Re: "Going Once, Going Twice..." [Fall 2006 VQ]

Freshman year, a fellow student at Vassar first told me about the older Vassar postcards. She collected old postcards and had acquired a few of Vassar before she even considered applying here.

About two years ago, in a fit of nostalgia and as an official eBay junkie (I have an entire set of dishes I got one piece at a time on eBay), I typed in Vassar College, and got a glimpse of all the VC stuff available. I began bidding on some of the older VC postcards, and now have about 15, which I plan to frame as a set.

Leslie Kline Capelle ’86
Venice, California

Re: Class Notes, Fall 2006

My initial pleasure at seeing my news in the Class Notes quickly gave way to despair. How is it that a college that has historically encouraged women to go out into the world and be independent would arbitrarily attach my husband’s name to my own? Though I love my husband dearly, I choose to use my own name, a conscious decision I made 26 years ago. No one will find my books listed under “Darra Jane Goldstein Crawford,” and there is no Professor Crawford at Williams.

I hope that the VQ will reconsider its policy of automatically listing alumnae under their husbands’ names.

Darra Goldstein ’73
Williamstown, Massachusetts

[Editor’s note: It is the VQ’s policy to list alumnae/i as they are recorded in the college’s files. If you are receiving correspondence from Vassar addressed to a name you do not prefer to use, please notify the college so that an update can be made to reflect your wishes.]

In Memoriam: Dr. E. Jean Pin

Dr. E. Jean Pin, my beloved husband and life partner for the past 27 years, died on September 17 of a bee sting while we were traveling in Italy.

Pin was a prominent Jesuit Priest. The first French priest to study sociology, he was professor of religious sociology and social classes at the Pontifical Gregorian University. Out of the Greg, he founded and directed CIRIS, the first and, to my knowledge, only international social research center.

His research has been published in the form of numerous books and articles, which have been printed in many languages. Pin was a humanist, and he spent his life serving people, never considering the risk to himself. When he was a young Jesuit, he smuggled documents for the resistance. Later he traveled the world and conducted research to determine whether the church was actually meeting the needs of the people. He developed a method of social research in which he conducted face-to-face interviews with a representative sample of the study population, and he learned 10 languages so that he could speak to the people directly. After understanding the specific concerns and unique words and expressions of the people he was studying, he then constructed a questionnaire that would “speak” to the people. Pin’s methods became the standard of all social research that followed. His book The Religiosity of the Romans (and others) debunked many popular beliefs about Catholics and their religious needs and practices and taught priests worldwide how to better serve the faithful.

He also conducted the worldwide survey of the Jesuit order and was the Secretary General of the International Conference of Religious Sociology. Pin became known worldwide when he publicly opposed the Catholic Church’s attempts to block the legalization of divorce in Italy. (See Le Monde, March 10, 1970; Time, January 11, 1971; and many other newspapers and magazines worldwide.)

In the early ’70s, he was laicized and came to America. He was appointed professor of sociology at Vassar, where he served as full professor and chair until 1990. Always learning and growing, Pin took his M.S.W. at Fordham in his 70s, and for the past 15 years he worked for Catholic Charities as a therapist and social advocate.

It was Pin’s greatest wish to create a legal fund to help women protect themselves from husbands who use the legal system to batter them during divorce proceedings. Donations may be sent to: Pace Law School, Development and Alumni Relations, 78 North Broadway, White Plains, NY 10603; please write “Jean Pin” on the memo line.

Jamie Turndorf ’80
Millbrook, New York

In Memoriam: Charles Tamez '95

I needed Charles Tamez ’95 at Vassar. My Vassar experience was not exactly a happy one. It was filled with numerous psychotic meltdowns at Metcalf, bulimic episodes of massive proportions, and a copious consumption of alcohol and cigarettes.

When I met him, he seemed perplexed by my outfit. I remember the way he tilted his head. And the way he walked. We would sit at the retreat for hours. He would sit next to me, claiming he enjoyed the drama. We would dance until 2 a.m. in the Mug.

When he would find me crying, he would sit with me in silence. He had a great laugh. It is the laughter I remember most. I guess it’s true that the brightest stars burn the fastest. For the time I knew him, I enjoyed being part of the fire.

Alana Gans ’96
New York, New York

Re: "A Future with Forgiveness"

I was so pleased to read Carly Ritter’s ’05 Last Page contribution to the Fall 2006 VQ. Her declaration that “it is clear that humanity has not been effective in its attempts to establish peace through forceful means” is one that I hope will be echoed and amplified in the coming years. Fortuitously (or intentionally?), Robert K. Brigham’s article in the same VQ (“Iraq vs. Vietnam”) resoundingly illustrates Ms. Ritter’s point. That armed conflict and violence do not bring peace and stability to human communities is painfully obvious today. A slogan that I saw at one stop-the-war rally sums it up: “War is so 20th century.”

War is an outmoded means of solving conflict. I would direct Ritter and other Vassar alumnae/i to the work of Thich Nhat Hanh (www.iamhome.org/thay.htm) and Marshall Rosenberg (www.cnvc.org), individuals who have been laboring, in love, to establish a new paradigm for conflict transformation—one that involves deep listening and compassion. I am glad to know that the Gardens of Forgiveness Initiative has blossomed in the human garden.

Laura Mansberg Cotterman ’76
Hillsborough, North Carolina

Re: "Educating About Autism"

I was very pleased to see in the Fall 2006 Quarterly the article about my sister, Helen Green Allison ’44. I would like to compliment Micah Buis ’02 on his excellent article. He covers the most important points of my sister’s career in a style that is both accurate and readable, with well-chosen quotes. My sister had told me what a good interviewer he was on the transatlantic telephone. I have already had phone calls from classmates of hers and of mine, and I expect the article will also spark interest in autism from people who do not know her. For me, the pleasure of seeing my sister’s hard-won accomplishments recognized by Vassar is second only to the pleasure I had being present last winter when she was awarded the insignia of the Order of the British Empire.

Suzanne Green Kominski ’42
Alexandria, Virginia