by Celeste Lipow MacLeod

Do friendships made at International House last? The experience of four former residents from four countries, who met at I-House in 1952-'53, shows that they do. In July, 1997, we gathered in Helsinki, Finland, for a reunion and did some traveling together.

We were John Conroy from Australia, Basil Hoare from England, Celeste Lipow MacLeod from USA, and Terttu Puhakka from Finland. Terttu was our host. It was 44 years since our days at I-House.

The highlight of the trip was a visit to Savonlinna, a town in the midst of lakes and forests with a sixteenth-century castle, where a music festival takes place each summer. We saw Mozart's opera, "The Magic Flute" at the castle and then spent a couple of days enjoying the scenery. We also took in the sights of Helsinki, and went to other places including a boat trip across the Baltic to see the old Hanseatic League city of Tallin, Estonia.

Some of the four had kept in touch throughout the years, and visited each others countries but Basil and I had not seen one another for 44 years. As an agriculturist, Basil spent much of his career in rural areas of Africa and India teaching farmers how to improve their crops, so until retirement he was not easy to find.

Although our four lives had taken different directions, we found the core of our friendships intact and took up where we left off in 1953. Perhaps people who choose to live at International House and participate in the student life there share some characteristics that make for long associations: a desire to know about more than one country and meet people from many cultures and an interest in the world that keeps us traveling, learning, and valuing old friends from abroad long after we have reached "senior" status.

John Conroy, Basil Hoare, Celeste Lipow MacLeod, and Terttu Puhakka are planning another get-together in London in July, 1999. They invite other I-House alumni from 1952-'54 to join them. Contact Basil Hoare, 50 Woodside House, London SW19 7QN, England. Phone and FAX (44) 181 946 5406.


Terttu Puhakka and John Conroy at the 1953 Spring Festival.


Terttu Puhakka from Finland (left) and John Conroy from Australia (right) at a reunion in Helsinki, which included Celeste Lipow MacLeod from the US and Basil Hoare from England.

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