Another presidential election cycle has come and gone, and we’re looking toward a different kind of future. Regardless of our own political beliefs, what amazes me is that there is always a palpable optimism and a cogent respect among our classmates for what lies ahead. We’re all in this together, and together we forge ahead. * Nick Nash wrote of so many reasons to be optimistic: the positive energy of his four-year-old granddaughter, who might just be the first female president, traveling with his wife to his kids’ houses, and planning his daughter’s wedding. He recalls all the turmoil that we lived through during our college years, a highlight of which for him was his trip with Jay Reiter to DC for the Peace March, and realizes that we will all keep moving forward. “Life is awesome!” * The all-star softball team that Jon Stone manages and plays with hosted the Cuban National Senior Softball team in the fall. Jon’s team was victorious over the Cuban National Team with a score of 21-6! Making new friends and sharing those experiences made the day. The Cuban players all would have played Major League Baseball if they’d been allowed. Jon’s team presented them with the most up-to-date softball equipment as gifts from his league and their players. His team will be traveling to Cuba next summer to play them again. (Jon has no more grandchild arrivals to report!) * We missed Nancy Hammar Austin at reunion last June because she was preparing for her around-the-world adventure: first to Australia, then to Indonesia and Vietnam with stops in Bali, Java, Sumatra, Ho Chi Minh City, and An Loc, on the Cambodian border—almost 27,000 air miles. She saw Uluru, Borobudur, orangutans in the tropical rain forests, and visited the War Remnants Museum. She got to hold an 11-kilogram koala named Le who had “crazy eucalyptus breath.” I bet Nancy needed a long sleep upon her return. * Already researching the “great American eclipse” (total solar eclipse) in August 2017, Bill Hladky and his son will be chasing it in Idaho. They’re excited about this particular eclipse—it’s the first total solar eclipse since 1979 that will be visible from one side of our country to the other. He visited his son in the fall and found that he’s financially independent, has his own apartment, and is solid in his job—all good accomplishments. Bill will have made his annual snowbird trip to Florida around Christmas time. * If I could include a photo, I would show you the 12-foot Mother Jones puppet inside of which is Bill Simons marching in the NYC Labor Day parade … on a hot, humid day with no ventilation and eye slits that didn’t match up with his eyes. Brave man, Bill. * My own life proceeds with the same hectic pace involving lots of singing, work with our local Department of Conservation and Recreation to preserve our rights at the nearby state park, and bringing up a puppy who came to me last May and who is finally turning into a wonderful little furry companion. Another amazing presence in my life is the man who continues to surprise me and fill me with joy. Some of you met him at reunion; he was a trooper to dive in with both feet!