White Horse September 26, 2007

It was really great seeing you all today and just being there and listening to memories brought back so much. It is true that memories from long ago are sharper (probably more ‘hard wired’) than things of

recent origin. My hearing is terrible (I wear hearing aids) and the tin ceiling at the White Horse, together with the exuberance of a ton of Manumiters…… meant that I only heard about 1/25th of what

went on. But it was all good. Why can’t we meet in Washington Square Park? Well, next time it might be a bit chilly…. none-the- less, I yearn for a friendlier hearing site. Any suggestions?.

I had recently spoken to Patty Speer in Sweden (who has no computer but who has glanced at the site on someone else’s). Gave George Sullivan (a real Patty fan) her number and was surprised to hear that he spoke Swedish. Patty has lived in Sweden pretty much for the past fifty years, I spent a summer there with her (before the Vietnam war). I know she speaks with Nancy Peake quite often, but thought I’d pass on her number so others could make contact. I’m sure she would be happy to hear from her fellow Manumiters. Now that overseas call are so inexpensive… wow, I used to call her 30 years ago and it cost a bloody fortune. Calling my sister back then, who lives in Rome.. also… we spent hundreds on overseas calls….. and now you can babble for pennies. I love technology. Her number is: 011-46-8-668-0929. Best to you all, love Judy Van (ps: Hildreth!You weren’t there?)

New York, NY Sept. 26th, 2007

The city is rammed. Its Fashion Week when all the skeletons come out of the closets and parade down the runways. Its also Fascist Week with Ahmadinejad and Bush blowing hard and keeping all the cops at the UN so I could park my car for three days and not get a ticket. The White Horse was rammed, too, and there was enough benevolence on the west side to keep Manhattan from sliding into the East River. Driving Charlie Gardner sped all the way from western Virginia and brought a newbie to our gatherings, the electrifying George Sullivan. Sharon Marcus, also a newbie, and husband Bob seemed whelmed, if not over, by the whole thing. What a thrill to see the twinkling eye of yet

another new entry, Steve Klein, and his wife Carol. Wally Wallace Thompson Watson, III, didn’t he have a touch football scholarship?, came from the left coast. Then, of course, our chess GM Ray Raphael had no excuse not to come from Scotia, NY. Laughing Denise Poncet had a hard time believing that our acting mentor wasn’t 90 years old instead of the eighty years she is celebrating. We are the same age now. After all, sweet Sue Powers was just a couple of months older than her english students. Ricardo “Dick” Marlis brought some of his nice work and Steve Maas brought some dramatic photos of himself, but no more of him lifting the lovely Judy Van in Washington Square, who also graced

our gathering. Louis Haber was talking about maybe having a reunion at his lakeside villa in Pittsfield next summer, as was Bob Wersan, the lone Pawling rep this time, as he has just bought a place somewhere near the Woodstock area. Dancing Barry (Victorio Korjhan) Shenker and Gentleman Alan Essner were there as was the professor of good chemistry Larry Johnson. Linda Silber made it between takes of her latest film epic. Our great leader’s charming daughter, Jenny came, and Mary

Lathrop, a family member, too. The energetic “Peppy Vulliet” of Cape Cod and San Diego, guess which time of the year she is where, attended. The Senora Rabinowise has never missed one of these for which I am grateful. Dear Liz Flynn and the dyslexic eidreF negotiated the difference between the amount of money we had and the total of the bill with a check from the association. When is the next one?


Missed you at the White Horse although you were on our minds and certainly mentioned, with much appreciation for all you do. Thought you might like this link for Robert Sengstacke that I found: http://www.thehistorymakers.com/biography/biography.asp?bioindex=703 It has a great picture of him. I’m going to look at my daughter’s website, MIJE.org and see what they might have about him too.

Hope to see you on the east coast sometime –

 Love, Liz


New York, NY Sept. 26th 2007 It was adriving electrifying twinkling laughing nice dramatic sweet lovely dancing charming energetic dear gathering of Manumiters. So glad I made it down. Jenny

Ditto. Despite the continued “baking” of the Apple and the opening of the UN Assembly, all was positively delightful. It had seemed a very long time since our last gathering. It was good to see everyone and plans are slowly budding for another reunion in the summer of 2008. Is it going to be Pittsfield or “close to Woodstock”? Please offer your preference or make other suggestions. That’s always good. Also, Linda S. thought we should begin developing a record of Manumit experiences, such as..how and why you got to Manumit, How it contributed to your development (or otherwise) and how it influenced your life and life choices. Interesting. Linda has suggested we tape the interviews. If this gets off the ground we could get Ken Burns to help out!!!!! Lovely, lovely!! Hope to see you all before Christmas. Got that, John? Denise

I started drafting this a few weeks ago, rather than let it grow even more stale, I’ve decided to let it go with as few finishing touches as I can get away with.

Finally I was able to make it to a NYC gathering, at the White Horse, and found myself to be the only one who attended Manumit Pawling. That made me feel positively ancient despite the presence of folks older than me.

I am on the verge of moving to High Falls, NY, which lies southeast of Woodstock.I will have plenty of space to host a summer gathering. High Falls is about 1-1/2 hours by bus from the NY Port Authority Bus Terminal to New Paltz or Rosendale as well as Metro North train to Poughkeepsie from Grand Central. Check out the Google map:


I suggest the date to be in September 2008, on a weekend after Labor Day when there are fewer insects than early or mid-summer, plentiful produce and an opportunity to roast corn in pit of hot coals. Let our decision makers think about this.

As for reminiscences, I go for the taping idea. The model would be that of the oral (aural? auroral?) history. Columbia University has been building an archive of them over the course of many years. As well, there is a project that has been featured locally on WNYC and nationally on NPR. The project has a name and has or had a recording booth in Grand Central. There appear to be many entries under oral history on Google. I just don’t have time to research this at the moment. Also, I have spoken with Nick O’Han former head of the high school at LREI (Little Red – Elisabeth Irwin) who has been working on archives for those schools and who would be interested in investigating a more general archiving of documents and recordings under the rubric of progressive education. My instinct would be to get Teachers College Columbia to house such an archive and to initiate discussions with them. Why T.C.? Simple. John Dewey, father of progressive education taught there. In fact, Randolph Smith who had been director of Elisabeth Irwin H.S. (EI of LREI) was mentored by Dewey when working on his doctorate at T.C.

Enough. I’m bushed.

Bye for now.

Bob Wersan

Posted in: Memories, Reunions

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