Friday, April 13, 2012

2012 April

For her spring break this year, my daughter Katie travelled with 25 other Stonehill students to the Dominican Republic, to spend the week volunteering at a school for children of impoverished families. This school provides day-care while parents work, healthy meals, medical attention, education, and vocational training. Without the school, many of these kids wouldn’t get anything to eat all day.
Katie had fun working with the infants and one-year-olds. It was an adventure traveling to another country for the first time. She got to use her high school Spanish. She enjoyed the sunshine and the ocean. Then she got sick.
On Thursday of that week, she was weak, achy, nauseous, and had diarrhea. Was it cholera? Was it just a stomach bug? Even if it was just a stomach bug, it’s no fun trying to recuperate in a “hotel” with cockroaches, water you can’t drink, strange food, electricity that cuts out unpredictably, and prostitutes roaming the halls. My wife and I didn’t know what to do. Fly down and bring her home? Reassure her and wait for her scheduled return on Saturday? It’s a terrible feeling when someone you love is suffering thousands of miles away, and there’s not a thing you can do about it.
Thank heaven for cell phones! We could text her and occasionally speak to her. We contacted the chaperones in the group to monitor what was going on. And Katie made it home on Saturday, still feeling lousy, but basically okay. She slept for 3 days and ate cheerios for a week, but she bounced back fine.
Still, this was a reminder that this kind of thing can happen at any time. I think I’m in charge of my life, but I’m really not. People I love can suffer, and there might be nothing I can do about it. I don’t like it. I want my illusion of control back!

Sad news: Classmate Ronnie Stabile died in March. From the emails I’ve gotten, and the discussions on Facebook, and the number of classmates at the wake, I think a lot of people have heard about this already. Probably everyone in our class knew who Ronnie was. He and Mike Bellotti performed regularly – and, may I say, wonderfully – at many CHSE assemblies and shows.
It was only in February when Franne Donovan alerted me that Ronnie had been given only months to live by his doctors. I called him to offer support, but what can you say to somebody facing something like this? I didn’t know then and I don’t know now. Ronnie was stunned, as who wouldn’t be. I called back another time, and less than a week after that he was gone.
I was in the band with Ronnie, where he was in charge of the percussion and also president of the band, if memory serves me. But I only really got to know him one summer in college when we both worked at the Cranston Stadium for the summer as groundskeepers. This was a fairly grueling job, doing manual labor outside in the hot sun all day, and we also had to deal with some challenging characters: bosses who had no idea of what had to be done, co-workers who didn’t want to do anything, and local druggies and alcoholics who used the stadium as their bathroom. Ronnie was unfailingly patient and kind with everyone. He was a revelation to me. I had never seen anyone actually behave in what I can only call a Christ-like way before. But that was just the way he was. I learned so much about how to act with people from watching his example that summer. He was an inspiration to me.
When I got Franne’s email saying that Ronnie had died, I was at work. I walked out to my car and cried for ten minutes. I’m crying as I type this. He was a sweet and special guy, and I miss his being in the world.

Dave Fowler continues to train for the Boston Marathon. Monday is the big day! Here is his latest very funny blog on the subject:
Dave runs the marathon as a fund-raiser in memory of his son Nick. You can make a contribution at:
From the “Apply my gift to” drop-down list, select “Help in the Nick of Time”.
Good luck on Monday!

When Bill Dube isn’t racing electric motorcycles (, he’s an award-winning engineer with the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science in Boulder, Colorado. One of the things that CIRES does is monitor the air to make sure it’s healthy for people. Here’s an interesting video that describes a recent project to understand why dangerous ozone gas is building up in an isolated Utah valley:
I’ll let Bill describe it: “The big white box high up on the scaffolding is my design. The complicated instrument you see in the mobile lab is also my design. You can see me (wearing yellow hard-hat) in the background of the video busily working on the electrical distribution panel. I also got to run that giant blue "telehandler" to put the big white box up on that scaffold. Most definitely "big kid's toys." :-)
The uninterruptable power system in the van is also something I am proud of. It provides the 120 VAC power to all the scientific instruments in the van from the van engine, a battery bank, or a wall plug, seamlessly, with zero interruption, regardless of where the energy is coming from. Over 4 hours of "silent running" time from the battery bank so we could make measurements while parked without worries about the engine emissions interfering.”
Here’s a nice article about the research:
Way to go, Bill!

Dianne Saffron Dugan is now working at Assabet Valley Pastoral Counseling. She also does the occasional guest sermon as part of what they call “Pulpit Supply”. Her son Jeff had a difficult injury last September that he’s still recovering from. Good luck!

I find it interesting how many of our classmates are in the clergy. Besides Dianne, I know that Dean Bengtson is in Japan, still helping people from the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear power plant accident last year. Jacob Adler and Alan Mittleman are rabbis. Who am I forgetting?

Beverly Brisson DeFelice is bragging about exciting news for her sister, Barbara Brisson Hardy. Barbara has 3 daughters, and all of them are expecting this year. By the end of the year, Barbara will have seven grandchildren: 5 grandsons and 2 granddaughters. The Brissons are used to large families: they have 42 first cousins, and that’s just on their father’s side.
Celebrity watch: The daughter of one of Beverly’s many cousins is married to Guy Fieri from the Food Network.
Beverly enjoyed Tom Iacono's article, which we mentioned last month. "I am an American history buff so I really enjoyed reading that article.”

Another classmate also liked Tom’s article. “I recently was in San Antonio and the Alamo. We were following Teddy Roosevelt's path recruiting Rough Riders here. It's a sacred experience. I also found the RI'er named and felt pride seeing it. We stayed at the Menger Hotel across the street from the Alamo where Roosevelt did his recruitment. Nice article, Tom!”

I think people are aware that we have a number of honorary classmates, who attended CHSE with us but, for one reason or another, didn’t happen to graduate from CHSE. Linda Stearns Kenney, for example, moved to Warwick for her senior year and graduated there. She writes, “Anyway, destiny being what it is, I am good with life. I wanted to extend my appreciation to you and the efforts you make to form community around the group of '71. In these times, as you said, flexibility is essential! Again, want to thank you for the drive you have to bring good vibrations into your life when the frequency around the world is so chaotic.”
Welcome and glad to have you!

We have lots of ways to keep in touch online, now. For example, we have a web site:
(thanks to Ernie Sutcliffe for starting and maintaining)
and wiki:
(also thanks to Ernie)
and Facebook group:
and a Facebook event for the last Reunion:
Check out one or more of these easy ways to see what people are up to.

Well, it’s opening day for the Red Sox. I’m prepared for the worst. I think.

See you next month, okay?

Ed DeJesus

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