Fond memories  of ‘The Gang’

To the editor:

We were a gang. Six couples — John and Barbara Morressy, George and Mary Michaelides, Bob and Ruth Alvin, Don and Mary-Lou Burness, Bill and Norma Ball, and Walter and Dorothy Peterson. Except for the Petersons, who entered the scene in the 1970s, we came to work at Franklin Pierce College in the late 1960s.

We met once or twice a year, usually at the Balls’ in Jaffrey, each family bringing food, but we all knew Bill Ball was a master chef and looked forward to his gastronomic creativity. Year after year, we would gather, we would tell stories, we would laugh. There was an easy camaraderie.

Over time, Walter, John, the Alvins left the stage. This August, politically savvy George died followed a few days later by Bill. In their later years, Bill and Norma, both besieged by Parkinson’s, endured with grace and humor and love together. It was a tender act in a play. Their daughter-caretaker, Mary, selflessly helped them, loved them, respected their dignity until the day her father died.

Mary-Lou and I miss the magic of those days. Bill Ball was a classy host, a passionate teacher, a friend. He and I both came to Franklin Pierce, where we taught French and English, in 1968. So now it is “au revoir, bien fait, merci notre cher ami, Guillaume.” We remember well.

Don and Mary-Lou Burness


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