Joel Havian, Alumnus
On that day I was accepted for admission, and that set in motion a process that would transition me to this place from another school. My HCS enrollment began on Sunday, February 10th of 1974, and would run a span of 1,210 days until my high-school-level graduation on Saturday, June 4th of 1977. While I cannot remember an extensive history of interacting with Doc during my student days, perhaps because of my limited memory on interactions with the HCS administrative staff in general, my heart simply would not let go of HCS after I left there as a student. The result has been my extensively revisiting the school as an alumnus.
In fact, there has not been a single Commencement Day here from 1974 until 2019 during which I ended up not being present at all, with the only exception being in 2007, due to the timing of my dad's death. But even with that exception, I still made it to HCS about a week later when Doc was conducting a tour on the campus with a group of preservationists who sought to keep Hampshire and its nearby surroundings, as I love to say, bushy. So at least my streak of consecutive Junes during which I appeared at this school remained intact, up to 46, all of them while Doc was still alive.
Unfortunately, although I wanted to continue beyond his death to keep this streak going, it was ultimately broken in 2020 by the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. This has led to my having to suspend my alumnus visitation tradition, at least until 2021. On nearly every one of my alumni visits, I would get to enjoy a chat with Doc, and we would fill each other in on what has been going on in our lives, including, of course, the changes at HCS, plus other matters. One particular thing that I enjoyed was the fact that we had nearly the same kind of car for better than two decades--a grayish sixth-generation Honda Civic DX. There was only a one-year difference. Doc's was a 1998 with a standard shift, a car which he had all the way up to the end of his life. Mine was a 1997 with an automatic, which I had up until this transmission started dying in early 2018. Doc also expressed some interest in getting advice from me, should that day come for him to get another vehicle.
Saying goodbye can be heartbreaking at times. When my fellow student Cliff Liberman, himself also a loyal HCS alumnus, graduated here in 1982, this completed a full student body turnover from my days at that point. He arrived before my graduation day. But when he finished here five years after I did, there were no other students left at Hampshire from my own student era. When the Boat House was retired in 2018 and torn down in 2019, I felt sad about the demise of my most-used dorm, which involved more than 3/4 of all my nights that I slept at this school while being a student. I am thankful that I at least got to spend a night as an alumnus in this building, in my favorite room--which I had during the 1974-1975 school year--the one immediately to the west of the Boat House East kitchen on the first floor, from Monday afternoon, August 20th of 2018 until the morning of the next day, before bidding the Boat House farewell.
As I bid likewise in regard to Dr. Dickerman, I also realize that the HCS staff at this point has now fully turned over from my student days (perhaps with Jim and Ellen Bingham being exceptions, although in a limited sense, due to significant gaps in their staffing eras here), just like what happened with the student body about 38 1/2 years earlier.
Summing things up as a Hampshire Country School student from 1974 to 1977, and as a loyal alumnus from that point up to the present, I greatly enjoyed Dr. Dickerman's company. He will be greatly missed by many, including, of course, myself. May God bless you, Doc!
Picture 1 (top right) - Joel and Doc camping out at HCS on the peninsula during Labor Day Weekend, 2001
Picture 2 (middle left) - Doc and Joel (holding diploma) attending the Sunday Forum, marking the 40th Anniversary of Joel's HCS graduation, June 4, 2017
Picture 3 (bottom right) - Joel and Doc inside the theater during Commencement, 2018