Maximum JALF Spirit
After two “JALF” reunions in as many years, Jessica Taraski ’91 was inclined to take a year off. These gatherings of Marlboro alumni from the ’90s, honoring the memory of Jed Adam Leland Fels ’92, were more fun than a dorm room full of puppies, but they were also a lot of work. What could inspire Jessica to organize another reunion event last October?
“Peer pressure,” says Jessica. “Cate Marvin ’93, JALF’s esteemed founder, posted to our Facebook group to gauge interest, and that got the ball rolling. Then so many others pitched in. It really is a group effort. And thankfully, [alumni director] Kathy Waters always says ‘yes’ to everything we pitch.”
The third annual JALF reunion involved a total of 42 alumni taking part in various events over the weekend, with “maximum JALF” reached on Saturday night. Other community members that stopped in for events included President Kevin, retired professors Jim Tober and T. Wilson, and former staff members and alumni Hilly van Loon ’62 and Piet van Loon ’63.
“For the past two years, it was a Friday-night-to-Sunday-morning thing, but this year we added an extra day, because two nights just wasn’t enough,” says Jessica. “We were so lucky that Maia Segura ’91 and her husband Damian were generous enough to kick things off Thursday night with a cozy cocktail party at their place.”
Ceramist Diane Echlin ’91 led her fellow JALFers in a mug decorating activity, and Vermont Performance Lab’s Sara Coffey ’90 taught urban line dancing. Everyone enjoyed seeing alumni offspring play together and make bonds that reach beyond the JALF generation. But for Jessica the highlight was the meal her partner Adam Shepard FS91 and Randy George ’93 created for Saturday night.
“That dinner, with help in the kitchen from Randy’s wife Eliza and their two daughters, plus other alumni and their families, ranks as one of the best meals I’ve ever had,” says Jessica. “Something magical happens when they collaborate. Getting to be on the receiving end of their camaraderie, creativity, and craft is the best.”