|A STEP BACK INTO TIME…
By Jean-Paul LewisTHE EDR ALUMNI REUNION June 21-25, 1994, Bluche, Switzerland by Margaret Mallon
There was a magical moment that occurred in Bluche for several days this past June. Alumni members from all over the world gathered on top of the mountain we all knew so well in the Valais at Les Roches. For many of us, this place represented our experience with the twilight days of innocence and naivete, and the beginning of friendships and bond that are carved in stone.
Thirty-some former international students and spouses spent four days in the Montana-Crans area to celebrate the Fortieth Anniversary of the founding of Les Roches. For former students and teachers, although according to James Sherry, ” age is quickly closing the gap between us”, it was as if we were transported back in time. We live in far off corners of the globe and our lives are as diverse as the four seasons. Nevertheless, when we returned to Bluche, we were drawn by the forces of memory and habit, and naturally return to our former roles like actors who have played the same piece of theater over-and-over again.
It was amazing how readily people “resumed their places” on the stage with the emotional dynamics of Les Roches as the main plot. Time and space were ignored, as former students, teachers, townsfolk administrative staff end the President/Director/General, himself, slipped back into the past to pick-up their roles as if all this time were a mere intermission at a play by Ibsen, Sartre, or an opera by Verdi.
Much laughter and emotional tears were expressed during those four days and nights. We danced, drank and toasted each other at every banquet with Swiss wine. Emotions and thoughts flowed, which would never have been revealed to others, or even to our immediate family.
For some of us, the trek to Bluche had similarities with the religious pilgrims traveling to Lourdes seeking spiritual rebirth and emotional stimulation. For others, the reunion represented a dialectic experience, where different arguments were voiced to reach the truth. In this regard, the reunion possessed the qualities of an important assembly of different Catholic orders that had decided to gather at some medieval monastery nested in the Alps, headed by an all powerful Lord Abbot.
The reunion however, represented much more than just a trip back into time. We were reminded of how this particular period was so special to all of us. The teachers became our parents; and the students, an extended international family. It was a time in our adolescence where close relationships were formed for life, and whether it be twenty; or forty years, these bonds of friendship and emotional conditioning are very much alive and will continue to thrive.
We would like to thank Mr. Marcel Clivaz for his generous hospitality and for making this past reunion possible. We hope the next reunion will be soon, and that we can once again, even for a short while, bask in the secure pleasure of reliving the past.
BACK IN THE VALAIS: Left to Right-Front Row: Stefan Barth, Sharon Taylor Baumann, Margaret Mallon, Giancarlo Felli, Nicoletta de Bona, Jean-Paul Lewis, Carlos Abadi, Paul Wirth, Cornell Navori. Middle Row: Denis Briere, Jeanette Torgersen Olsvik Luc Meyer, Susan Seipel Sturgis, Thomas Barth, Jan Graff. Third Row: Guy Sanchez, Thierry Bovay, Pradeep Kapadia, Ross Povenmire.
THE NEW ALUMNI ASSOCIATION by Pradeep Kapadia
Those of you who did not attend the ’94 reunion are probably wondering why we are now calling ourselves “Friends of BLUCHE”. Well, the fact is that we are no longer officially alumni of Les Roches/Pres Fleuris. Mr. Clivaz, who was actually quite a gracious and generous host for various functions during both our reunions (and we are always indebted to him for continuing to bring us together in so many ways), has indicated that we cannot be official alumni of our school unless we play by the rules and regulations of the Alumni Association of Les Roches/Pres Fleuris. These rules includes electing officer, paying annual dues, sending delegates, attending General Assembly meetings, and voting on what to do and when. Frankly, it is barely possible for us as an alumni group to plan a reunion or even get a letter out once a year, let alone perform, the duties of officers of an Alumni Association. A comedian once said that he would never join a club that would have him as a member, and most of us who have experienced Les Roches/Pres Fleuris know that feeling all too well. Friends of Bluchewas formed as an alternate association. To be fair, those of you who would like to join the official Ecole des Roches Alumni Association should write Mr. Clivaz for the 14 page membership guidelines and by-laws.
As for joining Friends of Bluche, I think we agreed that we would include any and all members of the Les Roches Experience, including teachers, current students, expelled students, expelled teachers, even members of the Alumni Association of Les Roches/Pres Fleuris. As for the rules, let’s make them as we go along and let’s keep them to a minimum. But let’s promise to write or phone each other often, and let’s get together every two or three years and have some fun.
P.S. If someone has a better name for our group of banished underground renegades, please write your suggestion on the back of the enclosed questionnaire.
1994 Reunion Attendees: Carols Abadi; Bernard Boltz; Alain Borgeat; Francoise Borgeat; Thierry Bovay; Denis Briere and his wife Debbie; Massimo Ciceri; Nicoletta de Bona; Giancarlo Felli; Jan Graff; Denis and Joy Hill; Karl Hoeler; Pradeep Kapadia and his wife Susan; Jean-Paul Lewis and his wife Sue Ellen; Charles Mallon and his wife Colleen; Margaret Mallon; Luc Meyer; Cornel Navori; Irene Neveu; Steve Paulus and his wife Laura; Viviana Pedrazzi; Ross Povenmire; Guy Sanchez and his wife Michele; Susan Seipel Sturgis, husband Robert, sons Roman and Trevor, and daughter Lindsley; Sharon Taylor Baumann; Jeanette Torgersen Olsvik; Paul Wirth; Cornelia Zeschke Wenig, husband William and son Wilhelm.
*** Carlos Abadi won the prize for coming the furthest, as he lives in Buenos Aires!!
Send in your dues today! We need your financial support! Upon receipt of your dues, you will receive an updated list of alumni and their addresses.
Many thanks to those who have sent in their dues for 1994-1995: Carlos Abadi, Stefan Barth, Sharon Taylor Baumann, Nicoletta de Bona, Roland de Vigier, Charles Mallon, Carl Michaelsen, Cornel Navori, Tracy Oberholtzer, Paul Wirth, Susan Reaper York, Cornelia Zeschke Wenig, and an anonymous contribution of USD 400!
Given the numerous changes in dates, the turnout for the reunion was modest but certainly a good time was had by all! The Tuesday night cocktail was followed by a gala dinner Wednesday night; Thursday morning we took the gondolas up the mountain for a hike down, which was followed by a lunchtime barbecue by the school pool; Thursday night was a raclette dinner at the Aida Castel hotel in Montana, where most of us were staying; Friday there were numerous smaller hikes organized and for those of us remaining there was a lovely fondue dinner in Crans. Many thanks to Giancarlo Felli for his superb organization and all the efforts he put into making those few days a wonderful trip down memory lane!
During the brief meeting of the attendees, the general consensus was that we should have a reunion every 2- 3 years because as Guy Sanchez put it, “if you miss a reunion (previously held every four years), then one would have to wait 8 years to see everyone again!”. In any event, we would like to get your feedback by having you fill out the enclosed questionnaire. Based on the responses we receive, we will proceed for a reunion in June 1996 or later.
Concerning the new organization, Friends of Bluche, it was decided that Margaret Mallon will remain the President and Katy Jackson Cantor the Treasurer until the next reunion. In order to share the responsibilities and involve more people, 3 Coordinators were named: Ross Povenmire for the Americas; Jeanette Torgersen Olsvik for Europe and Thomas Barth for the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Pradeep Kapadia has since volunteered to be responsible for the main database. There is still plenty to do, so please let us know your interests so we can get you involved!
NEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
We heard from numerous people who sent letters, photos or telegrams directly to the Reunion: Einar Engelstad – sent a fax with good wishes from Oslo.
Patricia Hall and Marie von Torkehagen Phillips sent a fax from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Laguna Niguel, where they had made prior plans to meet the same time as the reunion. We all felt they could have abandoned their spa overlooking the sea for higher sights, but alas…
Michael Kane – sent a fabulous photo collage from Colorado with wife Rebecca, children Kevin and Meghan and their 2 Siberian huskies. Included was a photo of his dad! Mike has left the Air Force and is now flying out of Denver Intl. Airport.
Vicki Kane Parsons – sent photos of her three children, and wrote that she has written two books while teaching a therapeutic recreation course part-time.
Laurie Pinkos – was thrilled to find us after all these years (see article below). She is living in Toronto with her husband and freelances as a producer/writer for environmental programming. Susan Povenmire – sent a photo with her sisters and looks terrific (as usual)! Llewellyn Smith – wrote that he had a “reasonable” excuse for not attending the reunion, as he was getting remarried on June 24th. He and his wife, Susan, went to Bluche in early July on their honeymoon. The Campbell brothers (Howard, Kim and Rory) attended his wedding. Congratulations to Susan and Lew – we hope to see you next reunion! Patrick Sycinski – has purchased a hotel and moved his family to Brittany.
Other News Since the Reunion:
Susan Gagner Jacquette- and her family were besieged by a termite ‘ plague’ in their town in Zimbabwe on the eve of Christmas. The description of the episode read like a horror novel!
Ayako Kosuge Kimura -sends her greetings from Japan and wishes she could have attended the reunion.
Charles Mallon – and his wife Colleen announced the arrival of their daughter, Meghan, in December 1994.
Debra Minogue Duke – sent a photo with husband Rick and son Andrew – they look as sporty and healthy as ever!
Annie Polyearpou Papaivannou – writes that demands of owning a business with her husband and two small children made attending the reunion not possible this time around.
Susan Reaper York – is busy caring for her son Cameron, born in December 1993.
Elizabeth van den Berg Toperzer – is busy acting, directing and teaching theater, as well as caring for her two children. Cornelia Zeschke Wenig – writes that her husband William and son Wilhelm are still talking about the reunion! Cornelia entertained us last June with numerous internal stories!
**We need your financial support and your time! Send in articles in English and in French for the newsletter. We are looking for hosts for future reunions. Get involved today!
***Send us a postcard with your news so we can include it in future editions….
THE CASE OF THE MISSING LETTERS by Laurie Pinkos
June 1994 was a year of reunions for Ecole des Roches alumni. For some it was Switzerland. For my three sisters and me, alumni from 1975-1976, it was in the surprise arrival of our very first newsletter. So what brought this one to us after all these years? This is what we came up with: back in 1975, our dad was working in Indonesia and the alumni association had gotten a hold of that address. Years passed; my parents came back to Canada and one of my sisters marries the Boss’ son. This Boss then goes to Indonesia on an inspection tour, the alumni association newsletter just happens to be sitting on a desk, someone makes the connection between our two families, gives it to him who in turn gives it to us. And that letter brought us back in touch with a year that holds many of our fondest memories. Only one question remains: just who has been getting the alumni association letters all those years?
A HIKE DOWN: Left to Right-Front Row: Susan Seipel Sturgis, Charles Mallon, Karl Hoeler, Jean Paul Lewis; Second Row: Cornell Navori, Margaret Mallon, Pradeep Kapadia, Giancarlo Felli, Nicoletta de Bona, Carlos Abadi, Shraon Taylor Baumann, Jan Graff; Back Row: Ross Povenmire, Stefan Barth, Denis Briere, Paul Wirth.
The Friends of Bluche organization: –Any questions call:
American Coordinator: Ross Povenmire, 127 York Street, Apt. 3, Portland, ME 04101 USA Tel: 1-207-772- 2417; Fax: 1-207-846-6527.
For Dues: send your checks in US Dollars payable to “Friends of Bluche” to Katy Jackson Cantor, 7801 Spring Mill Road, Indianapolis, IN 46260 USA; Tel:1-317-251-8145; Fax: 1-317-259-4650, or wire money directly to the Friends of Bluche Account at: Bank One, Indianapolis, IN 46277-0401 USA; ABA routing # 074000010; Account #3130440.
Send Address Changes to: Pradeep Kapadia, PO Box 26, Garrison, NY 10524; Tel: 1 -914-424-4800 Fax: 1 – 914-4244801. Or to Margaret Mallon, 6424 33rd Street NW, Washington, DC 20015; Tel/Fax: 1-202-362-2995.