Old Friends, Newly Reunited

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Taryn Hand takes a selfie as she bikes and her Geneseo friends run on their reunion trip in Cleveland. From left:  Laura Iafrati, Danielle Hunt Novara, Karen Merrill Livingston, Katie Passarell, Kristin Wayman Fitzsimmons and Christy Finke. |By Kris Dreessen

Geneseo friends are friends for life. We celebrate “sisters and brothers” who stay together. 

Still running

Twelve years ago, Karen Merrill Livingston ’08 moved into a house at 25 South Street in Geneseo with eight friends from the cross-country and track teams. Though they aspired to different careers, they trained and competed, talked over dinner and then studied in the library together every day.

“We became family,” said Livingston. “It was hard to graduate and leave each other. We knew more about each other than some of our own family members knew us. But, we’ve been committed to staying in touch and having reunions.”

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The friends at graduation. |Submitted Photo

Every year, the “25 South” crew has reunited. This year, Livingston and four others rented a van and went on a road trip from Rochester to Kansas City, Mo., stopping along the way to visit their other friends at their homes across the country.

“It really brought us back in time,” said Livingston. “It was nice to just be and live together for a little bit again.”

Three decades strong 

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Chris Evans ’87, left, Tony Wiederkehr ’87 and Jeff Maier ’86 at the Nairn Golf Club in Scotland. | Submitted photo 

Thirty-five years ago, Jeff Maier ’86, Chris Evans ’87 and Tony Wiederkehr ’87 became fast friends on the basketball court and in Monroe Hall. These days, the three former hall mates reunite for golfing excursions. Most recently, they played in Ballybunion Golf Club on the west coast of Ireland.

Wiederkehr was the one who saw the beauty and positive in things, and focused on what was important; Maier, says Evans, has a gifted intellect, and was equally gifted when it came to his sense of humor. “Me? I suppose I’m the sentimentalist of us three,” said Evans. “They are my best friends in the world. Although Geneseo was a time for figuring out my place in the world, the best thing to come out of it is my friendship with them.”

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Wiederkehr, center, and Evans, right, were best men for Maier’s wedding in 1987.

Rounding a half century 

This year, Carol Rosenbaum Cranston ’70 and Sherri Beatty Fitch ’70 plan to meet for the musical “A Night With Janis Joplin” nearly a half century after they walked across the stage at commencement. Jule Haas Cottom ’70 and Linda Wertime Culver ’70 have joined in on Cranston and Fitch’s reunions as well, including a 2011 trip to Rochester, N.Y. They came from Vermont, Connecticut and other states over
the years.

“The four of us took turns planning outings,” said Cranston. “… I am pleased to be lifelong friends with these women I met at Geneseo.”

Alumni often say the friends they made here are like blood relatives. No matter where life takes them, they stay connected.

Share your gatherings, too: Send information and high-resolution photos to scene@geneseo.edu or mail a hard copy to Geneseo Scene, Doty Hall 225, 1 College Circle, Geneseo, NY 14454.

Author: geneseoscene

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