C49 logo




When Tom Clark emailed me the other day about working up a History of our class website, I scoffed: "We don’t even know if anyone visits it."  Nonetheless, since it's sort of an extension of our relentless chronicling of after-Cranbrook life, here I am drafting a response. It'll be more Acknowledgements than History.

All this focusing on after-Cranbrook life began in Fall, 2003. In the first of a couple thousand emails we’ve since exchanged, Clark said he’d already arranged for Cranbrook’s Alumni Relations Office to publish and circulate an issue of the Crane. His high aim was to promote our upcoming 55th Class Reunion. Given that I’d edited the School's weekly during senior year, would I help?  

Well, over the next several months, we assembled data from most of our living classmates.  Ai-Ri Chung, a computer-savvy colleague at the University of Toronto, kindly did the six-pager’s production. My wife Barbara suggested the name, The ReNewed Crane. We exulted that turnout for the June Reunion was excellent.

Five years later, Clark drew upon his marketing experience to propose a more ambitious project: via The ReNewed Brook, we could beat the drums for the class's approaching 60th Reunion. Besides, he said, "We could offer background information for those who couldn't make it back to campus."  Again the most important part was the Alumni Office’s support and our classmates' sharing of personal information. This time, Walt Denison and Dick Breck mobilized classmates to send autobiographical facts and recollections. Ron Ballantyne provided illustrations. Clark used his creativity and technical wizardry to convert words and pictures into 80 pages; in the process, I marveled at how patient he was –- not once did he grouse over my continual tinkerings with copy. And although our ranks were diminished, Reunion turnout was good enough. 

Before long, Clark invited me to help launch a class website as what he called "an Online  Reunion."  When we took stock a couple years later, we realized that also served as a Record of selected adventures of ours.  Steadily, Denison has promoted it in his Tradition Notes. Clark and I hope to keep updating the site until one of us dies. Our final grateful Acknowledgement will go to a history-minded Alumni Relations Office that incorporates the website into its online archive.

                                                                                                                                                  -                                          -- Richard Townsend, December, 2017