A Challenge Both Classy and Noteworthy

Have you ever read the class notes? I mean the entire class notes section, from the class of 1940-something all the way to the class of just-graduated-last-year?

As assistant editor of Amherst magazine, I read every class’s notes, every quarter. Taken altogether, I find the section a bittersweet overview of the human lifespan in reverse. The oldest alumni move into “CCRCs” (I’ve caught on that this stands for “continuing-care retirement communities”), cherish their remaining time with spouses and classmates, and look back on lives (mostly) well-lived. Those in middle age mark milestones—their own and their kids’. Relatively few around my age write in; I suspect most of us are too busy working overtime and/or running after toddlers. And the newest Amherst alums keep up their college friendships as they venture off to grad school, fellowships and careers.

One of my favorite things about reading the class notes (besides discovering that Amherst boasts less-famous graduates named James Buchanan, Richard Nixon, Stephen Baldwin, Ted Nugent and Gina Rodriguez) has been noticing the coincidences that pop up across class years. In the Fall 2016 batch, for instance, no fewer than 13 different alums reported traveling to Iceland. This latest issue has a few such echoes.

Your Challenge:

Hunt through the class notes section of this issue to find the answers to the questions below. 

Send your responses to magazine@amherst.edu or Amherst Magazine, Box 5000, Amherst, MA 01002. Anyone who answers correctly will be entered to win an Amherst T-shirt.

  1. A ’56 alum and a ’61 alum each quote the same joke about aging. How does that joke go?
  2. Births of twins are announced in the notes from three consecutive classes. Which class years are these? Hint: Start by reading the orange callouts in the margins to find one with relevant text.
  3. The following:
    1. Which two class secretaries, who graduated 35 years apart, are father and son?
    2. Which two class secretaries, who graduated 28 years apart, are father and daughter?

Last Quarter’s Answers

A cursive C carved into wood
A painting of a man's hands holding a piece of paper
A photo of a statue's shoe

Roger Turton ’71 wins our “Campus Close-Up” contest, which asked readers to identify three detail shots taken around campus, with the help of written hints. In his words:

Picture #1 (the most obscure to me) shows part of the lettering on the doors at the western ‘face’ of Johnson Chapel. Picture #2 shows the hands of ‘Silent’ Calvin Coolidge as portrayed in a painting inside Johnson Chapel. Picture #3 shows a detail of one foot from the statue of poet Robert Frost adjacent to the Amherst College War Memorial. I recognized #2 immediately from sitting in the pews listening to so many speakers on campus. I guessed #3 fairly quickly as a more recent addition to the campus from its ‘modern’ color and texture. Finally, #1 baffled me until I did a little research and discovered that Amherst Convocation is held in Johnson Chapel. I did a little walking around until I located the image, complete with its cracked and chipping paint.”

Turton, who lives in Greenfield, Mass., wins an Amherst T-shirt.

Photos by: Jiayi Liu