Hopkins Seal


Hopkins Grammar School
The Class of 1965



Ben Brown

Ben Brown's Graduation Photo

Ben' graduation photo in 1965

We had no accurate information to share about Ben until the spring of 2005 when he sent this lovely letter.

(c/o Tom Delaney) Hello to my classmates from 1965,

I have not seen any of you since "Tibi gratias ago", and I won't be coming to the reunion. To compensate for that, and so you won't include me among the lost and possibly dead, I send you my short biography.

I went to Case Western Reserve University School of Architecture, where I met Lois Kaplanoff of Syracuse. That's her in the photos. She kept me from flunking out, and we were married right after graduating in 1970. We did not want to start careers, so we joined the Peace Corps. They taught us Spanish in Puerto Rico, then sent us to San Pedro Sula, Honduras. In the spring of 1972, her parents' house burned down, so we left the Peace Corps to design and contract a new one for them. While we did that, we read


Helen and Scott Nearing's books and the Mother Earth News. We decided to go "back to the land", but not in the snow belt of northern New York.

In the fall of 1973 we joined a back to the land commune in Lexington Virginia. The commune part faded by 1990, but Lois and I stayed.


Ben and his pickup truck

Ben Brown and his life Lois Kaplanoff

We have a big drafty farmhouse, chickens, firewood to cut, and old stuff to fix. I wired the house for her parents, and took up electrical work again in the 80s. Lois and I work together, spending about half-time on that. Lois also has a home business making wool socks on an old style machine. We go to anti-war protests. I am the secretary of the local food coop, and I ride an old Suzuki, I have never been arrested, don't have any children, never been to Europe and don't watch tv.

My brother Harry attended his Hopkins reunion a few years ago and gave my address to someone. That started Hopkins to send their Annual Reports to me, and I have been interested to see how much Hopkins has changed. Can't tell how it looks though.


Ben and wife Lois 2005

I think that the greatest thing I learned about education, (and it didn't dawn on me until most of the way through college) is this: I thought school was something that my parents and teachers told me to do, and I resisted. When I realized how wide the world of adults is, and how intense, then I realized "This is not for them - this is for me, and I should grab as many skills and check out as many choices as I can."

Mail Address:    3687 Turnpike Road
                            Lexington, VA 24450
Telephone: 540-463-7095

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This page last updated May 9, 2005