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   "Like chocolate chip cookies
      ... so near, and yet so very far
         ... Mrs. Regut's date squares"

Please turn your speakers on ...  from H. Bruce Downey, Harvard '56 ...  Sandra Boynton's  'Faraway Cookies - Caitlin McEwan' ...  from Sandra's album,  "Philadelphia Chickens"
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 Our son, Stuart, of Plantation, FL recently sent me a New York Times Bestseller, “Luckiest Man” ---the story of Lou Gehrig. After briefly paging through the book, I went back to the beginning and began looking for the author’s name somewhere inside the first few pages. Not finding it, I asked my wife, Nancy (Radcliffe ’56 --- Edmands House), “Who wrote this book?” Whereupon she knowingly responded, “Look on the cover.” And so I did. And sure enough, there it was:--- “Jonathan Eig,” I said aloud, or something close to that effect.

And then suddenly came this response from Nancy, “Oh my gosh. I almost forgot to tell you!”

“Tell me what?”

“Tell you about a story I found in the ’56 Class Report!”

And then she scurried about trying to find a copy of the 50th Reunion of the Harvard-Radcliffe Report, Class of 1956. Nancy has one…and so do I…meaning a copy of it couldn’t be all that far away. Once found, Nancy began hurriedly paging through it, but she didn’t really need to find the story--- for Nancy could just as well have written it herself. The story as submitted was written by a Harvard ’56 grad, who like many of those in the “Big Book” neither of us ever knew in our Harvard-Radcliffe days. But Nancy knew his wife, Audrey--- Audrey Regut --- and well she should, for Nancy and Audrey grew up together in Arlington, MA. Audrey was a few years younger than Nancy, so they were not the closest of friends. But friends they were, nonetheless. Nancy remembers Audrey as being "a very pretty young girl."

In their childhood days together Audrey and Nancy were both “Rainbow Girls.” And they both went to Arlington High School. Upon graduation Nancy went on to Radcliffe. And upon Audrey’s graduation a short time later, Audrey accepted a job working at Harvard’s Lamont Library. And it was there, at Lamont Library, that Audrey would meet her partner for life--- a Harvard man--- and member of the Class of 1956. She was re-stacking books in the Poynesian section when all the while he was only interested in the stacker. ”Like chocolate chip cookies,” he would soon tell her:--- “If I had three wishes, they’d all be for you, --- and if I had my way, you’d be mine.” And so she would always be --- from December 22, 1955 to ‘forever after!’

But there’s more to this Cinderella-like story than this, for this next part dates back to 1929 when Nancy’s mother, Anna Svensson (later changed to Anna Swanson, having emigrated from Sweden when she was herself only 18 in 1919), married Arne Richardsson (later changed to Arne Richardson, having emigrated from Finland when in 1922 he was 20). As a married couple they lived together in a duplex house at 24 Flett Road in Belmont, MA, one block from the trolley line that to this very day still runs along Trapello Road. Nancy was born in 1934 and so she too lived in the Flett Road house until October, 1939 when the Richardsons moved from Flett Road to a brand new house at 60 Chester Street in Arlington, MA. Nancy’s sister, Joanne, would be born one year later in 1940--- see photo below of Nancy and her sister standing in front of their childhood home on Chester Street, just as it once was--- a photo taken in June 2006 on the occasion of our 50th Class Reunion.

Next door to the Richardsons on Chester Street lived Hazel and Stanley Beck and their daughter, Eleanor, who was about 6-years older than Nancy. The Becks belonged to the Arlington Baptist Church, and so Hazel soon asked Nancy’s mother, Anna, to come with her to the “circle” meetings held regularly in the homes of the women of the Church. It was at these Church gatherings that Anna, an immigrant from Sweden, first met Audrey Regut’s mother, an immigrant from Latvia. And just as Nancy’s and Audrey's mothers came to know one another through their "circle" of friends, so too would Nancy and Audrey come to know each other through theirs.

And then finally, there’s this:--- After telling me the story of Audrey Regut and of Audrey’s mother--- a story “so near, and yet so very far” from a time not previously recalled by Nancy until the occasion of the 50th Harvard-Radcliffe Reunion--- Nancy went on to tell me that “somewhere in among all my recipes, I still have a recipe given to my mother by Audrey’s mother so very long ago.” I asked Nancy if she could find it. And so she did. “Like chocolate chip cookies,” what Nancy found was Audrey’s mother’s recipe for ‘date squares’, transcribed in Nancy's own hand on a 3x5 index card dating from an era long before Nancy and I were to meet in Professor Boring's Psychology I Class at Harvard--- a time that now seems both "so near, and yet so very far ... like chocolate chip cookies, so high on the shelf."




NOTE: And for those "chocolate chip cookies, so high on the shelf,” you too will have to reach for the 50th Reunion Class Report of the Harvard-Radcliffe Class of 1956 to read the account of Audrey Regut as written by her husband for these past 51-years--- Mal (Winthrop House). HINT: It’s a Harvard name found in the first half of the alphabetical listings. Look for it under the letter “I”. And like the Lou Gehrig author’s name above, it’s a simple, three-letter name that should be easy for you to find:---

“like chocolate chip cookies, hiding inside of the jar.”

H. Bruce Downey, Harvard, ’56, June, 2006

Audrey and Mal
Thanks for letting me tell your story my way



At left are Audrey and Mal, once again at Lamont Library's Circulation & Reserves Desk--- some 52-years after Mal first saw a certain young lady he just knew he had to meet. And meet they did--- as Audrey was stacking books in the Polynesian Section of Lamont Library. And so it was here, in the photo at right--- in amongst this very same Polynesian section of Lamont, some 52-years later--- that Mal and Audrey revisited on the occasion of the Harvard/Radcliffe Class of '56's Fiftieth Reunion. Theirs is the classic story of 'love at first sight' and from here, 'they both lived happily ever after!'

Note: These two photos, as important as they are to Mal and Audrey, were taken by someone equally as important to such an occasion as this--- the photos were taken by their Granddaughter, Paige, who came to be with them at the Class of '56's Fiftieth Reunion. And in doing so, Paige now becomes a part of their story--- a love story that she too will carry with her for the rest of her life.

   NOTE: 50-years ago dates were sold in 1 lb boxes, so you'll need a pound of dates. And if you don't care much for dates, try substituting 1 lb. of dried apricots--- but use the blender just a tad.

Please turn your speakers on ...  from H. Bruce Downey, Harvard '56 ...  Sandra Boynton's  'Faraway Cookies - Caitlin McEwan' ...  from Sandra's album,  "Philadelphia Chickens"

 ~ ~ ~ 

***Story written by Bruce on the occasion of the 50th Reunion of the Harvard-Radcliffe Class of 1956 and presented here in html coding also written by Bruce***

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