Greetings from Moscow!I did Grades K-5 at Berkshire Country Day School, then my family started wintering near Philadelphia and I did Grades 6-7-8 there, before going to boarding school and on to college. Despite all my traveling, I have been back to the Berkshires every year of my life. I feel very connected to Lenox and to Berkshire Country Day School.I had some wonderful teachers at BCD. The ones that jump to mind were Mrs. Moore in K and Mrs. Aronoff in Grade 5. We were in the group of kids that first went to BCD on Walker Street, and then had Grades 3-4-5 at Brook Farm. I grew up on Main Street in Lenox and walked with my brother and sisters (John ’67, Nini ’63 Gilder, and Louisa ’61) to Walker Street. The move to Brook Farm meant that our mother had to drive us down Rte. 183, but the campus was great – plenty of room to run around, with all new playground equipment!
I began a lifelong love for skiing with the Ski Friday’s bus to Bousquet. Being a skinny kid, I felt the cold a bit. I will never forget the trauma of watching my glove, frozen to the rope tow, go zipping up the beginner slope without me.After BCD, I went to Episcopal Academy outside of Philadelphia for three years. We returned to Lenox every summer, and I tried to keep up with my classmates as best I could. Then, as now, Berkshire Country Day School students were scattered around the county. I went to boarding school at St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH, then to Yale, where I majored in Latin American Studies. Restless by nature, I escaped boarding school twice, for study abroad programs in France and in Colombia. I also broke away from college to study and travel in Brazil and South America for nine months.

Since then, I have worked as a foreign correspondent – first for The New York Times in Africa, Brazil, Canada, Japan and Korea. Now, I live in Moscow, where I am the Russia/former Soviet Union bureau chief for Voice of America. For work, I have had the fun and privilege to report from at least 60 countries. Last month, I added a new one with a 10-day trip to Lebanon. Next month, I will make my first reporting trip to Armenia. So, there are always new challenges on the horizon!
My sons have picked up the travel bug. All three were born in Brazil, when Elizabeth and I lived in Rio de Janeiro. Every five years I renew their Brazilian passports. That has come in handy. Next month, Alex, now a 20 year old at Middlebury College in Vermont, travels to Florianopolis, in southern Brazil to bring his Portuguese up to fluency. His twin brother, William, also a Middlebury junior, follows in July for a semester in Rio. In July, the three of us plan to triangulate – from Moscow, New York and Florianopolis – for a week in Rio.

Berkshire Country Day School and the Berkshires exposed me to the wider world around me, but also provided me the psychological anchor. I could globetrot, but also knew where I was from.
Last May, it was fun to return to Brook Farm to spend a day talking to students about travel and work around the world. My message was simple: “I sat in your chair many years ago – you could be me!”

James Brooke
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