Bob's long update has prompted me to do the same.
I took a leave of absence from Cornell and so didn't graduate until '66, and then went to Brazil on a Fulbright. I had taught Spanish to Peace Corps volunteers the year before and spent part of the time visiting them all over Peru. When I returned to the States, I started teaching Spanish and Portuguese at Cornell. In '68 I went out to UCLA to their master's program in folklore, but never finished. Instead I returned to Ithaca and worked both teaching languages and in various other sundry positions, including at Olin Library and in the Arts College.
Eventually I decided to go to medical school, and ended up in Spain, where I worked my way through, teaching English as a foreign language, doing simultaneous translations for conferences and written translations of papers for publications in various journals, mostly medical ones. Pretty exhausting, and very, very, very, very, very, very lonely. An illuminating experience. All these cultures that look pretty much the same on the outside but are so very different on the inside. Different ideas of friendship; different ideas of education (a *completely* foreign construct); different ideas of courting (yeah, I went through that, too), and years to really begin to understand it all.
When I finally returned to the States - after 13 years - I did my internship at Albany Medical College - another year of misery, and learning just how mean people can be to each other (which I thought I had learned all about in Spain, but there's always something more to learn in this category) - and finally transferred to Danbury Hospital in Connecticut (a Yale affiliate) for my residency, and found contentment, friends, and a wonderful learning environment. I stayed there to work for a year after completing my residency, then went to New Bedford, Mass. where I worked in a community health center with many Hispanic and Portuguese/Cape Verdean patients, as well as addicts and alcoholics (an experience which disabused me of many of my '60s notions of who's responsible for what), then back to Danbury for a while and finally settled in Ithaca in '96, where I really should have been all along.
Anyway, I *love* medicine but *loathe* what bureaucrats have done to it - and believe me when I tell you you haven't a clue. But perhaps over dinner and wine/beer....
Various romances over the years but none that ever endured. Love to read, audit classes at Cornell (mostly literature and history/government - this spring will be Politics of the Civil War), partake of Ithaca's many festivals and special events, including one of the largest yearly used book sales in the country (y'all should come see it, in October), and just enjoy this magnificent area. Lots of wonderful music around, too. So, life is good. A couple of medical problems that are a constant pain in the ass, but...no one promised me a rose garden. My folks are still alive, and have just moved into a retirement community which they quite like. My father is frail physically, but still sharp as a tack mentally, and we enjoy talking about medicine together (he is a retired physician), as well as the books we are reading. My mother is losing her memory but retains her sense of humor. (One morning recently when they were visiting here, she asked my father to put in her hearing aid. When he finished, she looked at me with a dour expression and said, "This is how you have sex in your eighties.")
So...life goes on, and I continue to cherish it, warts and all. Friendship is the sustaining link in my life, and I am thrilled that we have been able to renew ours. A great hug for each of you, and I do hope that we will soon be able to see each other and chew the fat (ample, in my case). Alice
Subject: James Alan Buckley
Date: Sun, 1 Dec 2002
I would like to get in touch with Jim Buckley, with whom I went to college. He can email me at email@example.com - thanks!
From: Jim Buckley firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Sunday, December 01, 2002
To: Alice Michtom
Subject: Re: James Alan Buckley
Alice! You has found him. I is he. It's great to hear from you.
I live in Port Townsend, WA, am married to Bonnie, have several grandchildren, three of whom have spent summers with us for the last three years and went back to Guatemala with a 14 year-old grand nephew a year or so ago and was appalled. I still row, run a fireplace business and went back to Cornell last year for a reunion.
What about you? Where do you live and what have you been doing?
I haven't kept up with any of the Honduras crowd although I see a lot of Jim Hoffman and less of Tom DeMarco.
I look forward to hearing from you.
To: "'Jim Buckley'" email@example.com
Subject: RE: James Alan Buckley
Date: Sun, 1 Dec 2002
Jim! Omigod. You're out there. I'm so sorry I didn't do this last year - we might have seen each other when you were in Ithaca for your reunion, as I have been back here (Ithaca) since 1996. I have had a very peripatetic history, including 13 years in northwest Spain working my way through medical school, but am glad once again to be in this lovely town whose landscapes never tire me or grow old to my eyes. I'm working in Syracuse (I'm an internist) and enjoying, after so many years abroad, having a community and feeling at home. There are still people here from 25, 40 years ago, good friends, and it is a very special delight. I am in touch with a number of people from Cornell - I don't remember which of them you knew, but here's the list: I speak to Billie Schildkraut maybe once a year, Bob Newman I talk to every few months, Evie Brandon (she was with me in Trinidad in '63) I reconnected with at a reunion a couple of years back, and others but I don't think you knew them as they were not Honduras-associated. I actually found Bob Bernstein a couple of years ago through the internet, and today I also found Isao!!!!! (He's at UC Davis.) God, I love the internet. I am single, comfortably, no kids though I do have a nephew I'm quite close to. Never went back to Central America after '64, though remain in touch with Rodolfo (did you know him? - from Trinidad) and now am friendly with his quite delightful daughter, a mathemetician who met and married an American some years ago when she came here for graduate work (not even a twinkle in her father's eye in 1963). -- What are Jim Hoffman and Tom DeMarco up to? Have thought of you all periodically over the years. -- What do you do when you're not building fireplaces? I audit courses at Cornell (this is great fun), make pathetic attempts at playing the recorder in a recorder consort full of other pathetic attempters, rarely play the flute and even more rarely the guitar (do you still play?). (I think of you every time I see something about Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs.) I quite like middle age and consider it the best kept secret in the world. -- Well, of course that's not near everything, but good enough for a start. Do be in touch with more news. Fondly, Alice
To: Isao, Jim, Bob
Date: Tue, 3 Dec 2002
I have found Nancy and given her your e-mails - hope that's o.k. I think I've also found Joe though I haven't heard from him yet. Susie does not have an e-mail but has a phone listed on the Cornell alumni site. The only one I can't find - and I've been trying to find her for years, as we were college roommates after Honduras - is Grace. Last I heard she was working at the Univ. of Gainesville in Florida, but I checked their staff listings and she's not there, at least not under that name. Any help in locating her would be most appreciated.
Love to you all - Alice/Alicia
From: "Alice Michtom"
To: "'Robinson , M'", isao fujimoto, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: RE: Auld Lang Syne
Date: Tue, 10 Dec 2002
It looks like we may actually be able to pull this off. If everyone is really serious, we need to start thinking about lodging for everyone. I can put up one couple comfortably (I have a second bedroom and bath, with a double futon in the second bedroom) and a couple more people uncomfortably (two loveseats in the living room which each fold out into single beds). Then there's the floor, of course. However, if we choose to acknowledge our middle age, people will probably want to stay in Band Bs or motels, and since it's reunion weekend we need to take care of that sort of thing sooner rather than later. Whatever. I'm game for havoc if that's what people want, or for being home base for everyone staying elsewhere. Let me know. Alice
Subject: RE: Honduras and Cornell
Date: Wed, 11 Dec 2002
Isao: Reunion weekend is June 5-8. Does that fit with your schedule? The info about your Dad's village, and Esumi going to school there, is amazing. What you wrote a while back, about your Dad walking hundreds of miles to a town in the U.S. where others from his village were, is also something. -- Did I ever tell you my greatgrandfather's story? Had to get out of Russia when he was about to be drafted into the army (the czar's army was not a good place for a nice Jewish boy in the 1880s), so his family buried a casket full of stones to make believe he was dead and he escaped and arrived in N.Y. in the middle of the blizzard of 1888. Eventually started a candy store with my greatgrandmother, who made stuffed animals to sell, and wrote to Teddy Roosevelt to see if they could call the stuffed bears Teddy's bears, and voila, the teddy bear! (The papers have been full of stuff this year on the 100th anniversary of the teddy bear and my greatgrandfather's role in the whole thing.) And he changed his name, of course, to protect family. Apparently opened the Bible randomly and pointed to a name for the immigration officials - there are psalms (Psalm 59 is one) called Mich tam of David - that's where our name comes from. He had been a rabbinical student, but after he came here became an anarchist. Until he was out drinking one night with his anarchist buddies and they started singing anti-Semitic songs. These stories are something...but yours is really special because you have active contact with your father's town and your daughter is going to go to school there! It is simply amazing. Takes my breath away, really. Alice