20 days ago
Fritz Maytag catches us up on his stellar last 58 years:
A short note about my post-Deerfield days. As Wittgenstein said “I have had a wonderful life.”
I graduated from Stanford, and did post-graduate studies there for several years in the Japanese language, which lead nowhere except to occasional enjoyment even now of the poetry that got me into it.
In the fall quarter of 1958 I rode a BSA all over Europe. And in the fall of 1959 I did the same on a Yamaha in Japan. I rode a bicycle across the country in 1962, one of the best things I ever did. I then bicycled all over rural Japan on the unbelievably rough dirt roads.
I bought the Anchor Brewing Co. in 1965 and some of my classmates may remember the microscope I used to have on my dorm room desk, which I applied with much effort to the frequently-sour beer we were making then. And along with Mrs. Boyden’s chemistry and my Deerfield physics I turned the company from the last medieval brewery in the world into the most modern small brewery. Gradually and with much struggle we got into the black, and we were recognized later as the pioneer “micro brewery.” I had a great time with this, I was made for it. In 1993 we pioneered “micro distilling”
with a small distillery inside the brewery. We created a very traditional rye whiskey called Old Potrero, and then a gin we call Junipero. I sold the company in 2010 and have been enjoying my freedom immensely.
I married in 1967, my wife had two small children, Matthew and Alexandra, whom I adopted with delight. We lost Matthew at 17 in 1978 in a mountain-climbing accident. A terrible loss from which I will never recover. Alexandra is married and lives nearby with my three delightful grandchildren and her wonderful husband Mischa. Sometimes I think Mischa has been God’s gift to me to comfort me for Matthew’s loss.
I was divorced and then in 1987 I married Beverly, who has been the joy of my life.
Wondering what might amuse my classmates, and at the risk of over-sharing, I have attached some pictures of my current life. I show my dear wife Beverly at our little stone house in Corfu, and my beloved 2CV car there. Also our “Lakehouse” at our vineyard in Napa, which is built entirely from trees growing on the property. This house is my Shangri La. Another business interest of mine has been Maytag Blue Cheese, which my father started as a family company in 1941, while he was President of the Maytag Co. I have been the family member responsible since his untimely death in 1962. It is still a very small company, which is our conscious choice, and a source of great family pride.
Also, a picture of my sailboat “Aqualeo,” a 38′ wooden “Hillyard” double-ended, center-cockpit sloop built in
1971 in England. I bought it in Corfu and cruised the western islands, then brought it home by ship and truck and have restored it and fitted a super-modern cat rig by Tom Wiley. This rig was chosen to allow an elderly gentleman to sail solo on the San Francisco Bay. This project was my present to myself for a successful brewing career and successful sale of same. Sail for Sale.
I also attach a recent photo of the real me.
I must also add here that my days at Deerfield were terribly important to me – a powerful influence on my life. I think of it constantly, not always fondly, but always with ever-growing respect for what the school was trying to achieve. I dream of it often, but I am happy to say that I have not had a “post-graduate year” nightmare for a while. I often think with gratitude of Mr. Suitor, who tried hard to teach me to write the English language, “a noble thing” as Winston Churchill declared.
I still ride motorcycles; I have recently become a ham radio operator; we live in San Francisco in a unique little one-story house, and at the vineyard. I would welcome hearing from classmates. I do see my Sheldon House roommate Peter Bicknell fairly often; when we meet we laugh and laugh. And recently we have gotten together with Tim Day and Sandy, in Phoenix where Beverly and I have recently acquired a small house.
Class of 1955