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05/07/2017

Ball [Socci], Cyndee

South Hall, 4A, freshmen year – those names and faces are still so very clear and accessible, whether fit for public viewing, or even in those crazy big hair rollers many of us had! Self discovery came in many ways – late night chats, unexpected grades both good and bad, surprising friendships made and cherished, and the deep exposure to liberal arts. The smallest moments are among the most treasured. I want to also keep alive the memory of my dear friend Anne Lyndall also from 4A, who became our daughter Annie’s namesake and Godmother. I’ve added a photo of her too.

Education after Allegheny

After having been a math major at Allegheny, I attended NYU graduate school for several years in applied math and computer science. I was accepted to Columbia University for a degree in midwifery – medicine was a big draw for me, but I stayed with software as it got to be a good fit. No post-graduate degrees, but lifelong learning continues.

Marriage

I met Eliott at Sperry Gyroscope in NY in 1967. I thought I had landed a job in NYC, but alas it was actually in Great Neck just outside the city, making for a tricky commute. Eliott, living in Queens on a subway line, offered to drive me out there to work every day if I took a train to his house. Uh huh. We married in 1969, and are still going strong for close to 48 years. His family came from a small town in Italy which we’ve grown to love and visit every few years.

Where we’ve lived

Moved to New York City to a Manhattan furnished apartment with ‘67 classmates Isabelle Crabb Moss, Janet Fee, and Sandra Mallard Gold right after graduation, and I am still in New York. Eliott and I are both retired and have no plans to move away from here – we love it. We’ve lived in Queens since we were married,  first in Elmhurst, then Sunnyside, and now for 41 years in a house in Douglaston where I grow ‘crops’ along the driveway in my second life as a gardener.

My jobs

Started at Sperry Gyroscope as a systems engineer right after graduation (and after the fabulous Allegheny Choir tour of Europe with Dr. North and Dr. Lynn). Computer code for defense system software on submarines had to be installed via punched mylar tape, hand carried to the ship. I was a nerd among nerds, and was one of only a few female engineers in a department of men, with whom I played tennis in the various company ladders. When the defense contractors took a hit in the mid 70’s, I switched to commercial software, writing compilers with Olivetti in Manhattan.

Then came our son Tom in 1977, and fraternal twin girls in 1979, and I quit working outside the home, to enjoy a wonderful 6-year gig as stay-at-home mom. But there was a bit of medicine in my future:  medical practice software was just starting to arrive in doctors offices by the mid-80’s. I fell into a 3-person startup company doing medical office automation where I worked part-time, literally for no pay for a few months while I learned the business – until I successfully installed their first multi-user Medical Manager office management system. This was the most wonderful baptism by fire job ever, since we were so small and had to do everything ourselves: cable their offices, install hardware and software, write custom programs, convert data, train the staff, give sales seminars, troubleshoot – everything. That is the work I continued with all the way to retirement, although the company names changed: Computer Clinic, Medical Manager Northeast, a stint at Genzyme genetic testing labs, then Healtheon, WebMD, several other iterations, and then Sage software and Vitera, from which I was ultimately whacked in 2012 in a company buyout. Those last 12 years of employment I worked from home, managing a team of 50+ programmers and engineers across the country who also worked from home, delivering custom data interfaces and data conversions for doctors, hospitals and labs. I retired as Senior Director of Software Development, but one of my favorite roles was to manage ‘fires’ and restore downed systems. Talking folks off the ledge – I enjoyed the work very much, the people side as well as the technical side, and made many wonderful relationships with clients and colleagues alike.

Our children / grandchildren

There’s Thomas Adrian Socci, who turned 40 this year, and his wife Alexandra, AND yippee!! our first grandchild, baby Eliott, almost a year old. Tom is a tutor in NYC with Advantage Testing, lives up near Columbia Univ. where he earned a PhD in global warming/Environmental Science. He taught math and physics at Andover for 3 years, then went to Columbia for a Masters in Education, then stayed for the PhD, all the while tutoring away. He has a gift for making physics and math accessible – somehow.

The girls are Annie and Adrienne. Annie (Anne Maria Socci) – named for Anne Lyndall) is now actually teaching at Allegheny this year! She has a PhD in Biology/Natural Resources, and is the Director of the Foundation for Sustainable Forests in western PA as well as teaching a freshman writing course at Allegheny, and loves it very much. Winters, she is usually in Ely MN with Outward Bound leading dog-sledding treks for a few weeks as well. Since now Annie’s one of us Gators, I’ve added a photo of her  from a 950 mile paddling trip to the arctic with 5 other Outward Bound instructors. Adrienne Ruth Socci is an MD, having been inspired by Paul Farmer of Partners in Health while in college. She put in a 3 year internship with Paul at PIH in Boston before going to medical school, and also lived and worked in Rwanda with PIH doctors for 9 months. She’s now an orthopedic surgeon trauma specialist, on staff at Yale Medical living in New Haven but keeps ties with PIH as well. They are all tree-huggers, having all loved the Adirondacks in upstate NY where my father built a cabin we still use all the time.

Retirement

Retirement in 2012 came with 6 months severance when I was ‘whacked’ – my kids had that word engraved on the IPad they gave me then! I closed my laptop, and decided to work OUTSIDE the rest of my life as much as possible. Eliott was an electrical and software engineer, and is also retired. He stays involved with our community’s civic association and taking Italian baking courses at the culinary schools in the city.

Current activities / hobbies

I volunteer at the Queens Botanical Garden in Flushing Queens, planting and weeding in the Herb Garden, where I’ve learned so much and absolutely love it. I also serve as the gardener and the boiler Superintendent (yup) for my church. I spend a lot of time in choral singing there, also at a monthly service at Union Theological Seminary, and with The Dessoff Choirs in the city. We sometimes get gigs to sing major works with visiting orchestras, and get to be the people in black on risers, on the stage at Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center – a wonderful privilege for avocational singers. Best gig so far: a bunch of us got to be the backup singers for Ray Davies (The Kinks!) for 4 shows in NY, NJ and Boston a few years ago. Several recent summers I have gone to the Tallis Scholars Summer School in England for an immersion week of renaissance polyphony in a 15th century chapel – Eliott came along to stay there for the week and explore train travel to local towns and cathedrals in the east midlands. I have just completed a 3-year stint as President of The Dessoff Choirs, during which I did return to the laptop in order to bring all the institutional knowledge of the choir online, onto a non-profit version of Salesforce.

As mentioned, we are huge lovers of NYC: have opera, play and concert tickets galore, and a grandson to babysit. We still live in a real neighborhood in the same house for over 40 years with many of our original neighbors. I still love to ride my bike. (Maybe I broke an elbow in a century ride around the 5 boroughs of NYC 15 years ago, but I still ride.) Traveling is a given, as the kids are all over the place. Eliott and the kids all have Italian dual citizenship which I am still working on – (they call me ‘minestrone’ – no Italian blood, but I’ve been studying Italian and love the language), and our son Tom was married in Italy in the old home town of my husband’s parents. Adrienne is considering a return to New Zealand to the hospital where she had done a fellowship, so thank heavens for Skype. And Annie is living on a farm in Saegertown not far from Meadville with her boyfriend, logging, maple syruping, and growing much of their own food. Annie will be teaching a course in natural resources at Allegheny in the fall. Eliott and I serve as their crew team for frequent canoe races. She keeps her schedule flexible enough to get in time at Outward Bound every year – either dog sled courses, or canoe treks in the Boundary Waters.

We love company, and showing house guests our fair city! We are always happy to be an informal B&B for travelers sent to us by our kids, or folks whom we’ve met in our own travels. Eliott’s a fantastic pie maker, I love to cook, and our son Tom and a cousin make several cases of pretty good red wine every year in our backyard. Busy but low key, knock on wood still healthy, enjoying life as it comes. If you’re coming to the city, holler!

My contact Info:

Address:  4650 241st Street, Douglaston NY 11362-1026
Phone:  347-804-3968 (cell), 718-225-4499 (home)
Email:  

Freshman Book

Me

Eliott & I in 1970

Dr. Annie Socci, instructor at Allegheny College, taken on a 2014 canoe trek for 7 weeks to the Arctic Circle.

Our son Tom Socci with our first grandchild, baby Eliott! December 2016, age 6 months

Eliott and I, back row, then left to right:
Annie Socci (teaches at Allegheny!) and boyfriend Pat Maloney, our son Tom and his wife Alexandra, and daughter Adrienne Socci and her fiancé Nick Parker

Anne Lyndall 1945-1993 namesake and godmother to our daughter Annie

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