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Jim Hardy ’76

jim hardyCurrent Work:
Jim has worked for Ralph Lauren for the past 23 years.  He has always been on the retail side of the company.  He started with Polo in 1986 when they opened their first store on Madison Avenue in New York.  He moved to London with his wife, Anne, in 1988 to run the business.  They were in London until 2001 and had their two children during this time.  He notes, “I have been lucky to have Ralph as a mentor for most of my career.  Currently, I am Head of Stores for our newer, younger, hipper brand called Rugby and loving it.  There are two stores in Massachusetts so you should all check them out – Newbury Street in Boston and the new wing of the Natick Collection.”

Education:

  • Deerfield Academy
  • Connecticut College – B.A. in English

Applewild Experience:
Our class (1976) was one of the smallest classes ever to graduate.  The school was in very difficult straits at the time and it was the middle of post-Watergate malaise and US recession.  But, in spite of all that, I somehow feel that the smallness and times brought us all together, and the teaching staff was always first rate.  You could even say that we were in a bit of a bubble – somewhat oblivious to the real world.  But my transition to and preparedness for Deerfield was fluid.  My world just got bigger, and I lived away from home and the food wasn’t as good!  In terms of my professional career, I would reiterate that the privilege of attending Applewild set me up for success throughout life.  I honestly believe that.  Nothing was ever too big or intimidating because at Applewild we were challenged and encouraged to succeed, and we were fortunate to be in the company of others who shared similar experiences and attitudes.

Favorite Applewild Memories:
He reminisces, “There are almost too many to mention and they span over so many years:   Juice and Crackers in first grade and trying to be the first person to get to close the classroom door – since the cart made too much noise coming down the hallway – but at the same time, being able to spy what kind of juice and crackers were to be had that day!  (I remember being partial to tomato.)  Skating and hockey on the old outdoor rink.  The noise and smell of the heater in the old gym.  Delicious lunches with creamed chicken and Adrienne’s apple crisp being favorites.  Fall Clean Up Day with picnic and games at Mt.Watatic.  Hoover Sutton and Ellie Taylor  musicals.  Running (under duress) through the woods around the hospital pond and reservoir. Saturday morning yearbook meetings followed by lunches at Burger King or the luncheonette on Main Street which I’m sure is long gone!”

Teacher:
He notes without question that Eleanor Crow was a major influence in his life as a student at Applewild.  He explains, “She was perhaps controversial but really just ahead of her time.  Whether her autoharp and glockenspiels and dancing around maypoles in Kindergarten or her more serious and demanding English classes, she always had an amazing zest for teaching and getting you to believe it and make it fun.  I’ve been lucky to have some amazing teachers in my life but she still stands right up there in the top three for sure.”

Applewild Impact:
“Applewild grounded me for life!  Along with my family it gave me a sense of who I was and what I was capable of.  Looking back on it now, I can say that it empowered me at an early age to be confident and it also gave me the roots of a critical education for life.  English grammar, Latin declensions, French conjugations, basic biology (including the dreaded frog and blood typing – neither my cup of tea!) and even math…well on second thought…anyway they all came together along with a tight bond of friends at the time, most of whom sadly I haven’t seen for 33 years!!  That beautiful white house and gorgeous grounds that were so generously given by the Crockers along with the warm-hearted people are etched in my memory forever.”

Posted: Fall 2004

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