COVID-19: Nobles 64 connects

Frank Reece started it on March 30 2020, and the email exchange kept growing, bringing us together at a time when we needed it the most. Below find a curated version of the email chain which just kept growing…

Frank Reece

Hello N’64:

Wife Sam and I thought it might be fun to reach out to you characters just to say “Hello” during these dark and worrisome times. We are all living through an historic disruption to normalcy and we hope it brings us all closer together as compared to the opposite. I vaguely remember a seige like this once before.

As a boy of 8 or 9, I can remember clearly the summers when polio struck and our parents seperated us from our friends, allowed no swimming, and spoke softly to each other out of earshot. It was a most stressful time when grownups didn’t think things could get much worse for family life. Then, significant “twin” hurricanes hit us back-to-back. We all got through it. The summer of ’54 in Marion MA brought all of our friends closer as we persevered together. We hugged each other tighter after polio and the storms passed. Resilency won the day.

In this current crisis, we are utilizing technology to weave together the social fabric. Sam and I “see” our children and grandchildren each day. Our daughter, their aunt, Bettina colors with them at 10:30 each morning from Portland (ME) while Sam and I read stories to them from Cambridge in the afternoons. Kindergarten and First Grade for the kids is conducted over Zoom while their parents work-from-home.

Cambridge is a ghost town as I imagine your towns are, and the streets look just like they did when we were sheltering-in-place with the Marathon Bomber on the loose. I juggle my work with projects I have put off for years in our old house. Sam and I take a walk each day and are unrelenting about our social distancing and hand-washing protocols. Our kids demand we operate on a very short leash. Thankfully we have a governor in Massachusetts who has some leadership capability, empathy and smarts. A unique Republican.

With the seriousness of our situation, I turn to humor for a respite and think that you guys might enjoy this old clip that I found. The folks in the front row might be familiar to you. I wish they were in charge today!

We hope you and the ones you love are all doing as well as can be expected and will remain healthy throughout this crisis.

With warm wishes to you and your families –

Frank & Sam

Bill Miles

Hey all,

Frank and Sam,

Great idea… good to hear from you. Here’s a link to a great cherry-pick you up video – guessing many of you might have seen this:

Our update: Son Matthew is in his senior year at university in Rome, Italy, not NY!! He’s an RA (in a dorm of 200, many from places like Northeastern on semester programs, but only 13 left). He has two papers to write, on line classes and to go out (pharmacies and drug stores are all that are open of course), he need signed stamped approval delineating when he will be back, where he’s going and what walking route he will take. He was stopped recently by the national police and luckily had his form… otherwise it’s about a 1000 euro fine. Overall he’s fine… a bit bored (the school sends them recipes and workout programs, etc.), but better not fling home on a plane and being quarantined who knows where.

We and lots of family have cancelled our May graduation plans and vacation – maybe next fall? Helene and her new best friend, zoom, are building an online platform for the language departments here at Dartmouth. It goes live tonight with ATs from all over the world working with undergrads from all over the world… imagine the time zone juggle let alone the personal schedules of students and the ATs… interesting stuff- perhaps the virus has pushed the future into the present.

For a good (well, depressing I guess) read look at David Quamman… he like others predicted this and as many of you might have read, researchers were working on and warning of this all… anyway, what else.

My dogs seem to not worry; older kids and grandkids are all here, in Hanover… home from school and college. Bored (two of the 15 year old boys on zoom challenged each other to kick a bottle in the air, over a small barrier and land it upright. The winner did it after 50 kicks… they’re both soccer players. Me – I am running my hill repeats daily – sometimes I run the yellow line with a grandkid on either roadside… they’re faster than I am – how did that happen!!?? Oh – here’s another video for all – I love these guys. They send out free short regimens so I don’t subscribe – too cheap:

Alright – keep healthy all…


Art Watson

Oh, hi Fra,

Great initiative, and a lovely note, but what has me gaga is that guy in the video. Apparently his name is Michael Davis; never heard of him, but this guy needs to be installed in some kind of Hall of Fame. Where did you find that? It is unbelievable!

Actually even more unbelievable is the President of the United States, a Republican, sitting a seat away from the Speaker of the House of Representatives, a Democrat, laughing at the same jokes, in Ford’s Theatre, a National Historic Monument. Can anyone imagine that happening today?

Love to all, and please stay safe,



Rick Farlow

After I got my laughter under control I consulted YouTube and found about a dozen Michael Davis videos, and all are hilarious. Highly recommended – Thanks so much for turning us on to this guy…. an excellent antidote to the general malaise these days.

Ned Bigelow

Great idea Frank –

Fortunately all the Bigelows are well – as a matter of fact our kids have us on lock down and are bringing us food and any of life’s other necessities. It’s a tough time for all and we find we listen to updates now and again but don’t have the news playing all day – it’s too much. The idea of social distancing certainly seems like the best practice at this point. We do go out for a walk every afternoon and have been amazed at how infrequently cars go by and how quiet it is – when we pass people on the street one usually moves to the center of the street and the other stays on the sidewalk. I think one of the toughest things is not being able to hug your kids and grandchildren.

Both Sandy and I are involved with various projects (from quilting, to model boat and rocket building, to cleaning out files and basement, etc.) and both are reading more, something I swore I’d do more of in retirement, and now have no excuse. Having gone through Nobles struggling to read assignments and reading some of the “delightful” authors our English teachers picked out for us, it has been delightful to work on my own reading list.
Hopefully all will chime in – stay well:


John Axten

Hi, all. Performed through Zoom by a group of students at the Berklee School of Music. What can we all do through a group Zoom? At least, meet and talk? Does anyone know how to use it? Be well, Best, John

Clint Smith

Hi Guys:

Clint here. It’s great to hear from you all in these trying times. Be very careful.

Just when everything seemed to be going so well, we get hit by this unbelievable hammer. Now all our lives are changed and our futures have suddenly become uncertain. It is truly a test of a lifetime. The kids are sad that they can no longer mix it up with their friends, and, as useful as it may be, this “remote learning” cannot replace the real thing. People are going stir crazy trapped inside their own homes.

Binge watching our toilet paper wore out really fast.

And dining out is a thing of the past. It has been more than enough to get us really down.

It is all very sad, … but perhaps the saddest thing for me and my kids is seeing my wife Elizabeth looking longingly through the window, tears in her eyes, remembering how things used to be, an imploring look on her face …

Every so often I am tempted to let her in .. but, … rules are rules.

Hang in there!

Topher Cutler
HI Ho ’64…and a special shout out to our Lone (Star) Ranger El Cobbo:
I finally found a suitable use for my 20 year cache of purple, velvet bags. (See below)
I have been ‘zooming’ with some college chums. A ’64 zoom conversation could be fun.
We could just name a time and ’round up the usual suspects’. Anyone interested?

Until then: Stay physically distant, emotionally close, mindfully practical and spiritually hopeful; or…..
As the Queen is rumored to have murmured upon learning that Charles tested positive:
“Stay calm and pass the Gin”.
Cyber Hugs all around.
Topher & Robin

Topher shelters in place with gusto

Frank Cobb

topher and Robin: Greetings from the Lone Star State and The Great Plains and The Wild West. I have received fragments of emails from several classmates, and I am experiencing some difficulty in replying. I am thinking the Internet and email lines of communication may be overloaded and not functioning properly in the corona virus era, I hope both of you and all the family members are doing really well. I will work through the email fragments anI will do my best to respond to everyone, I hope you and all the family members are doing really well.
I am bored and frustrated in this stay at home, do not travel, don’t mingle with people environment, just like everyone else I imagine. Well I have survived some tough times before, and this old Cowboy will get through this one somehow, but not without some hand wringing and angst and red wine to help me get along.

Don’t worry – be happy.
It is always great to hear from my Noble Friends, even in email fragments.

Cheers from Texas!

Frank Cobb.

Dick Grossman
I’m glad to hear people are surviving and some even keeping busy. This has actually been my new normal for quite a while. I started chemotherapy in October, lost my immune system immediately and have been self-quarantined and social distancing long before it became fashionable. By now it’s getting pretty boring, but it’s our (hopefully very temporary) way of life.
Stay safe, everyone.
P.S. – Love the mask, Cuts. When we were at Nobles, my grandfather had a business as a liquor distributor, and I had a drawer full of those “masks”. I wish I had kept them…

Ned Lawson

Nobles ’64:

Great to hear from so many, and hats off to Reece for getting the ball rolling. Everything is fine here in Duxbury, but I’m somewhat leery of the next few weeks. Isolation is no problem for me because, as my son, Ted, puts it, I’ve mostly been in isolation for 30 years! Janet and I have just abandoned walking in conservation areas as quite a few others are exercising there as well. Fortunately, I have lots of projects to keep me occupied. The gardening season will be here in shortly, my peas, spinach and lettuce are already in the ground. Should have asparagus by May 1 and will launch my fleet (2 boats) shortly there after. Like David Brooks, I do enjoy my late afternoon with my friend Jack. Dick Grossman, I hope you’re ok. Janet knows how to Zoom, but it’s beyond me and my technological ineptness. With a little notice and her assistance, I could probably join in. My best to all, be careful, and stay healthy.

Ned L.

B. Wolbach
Greetings from Glosta MA,

We are hunkered down on the edge of Dogtown almost at the end of a long dead end road. No one passes by day after day and we only venture out to reprovision once a week, masked, gloved and equipped with sanitizing wipes.

Brandy’s immune system was compromised by our exposure to black mold in a celebrity owned home LA rental in 2013 so we are being very very very careful.

Auden our eight year old second grader is receiving 1/2 hour of Zoom every other day in place of seven hours at his private school with classmates and teachers. Hopefully his school will step it up before the end of this stay at home school year.

If you need a break from our clueless leader in DC, search for Randy Rainbow on YouTube. Very amusing.

More later, Love to you and your families,

Nick King

Guys, It’s April Fool’s Day and I’m irrationally contemplating the wild notion that this whole corona thing is just a bad joke by Mother Nature. Sadly, not to be, but life though altered does go on. Margaret and I are hunkered down here at Half Moon Farm in Needham. One daily joy is watching a pair of bluebirds flit and flirt as they take their time deciding which nesting box to raise their chicks in. In the garden, the lettuce and radishes we planted a week ago are poking hopefully up through the soil. And that damned crabgrass is starting to turn green again. On the other side of the natural cycle, we lost Sheba, one of our four goats, the day before yesterday. She keeled over unexpectedly from a respiratory illness. And yes, the corona connection did cross our minds.

For sanity-keeping diversions, Margaret is big into gardening and I spend time fly fishing at my trout club in Norfolk; thankfully it’s naturally a socially-distanced sport. We walk, we play scrabble and backgammon, and we watch too much TV. And of course we worry about family. Younger son Nathaniel is thankfully working his GIS job from his apartment in Brighton but older son Franklin is a shrink who goes into the Mass General emergency room a couple times a week to counsel all those folks freaked out about what’s going on. Even worse, his wife Marisa is an emergency room doc at Beth Israel Deaconess, so she’s on the front liners every day. So courageous and honorable.

So I pray for them and frankly for all of us as we strive to maintain some sense of normality in this dire time. My wife gave me a comb for Valentine’s Day – hint hint – but that seems like so long ago.

Best to all, Nick

Mike Wiggins

Now I finally understand why liquor stores were allowed to stay open as “essential”.

On the upside among all the downers is the story of a laid off worker at a failed paper company in Bangor who scrape together his life savings and leased the vacant mill last year to start up a toilet paper company. You can imagine how he’s faring.

Meanwhile, the legal industry is being dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century. There’s legislation pending that will allow deeds and wills to be witnessed and notarized by video until this crisis is past. Until that becomes law, I’ve been featuring drive-by witnesss/notarizations for a couple of clients over the side of the fence.

Gail told me this morning that it’s been a non-stop delight to be next to me in close quarters all day and to laugh uproariously at all my jokes and witticisms and relentlessly upbeat, sunny attitude…..April Fool’s


Fin Glidden
Hey guys , it’s wonderful to hear everyone is ok . We are doing ok over here in California with the lockout. It’s much quieter than usual and the music work has been cancelled, so that sucks . My guitar shop is by appointment only , so it’s slow too, but we will make it thru !
My children and grandchildren are all fine . Be safe and careful everyone, hugs all around !
Fin Glidden

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