Remembering a Classmate

August 19, 2002, marks the first anniversary of the death of our dear friend, classmate, and TA-mate Christina Rossiter ’80. Although we grieve that she is gone, we are glad to have known her. She was always willing to share her great reserves of joie de vivre, her enthusiasm for new things, and her spirit of adventure. These live on in our memories, and in how we live our lives. Thinking about her ultra-dry sense of humor still makes us smile and always will. She had sophisticated tastes, but she could live anywhere, and wear anything — and still look great. She even looked fab covered with engine grease from her much-beloved, but badly behaved, Karman Ghia. (We haven’t got the knack of this yet ourselves. But her example is an inspiration.) We admire her for her determination and dedication to making the best of things, even under adverse circumstances. In her life, she worked to develop her scientific talents, earning her doctorate in neuropharmacology, but she also fulfilled her need for artistic expression, lovingly playing a treasured family cello and creating sculptures that strongly communicated her sensitivity to suffering and to worlds beyond. Above all, she was a loyal friend. She was always the one who took pictures when we met, and made sure we had copies. She was always the one who remembered her friends’ special occasions. We, in turn, will always remember her. We miss her a lot, and treasure her memory.

Liz Jarrell ’80
Kensington, Maryland

Ingrid Krause Katz ’80
Locust Valley, New York

Heather Stark ’80
London, England

A World of Possibilities

I was both surprised and delighted to see the article on international adoption in your summer issue! I have just completed my first year in a child clinical psychology Ph.D. program at Penn State and am currently working on a master’s thesis focusing on parental expectations and their impact on internationally adopted children and their families. The hope is that this research will benefit future adoptive parents by furthering our knowledge of post-adoptive processes that contribute to successful adoption experiences. I would love to be in touch with any Vassar grads who have adopted internationally. As part of my work, I am developing a survey measure that I believe would be greatly enhanced by talking to adoptive parents about their experiences.

Sanno Zack ’99
State College, Pennsylvania

A Vassar Parent Comments

I do not write notes of praise as often as I might, but I think you and your colleagues are the appropriate recipients of this one. As a past Vassar parent of a daughter who would have been the class of ’97 but transferred after her sophomore year to Stanford, my wife and I continue to contribute to and receive mailings from Vassar. Your quarterly, and we receive a good number of college magazines, and I write for my own at Princeton, is consistently excellent. The articles are well conceived and splendidly presented and I write to congratulate you and to tell you how admiring I am.

Paul G. Sittenfeld
Cincinnati, Ohio

Vassar Yesterday Photo

In regard to the picture on page 30 of the Summer 2002 VQ, according to Jean Magee Stinson ’45–4 and Jane Magee Loomis ’45–4, plant science majors (and my roommates), in the back row are Mary Coolidge ’44, Jean, Jane, and Miss Baker. To quote Jane, “It must have been during the 1943–1944 term. The department was called Plant Science at the time. I don’t know what microbiology was — maybe bacteriology — but the course in Plant Science was mycology. I think the whole picture was staged for the Vassarion. One instructor for every three students seems a bit overdoing it.”

Carolynn Grow Ross ’45-4 (Rollie)
Newton Highlands, Massachusetts

Lost Art

I’m not completely certain, but I believe that the painted shadows found in Jewett that appear in this summer’s issue of the Vassar Quarterly (p. 13 top) were painted as an art project by Larissa Niedzwiecka ’97.

Noelani (Noe) Kidder ’96
New York, New York

Gone But Not Forgotten

A belated reaction to an article, “Vassar Vets” in the fall 2000 issue of Vassar, which claims these men attending under the GI Bill® (1948–53) were the first male students at the college. My memory, however, is of men in some of my classes during World War II. They may have been part of a program prompted by the need for more officers as the war stretched on with no end in sight. Prologue, the National Archives publication, published an interesting article about the use of the women’s colleges during the war to educate men who were expected to then go on and become officers and, I believe, that is why there were men at Vassar during the war, several years before the veterans arrived.

Elizabeth St. John Dunn ’46
Cambridge, Massachusetts

More on International Adoption

Regarding the story “A World of Possibilities: International Adoption” [Summer 2002] I would like to share my thoughts.

I was on the train the other week — Park Slope, Brooklyn, F train to be exact — when one passenger, a woman in her mid-40s with an Asian infant swathed in a tank-like pram (an infant SUV perhaps) was approached by another woman...almost a replicate of the first. I thought she was going to attack the other passengers the way she ran down the car, but instead she came after the infant cooing and burbling in babyspeak.

“Oh where did you get yours?” she exclaimed to the proud parent-lady on the train. “From Shanghai!” said the elder grace, holding alight a very cute little baby. “I got a little girl from the [blah, blah, blah] province!” Said the first. “So much trouble, but it’s worth it!” said one or the other of them, or perhaps both agreed on this supposed given fact of this new trendy way to observe the rite of parenthood sans stretch marks.

In these past decades we have outsourced so much of our labor to the nether reaches of the world...which we tell ourselves is “developing” and not “exploited,” so perhaps it is only right that the most self-centered generation export the labor of birth to other nations. [The article] suggests that this practice in part allows us to by-pass mothers in the U.S. who may regret placing their children up for adoption, to grant us infants from places where regrets cannot be addressed because poverty and distance have cut all ties. But, perhaps, we are saving the children from the very lives of poverty our consumption encourages as we snatch them out of factory towns and other idle and smoking holes in this world (having been to Russia from Chechnya to Vladivostok, China, Peru, Indian Kashmir, I have seen these places).

Foreign adoption, it is proposed, allows parents interested in other cultures to take that love of another culture into their home placing children as cultural objects, another memento on the shelf next to those “darling” African masks. Rather than exploring the culture of Puerto Ricans, Detroit, or Chicago African-Americans, or other closer and equally needy individuals from other social spheres it appears that the harvest of infants comes from our trade partners whom we get our cheap steel and plastics. While I love other countries, I would not suggest that a child should evoke the same affection for a country that a plastic doo-dad from Harbin or Chita (perhaps a velvet painting?).

In New York City — or in this country for that matter — nannies (who themselves have children growing up on distant countries, according to a recent New York Times article) assist these middle-class parents to celebrate a Chinese New Year, or perhaps some other celebration we in this country are too crass to know. These same parents can also afford to drive on the expressway — to the Hamptons or Fire Island — past the orphanage and homeless shelter I was past every morning here in Bushwick, Brooklyn, filled with children who perhaps celebrate on the mundane American holidays.

As Vassar students, we should be doing all we can to questions people’s practices and how these actions reinforce the disparagement of wealth in their world rather than rubber-stamping new social trends as culturally aware.

Peter C. St. M. Griffin ’97
Brooklyn, New York

Praise and Critique

Vassar Quarterly magazine (Summer 2002) is as always excellent. I especially enjoyed the international adoption article and the telling of Saundra Parks’ ’75 lovely enterprise. (Was there a reason for not mentioning the location of The Daily Blossom, I wonder?) What prompted my writing, however, were several errors I noticed on page 3. In Frances O. Moore’s ’26 delightful, anti-euphemism letter, the well-known French phrase should read: plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. And another small misspelling on the bottom of the page in Message from the Editor is the word “discernible.” But for now, let me repeat my appreciation of your superb magazine.

Ruth duPont Lord ’43
New Haven, Connecticut

(Ed. Note: Visit The Daily Blossom, owned by Saundra Parks ’75, in New York, NY, or online at www.dailyblossom.com.)