Summertime and the livin’ is easy. (So easy, in fact, that it took us until late fall to get this newsletter out!)
Cheri Dobyns, Judy Van Sanford, Kathy Dobyns and Ellen Polhemus 1967 courtesy of Pam Freeman Bell
Much Ado About Nada
I’m just a lowly sales rep hawking overpriced health insurance to the underpaid self-employed holding my breath from commission check to commission check. How come some of you are living in the lap of proverbial luxury while scabs like me are sweating bullets just to find the humor in it all ? (apologies VB). How do you think I feel? Huh?
Actually, pretty good, to tell you the truth. I’m the editor. Who’s to know if I’m telling the truth or not? Ah! Now I’ve got you worried, haven’t I? I have power and we all know that power corrupts. For the first time in my life I get to take some pot shots at all you guys that had your hands up in class and thought you had the answers, but then, you didn’t know, 35 years ago, that one day I’d be an editor and that you’d be my dirt…. Did you? Hee! Hee! Hee!
What we really need are more submissions from ordinary cretins like you and me. Just because we happened to be mired in mediocrity does not mean our lives aren’t worth mentioning. Did you know, for example, that …..
Les Winslett 1968
Okay, okay… so it’s often hard to tell truth from fiction. Corrections will be gladly entered in the next newsletter if any of these entries prove to be untrue……
FOUND-LOCATED-REAPPEARED Karen Bleiweiss Telis (A’64-66), Gail Brewster Wheeler (‘61-62), Danny Lavon (C‘66-68), Adrian Kuys (?’75-76), Betsy McManus (‘61-62).
LOST-MISSING-DISAPPEARED Byron Caldwell, Luis Claudio, Jean Crivello, Lian David, Stephen David, Iraj Lashkary, Christine McClarney (her parents lived somewhere in England), Paul Milley, Sylvette Watteuw.
Bryon Caldwell (right) with a friend whose name escapes me…. Iraj Lashkary and Jonathon Beard 1970
1970 courtesy of Pam Freeman Bell Courtesy of Pam Freeman Bell
Congratulations to Thomas and Franziska Barth on the birth of their daughter Nathalie who is about 9-10 months old already!
Karen Bleiweiss Telis ?’64-66 was reached via Melanie Freisen A’64-65 and has been receiving our newsletter for some time. Although she lives in Washington D.C., she has been unable to attend our reunions as she summers in Provence with her children where she maintains a second home. (Some people have it really tough!!) She has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in romance languages as well as a law degree. (I guess she must be smart too!!) She practiced international corporate law for 15 years, took time out to be home with her children and is now a French docent at the National Gallery of Art. She is also studying classical piano and writing a novel that takes place in France in the early 1900’s. She and her husband have two boys ages 11 and 15.
Carol Dunlap Reiser A’67-68 just got a new French tutor and he seems totally perplexed by her French accent. Not American, he keeps muttering, but clearly not quite right, either. Could M. Smits have screwed her up?
Diane Godley Copley A’70-72 tells us that she graduated from High School in Djakarta, Indonesia (The Joint Embassy School ) in 1973. She trained and was registered for the field of Histology
(part of a Pathology department) in Dallas, Texas. She has spent over twenty years at this profession and finds it very interesting. While in Dallas she also married and had a son. He is now 21 yrs old and is attending the University of Utah at Logan. Through many years and two marriages she has lived in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming and now resides in Colorado. She writes that she plans to stay put in Colorado unless the call of the wild lures her to Alaska. One of her secret dreams is to at least visit there before she dies to see the Northern lights in all their glory. She is now divorced with a great job in a reference laboratory, has wonderful friends, is writing in her spare time and trying to find a manufacturer for a product she recently patented for the field of Histology. She writes, “There is never a dull moment!” She regrets that she was unable to attend the last reunion but looks forward to the next and will plan ahead this time.
Russell James A’69-70 lives in Washington D.C., and works for the Washington Post. He keeps in touch with Susan Povenmire Weisman A’69-70 and visits Pradeep Kapadia A’69-72 in New York every so often.
Adrian Kuys ?’75-76 recently located us on the Internet. He is currently living in San Diego.
Danny Lavon ?’67-68 was located in Jerusalem recently. He is a very successful computer programmer and typographer. He also writes books on graphics and art. He is presently writing a book called “Danny and the Art of Computer Maintenance”. Danny is married to a Yemenite Jewish girl. He also has an 18 year old daughter from a previous marriage named Nea.
Henri Noach A ‘67-69 wrote that he would be taking a holiday in Europe from June 5 to 16. The atmosphere in Jerusalem was getting very heavy. By the way, did anyone catch him on TV on the new series “Covenants of God”. The show aired on TBN on May 16th.
Ross Povenmire A’69-72 is taking the bar exam, starting a new job as a lawyer in New Hampshire, and getting married, all within three weeks in August.
Dale Scott A’69-71 and her son Luke have been back in Tucson since the middle of June. Dale writes that she has no immediate plans for travel or work, so if anyone has any ideas……! She and Luke are going to be missing all their dear friends and the beauty of Peru. She writes that “if you ever have the chance to visit Peru, DO IT! It’s a great place!”
Pradeep Kapadia visits Pichet Nithivasin in Bangkok
Pichet in Bangkok 1998 Courtesy Kapadia
I recently visited Bangkok on my way to a vacation in Vietnam, and wrote Pichet Nithivasin (C ‘69-72) about my plans. Pichet not only insisted that I stay at his hotel, the Narai, but also took it upon himself to be my host. For the few days I spent in Bangkok, I may as well have had the keys to the city from the mayor himself – from dining at fancy restaurants, to golfing at the Jack Nicklaus designed course at an exclusive
country club, to experiencing the renowned night life. A word of advice: if you vacation in Bangkok with Pichet, set aside a few days to recover from your vacation.
The Narai, named after a Hindu god, was as good as luxury gets, and considering that I would spend the next week crawling around the Mekong Delta in Vietnam, I was happy for all the pampering I could get, starting with a welcome announcement on the reception board for all guests to see – “Narai Hotel Welcomes Pradeep Kapadia”, and the familiar Toblerone bar in the fridge. The hotel staff knew me by name and no courtesy was spared. I was even whisked away to the airport in Pichet’s private limo!
Over dinner, we talked and drank beer, sharing our pasts, learning about each other before Bluche. We talked about the dreams of our parents, sending their kids to far away places at a very early age, and about our own dreams for our own children. Both Pichet’s and my parents sent us away to get the education to come back home to become part of the family business, and perhaps build a family empire. While Pichet went back after Bluche, I decided to seek my fortune in America. We recognized the fact that we were looking through a window into each other’s alternate life – what path the other did not pursue — and were happy to compare notes.
Regardless of the actual experience of Les Roches, it was clear to Pichet that his life was made much richer by that experience. He looks back at the 2 years at Les Roches and 3 more at the Hotel Management School in Lausanne as being pivotal in his career development.
“The most important thing in my career today is putting up with other peoples’ crap. I have to take crap from employees, guests, the regulators, contractors, from everyone. Being miserable and lonely in Switzerland for five years taught me to be patient and put up with a lot of crap.”
And Pichet has kind words for Mr. Marcel Clivaz. While I’m no fan, I understood what Pichet was saying. “Clivaz helped me, gave me direction when I needed it, even bailed me out of trouble. I will always respect him for that. He has a special place in my heart, even today”.
The youngest of 3 brothers, Pichet is now part of a large family business involving real estate and industry in Thailand and abroad. While his older brothers were sent to the US for their education, Pichet had his eyes set on Japan, for reasons other than studies. “Good night life, few rules, lots of fun.” he says. But alas, Pichet’s mother found out about the reputation of those Japanese colleges and chose the opposite for Pichet. The opposite, of course, was the remotest school in one of the remotest areas of the civilized world – Bluche-sur-Sierre.
“It wasn’t really all that bad” Pichet reflects now. “I made good friends, and love to welcome them to Bangkok”. Kim Campbell, Mr. James Sherry and more recently, Mike Johnson passed this way, and Pichet was delighted to be their host each time.
Although a reserved, somewhat shy man, Pichet got sentimental about some of the memories. Like in the summer of ’69, when all the students had gone home, and he, Jitendra Dave and I were left to ourselves for three months, playing basketball among the backdrop of the Alps, and then gorging ourselves with cherries from the trees behind the tennis courts. We were allowed to go wherever we wanted, during the summer of ’69, and we took advantage, climbing up to Montana daily and taking the occasional funicular to those “far away” places like Sierre and Sion. This led us to reminisce about good old Jit, who lives in Sumter, South Carolina with his wife Anne, and two kids.
Remembering those days in Bluche brought up the next reunion. Pichet was blunt. “Pick a place where the most people will come. Let’s face it, with a reunion every 3 or 4 years, there’s not too many reunions left in us, so let’s make the most of it. Bangkok, while it’s beautiful, is too far away for most people. The people make the reunion”. He’s right, and I should know, having helped Margaret Mallon organize the past three reunions. Maybe the purpose of these past reunions was to get friendships renewed so that ultimately, reunions would not be necessary. Maybe in a few years, we will have all found each other, made the necessary connections, and moved on. Clearly, the single bond that we have, that of LR and PF, fades daily from our memories. On the other hand, maybe reunions will remain a perfect excuse to take a vacation with the family. Time will tell. But I’ve digressed from my subject, which is my visit with Pichet.
We talked about the current Asian financial crisis. If it has affected Pichet’s family business, and I suspect it has, he’s quite calm and brutally honest. “This crisis will get much worse. Big businesses will fail. And no Asian country will come out of it unaffected, because the Asian countries depend first on each other for survival, and then on the west for profit. The sad thing is that no one knows or remembers what to do in a recession here because no one’s been through one, in this generation, anyway”.
No sense dwelling on such a morbid subject, especially after a few drinks, so I showed Pichet pictures of my family and he of his. His daughter, Nithida, will be a freshman this fall, probably at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, and his son is in a boarding school in Australia, where he’s spending his entire 9th grade in an “Outward Bound” type program in some remote mountains. Sounds like Bluche all over again.
It was my last night in Bangkok. The beer was gone, and it was getting late. It struck me that here I was, sitting with Pichet in Bangkok, 29 years after we first met as innocent schoolchildren half-way around the globe. I decided that this is the essence of what my experience at Bluche was and still is – to be surprised every so often, by the strong bond of a friendship renewed. Why does this bond feel so right for us alumni of Les Roches and Pres Fleuris? I felt it in Aspen last summer, with Rory, Margaret, Jana, Andi, Sue, Katy, even Henri whom I had never met. I felt it again in Bangkok, in the words of a comedian, “like déjà vu all over again”.
I left Pichet feeling lucky for the opportunity to travel half-way around the world to get to know him all over again. It made my own journey memorable. Hmm…I wonder who’s next on my list to visit.
|Mike Johnson’s Travelog
Mike Johnson Aspen Reunion 1997
Jeddah is some of the best diving I have ever experienced.
I was transferred to Yanbu on March 14. The living conditions are quite a bit better but there is less to chose from in the grocery stores. Yanbu is an industrial city, where Jeddah in an international city of at least a million, maybe more.
In January 1998 I went to Thailand and looked up Pichet Nitivasin…. He is still great after all these years. He runs a first rate hotel, The Narai on Silom Street. I recommend that everyone from EDR and PF utilize his Hotel as a base when in Thailand. It is about a 15 minute walk from the famous “Patpong” Street. During the day it is a street……at night they close it off and it becomes a street market…. sort of like the International Market in Honolulu……..with a few extras.
I then went down to Phuket Island (pronounce Puket…not Fuket). I stayed at a friend of Pichet’s place called The Cape Pan Wa Resort. If you want luxury and relaxation in 5 star accommodations, this would be the place. But, being a single guy, I moved over to the town of Patong. Patong is known as a “single mans delight’…….. I met some great people there; American expats who have settled there and run various types of establishments. Also great diving here too.
I am off again to Thailand April 1-16. I will be going back to Bangkok and then to Phuket again. I have a date to go to Phi-Phi (pronounced PP) Island with a lady who I met in January who lives in Patong. She is American.
Looking forward to my next issue of Apres Valais!
Mark Laubis, Randy Ward, Thierry Bovay, Keith Trahan 1970
courtesy of Pam Freeman Bell and Nicolletta de Bona 1968 Courtesy of Judy Van Sanford
Phillip Gregory and Nicolletta de Bona 1970 Courtesy of Pam Freeman Bell
Spuds Mac Kenzie, I presume……..
Unlike my partners in crime, I was allowed to finish out the year due to my tender age and then was asked …NOT TO RETURN…the next year.
Well, many things have happened since that time in my life. After Pres Fleuris, I attended Marymount in Rome, then finished up high school in Washington D.C.. My older brother was attending Georgetown and my folks thought it best that I be near a family member, rather than at another boarding school. I returned to New Mexico, where I was born, indeed “The Land of Enchantment.”
Judy Van Sanford 1998 Judy Van Sanford Bluche 1969
In January of 1978 I was hired on with, US West, formerly Mountain Bell. I’ve been with them 20 years now. I’ve had many different positions in the company, including a stint as an installer. I really didn’t like climbing poles so I opted for a safer inside desk job. I work in the network portion of the business with customers that have a delayed service order. When we cannot provide telephone service due to lack of facilities, I have the questionable honor of informing the customer.
I have a beautiful daughter, Jamie Julanne Bennett. She is my one and only. I was married for 6 years to her dad, 10 years ago. Try as I might, it just didn’t work out for her dad and I so we parted ways.
Humor is a very large part of my life. I do laugh and smile a lot. I think back about Switzerland often. I’m so pleased to have stumbled upon Apres Valais. Hope to see you all one day in person!!
Judy Van Sanford
Courtesy Judy Van Sanford Courtesy of Judy Van Sanford
I am arrived by passenger train at Ahmedpore Station, and my belly is too much swelling with jack fruit. I am therefore went to privy. Just as I doing the nuisance, that guard making whistle blow for train to go off and I am running with lotah in one hand and dhotie in the next when I am fall over and expose all my shockings to man and female women on platform. I am get leaved at Ahmedpore station.
This too much bad, if passenger go to make dung, that dam guard no wait train five minutes for him. I am therefore pray your honour to make big fine on that guard for public sake. Otherwise I am making big report to papers.
Your faithful servant,
Submitted by Anne Troxler Hoover
Cute guy(?) And Karen Jenkinson 1970 Cydnie Peddie and Erika Johnson 1968
courtesy of Pam Freeman Bell Courtesy of Judy Van Sanford
Anne Troxler 1964 Courtesy of Sue Fouts Judy Guillard 1964 Courtesy of Sue Fouts
Lynn Minai and the late Mark Laubis 1969 Coutesy of Pam Freeman Bell
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