Ruth (Lapovsky) Kasle, 1936 in Brooklyn New York
I grew up in Brooklyn, New York and have lived in Northern California for all of my adult life. I have been married twice. I have two sons from my first marriage: Peter, age 42 and Steen, age 40. Peter has three children. My second husband was Irwin Kasle. He died in 2002. I have seven stepchildren and there are a total of 13 children who call me Grandma. I received a Ph.D. in Botany from the University of California at Berkeley in 1975. Subsequently I had a career at Syntex, a pharmaceutical company. Since retirement I have volunteered with several organizations and The Health Library at Stanford Hospital gets most of my volunteer time and energy.
Change, learning and growth are the constants that have been with me during all the fifty plus years since I started at Vassar. Vassar was a new life, so different from the homogeneous community in which I had been raised. There were so many kinds of people to meet and such a breadth of new ideas to ponder that I spent most of my four years barely able to make sense of it all. Since graduation my life and my world have continued to expand. In my early twenties I left the east coast and moved to California to start another life. There I married, had two wonderful sons, and received a Ph.D. Then after 20 years of marriage I divorced and started over.
After some years of being single and building a career I married a wonderful man who showed me what it meant to truly be in love. I had the pleasure of bringing his seven adult children and their families into my life. These were fifteen very happy years. I retired. We enjoyed our grandchildren, built a house and had lots of fun traveling and tending to a business he had in Mexico.
In the fall of 2002, once again my world changed when I became a widow. This was my time to learn about grief and how to live through it and how to come out the other side not only intact but also stronger and wiser.
Now alone having just turned seventy, and lucky enough to be in good health and physically fit, my life is again expanding. In the summer of 2005 I spent 24 days with 30 pounds on my back hiking the 221 mile John Muir Trail, from Yosemite Valley to Mount Whitney. As I write this I am about to go off to Italy where I will spend a week on a walking tour and a week at Lake Como with one of my sons and his family. Then in the fall I will be in India visiting friends.
I have come to an optimistic view of the future, and to an appreciation of all the experiences that have led me to this point in my life, starting with that fall day in 1953 when I first walked into Raymond. I expect to continue to expand my horizons, make new friends and have new adventures during all the years remaining to me. I am proud and happy with the life I have led and with the person I have become. And I thank Vassar for having been the first step on that journey.