SENDING LOVE FROM UNDER THE MOUNTAIN
Valentine's Day isn't just about romance; it's an opportunity to celebrate the many kinds of love in your life. Check out the links below to read about Berkshire alumni who found all sorts of love at Berkshire School, share your own Berkshire School love story, and download Berkshire-themed Valentines to send or post. Honor a loved one, honor your beloved School. Use #ILoveBerkshireandU to remind everyone that Berkshire. Is. Love.
Roses are red, violets are blue
Here is a Valentine from Berkshire to you
From Buck Valley to the Jack to Berkshire Hall
You've lived here, and loved here, been a Bear through it all
Warm days at Guilder, cold ones in your dorm
Watching theater productions, Greensleeves, and Ursa Minor perform
Cheering on the the Bears while they compete
The high-fives and hugs and graduation good-byes
There's so much to recall, reminisce, and explore
The memories and moments--the ones that meant more
So send your loved one a card, a post, or a tweet
You can be heartfelt or clever or sweet
Send a message to someone near and dear:
Remind them that Bears, are Bears for Life.
Alex '88 and Susie Vogel '91
Alex and I met by chance in November of 1996. We were both living in Somerville, Massachusetts, at the time—I had moved there after graduating from Colgate, Alex was attending Boston University Business School.
Rachel, a friend of a friend, gave my roommate and me an old couch. We needed to get it from her house in Arlington to our apartment five miles away, but no one had a car big enough to haul it. Rachel said her husband Nat had a friend named Alex who had a truck, and maybe he would help us. Rachel had mentioned Alex before and she said he had gone to Berkshire.
Anyway, Alex agreed to help move the couch—but only if we would help him bottle beer he had brewed at a U-Brew place near my apartment. So we all helped Alex with his bottling and he moved the couch to our apartment. With Alex and me on one end and Rachel and Nat on the other, we started shoving the couch up a very narrow staircase. Not only did we break a window in the process, but the couch got stuck on the way up. Now Alex and I were trapped in the apartment together.
A week later he called me and asked me on a date. I called Sarah Kuhn ‘91 and Torrey Card ‘91 and asked them what they remembered of a guy named Alex Vogel—he was a senior when they were freshmen. Both of them said, “Hmm…he was the guy who wore a beret. Well, we had a terrific first date and were married two years later. This past spring we celebrated the birth of our son Otto Batterman Vogel.
By the way, he couch never made it to our living room—we left it on the curb for the trash.
Bob Thomas '79 and Kim Lewis Thomas '80
“We first met during orientation,” recalls Kim Lewis Thomas ’80 of husband Bob Thomas ’79. “We had to do this inner-circle, outer-circle exercise where you had one minute to introduce yourself. Bob told me he remembers my introduction well. He said that I came off as kind of cocky.”
The scene switches to Madame Biber’s French IV classroom. “I was in the middle of answering questions in French when Bob walks in and sits down. Realizing he was in way over his head, he stood up and said, ‘Is this Spanish?’ and then walked out of the class. It was really funny, and such a typical Bob thing to do.”
During their one year together at Berkshire, Kim was in Godman and Bob in Buck. “Godman girls were considered the studious type and did not usually interact with boys from Buck, which was a jock dorm,” says Kim. “However, I played field hockey and lacrosse with the girls from Eipper, so Bob and I knew each other through them.”
“The Ask” came after Christmas vacation. Bob’s roommate was T.J. Laviolette ’79; they both came to Berkshire from the Capital District of New York state to play hockey, recruited by Jack Stewart. In January of their senior year, Bob and T.J. were sitting in Buck one day, watching the girls walk across the valley.
“Hey, there’s that Kim Lewis girl. I think I’m going to ask her out,” T.J. said.
But Bob beat him to it. That night there was a hockey game, and Kim was sitting in the stands. During the game Bob called Kim down to the ice. “I thought he was going to ask me to go and get him a drink or something,” Kim recalls, “But instead he asked me if I would go out with him that night after the game. I said yes.”
Later that year Kim, Bob and T.J. went to Florida together to visit Kim’s mother for spring break. T.J. and Bob had known each other before Berkshire and, despite Bob’s thievery, the two have remained friends through the years. According to Kim, T.J.’s mother still jokes that Kim could have been her daughter-in-law.
Bob and Kim both left Berkshire in June of 1979, Bob to The Rochester Institute of Technology and Kim to Roanoke College, which had accepted her a year early. They continued a long- distance relationship until Kim was out of college in ’83. “After that we both ended up in Maryland, Bob was working at IBM and I was at GE, coincidentally our office buildings were right next to each other.”
They finally tied the knot in 1989. “The wedding was down in Clearwater, Florida, where my family is, and the highlight was that so many Berkshire people were able to attend,” says Kim. “It is amazing how many friends we made during our one year at Berkshire.”
Kim and Bob have been back on campus for their respective 25th reunions in 2004 and 2005. “We walked around together through Memorial Hall and visited the place where we used to check our mail and found the places we used to sit in Allen Theater.”
Because Kim came to Berkshire from Florida and Bob from New York, odds are the two never would have met otherwise.
Jim Haskel and Annie Zimmerli Haskel '86
I came to Berkshire in my junior year and first remember Annie from basketball practice. She caught my attention but I was too shy to say anything to her. I got to know her better when both of us became prefects heading into our senior year. She was very easy to talk to and had no pretenses about her. We got along real well. The only problem was that she and ErikZimmerman ‘86 had begun dating. This was definitely not ideal because “Zim” was my basketball teammate and a good guy so I had to check my urges to somehow take him out, if you know what I mean. Moreover, Annie had no idea that I liked her and even if she did I doubt it would have resulted in anything.
Meanwhile, I was having a great year, but still this crush was deepening. I remember at graduation wondering how I would weasel into a picture with her and then getting one and cherishing it. This crush had become so ridiculous that I purposely worked up in Burlington, VT the summer after my graduation, where my brother was, just so I could be near Annie who was working at a camp across Lake Champlain. I visited her a couple of times, just as “friends”.
What kept hope alive was that I knew Annie was taking a year off before entering Tufts to go to Spain and that her close friend Jen Hayes ‘86 was going to Franklin and Marshall with me, so I knew I was going to see her at some point. We were exchanging letters “just as friends” regularly at this point. Annie then went away to Spain and we kept in touch but I was on to other things.
I didn’t see her again until the next autumn when she came down for a visit, this time from Tufts. Then, what I call Phase 1 of our relationship began. We had a great time only she wanted a relationship and the distance from Lancaster, PA to Boston seemed insurmountable, and plus I had already started to like someone else at F&M by that point. So, the relationship cooled, and Annie thought I acted immature and didn’t talk to me again until we saw each other at Jen Hayes ‘86 and Dirk John’s ‘86 wedding in 1994.
By that time, Annie was in another relationship, and I had broken up with my college girlfriend who was also at Jen’s wedding, and it was the first time I had seen her in awhile, awkward all around to say the least. Annie and I had a good time at the wedding and became friends again. Afterwards, we stayed in touch intermittently and always had a fun friendship.
We didn’t see each other again until 1996 at our Berkshire 10th reunion, right after my graduation from graduate school. All of our good friends were there, but what was remarkable to me at that point was that on Saturday night, when everyone was having fun, Annie led me outside by the side of the gym and told me that she still thought I had acted like a jerk in 1988 but that she had forgiven me if I would apologize to her now. I did and I kind of knew right there that there might be a future for us because who does this so many years later?
She was still in a relationship in Chicago, but I knew from how she was talking that her relationship wasn’t going anywhere. In any event, I went to New York and she went back to Chicago until she moved to Boston sometime in 1997. We would talk on the phone a lot. Sometime in the spring of 1998, I called her because I needed to be in Boston on business and wanted to see if she would have dinner with me. We went to a Mexican restaurant in Cambridge and had a great time and when I said goodbye, I knew that there were mutual feelings between us.
Shortly after that Annie broke up with her boyfriend. I always call Annie the “dimmer” because her unsuccessful relationships tended to fade rather than end. She calls me the “switch” because I end relationships much quicker when I think they aren’t going anywhere. Between that time and August, 1998, Annie and I saw each other but frankly I was undecided about what I should do. I knew that she was interested but I also knew that after all of these years, if we were to pursue the relationship and it failed there would probably be no friendship left. I remember thinking about it a lot.
Then, in the beginning of August of that year, fearing I would lose her anyway if I didn’t pursue her, I grew up and invited her down to NY for a long weekend and we just had a great time. From that time, we were a couple and we were engaged barely six months later. She moved to NY in the summer of 1999 and we got married in June of 2000.
What is clear to me now, but wasn’t then, is that we were lucky not to have seriously dated back in the period right after Berkshire because we were both people that needed to pursue our individual interests for awhile. But, in our early 30’s, the feelings were the same, and the timing was right. She was the same person I remembered from our school days only now she had a better basketball shot. Our daughter Tess was born in 2001 and our son Sam was born last year.
SHAREABLE BERKSHIRE VALENTINES
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