2021 WMS Reunion in Windsor VT & Holiday Zoom

Birthplace Reunion of Windsor Mountain School!

FINAL REPORT: Returned back home in Hatfield MA afternoon of October 3, 2021 having spent a breakfast with those alums staying at the Windsor Mansion Inn, along with others staying nearby. It was similar to the Reunions 2016 – 2019 in Lenox, that tend to be smaller allowing for new friendships and bond[y]ing of the alums blending the span of our years, then and now, into our one unique WMS community. Adam Thielker has perhaps summed up our 2021 Reunion in Vermont best on Facebook:

“This reunion was a day worthy of the name. The fact that there weren’t so many of us meant I could spend better time with each of us who were there. When Bill Dobbs walked through the door the history of these years since [1996 Reunion] formed a circle. A larger circle fell into place, learning that on October 1, 1939, 82 years ago, the Bondy’s began their work in America. I felt a new connection with the work that Gertrude and Max started all those years ago. Look how we have grown. Standing on the ground where they brought their dreams and hopes to America shook me. I had never heard the story that Maurice told about how he came to know Heinz and grew from student to a position I will call Dean of Students [Assistant Headmaster] was a revelation. Some years back, I asked Maurice why it was so difficult for us all to find a place beyond race. Beyond division. He told me he didn’t know. Today I wept, telling him that Windsor was the closest I have ever come to living in such a world.”

There are other touching Reunion stories and photos from Facebook as well are part of the 2021 Reunion page (click here) that illuminates Adam’s words so well.

This was a very special reunion as we returned to the place of beginning, where our beloved school was born in America in Windsor Vermont in 1939. Experience the panoramic view from the mansion portico high above the Connecticut River Valley that inspired Max and Gertrud to name their school Windsor Mountain School. Windsor Mansion Inn (formerly known as Juniper Hill Farm) is now a combination B&B and Event Space with 14 hilltop acres, beautiful mountain views, large verandas, gardens and terraces.

Saturday, October 2nd Reunion: alums to arrived around 11:00 AM, with a Food Truck onsite. We had secured a Food Truck, Jeff’s Smoke Shack (aka Truetexassmokehouse.com) for the day. There was plenty of outdoor seating, however, if weather was uncooperative, there were many cozy indoor sitting areas, eating areas, and even a full bar. Average temps were around 66 day, and 50 evening, with a short rain fall in the morning. We revived the Windsor afternoon tradition of Milk & Cookies, many brought a plate of their favorite cookie/sweets to share, along with a Plaque presentation by Maurice. For dinner there were many offsite choices, such as Windsor Train Station and Harpoon Brewery (reserve early!), and if you wanted to stay onsite, many local restaurants choices from Chinese to Pizza. In the evening we enjoyed conversation along with Ron on his various guitars (sample).

Dedication Plaque: Around 3 pm Maurice presented the Inn Manager, Andy, a dedication plaque (click to hear his amazing speech). The plaque will join others that commemorate other historic events at the Inn such as Presidential visits. If your up in VT in the future visit/stay at the Inn look for our plaque in a sitting room or Library. Thank you Merryll Pension for making this possible.

Weather: Both Friday and Saturday was cloudy with day temps between 66-50. Being early for prime Autumn color in Windsor VT, traffic was moderate. If you stayed over to Sunday and wanted to see great foliage go about 40 miles north.

Zoom: If you were unable to attend in person, we didn’t want you to feel left out. Apologize that for many this didn’t work out, so will try another “Zoom Assembly” this November as the one we did last Thanksgiving weekend worked out very well with 64 attending (watch last year’s). To see our Holiday Zoom from November 28, 2021, click here.

Future Visit Train Option: Amtrak station is located in Windsor VT, just a mile away, arrived from DC at 6 PM, and returning at 11 AM, so you will want to have lodging for 2 nights for a future visit. Let Andy know you are a WMS alum! For local transport there is G-Mac Taxi 802-738-9952.

Let’s talk Covid and the New Normal: It seems clear that Covid is not going away in our lifetime. Just as we learned to live with the variants of the H1N1 1918 flu, a new normal of cautious socialized community is emerging where Covid is a “livable pathogen” (good article in TIME I recommend “The World beyond Delta”). It is also likely the “New Normal,” which likely be the normal for years, will also mean continued vaccine updates and masks when indoors. Currently the Inn asks for masks indoors so everyone will feel safe and be safe (let’s hope this changes soon).

A word (or two) about Kindness and Consideration: I personally have a new appreciation for the work Betsy Ryan and others have done in the past. If you were unable to come, we will miss you and wish you good health and happiness. We truly hope we’ll see you next Reunion. All we ask is that if you have changed your mind and/or couldn’t come this year, be supportive in social media for those who who did attend our Reunion this year.

I was truly excited to see everyone on Saturday, Windsor Reunions are always amazing events. A quick shout out to Amy Messina whose idea and planning has made this very special reunion possible when Betsy Ryan learned we couldn’t go to Lenox this year. Sadly last week her car was totaled when a tree fell on it while driving on Rt 5 in Windsor … the great news is she was not hurt (other than very shaken), and was able to join us on Saturday!

Sincerely, Christopher Smith