Paul Krajovic came out of retirement on Wednesday, March 3, 2021, when he led the Colorado Academy Alumni Association’s third Book Club discussion. The novel discussed was the Ray Bradbury classic, Dandelion Wine. An esteemed member of the CA Upper School English Department from 1974-1994, Krajovic still possessed and was referring to his margin notes in his original 50-cent copy of the book!
Over 25 alumni joined the Zoom conversation from all around the country, New York to California, Jackson, Wyoming to Bloomington, Indiana, as well as local residents. The attendees, whose class years spanned nearly all of Krajovic’s tenure, included: Jeff Gustafson ’78, James Braly ’79, Shelley Carr ’79, Su Evans ’79, Adrienne Link ’79, Jonathan Mahrer ’79, Paul Gutjahr ’80, Rich Kylberg ’80, Lynne Matthews ’80, Tom Cowperthwaite ’81, Bruce Link ’81, Marla Cohen ’82, Eden Marriott Kennedy ’82, Mona Yen Shriver ’82, Sage Guyton ’84, Penny Neuhaus Ahlstrand ’85, Alice Freese Jennison ’87, Trevor Bridge ’88, Kara Duncan ’88, Jane Sinclair Peterson ’90 and her husband Brian, Julie Beattie Reeves ’90, Gregory Breitenbach ’91, Nicole Hoffman Myers ’92, Glenn Levy ’92, Mark Sloan ’92, and Ken Zinn ’92.
For some alumni, Dandelion Wine was the assigned summer reading book prior to entering Ninth Grade. While a number of participants remembered the book, many did not. As Paul commented, reading as a teenager is a much different experience from reading the novel through adult eyes. How did everyone now view Douglas? What did the Grandmother, the Fortune Teller, and Leo have to say to us as adult readers? Who has ever tasted dandelion wine?
Here is a sample of (unedited) excerpts from the chat discussion of the participants:
“This time around, the older characters’ actions were more poignant for me. Douglass’ anger at John Huff makes perfect sense now. And yet, Colonel Freeleigh’s desire to hear the sounds of Mexico City once more (then again) really struck me this time around.” –Tom Cowperthwaite ’81
“Yes! Colonel Freeleighs listening to sounds of far away places was so poignant. For me, Forrester and Loomis relationship was beautiful and heartbreaking that I doubt I appreciated in 9th grade. It took me seeing Harold and Maude, reading other books like SummerTime to appreciate the stolen times between time/ages and depth of emotion.” –Marla Cohen ’82
“Agreed Tom! I don’t think I really got the whole window to Mexico thing at all when I was in high school. Also, the Helen and Bill story had so much more meaning. Just understanding the passage of time in a different way now.” –Julie Beattie Reeves ’90
“I was really taken by the writing style. It took me a little while to get used to it, but eventually it felt almost like a tone poem, really beautiful writing.” –Jonathan Mahrer ’79
In addition to reading and discussing the novel, alumni reconnected and chatted with their former teacher and each other. For several of them, the Book Club discussion was the first Alumni Association event they had attended in years.
With such enthusiastic attendance and interesting discussions, you can expect the Alumni-Former Faculty Book Club to continue when the pandemic is over! We welcome suggestions of books to read and recommendations of faculty members to lead the discussion sessions. Please contact Sue Burleigh, Alumni Director, (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your Alumni Book Club ideas.