often to view updates.)
Mary Grace Hyde Miner
Allegheny gifted me with resilience and curiosity, but left gaps in my education. In the five years after graduation, I learned that trousers with “sprung bottoms” didn’t allow cavalrymen to eject safely off horses (Smithsonian Institution, 1966); that dried, grated banana skins were not hallucinogenic (Stanford, 1967); that aircraft aloft spewed contrails, not entrails from their engines (Travis AFB, 1968); that “dridicks” were job-makers in the Hampton Roads (Hampton, VA, 1968); that a water buffalo always had the right of way (Taiwan, 1969); and that when on a crowded Tokyo subway, never make eye contact with the gentleman whose nose was pressed firmly into your cleavage (Japan, 1970). Indeed, somethings were best learned through experience.
Ten years following graduation, my Air Force husband, Pete Miner, our Korean daughter, Laura Ann, and I had lived in seven homes, crossed the international dateline at least five times and returned back to northern Virginia where I had grown up. Pete had wrestled with the humorous indignity of being Major Miner for several years and I had sampled many impermanent jobs – adjunct professor for three universities, commercial floral designer, homebound tutor and substitute teacher.
Twenty years after graduation we were enjoying the best years a military family could. We had spent three remarkable years in Suffolk, England at RAF Bentwaters – Woodbridge, the largest tactical NATO base in Europe. For me, it was an idyllic life spent in a small village surrounded by amazing English neighbors. I learned to spin, dye with natural botanicals and weave – no sheep’s fleece or road side weed was safe from my predations. Subsequently, the three years we spent in Newark, Ohio, allowed us to readjust slowly to life stateside and let me learn that metrology had nothing to do with weather. An abrupt move to the high desert in California brought enormous changes.
Thirty years after graduation we were Utahans. By then, Pete had retired as a Colonel from Hill Air Force Base near Salt Lake City. He had earned a second Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling and gone to work for the state as an Assistive Technology engineer. Laura had married, I was working my first “real” job with TURN Community Services, a non-profit agency supporting people with cognitive disabilities. Before we had time to get too comfortable, we became the legal guardians for our infant grandson, K. J., and the only support for my 85 year-old mother. Both lived with us and we discovered the many meanings of the Sandwich Generation. My AARP card nestled against a PTA membership identification!
Frankly, I can’t remember much about my fortieth year after graduation except that the house was crowded, Mother was declining, K. J. was a teenager, and I had retired from TURN to the insanity of our multi-generational home. I knew this was not quite what I had foreseen in “my long term life plan.”
Ten years later and we are still in Utah. We are not Mormon (for those who wonder) but have great respect for and friendships with our LDS neighbors. We still play host to and banker for K. J., now a junior at Weber State University in Ogden. Laura, her husband and young son are frequent visitors from California, and Pete, a master wood-turner, works for a specialty wood store. I volunteer in our local schools where I am affectionately (I think?) known as “the crazy lady” by the sixth graders who endure my interactive history presentations. I serve on TURN’s Board of Directors and have twice been its Chair.
In sum, after 13 homes, more than 20 postal addresses, and curious life detours and switchbacks, I am attempting to live by the last lines of Candide (thanks to Julian Ross) “All that is very well, … but let us cultivate our garden.” I do, always assuming the snow pack is deep enough to provide summer melt water.
Daughter Laura and grandson KJ
Mary Lou Carlson Hodgson
The past fifty years have flown by so quickly, and it's been fun reading about everyone's adventures and accomplishments, but it will be even better to see you all in June! And hats off to the reunion committee for the incredible website that is pulling us all together before the big reunion.
Life has been good. I did the "run off to see the world" right after graduation, and was fortunate to spend the entire summer exploring Europe before reality set in, and I went to Washington, DC, with a group of Allegheny girls to teach school. After a few years in DC, Judy B and I enrolled at Penn State and received our Master's degrees in Education, and experienced life at a big university -- a great choice. I got married shortly after, and we returned to Elmira, NY, to raise two children who are now in their 40s. I was a stay at home mom during those years, and did a lot of volunteer work, and we spent summers at the Finger Lakes in NYS. Jim, our oldest, has a degree in Philosophy, and a law degree, but after experiencing a number of years of stress at big NYC law firms, is now working with the homeless in NY and finding it to be extremely rewarding, personally, if not financially, and he is happy! Betsy worked in government health research before getting married, and settling in Raleigh, NC. While raising two daughters, almost 10, and 12, Betsy teaches preschool; Ken, her husband works for the government, and they have a very happy household with Gus, their black lab.
Our stay in the north lasted until 1998, at which point we decided enough snow and ice and cold. So we took off for Florida, and settled in a great area near Sarasota. Sunny days and warm temperatures were delightful. However, I decided it might be a great place to visit, but needed the change of seasons, so I am now in Raleigh, not far from family, and love living in a big city -- full of culture, friendly Southern hospitality, great people, and of course, my daughter and her family. I've taken up acrylic painting, "played" with pottery, have joined a book club, bought a kayak (lots of nearby lakes), and am enjoying the myriad of cultural activities available in this exciting area.
So looking forward to seeing everyone in June!