Nathalie Levitt - 1963
Bio & Picture from 40th Reunion
(Nathalie died January 27, 2011)
I left Columbia in the fall of 1963 to go to Reed College in Portland, Oregon. At that point I really didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life and ended up surprising myself, after having been a complete intellectual snob prior to that, by ending up as one of the many ‘60s drop-outs, only completing 2½ years of college. I stayed in Portland until the spring of 1967 and then my wandering began, first taking me to Israel for a year living on a kibbutz (communal farm) and including being there during the Six-Day War in June of 1967, preceded by being in Greece for the military coup in April of that same year! As I traveled home in the spring of 1968 I barely missed the student riots in Paris and was in Berkeley, California visiting my sister just in time for the People’s Park incident, which included tear-gassing by the National Guard. After that year people began to ask me where I was going to be next …
Back in the US, I still didn’t know what I wanted to do and after a year in Columbia and then two in New York City, I decided to go back to Israel for good, or so I thought at the time. I ended up being there from 1971-1974, most of the time spent on a kibbutz again, but decided not to stay any longer than that. I loved working in the orchards but decided I didn’t want to be in a place fairly regularly involved in wars or skirmishes where one gets used to being searched when entering a department store – well, we in North America might also be approaching that kind of situation now, unfortunately.
I’ve been living in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada since September 1987, but between 1974 and 1987 I lived in Berkeley, CA; Stamford and New Haven, CT; and Boston, MA. I also was married (1981) and divorced (1984) and became a Buddhist (1976). Involvement in the practice and study of Buddhism has continued and is actually the reason why I ended up in Halifax, which is where the international headquarters of Shambhala International is located (www.shambhala.org). So this has been the main focus in my life, rather than the kinds of work that I’ve done, though I’ve been lucky to find a number of interesting jobs over the years.
In terms of a career, I never did find out what I wanted to do with my life, but I’ve worked as a proof-reader, research lab technician, legal transcriber, secretary/wordprocessor and typesetter. Amazingly, I’ve been at my current job as research administrative secretary in the Department of Family Medicine at Dalhousie University for almost 10 years now.
Besides my Buddhist involvement, which includes teaching and giving meditation instruction, my main interests and pastimes are reading, listening to music, going to films, writing and traveling. I’ve gone on numerous trips and particularly on boats or ships, as being on the water is my passion. My latest one was cruising the Inside Passage from Vancouver to Alaska in June 2002. I just bought a computer at home and am working on organizing all the poetry I’ve written since I was a teenager, and after that, who knows?
Natalie Levitt Dawson passed away on January 27, 2011. I am unable to find an obituary and have never heard back from Natlie's sister Miriam Levitt, Class of 1961, but you can sent tributes to Natlalie through this website http://www.chronicleproject.com/stories_255.html