You Can’t Escape

Susan Coop Street ’64, Benicia, California

I turned 40. It was escape time. I took my daughter, then 12 (what was I thinking?!), to Montserrat, a 35-square-mile island in the Caribbean (since obliterated by the volcanic eruption of the Soufriere). In 1982, all was perfect. 

One day, early in our stay, I was trudging up the hill from downtown, and a battered truck lurched to a stop. The driver asked if I wanted a ride. Yes! 

It turned out, after some conversation, that the driver, Gayle Baumgardner, who was also the sewing machine repair/ice/egg lady, had graduated from Grinnell in 1958. Not only that, she said there was a gentleman in the class of ’58 who sold furniture in downtown Plymouth. [The late] Wyndam Hunt, his partner, and I became fast friends for the year that I was there and they helped me develop a marketing strategy for downtown Plymouth.  

We called ourselves the smallest Grinnell Alum Association in the world.

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