It’s lovely to be able to focus on so many good things instead of things I can do nothing about, such as the unbelievable nastiness of the political campaigns and the sheer brattiness of congressional behavior.” That, I think, tells a lot. Was it Brandeis that made us continue to work, to be activists, to be volunteerist octogenarians? Or is it just gratitude? In any case, I am put in mind of some appropriate traditional words: she’hehiyanu v’kiy’manu v’higi’anu la‑z’man ha‑ze. We have been blessed to be alive, to be sustained and to have reached this season.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published some of Herman Hemingway’s memories of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 16, the 26th observation of the federal holiday honoring the life and legacy of the civil rights leader. Herman, an attorney and retired professor at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, first met King in 1952 when the two were Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity pledges (King was a doctoral student at Boston University at the time). “The doorbell rang, and here comes this short guy with very brown skin,” Hemingway said of King. “And he’s a reverend. He was older than the rest of us. We were teenagers. We wanted to have fun, joke around, tease each other. He kind of distinguished himself from the rest of the group.” Of King’s influence on him, Herman said: “I feel blessed to have met and spent time with Brother King. I was inspired by him as well. This was a man who was on a different wavelength than the rest of us.” Harriet (Becker) Jedeikin writes, “After living in Pittsburgh for six years, I find myself liking the city more and more. It’s no longer the ‘beautiful downtown Pittsburgh’ comedians loved to joke about. It is truly a beautiful city: no more soot, no more dark night-time skies at noon, beautiful parks, a world-class symphony orchestra, lots of terrific theater and dance, and wonderful museums. I’m even becoming a Steelers fan (sort of), although I have conflicting emotions when they play the Patriots (having a son-in-law and a grandson in Boston will do that). Naomi (Glazier) Sogoloff teaches bridge at the facility where I live, so I see her often and we have lunch together every couple of weeks. She was honored in June by the Agency for Jewish Learning of Pittsburgh for her many years of dedicated teaching in the Hebrew schools in Mount Lebanon. It’s great to have a longtime friend nearby!” Math professor Herb Gross has developed his own website Mathematics As A Second Language, which includes all his material on arithmetic and basic algebra for anyone to use free of charge. MIT’s open courseware has digitized and uploaded his three-part course, Calculus Revisited, that he produced in 1970. He writes, “Thanks to MIT, I am now known globally, as the course has been viewed by over 100,000 people so far.”
|A VINTAGE EVENING. Alumni gathered in the lounge of mk, an acclaimed restaurant in Chicago, for an evening of great food and wine. The Alumni Club of Chicago sponsored a guided tasting of favorites from the restaurant’s award-winning wine list, which allowed participants to sample wine pairings and explore affordable wine options.|