Below is a contribution from Leina Schiffrin (de la Igesia).


I am deeply grateful to the committee, (especially, Anne Hooper, a saint) who organized the reunion brilliantly and laboured so that the rest of us could enjoy ourselves. The months before the reunion were heavenly too. People wrote me (and telephoned and faxed and e-mailed ) to find out who was going, to discuss where to stay, and to express terror at the prospect of not knowing anyone, not recognizing anyone and, even worse, not being recognizable themselves. I talked to old friends I hadn't talked to for twenty years and people I hadn't seen in forty years. I had lively conversations about reunions and school with New Yorkers who d never heard of Dartington. For me the actual reunion was very different from the only other one I went to, the 1976. Was it because this reunion was shorter? (two days as opposed to four) or because we are older? (My friends are 60 instead of 40). Or simply because it was bigger? The last reunion had been dramatic, replete with confrontations, minor sexual dramas, detailed reminiscing, and analysis of Life at School. This one, which one friend described as the most amazing weekend of her life, was, for me, an astonishingly benign and joyful occasion. Only pleasant feelings surfaced and I spent two days suffused with sentimental affection for ALL my classmates, several of whom I hadn't seen for over forty years. Polly Hunter says that this reunion gives her "A huge golden glow of delight which warms me even now." Alas, I was in such a happy daze, that I can't remember details. But in the few post mortems I've had, one person pointed out how people stuck to their own age groups. How careful people were of each other - not asking questions in case they uncovered problems. Someone else countered that that is just the English way - an American reunion would have been all questions "What? How? Who?" She said the reunion made her feel very American. As far as I could see, there wasn't any of the boasting or exchanging of credentials that some had feared. But I did hear of one person who delved into and resolved a bullying incident that had troubled both the victim and the perp. for almost fifty years. I wonder how many other people delved in to the past and resolved or re-thought old events. Any negatives? Two people were saddened by the intimations of mortality brought on by seeing people now aged 60 and 60 plus, last seen at the age of 18. I heard of two much younger people who complained - one that from her class only nerds had turned up, which made her suspect that she, herself, is a nerd. The other complained that his class had always been cliquey and is still cliquey. When I got home a Dartingtonian New Yorker who hadn't gone ("I'm not good at that sort of thing. I know I wouldn't have a good time") asked whether I had met anyone that I would see again. Yes, Polly Hunter and Brian Lockett . Apart from that, I don't yet know what lasting effects the reunion had on my life, but I very much wonder how it affected other people.
Anne & Gifford Hooper, Michael & Carole Maurice, Marie Anderson, Nan Plummer and the rest of the committee did a fantastic job and there was hardly a spare minute throughout Saturday. THEY have not had any spare time for some months! It seems unlikely that there will ever be another reunion like it although there will be the five yearly event in Trafalgar Square on Saturday, April 1st, 2005 at 12.00 noon!