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Roberta Riportella

Madison, WI
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Just over a year shy of my 50th (yea, I'm younger than most of you guys!) I'm in the process of crafting a new life for myself. For the most part, life has been extremely generous to me. I am a tenured professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, doing stuff I love: teaching, and research and outreach to improve access to health care for low income families. I have two wonderful sons who both love to sing. Scott, 21, will be moving back to Madison to finish his last 3 semesters of college here. (For those of you worried about your teens not doing as well as you would like in high school, know that Scott graduated only by the skin of his teeth and through our local alternative school. He's well on target to graduate from a Big Ten school and heading for graduate school, so there is hope.) You can visit Scott til Jan. 4, 2004 at Disney's Animal Kingdom where he holds one of the coveted advanced college internship positions teaching the public about the animals. Ben, 16, has been in two musicals with me, and is in his second without me (they just wouldn't let me audition for his high school production of Kiss Me Kate! I'll settle for helping with costumes). How many moms can say that their kids sing with them on stage, let alone talk to them when they're in their teens!

So my kids are great and I have wonderful friends, a fun hobby, and a fulfilling career. And I'm learning that life can go on without a life partner. Yea, the guy I wrote about in my last email, the one I followed since 1976, first to Madison, back to NY, to Chapel Hill and then finally back to Madison decided this past March that 27 years was long enough. The wonderful thing I've learned is that I'm still the same girl whom you knew at GNS:outgoing and fun-loving. Besides being in Fiddler on the Roof and Big River with Ben, I've taken up contra dancing (square dancing of sorts). So at a time when I, as most of you, thought I'd be settling in for the rest of my life, a whole new world of possibilities has opened up to me. I'm going to grab for it.

Oct 2011: Just back with a quick update. Life indeed did go on. I'm still a Professor at UW but living temporarily in DC on a sabbatical. The sons are both grown. Scott happily works in Chicago. Ben is in Chapel Hill, where he was born and decided to go to school. He's graduated, looking for his next steps in life. I still love to sing and have been in many more productions, some with my sons, most without. I've even done serious theater. Who knows, maybe someday I'll retire and try theater as a career. Looking forward to seeing friends at our 40th reunion in May. Oh my....


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