Alums find love at Lab
An Alumni Notes extra. Senior Getaway was the turning point for one couple. An "invitation to listen to the new Miles Davis record" marked the beginning for another. She "thought of him as kind of a nerd." He was "smitten at first sight." Their first date was at Doc Films. "Her grandfather was a Nobel Prize laureate and head of the Manhattan Project." Read the stories of alums who found love at Lab. If you found love at Lab, please send the Alumni office your story.
Steve: I met Lynne Graham in 1956. It was at a freshman introductory mixer held at International House on the University of Chicago campus. I went stag with a few newly made Lab friends. She was brought as a date to one of my new classmates. I was 13 years old and a high school stud. She was 12 and in eighth grade at O’Keefe. We argued about her outfit. I’m convinced it was a lime green felt poodle skirt. She denies that. Whatever it was, I was smitten at first sight. (It didn’t hurt that I had previously seen her photograph on display at the Herzoff's men's store on 71st Street, and thought that she was some kind of a model, with that stylish DA haircut, which I now find out was a “flip.”) I uttered that now famous line from Animal House: “may we (I) dance wif your date(s),” and the rest is history. We dated on and off through high school, as she had matriculated to Lab, and similarly through our college years, though with plenty of times in between. It’s been 65 years since that first encounter. We will celebrate our 56th wedding anniversary this summer!
Lynne: After graduation from U-High, I went to Washington University and spent several weekends that first year taking the train from St. Louis to Champaign to see Steve. We dated on and off, mostly off, the next year and then for Junior year I transferred to Northwestern. I wanted to reconnect with Steve and asked our mutual best friend, Steve Friedman, ’61 (also a Labby), to let him know that I was still interested. He fixed us up, and I guess it worked because it is 56 years, two sons, and seven grandchildren later. Time sure flies when you are having fun!
Lisa (Malinowsky) Hanauer, ’97, and Benjamin ‘BJ’ Hanauer, ’96, are both Lab lifers.
“While our romance did not begin during our school years, Lab played a big role in setting the stage for what would come. Beyond Lab instilling in us a common set of values and experiences, we shared similar circles of friends and a mutual love for Harold's chicken, breakfasts at Salonica, and summers at the Point. Even though we weren't particularly tight during our time at Lab and went our own ways for college, like many Labbies we remained close with our school friends well after graduation and found our social circles regrouping upon our return to Chicago. For us, this meant living near each other in the South Loop in the summer of 2003 and regularly hanging out with our ’96 and ’97 classmates. By that winter, our hangouts had become more frequent, our friendship closer, and eventually love was in the chilly Chicago air.”
Five years later, BJ proposed to Lisa on a trip to Krakow, Poland, and in 2008 they were married on the UChicago campus in Bond Chapel surrounded by many Labbies on both sides of the aisle. BJ's groomsmen were particularly well represented by Lab alums, with Sam Winer, ’96, Matt Leventhal, ’96, Ed Rhodes, ’96, Jeff Hanauer, ’98, and Richard Hanauer, ’01, all standing up with distinction. BJ and Lisa now have two children who keep them busy and exhausted. "Harper is a first grader at Lab and Henry is in fifth grade, and we hope he will join Harper at Lab in the fall. Next year we will be celebrating our 20th anniversary together, still very much in love. We remain grateful for our years at Lab and our classmates who still remain dear friends. Both were critical for allowing our romance to blossom and our family's Lab story to continue to this day.”
Phil and I were both in the Class of 1960. I was aware of who he was our freshman year, but thought of him as kind of a nerd. I don’t know if he knew of me or noticed me. Sophomore year we were both in the Sophomore Project and started talking to each other on our phones—yes we had them in that room: I was #37, he #47. We became sort-of friends and by junior year, we were at the same table in Barbara Wehr’s Biology class, along with Randy DeLave and Sheila Harter, ’59. Phil says he fell in love over the cat we dissected; for me, I found a really good friend. Since we lived 40 miles apart, our relationship developed over the phone until Phil got his driver’s license, which was the day he turned 16. Our first date was the next Saturday, and we dated through graduation. Phil was on the swim team (PSL Champs), and I was captain of the cheerleaders. Our romance continued through college, though we were not on the same campus until our junior year.
We married in 1965 and lived in the Chicago area, where Phil started his own communications business and we raised our two children. We now live full time in Paradise Valley, AZ. We have a son and a daughter and two young grandchildren. Phil still works more than full time and loves it. I volunteer at a non-profit thrift shop and a wildlife rehab that rescues raptors. I am in two book clubs, attend symphony and chamber music concerts, and take online classes.
We were two people who grew up with very different lifestyles, experiences, and interests. He likes folk music, anything to do with wireless communications, and food—as in eating it. I love classical music, opera, Shakespeare, and really well-written literature. We both love bagpipes and just about any British program on PBS. Over 56 years we have built a life together with mutual interests: nature and wildlife, foreign travel, theater, adult learning, and a large group of friends. Many of these friends are classmates from Lab: we keep in touch and visit them whenever and wherever possible. Our Covid bubble includes three Labbies and their spouses. We have been on our reunion committee for about 50 years. Over the years the committee has had some personnel changes, but still meets at least once a year, and these meetings have become social events in and of themselves. There was a period, I think around our 20th, that we continued to meet monthly for close to five years, as we were enjoying it so much.
We always think of Lab with fondness, as we would never have met if we had not both attended U-High. And to this day, we utilize and appreciate the values, skills, and experiences of that unique education.
Our Lab School story starts with Emily’s mom, Leslie Hornig. Leslie taught fourth grade science at Lab starting in 1998, and the two of us met as first grade classmates at Ancona.
We were best friends in grade school—we’d have playdates and ice skate or play Backyard Baseball on the computer together. Joey moved to Lab in sixth grade, and after that we didn’t see each other much and were extremely awkward when we did.
Which wasn’t great when Emily started at Lab in ninth grade, and we were forced to see each other on a daily basis. Emily was on crutches and deliberately didn’t ask Joey for help carrying her stuff between classes because it was that weird.
We started hanging out with the same group of friends junior year, and started dating during Lab Senior Getaway. After college and one and a half kids—the second is due in April—the rest is history.
We did not know each other when we were at the Lab School. There is an age difference that would have made that challenging (Jake is ’96 and Mariann is ’91), but Lab School did play a very important role in our initial meeting and amazing life together.
We met in 2005 at the Cove. Mariann had abandoned her home. Not permanently; she had missed the first 30 minutes of Terminal on TV and didn’t want to ruin the rest. Logically, instead of turning the TV off, or turning to a different channel, she had fled to the bar down the block. As it was a cold and snowy night, Mariann found herself to be the sole occupant of said bar, chatting with the owner, coincidentally also a Lab alum, ’79, and a friend of her brother, about time spent at Lab.
Jake and a friend entered the establishment, having already been out on the town. Jake’s friend, who was also friends with many in the neighborhood including Mariann, surreptitiously introduced the two and then drifted off into obscurity. Mariann, nonplussed, continued to converse with the bartender. Fortunately, Jake, having been abandoned by his friend, and knowledgeable about the topic, gladly joined in.
The conversation danced over teachers and experiences that were enjoyed as well as those that were challenging, the conversation ultimately turned to everyone’s favorite history teacher… By the end of the evening Jake mustered the courage to ask Mariann for her phone number and, ultimately, history was made.
We first met in 1999 on a Lab School summer trip to Wisconsin arranged by Middle School guidance counselor Michel Lacocque. Vanessa barely noticed Mackey, who was a year younger than her, but that all changed in 2003 during Mrs. Shapiro's period Early World History class. Vanessa was team captain for a debate on the Peloponnesian War and asked if any of her teammates would go to Regenstein Library with her after school to pick up research material. While Mackey was not particularly interested in Greek history, he was interested in Vanessa, and so readily volunteered. Following an afternoon of wandering the stacks at Regenstein, Mackey finally had Vanessa’s attention.
After a few months of denying any romantic interest to friends, Mackey finally got up the courage to ask Vanessa on a date to Doc Films. Unfortunately, he didn't check what was playing, and so our first date was watching Rabbit-Proof Fence, a heart-wrenching film whose plot centers around the brutal treatment of Aboriginal Australians in the 1930s. Somehow, Vanessa agreed to a second date.
We've been together ever since, remaining a couple throughout Lab, college, and post-grad in NYC and Boston. We married in June 2015 surrounded by family, friends, and no shortage of Lab alumni. As lifers, Lab had a tremendous impact on us. Not only in finding each other, but in forming life-long friendships and setting us up for our respective careers in venture capital and education.
One day in the spring of 1972, Nancy was standing out in front of her friend Amy Wegener's house on Blackstone near 57th St. She was a junior at Lab at the time; Adam was a senior. He happened to be walking by on his way home from school and stopped to chat. The conversation was easy and flowing, and there was also a strong mutual attraction! After a while Adam asked Nancy if she wanted to come over to his house and listen to the new Miles Davis record. (What a line!) She agreed and that was the beginning of a lifelong friendship and love affair.
After college they went their separate ways for a few years until one day their moms ran into each other in the Hyde Park Co-op grocery store and exchanged news and contact info on their kids. Soon after Nancy and Adam reconnected, and their relationship grew into a lifelong love.
While a couple at U-High, we had often dreamed and made plans to live together in NYC where Nancy would make art and Adam would make music. 50 years later, that is what we are doing. It has been quite an adventure, including the birth of our beautiful daughter Hannah and the latest wonder being the birth of a grandson, Arlo, last year.
Although we didn’t exchange more than perfunctory hellos until our mid-twenties, our paths had crossed many times. We knew of each other at Camp Martin Johnson, Liz’s mother had taken piano lessons from Larry’s mother when we were young, and our fathers knew each other professionally. We recognized each other at U-High when Larry was a senior and Liz was a freshman. But there was a three-year age difference (and, as Larry likes to point out, there still is), and we never really had a conversation.
We both left Hyde Park for college, and Larry stayed away for med school. In 1978, we were both back and living in Hyde Park. Larry was doing his medical internship at UChicago, and Liz was in her third year of law school at Northwestern. At that point, the age difference didn’t seem quite so extreme, and we started running into each other at parties thrown by former U-Highers. We didn’t really speak at those parties either. But after one of them, Larry surprised Liz by calling to ask her out. She was dubious, having never seen his sparkling wit (much less that he was capable of a conversation), but figured she had nothing to lose and decided to give him a chance. On our first date, we saw Close Encounters of the Third Kind, ate Thai food, and picked up those little chocolate mousse cakes from the Bon Ton which we ate on the street. We finally spoke. After that, we were pretty much inseparable.
In 1980, we got married and moved to DC because Larry had an NIH fellowship. We had intended to come back to Chicago, but instead Larry jumped onto the NIH tenure track and Liz landed her dream job at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in DC. Before we knew it, we had a house in the DC burbs, two kids, and a station wagon. Liz ended up running her office’s Appellate Division and just retired last year. Larry is still going strong at NIH, running an immunology/cell biology research lab and wearing various administrative hats. Although we never made it back to Chicago to live, our son went to UChicago for college and we visit Hyde Park frequently, in part because Liz’s father is still on the UChicago faculty at age 97! U-High and UChicago are part of our shared DNA. Our old U-High yearbooks occupy the top shelf in our family room, and we haul them down every now and then to reminisce. We value the education we received at U-High, and treasure the friendships we made there. So despite our slow start, we suppose you could call it a U-High romance after all.
I saw Barbara for the first time as a U-High freshman in 1953, as a ninth grader. I was new to Lab that fall. I entered ninth with Phillip M. Blumenthal and Kenny Nickoll…Phillip graduated class valedictorian in the eleventh grade.
The College’s Acrotheater group under gymnast Bud Beyer was performing in Leon Mandel Hall for the Lab School. Lab School filled the Hall. It was a command performance. By pure chance, I sat next to Thomas Edward Lisco on the balcony. I sat on the aisle. Tom was to my right. We were ninth grade classmates. Our class and others were high up on the balcony.
Mandel Hall was alive with spotlights, acrobats on the rings, trampoline and mats, and students flying all over the place. There was music and much excitement. Tom was quiet. Barbara was performing. She was the talk on the balcony. She wore a black leotard. She was beautiful and able. Tom whispered… The star on stage was his sister. She could walk on her hands. Too bad they did not photograph them all. Lab students went to the College as freshman after tenth grade in the Hutchins program. Barbara was at the College in her first year having completed tenth the year before.
I saw her again for a few minutes when I visited 5552 South Kenwood to ask her dad about European prep schools. She and I did not speak. Dr. Hermann Lisco was researching at the University of Cambridge, England. He was the pathologist at Los Alamos in the Manhattan Project run by Barbara’s maternal grandfather, 1925 Nobel Prize laureate in Physics, James Franck.
I graduated from Lab in the first class to stay for an eleventh grade year and went on to the College in October 1956, registering as a freshman. I applied only to Chicago. Following my October ’56–June ’57 year, that summer, I was to visit family in New Jersey. To share tolls and gas, I posted on the Woolworth Tree with a 3” by 5” card with my phone and travel details.
Tommy Lisco called. He and my roommate were set to drive east with me. Tom called again to ask if his older sister and her boyfriend might share the cost in the back seat with him. With Bruno, my GSD on the floor, and my roommate on the front seat, we filled the car, a second-hand ’55 four-door white Pontiac. I drove. My rear view mirror was helpful. Barbara and her boyfriend were warmly acquainted, sitting on the right side framed in trailing headlights.
We paused in Elberon at my parents’ shore house at 1100 Ocean Avenue, very early that morning as the sun came up. I invited all to visit Elberon for a swim and some tennis on our return to campus for Summer Quarter. I showed them around… we had many bedrooms and a huge, well-staffed kitchen.
I then went into Manhattan where Barbara and Tom were to visit with their dad, who was on assignment at the UN studying the effects of radiation and leukemia. My roommate declined. He was heading to Yale to become an English major.
Barbara’s boyfriend declined. His dad was mayor of Patterson; there were things to do. Tommy wanted more time in Manhattan with his dad. Barbara alone accepted. She had a job on campus exactly where I grew up. Needed to return.
We rode back to Hyde Park following a long night in which I answered questions till the sun came up. She asked why I was at The Orthogenic School from age 10 to 16—January 9, 1950 to June 26, 1956. She was a counselor at the School from 1956 to spring 1957 and was returning for summer work. She had shared a dorm of six boys with another counselor. I had observed her there… for a few minutes during that year—as I returned to my school home periodically after I left. Visited all dorms.
That first long night to sunrise over the Atlantic led to our relationship. The sound of waves crashing in the distance was clear. We married Wednesday, June 15, 1960, at 5552 S. Kenwood, the house we bought from the Lisco’s—where our second was born… We sold that house to The University of Chicago in 1965.
Our first child was born at Michael Reese on Saturday, April 21, 1962. He graduated from Phillips Exeter, and then Princeton University summa cum laude and earned a DPhil under Isaiah Berlin at New College, Oxford three years later. Our daughter Kari Anderson, MD, graduated from The College at The University of Chicago, and her daughter and middle son are attending. A son’s son is attending… These three grandchildren form the fifth generation of our extended family’s relationship with The University of Chicago that starts with Nobel Prize laureate James Franck.
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