A Novel Novelist

A dream come true. That’s what Maddie Blaise said when she attended the 15th annual Writers Workshop (which she and close friend, Elinor Lipman, founded as Williston parents when their own children attended Williston). The dream was none other than award-winning, first-time novelist, Jennifer duBois ’02 sharing her work and thoughts as this season’s first visiting author.

DuBois’ novel, A Partial History of Lost Causes, has made quite a splash in the literary world, earning her recognition as one of the top five authors to watch under the age of 35.

She fielded many questions from the eager audience at her alma mater—including one from me. I asked her how she would have written this work in the pre-Internet era. She had explained that her research included leaning from the photos of random vacationers to Russia, courtesy of Flickr. (See the Williston Northampton Flickr site here.)

What a treat to see a Williston grad achieve such success and remember her teachers and school so fondly.

When Mrs. Stevens Speaks…

The gathering of Williston alumni known as Wildcat Weekend took place last weekend in Mystic, CT. Once again, Kathryn and I had the pleasure of attending and sitting with Sarah Stevens. For us, meeting with alumni from the Philips Stevens years always leaves us feeling that much more connected to the school’s past—there never seems to be a shortage of stories and anecdotes.

At 96 years of age, Mrs. Stevens still commanded the attention of her “boys.” She recalled how some of those present needed to be reminded to wear neckties to the teas that took place for visiting sports teams once the competition of the day had ended. What a civilized thing to do, I thought, after a tough matchup on the gridiron against a rival school.

From another dinner companion, I learned that students always applauded their teacher for the final class of the year. I think we should bring that tradition back.

Friendships that began at Williston are now life-long relationships. These abounded at Wildcat Weekend among the 50 alumni and spouses in attendance (representing the classes 1955-67). It was wonderful to once again be a part of this marvelous turnout.