When John and Carole Weller ’62 Hafer moved to Prescott, Ariz., five years ago, they liked it so much they told all their friends, including Ron and Bonnie Graf ’62 Hyra. A year later, the Hyras arrived for a visit, fell in love with the small city, and bought a lot for a future house. They finally built a home and settled in Prescott in 1997.
With Carole and Bonnie, former Westmont roommates, living in the same city, they decided to hold a roommate reunion. John and Dolores LaLonde ’62 Hooper traveled from Camarillo, Calif., and Ken and Eunice Boldt ’62 Olson drove in from Burlingame, Calif, for the event in March 1998. Eunice was returning to Prescott, where her father once pastored the church the Hafers and Hyras now attend. She graduated from Prescott High School, where Bonnie currently teaches.
Other local alumni participated as well: Ted and Elaine Pulis ’63 Inabinit and Charles ’64 and Diana Taylor. Charley participated in Eunice’s high school church group in the 1950s and has stayed in the area.
Three roommates missed the reunion: Diane Douglass ’61 Iverson (Thomas ’60), Betsy Schuyler ’60 Barry (Peter), and Sylvia Wimberley ’63 Peterson (Bob). “We had a lot of roommates because we lived in the ‘units’ in the four-student room,” Bonnie explains. “This building is now the art center, but I just read it may become a dorm again in the future!”
Bonnie also explained why it took her several years to move to Prescott: she and her husband, Ron, spent a year teaching in China. She writes:
“We taught doctors and dentists in the master’s program at the West China University of Medical Sciences who must study English. Their ages ranged from 23 to 47, and some of them hadn’t used their college English in a long time. Ron also taught first-year English majors conversational English, and sophomores and juniors studied written English with me.
“All Chinese students take their school work seriously and want to please the teacher. We worked very hard and made lots of friends with our students, the English language faculty, and others in the university community. As the only two Caucasian faces on the campus of 6,000 students and 8,000 staff, we were easy to spot, and everyone observed our actions.
“Chengdu, a large, prosperous city of 10 million, has all the problems typical of cities that size, including terrible air pollution. Like most developing countries, China puts economic growth ahead of the environment.
“Our role was serving others, not evangelizing, but we did share our faith one-on-one, especially with students who asked us questions in their journals. We also had a Bible Study. When students asked why we had left the richest country in the world to teach in China, we told them the truth: to do the best possible teaching in Jesus’ name.
“We missed our family, especially at the holidays, and all the familiar foods we take for granted. But we both agreed there was nowhere else we would rather be, even with the pollution! The experience was unforgettable.”