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The View- of Class of ’65 Women

By Carol L. (Greenwald) Bender

   Greetings to all of you, my ’65 classmates. On a regular basis I am going to be providing contributions giving the perspective of Class of ’65 women. I am going to be telling you what is going on in their lives now, where they have been, what they have been doing.

If anyone has suggestions for a contribution please do not hesitate to contact me by e-mail at For this inaugural issue of the new website I am going to bring you up to date on my own activities- focused in a way on my return “home” to Ithaca.

   It was the winter of 2002 when the realtor called me and said there was another bid on the house. I had tried for 5 months the previous year to buy the “McElway House” from the estate – with no success. I finally gave up. I loved the house and wanted it desperately. Here I was rooted in Maryland for 30 years and working in a dying profession (Physician of Internal Medicine). People in Maryland went to “The Beach” for their R & R. I’m not a sun person so I thought I’d go to Ithaca for my R & R. Back then the 150 mile trip to the beach took 5 hours and the 340 mile trip to Ithaca takes just under six hours. (I used to make better time until I got the speeding ticket!)


By May, 2002 I had closed on the house and for considerably less than my highest offer in the summer – fall of the previous year. My “Williamsburg house” in Ithaca, New York – in Cornell’s back yard. I never knew where the “Plantations” was, but now I was owning on the same street. “Go up Tower Road, turn left on Judd Falls, keep going – it’s on the right; the large brick house set back from the road.” If you see Maryland tags in the driveway, stop in and say hello.

   I updated the décor from drab olive green and faded purple, decorated it beautifully with Maryland house sale furniture in colonial mode, and annually improve the grounds. But the real enjoyment comes from the Cornell connections. When I sit in my small alcove off the master bedroom and look out the window in the winter when the trees have shed their leaves I see the stream winding through the distant back yard as it meanders to become part of Beebe Lake. In the summer I can hear the babbling water.

Leaving the driveway and turning right on Judd Falls Road, it is only a minute walk to the Forest Home single lane bridge to watch the waterfalls. A walk toward campus, takes you around the trails of the lake. Turning left on Judd Falls takes you to the Plantations, the Dairy Bar, the Vet School, and the Ag School.

   The house is over 55 years old. Problem: I didn’t want to leave it empty in the winter. And I wanted someone to enjoy it as much as I did. Just as we had the mantra in raising children “I don’t want the party to be at my house when I am on vacation”, I felt the same about this house. Not that Cornell undergraduates would ever decimate a house. Solution: rent to grad students and use it as a B & B occasionally. I have been delighted with my tenants and my house guests. I just keep 1 or 2 tenants in a four bedroom house. There is always intelligent conversation.

The house is in tip top shape. My graduate students have been in “theater,” engineering, and the Vet school. One tenant was a Chemistry Professor whose hobby is cooking. Dinner parties have been delightful – guests are other graduate students and professors (some were Nobel Prize winners). Children come through the house on a periodic basis. B & B people have included chefs coming to the Statler, visiting faculty, parents of tenants, and reunion alumni and families renting the house for graduation who want the modern conveniences that some of the older dorms don’t provide: air conditioning, driveway parking, walking to graduation ceremonies, etc.

   The neighbors are a mix of professors, current and retired, graduate students, and regular folk. The houses are eclectic and delightful.

   The best bonus is getting to be a “student” – enjoying the good things of campus life without having the pressure of studying or worrying about deadlines, exams, and grades. Sometimes my Ithaca “girlfriend,” Kate and I do lunch or shop together for garden plants. I recently heard Senator George McGovern speak on campus.

He was wonderful! I have dropped in to hear lectures by faculty and visiting guests, attend concerts and choral music performances, walk the campus to just soak up the ambiance, visit the Johnson Museum, often walk the hosta trails through the plantations, roam college town, enjoy the wonderful restaurants, and shop at “Weggies” (Wegman’s – came after our time). I can’t forget to mention the Farmer’s Markets.

   Whoever said you can never go home again is wrong!