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Life’s a journey
By Melanie Radzicki McManus ’83

The five commuter students of the original Car Pool Gang are still friends, still sharing rides, 50 years on.

Carpool gang
Left to right, at Pikes Peak: Mary Lou Hermes Haering ’62, Kathleen Heffron Dorosz ’61, Virginia Voelker Thompson ’62, Barbara Effenberger Boyer ’62 and Janet Agamaite Weber ’62.

It’s been nearly half a century since they graduated from college, but members of the self-proclaimed St. Norbert Car Pool Gang are still sharing life’s joys and sorrows. In fact, they are still sharing rides. They continue to car pool, across the nation and beyond.

Their story began in the late 1950s, when five graduates of St. Joseph’s Academy enrolled at St. Norbert as commuter students and car pooled to classes: Kathleen (Heffron) Dorosz ’61, Barb (Effenberger) Boyer ’62, Mary Lou (Hermes) Haering ’62, Virginia Voelker Thompson ’62 and Janet (Agamaite) Weber ’62. A deep friendship developed during the hundreds of mornings they spent zipping down Ashland Avenue on their way to campus.

“We often ate lunch together, too,” says Weber, “and we had bridge sessions between classes.”

After graduation, the five scattered across the country to new jobs, spouses and families, reconnecting every year or so when they came back to town to visit their families. “Then a few years ago somebody said, ‘We always have so much fun when we get together, but we never seem to have enough time to talk about everything we have to talk about,’” recalls Boyer.

That’s when the women discussed reviving their dormant car pool to travel together again. The idea gained steam after Weber was in a serious car accident and Boyer was diagnosed with breast cancer around the same time.

“We all said we want to spend more time together while we can,” says Dorosz.

In 2005, the group made an easy jaunt to Door County and had a blast. They traveled to Dorosz’s and Thompson’s New York homes in 2006, then to Haering’s Colorado place in 2007. Door County was again their destination in 2008, a road trip tied to their 50th high school reunion. In 2009,Thompson hosted at her home in Sanibel, Fla.

Laughter and antics always abound. During their New York trip, the group was wandering around Battery Park and came upon a Statue of Liberty mime. “We convinced him to lend his crown and torch to us,” says Dorosz, and the women promptly began mugging for the cameras with their borrowed props.

This year, three of the five went to Mazatlán, where Weber has a place. Unfortunately Thompson couldn’t attend, while Haering, recently diagnosed with breast cancer and undergoing treatment, elected to stay close to home.

Because of Haering’s treatment, the women might put their first European car pool trip – a 2011 vacation in Paris – on hold.
 
“I have a son in D.C. with a very big house we could use as a base instead,” says Boyer. “Or we could go to Oregon, Seattle – we’re open to any possibility.” These women know it’s not the destination that matters as much as the journey along the way. 

Fall 2010 Magazine

Web extraLook here for web-only content that expands on topics presented in the current St. Norbert College Magazine.

Audio iconFight song gets new lyrics
Music professors Michael Rosewall and Linda Cook help us “Raise our voices to the Green and Gold” with renewed spirit.

Text ExtraA matter of opinion
Find out what readers are thinking about their college magazine.

Text ExtraFan Reaction to the
Favre-Packer Split

Master's candidate Peter Weiss explores the connections between fandom and identity.

VideoSports Rights Fees
Carl Vogel ’79
speaks on
the financial engine of sports.

Text ExtraA legend at St. Norbert
Bart Starr and Forrest Gregg recall the Vince Lombardi years on campus in the new book,
“A Championship Team.”

VideoNew mascot on campus
Watch Norby adjust to college life.

Text ExtraThe Norby Chronicles
Read the backstory on our favorite new Green Knight.

GalleryA sporting success
Images from the opening
season of the brand-new Donald
J. Schneider Stadium.

Text ExtraSundays in Manila
A chapter of Philippines encounters from the new travel memoir by Robert Boyer (English, Emeritus).

Text ExtraAlumni Award Winners 2010
Read more on the life and works of this year’s honorees.



Story ideas? Your ideas for future magazine stories are most welcome. Write to the editor with any suggestions or comments.

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