[Filed May 26, 2016. If you haven’t joined our Facebook group yet please email email@example.com to get your invitation]
One of the wonderful things about being Class Secretary is that I have many opportunities to recognize my own fallibility and even apologize for it. With that I begin this column with a sincere apology both to Charlie Godwin and Jenny Phillips Godwin for having misfiled or misplaced the following which was sent to me on February 16th.
“Our first correspondence ever is to announce our impending 45th wedding anniversary and to stake our claim as the first Yale undergraduate married couple. We entered Yale in 1969 with the class of ’73 and wed March 27, 1971. Our fondest regards to all who made the trip to Mississippi for the spring break wedding. We took a leave of absence to travel in Europe and returned to graduate in ’74. Gabriel, who we believe to be the first Yale undergrad baby, was born August 14, 1972. After that we were blessed with two more children and now three grandchildren. We consider our long friendship and love affair our life’s great achievement and I think of myself the luckiest guy in the world. We have kept in touch sporadically with a few college friends and have travelled extensively with George Downsbrough ’73 and his wife Tamara. We live a mostly quiet life in coastal North Carolina. We would love to hear from old friends and promise to be better about being in touch.”
Congratulations to both of you! And I promise to be a better scribe. We just celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary and were treated to a video from our kids that I have reposted on Facebook and now can be found on YouTube. It was the best present we could have gotten.
Now back to the present:
About an hour ago, as I was suffering from the scribe’s nightmare of nothing to report, I received a phone call from a reporter for USA Today asking about our own Sherrod Brown. The reporter seemed to think that as the class scribe, recent reunion chair and fellow Saybrugian, I would have some pithy insights into a man who is often mentioned as the “perfect VP candidate” for Hillary Clinton. The lone drawback seems to be that he has several years left in his term which would allow the Republican governor of Ohio and onetime presidential hopeful, himself, to appoint a fellow GOPer to fill Sherry’s seat. That’s apparently a non-starter in a year where the Democrats have pledged to win back the Senate. Ah politics!
Anyway, I was embarrassed to say that I really didn’t know Sherry and was not in a position to say anything about him (thus avoiding the current political trend to comment on anything just because it’s there). But my response caused me to reflect about how I could not have known him. I mean, I remember him physically, but in our four years of living in close proximity, first in Wright Hall and then in Saybrook, I don’t remember our exchanging a single word. We were ships that passed in the night. And then, of course, that reflection made me think back to the Yale of our time and how, if one objectively looked at our class, it made complete sense that, no matter our physical proximity, any two people would have had nothing in common other than attending Yale and by the early 1970’s, that wasn’t enough.
It would seem that all entering classes at any university are definitionally an experiment, but I’m not so sure that was the case at Yale as recently as a few years before we were admitted. From inception through the mid-1960s, anecdotal evidence, at least, suggests that matriculation at Yale was largely a matter of self-selection, the next stop for well-heeled families from homogeneous backgrounds and the ability to afford private education for 17 years (K through college). One arrived at Yale from a “feeder” school knowing many classmates before you arrived. The challenge of making one’s way through an increasingly pluralistic environment was one not known by most of our predecessors until the arrival of the redoubtable Inslee Clark. How closed that Yale must have been! It was not one I would have applied to. In fact, until Yale admitted women, it wouldn’t have been on my radar either. So the fact that I didn’t know Sherry is my loss; I was too busy seeking my own level to find those at a level beyond. Congratulations, Sherry on your outstanding achievements to date.
It’s finally warm in New York City, perhaps a little too warm as it went from the drizzly fifties at the beginning the week to a high of ninety yesterday. I’m off momentarily to begin a Memorial Day weekend that will begin with a visit from my son, his wife and their three kids. They are on their way from Connecticut to the Princeton Reunion. Since he went to Georgetown and she to Cornell, one might ask why but her brother, who lives in Hong Kong and her father, who is not only Princeton ’74 but also president of Princeton’s alumni association go every year so it’s an opportunity for a family reunion for my daughter-in-law. I have already told Sam that if he comes back in one of those ridiculous striped Princeton reunion blazers, I’ll burn it.
And so it goes….
[Filed March 22, 2016. If you haven’t joined our Facebook group yet please email firstname.lastname@example.org to get your invitation]
Today is March 22nd. I woke up this morning to the news of yet another tragedy in Europe with the various bombings in Brussels. Accordingly, it would be remiss of me not to begin this column with an expression of deep sympathy to those suffering from this continued reign of terror. As I drove into Manhattan while listening to the various pundits on MSNBC, each asking “how did this happen,” I noted the additional security around the Lincoln Tunnel that caused the normally lighter 630 AM traffic to move at a snail’s pace, and I thanked the NYPD, the Port Authority PD and whomever else I could for their collective vigilance. I wish I could have been less glad that they were there. Such is the world in which we live. Anger abounds and it has become madness.
When the British surrendered at Yorktown, their band played “When the World Turned Upside Down.” We could be playing it again. The anger in our politics, in our universities and, as represented by so many primary voters, in our citizenry is palpable, and I am reminded of a writing by Edmund Wilson, that featured prominently in my senior thesis on the psychological roots of the Civil War:
“There is in most of us an unreconstructed Southerner
who will not accept domination as well as a benevolent
despot who wants to mold others …in such a way as to
satisfy our own ambition…; the conflict between
these two tendencies — which on a larger scale
gave rise to the Civil War — may also break the
harmony of families and cause a fissure in the individual”
Are we there, again? I admit that I, for one, think we’re getting mighty close.
But you don’t read this to absorb my sophistry. You read it for news. As you know. Jessica and I spent two weeks traveling to, in, and from Antarctica in January. While it is something of a self-selected group, other than wanting to see Antarctica, it is remarkably eclectic and we made great friends from as far away as New Zealand, Tanzania and Holland as well as Texas and Alabama. I’m not sure there was another person from our neck of the woods on the ship, and while I kept looking for Eddie Grosvenor on the National Geographic Explorer, he was nowhere to be found. My short reference to the trip in the last YAM did prompt a note from Chris Waterman, who had just returned in February from a trip with his wife to not only Antarctica but to South Georgia, where Shackleton found rescue and Emperor penguins abound, and the Faulklands, which, as Chris notes, remains the Malvinas to the Argentinians. Good to hear from you Chris. I think the last time we chatted , you were still at Mudge Rose.
Travel, in fact, seems to be a theme in recent correspondence. Stu Rohrer wrote:
“I still haven’t made it to Burning Man, but it was probably more satisfying to retreat to the Sonoran desert over MLK weekend with a tribe of familiar faces from freshman year.
Our hosts, Hal Corbett and his wife Katie, discovered years ago that Wickenburg, AZ — the cow-roping capital of America — is a fine place to hole up when snow starts blowing in Sheridan, Wyoming. They arranged an amazing weekend to show off the flora and fauna — Saguaro cactus, roadrunners, peccary pigs, exotic birds — and the lifestyle.
Most of my Calhoun roommates were there: I rode from the airport with George Powers, like Hal practicing law in Wyoming, and his wife Marguerite. Peter “Rocky” Swift, who runs the U.S. nuclear waste program, arrived from Albuquerque with Elen Feinberg. Page Nelson and his wife Patty drove from Berkeley, and Peter St. Clair and Raydene brought a guitar, songbooks and their best western duds from San Diego.
While we hiked past the Saguaros, watched cowboys rope calves, dined at the lodge and sang around the campfire, I caught up with left-coasters Eli Abbe and Jesse Arner from Palo Alto, Harriet Moss ’76 from Sausalito, and Tim Shephard and Andra Georges, my part-time NYC neighbors who spend more time in Portland, OR. The Los Angeles crew included Kit Rachlis, now at California Sunday Magazine, with Amy Albert, and heart-valve doctor Peter Pelikan and Rose.
What could be finer than to hang with friends of 40 years to reminisce, eat pheasant soup, sip Irish whiskey, watch blazing sunsets, and put a little haze around the moon?”
Now that’s what I call an update. But where was Colly Burgwin?
Other notes were shorter: Geoffrey Menin traveled all the way to New Haven to the 50th Anniversary of the Yale Symphony and also saw its performance of Bernstein’s Mass in Vienna (or was that a BBC special?). Having gotten to know Geoff at our monthly lunches, not only do I know he is an excellent entertainment lawyer, an avid golfer and a talented musician but he also really gets around. So, apparently, does Peter Domenicali, who has lived with his wife in an RV for the past two years while traveling all over the country, wintering in Florida and Arizona, enjoying our National Parks and hauling the “fifth wheel” trailer with a Volvo semi-tractor. Having been a fifth wheel myself on more than one occasion, my sympathies are with the RV.
Jeff Johnson writes that he recently was named a “Pioneer” in the field of Human-Computer Interaction which is evidence of his successful journey as is the fact that he is scheduled to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Computing Machinery: Computer Human Interaction. That’s a mouthful, Jeff, and congratulations! Jeff wryly notes that, although happy to receive the award, he’s not dead yet and further comments that the award entitles him to free travel to and from the award presentation. Last year, the conference was held in Seoul. This year it’s in San Jose, just 50 miles from Jeff’s home in San Francisco. Ah, irony! Make sure you get you 55 cents a mile!
Zack Rogow authored a play on the French writer, Colette, which will be produced at the Marsh Theater in San Francisco from March 31 to May 14, 2016. That’s a great achievement, Zack, and I particularly appreciate your invitation to sit in the President’s Box on the night of April 13th. Always a good date for a show.
Photographer Charles Martin’s excellent solo show (his sixth) which included portraits of Toni Morrison, Angela Davis and Ornette Coleman, just ended a successful run at the June Kelly Gallery in NYC on March 12th, so our more creative classmates continue to make us proud.
So do our pro-creative classmates. Welcome to George Hauptfuhrer’s second granddaughter in October and Brian Kelly’s first grandson in November (did I already do that? I have seven but who’s counting?). Keep ‘em.
Finally, I want to continue to thank all of you who keep coming to our monthly lunches in NYC. A special shout out this month goes to Joan Katter, who actually sits next to me often and pretends interest at my blatherings.
Be well, be safe, and pray for sanity.
[First posted on our Facebook page 12/4/15 – if you haven’t joined our Facebook group yet please email email@example.com to get your invitation]
Greetings Classmates. It’s a raw day in the Big Apple as I begin these notes which were due a week ago. I hope they make their way into publication.
As I’m sure you know, the phenomenon of intense cultural sensitivity that is sweeping the nation has not bypassed Yale (or the rest of the Ivies for that matter). Issues are being raised around men like John C. Calhoun and Woodrow Wilson about which I had never given much thought, accepting them as men who were products of their own time and not necessarily subject to scrutiny by a 21st century lens. Perhaps that was intellectually naivete on my part but I have always viewed history as something from which we learned as opposed to something we wanted to obliterate. As a product of Southern and Northern families who opposed each other in the Civil War, I concentrated on the tensions in nations, families and within the individual that preceded and grew out of that great conflict and concluded that I had to embrace my personal history if I was ever to rise above it. But I guess I had that option as a white male at Yale and afterwards. So I am struck by the current manifestation of the same tensions that have bred so much violence and anger in the past year and have yet to determine how I feel about them other than to respect their terrible complexity. Time may wound all heels, but it clearly does not heal all wounds.
What I can say is that I am sure the horrific violence in Paris, in the Middle East and in our own backyard has taken their toll on all our psyches. I would guess Paris today feels much like New York City did in that mournful fall of 2001 and that Yale has become as confusing and challenging a place to be as it was when we walked onto the campus in the fall of 1970. But to paraphrase the words of Cleanth Brooks’ favorite writer, mankind must not simply endure but prevail. And so we must beat on….
One of the great signs of hope is the emergence of grandchildren to those in our class. Brian Kelly welcomed Charles Kelly Olken on November 12th weighing at 10 pounds. My numbers six and seven, Jack Wachter and Alexander Haverstick, arrived on August 10th and October 9th respectively and Rick Okie writes that his first grandchild Cyrus (shades of Conair?) arrived in May and also for Thanksgiving. Rick lets us know that he is once again writing and producing network television, this time for CBS. If you haven’t seen “Elementary”, the modern Sherlock Holmes series, it’s very entertaining and not so elementary at all. Please let us know when grandchildren arrive. Then we can all ask “are we that old?” while feeling younger all the time.
Speaking of babies, Robert Gore writes:
“Still working as an OB-GYN in Denver, Colorado and delivering babies going on 37 years. Just back from England where we attended our fourth Rugby World Cup. USA not a powerhouse but the London scene was amazing. Enjoying more winter sunshine in Palm Springs than in the past. Hello to Everybody.”
And in the spirit of a budding Yale rebirth, we hear from Seth Ward:
“I am not sure whether your Nov. letter was better written than previous ones, had more exciting initiatives, or if I am just in a better mood, but I’ve given a small contribution to the class for the first time in years.
Actually the one thing I do for Yale is not cash but time: Alumni Interviews, which I enjoy and have done consistently for many years. I have not paid much attention to my high school either, but they had a facebook initiative (actually one person who sent facebook requests to what must have been hundreds of her “closest friends” whom she had not seen since high school and did not know all that well in high school either). It has been fun. If the class notes etc. are an indication, my associates at Yale were apparently largely not in our class, but maybe facebook will jog my memory. So, you might as well sign me up for the Yale 74 facebook.”
Thanks, Seth, we’re glad to have you back. And I’ll take that faint praise as a ringing endorsement!
The big note for this month, however, comes from the one and only Gary Lucas:
“As many of my classmates know, I am up to my eyeballs as a full time guitarist, prolific recording artist (27 albums to date with 3 more on the way this year), Grammy-nominated songwriter, and a composer for film and TV, including scores for Maysles Films, HBO, ABC News, and Showtime.
Besides working extensively with Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart) for 5 years, I am probably best known for composing the first two songs on the late Jeff Buckley’s landmark “Grace” album (1994) , which continually makes numerous Best Albums of All Time lists.
These songs began as my original solo guitar instrumentals, which I gave to my late partner and collaborator in 1991 to add lyrics and a melody to, and upon finishing the demos with him I predicted they would “shake the world” which they have indeed (the album is over 2 million plus in sales). There is a full account in my book “Touched By Grace: My Time with Jeff Buckley” (Jawbone Press UK), which received 4 Stars in MOJO Magazine and which is available in both an English language and in an Italian edition with more translations on the way.
For years I have mounted live tributes to min Europe and here in NYC, but none so lavish and comprehensive as the Australian tour I just returned from, a 6 concert multimedia tribute Down Under entitled “A State of Grace”, which was held in large theaters and arts centres in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, and Brisbane, including two nights at the Brisbane Festival.
These shows also encompassed the music of Jeff’s father Tim Buckley, whose music I used to spin regularly on my radio show at WYBC FM in the early 70′s.
Our concert tour of Australia featured myself as Music Director, leading my longtime band Gods and Monsters in tandem with some incredible singers from all over the globe, including Martha Wainwright. Four of our six shows sold-out, and we received major rave reviews in the press there.
Having performed in over 40 countries to date ( including many countries most US performers never get to visit. such as Cuba, China, Russia, Brazil, Japan, South Korea and India), this tour Down Under was one of the most satisfying moments of my entire professional career–and plans are in the works for more shows in Europe and in the States.
It’s been quite a year so far.
Last March I received an Award for Cultural Diplomacy from US Consul General in Milan Philip T. Reeker (a fellow Yalie it turns out, class of ’86) after performing solo at his official residence in Milano with many Italian cultural luminaries present, including the editor of Italian “Rolling Stone”.
I also played solo acoustic at the Benjamin Franklin Library in Mexico City last Dec. by invitation of US Ambassador to Mexico Earl Anthony Wayne as part of his Music Outreach Program for Disadvantaged Youth (previous guests included Patti Smith and the Foo Fighters). I also performed solo at a charity concert for disabled children at the Sotogrande Polo Club in Spain this August .
There are those 3 new Gary Lucas albums scheduled to come out later this year:
“Gary Lucas’ FLEISCHEREI–Music from Max Fleischer’s Betty Boop and Popeye Cartoons”, executive produced by my old friend Robert Melvin Rubin (’74). The album features Tony Award nominee Sarah Stiles as Betty Boop, who is currently starring on Broadway in the dark comedy “Hand to God”. Coming in early Feb. 2016
“Stereopticon”, acoustic roots folk-pop performed by myself and singer Jann Klose, which will be released soon through The Orchard
“Pearly Clouds”, traditional Hungarian folk melodies transformed by my psychedelic guitar which touches on blues, avant-garde, electronic and folk. It was recorded in Budapest with folk star Eniko Szabo and sax-player Toni Dezso. Our trio performed in May in London and again in August in Budapest at the Sziget Festival, the largest outdoor music festival in Europe. Scheduled for release on Discovery Records in the next few months.
I am off again soon for more dates in Italy mid Nov., and then on to Liverpool England Nov. 26–29th, where I am Artist in Residence at Liverpool Philharmonic Hall over 4 days and nights, performing 6 different solo projects.”
Now if that doesn’t motivate each of us to get on our feet and keep going, I don’t know what does. Remember, if we don’t see you in the future, we’ll see you in the pasture.
[First posted on our Facebook page 9/14/15 – if you haven’t joined our Facebook group yet please email firstname.lastname@example.org to get your invitation]
I begin writing this on the day of my 63rd birthday, a good time to reflect on the past year which includes my first full one as Class Co- Secretary and designated notes writer.
The first thing I would like to say is that it has been nothing short of wonderful to reconnect with so many of you after so many years of a somewhat self imposed exile. When I attended my first reunion ever in June 2014, I had no idea how warmly I would be accepted back into the fold and embraced as a returning prodigal member of the class. I guess it helped that I was in part responsible for throwing the party (my close friends say I only like parties I throw), but it was more than that. It was simply being with all of you and feeling the energy that our class, in a sense born under a bad sign, still has for Yale and especially for each other. I thank you all.
In the past year, we have tried to find ways to get more of us to be in touch, to get together and to share our views and to that end I believe we have made some but not enough progress. Yes, the lunches in New York have been well attended but the FB page is rarely used and I have no idea what is happening in other cities except perhaps Boston. So here are some things Harvey, Shary and I would like to propose for the coming year:
1) Reestablishment of a class council with regional reps to figure out what we can do that is not so NYC based
2) Get feedback on the FB page and how we can make it better
3) Plan/ sponsor get togethers in other parts of the country where our class Treasury can absorb reasonable costs thereof. For example: quarterly regional lunches paid for out of our class funds (dues, people, dues). We have made the NYC lunches “free” and it has certainly helped attendance.
4) Anything else you all are willing to come together on and support.
If this seems corny to you all, I get it. We still all think we have plenty else to do. But if you think time is on our side, it is fleeting as the note below from Norman Selby suggests:
“I’m sure you’re received several notes and comments about the untimely passing of Jon Bellis. I’m writing to add to those, and tell the story of a part of our class that I don’t think most people know: the success of our Men’s Soccer team. (There was no women’s soccer at that point!) Jon was the heart and soul of the team, and its success.
The first week of freshman year I trotted out to the Yale Bowl to try out for the freshman soccer team. I met then a group of guys who became steadfast friends through college, and who ultimately molded into one of the best teams Yale had in years. This group included Jon, Bruce Maronpot, Chris Coxe, Bill Anderson, John Ormasa, Jim Lapides, Lon Berkely, Tom Strumolo, Barry Messinger, Ted Over and others I’m sure I’m forgetting. We had a good freshman team, better than average for Yale I think, and many of us continued on to the Varsity for sophomore and Junior years. But Yale’s Varsity Soccer team was pretty lousy then, and we had losing records, etc.
Something clicked senior year, however. Jon, Bruce, Chris, Bill and I all started (John Ormasa had unfortunately broken his leg and missed playing the entire season – except for team photos which he joined with his long, flowing locks), and helped by several talented underclassmen we ended up having a winning season, and were either the first or second Yale Men’s Soccer team ever to make the NCAA playoffs. It was especially fun for me because I played defensive center midfield in front of Jon’s center back in front of Bruce in goal – we were the spine of the defense, and being good Yalies communicated non-stop, which was one of the keys of our success. We beat Penn when they were ranked 4th in the country, beat both Princeton and Harvard (for which we were each given a little gold soccer ball courtesy of an alumnus, which Melissa proudly wears on her charm bracelet), and shutout Bridgeport (ranked #1 in New England) 3 – 0 in the first round of the NCAA playoffs. It all ended a few days later when we lost to Brown in double overtime.
We all then proceeded on to the rest of our Yale lives, and life after graduation. But one of the highlights of every reunion has been to see people like Jon, Jim Lapides, Tom Strumolo and others who regularly attend. (Bruce has lived in the Far East for years so has a good excuse). Chris Coxe showed up for our 40th, his first in years, and it was great fun to catch up with him and Jon in particular. We all enjoy each other’s company, love to remember our times on the beautiful soccer field near the Bowl, dealing with crazy Hubert Vogelsinger our Austrian coach, and reminisce about our success Senior Year.
I think Jon is the first of our group to die, and as such it feels especially shocking, and sad. He may have been the most talented of our group, was certainly the most stable and mature, and will be sorely missed by all of us!
He certainly will be. Jon was about as nice as they come.
Fred Peters also posted a lovely note on FB August 5th about the passing of Marc Poirier who taught law school ten miles down the road from my home and I never knew it. Marc was a remarkably talented, brilliant and educated man who, as Fred notes, after coming out, became a noted gender law scholar at Seton Hall and nationally. He was also a creative and theoretically sound composer and musician. Ten miles down the road. I’m sorry I missed you Marc.
So, after those two moments of cautionary lesson, I move on. Our sixth grandchild, Jack, joined us on August 10th. Both his parents went to Princeton, were married in Princeton and live in Princeton where Jack was born, so I don’t see any blue in his future. But he is as cute as a button and his big sister loves him. We had him and our entire brood (16 people:’ the only child has become a patriarch! Yes!!) on the beach at Quogue on Long Island’s south fork for the week preceding Labor Day, and I’m still exhausted. Six kids under four are more than a handful but also beyond joyous. And yesterday our new puppy arrived so at age 63, I am a father again.
Other news: Michael Sheldon, or the blogger known as “Mickey D”, has put his prolific writing skills to commercial use, publishing a novel entitled The Violet Crow. It features a pretty quirky detective/psychic named Bruno X who lives in the Pine Barrens of NJ and speaks Yiddish with a South Jersey accent. Of course, so does Mike. I downloaded it immediately and really enjoyed it. Great beach reading and, for those of us who know the area, “Gardenfield” is a not so well disguised pen name for the town in which Michael grew up (Haddonfield). Good thing you got into Yale, Mike, or else you would have had to attend Penn with a bunch of meshugenah losers. Another South (well mid) Jersey refugee, the Connecticut dwelling Brian Kelly is just beginning his third and final year at Yale Divinity School, which is amazing because I remember our long discussions about whether he should do it.
“Solar” Tom Strumolo just celebrated his 40th year of marriage to Ann Havemeyer (’75) and ….well that’s about all I know.
One other question: anybody have any thoughts about the discussion around Calhoun? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone….?
Paul Zelinsky keeps getting honored for his illustrious illustrations of children’s books (I want a Moose T-shirt!) and was recently named co-chair of PEN American Center’s Children and Young Adult Book Committee. In the photo here he’s being presented with another award, the Southern Miss Medallion at the 2015 Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival, by Dr. Aubrey Lucas, president emeritus of the University of Southern Mississippi.
[first posted on our Class Facebook page 5/5/15]
Sumer is icumen in; lhude sing cucca.
It’s eighty degrees in NYC and I’m already too hot. So I think I’ll just sit in air conditioned office splendor and write some class notes.
First, my apologies to Ben Works. Ben wrote some time ago to say the following:
I am pleased to report that…I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Jon C White under unusual circumstances. As a Yale veteran of Vietnam and member of the Class of 1974, I am under care by the VA system and was diagnosed with a large and complex abdominal aortal aneurysm in December. My surgery was assigned to the VA Medical Center in DC which has the regional expertise, as my normal health needs are met by the hospital in Martinsburg, WV.
Dressed in my best Ivy League country gentleman’s finery (brown tweed herringbone coat and regimental necktie), the surgical team determined I must be Ivy League and perhaps a professor. I confirmed my membership in Y’74 and the surgeon chimed up, “well, our chief of surgery, Dr. Jon White may be a classmate.”
He was and came to see me the following morning and we had a good visit. I did not know him in school, alas. He is a patriot serving our veterans of all wars. I have written him since in a cordial exchange and sang his praises to my chapter of the Vietnam Veterans Association. He is further proof of my oft told saying “I’ve been in all the wrong places at all the right moments.”
I was released on Thursday and home by 2:30. Stent inserts for abdominal aneurysms are not to be feared.
I am mostly retired in Culpeper, VA in the shadow of the Blue Ridge. I am in frequent contact with Bill Sharp and McKim Symington of our class. I will have lunch with McKim tomorrow. He is also a grizzled Vietnam veteran and now retired.
I remember Ben quite well as part of a small cadre of Vietnam Vets that included McKim Symington, Tom Ireland, and Frank Cole (’75). By cadre, I do not mean that they hung out but that each of them had experienced something most of us never would. I always wondered how they looked at the rest of us, and I found something of an answer to that in a letter written by McKim to the YAM in 2011. In responding to an article about permitted speech at Yale, he wrote in pertinent part:
I have always been amazed at the artful and disingenuous way in which Woodbridge Hall has danced around the knotty problem of free speech. Thanks to your article, I now understand this is an evergreen issue, dating back to at least 1722. Talk about a story having legs! Of course, the orthodoxy cultivated and encouraged at Yale in my time was that of the left…It was an impolite and coarse time…
Yale’s failure was never truer than in the shameful treatment of General William Westmoreland when he was invited to speak at Yale by the Political Union in 1972. I am surprised you didn’t mention this sad episode in your piece. This dignified man was not allowed to speak, effectively silenced by an unruly and intolerant body of Yale students to whom liberal conformity trumped free speech… Westmoreland was invested with more than his own pride and dignity, but also with that of those who served under him in an unpopular war. Whatever his personal shortcomings might have been, he deserved to be heard and Yale deserved the chance to listen. Sadly, neither got the chance.
I remember the Westmorland incident very well and, as one who was terrified of becoming part of the U.S. body count, I was against the Vietnam War, but I did not agree with the prevailing sentiment that Westmoreland should not be heard. Nor did I appreciate the position of our classmates who were veterans. My empathy was reserved for myself. To all vets in our class, please accept my personal apology for my lack thereof.
On a happier note, Jessica and I were privileged to share Fred and Alexandra Peters’ joy at the April 25th marriage of their daughter, Clelia, to Hugh Malone. The bride, Yale 2000, and the groom, sadly a Harvard grad, made a beautiful couple and appeared totally in love. At the festivities which spread from Red Hook in Brooklyn to the Upper East Side, I saw Linden and Scott Wise and Leslie Cockburn each of whom seemed to be having a wonderful time. The Wise’s were kind enough to give us a ride from Red Hook back into Manhattan, and I can only say that Scott makes Jordan Baker appear a good driver. Note the literary allusion! Congratulations to all the Peters family!
Other news: Peter Marshall announced that his first grandchild arrived in March; Robert Petrie (not the one played by Dick Van Dyke) retired from the Federal Civil Service after 35 years and received the Defense Logistics Agency’s Distinguished Career Services award. Well done, Mr. Petrie, carry on!
Angus Thuermer writes, “After 35 years I have left the print media business but still live in and report from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. You can follow my long-form reporting and photography on natural resources and environmental issues in Wyoming at my new job at the online non-profit news WyoFile:
@Wyofile@AngusThuermer or Wyofile.com. Not sure I got that right but that’s what Google is for. I remember Angus as a tough club soccer player on a good Calhoun team that also included Ned Deming.
And what’s with this 35 years stuff? I’ve been working for 38 with no end in sight!
A quick note on FB from Shary Aziz tells us he ran into Deke Welles shooting in Argentina. I still don’t know who or what they were shooting at (slow gauchos?) but it’s good to know that people in the U.S. still live like aristocratic Brits….I think…
In New York City we continue our first Tuesday of the month lunches with both stalwarts and newcomers. Norm Selby graced us with his presence for the first time and Norm, Fred Peters and I found ourselves sitting at the end of the table just as we had back at grammar school. We figured we’d each know the other for more than 55 years. Really scary stuff!!
Our almost maudlin memories were well interrupted by the erudite Susan Lightfoot Doud who can still use “conflated” in a sentence and by Anne Riney’s latest revelations from her past. If you want to hear them, you gotta show up. Paul Zelinsky constantly elevates the conversation with quotes from his children’s books. Who knew that the wheels on the bus go round and round? Thanks for that Paul and the other end of the table seems to have so much fun without us that only Stu Rohrer can tell us who’s there and he’s keeping mum.
One revelation of my own: the suave mustachioed international private equity mogul who sits mid-table is none other than John O’Donnell whom I finally placed as the blue jeaned (including work shirt and Levi jacket) biker hippie I used to joke with in the CCL. John, if you don’t let me finish my introductory paragraph, I won’t make it to the gym!
At our last lunch, I reconnected with Leroy Watkins successful labor lawyer and almost neighbor as he lives in Montclair. It’s the same county, Leroy, don’t squabble. Leroy has some great stories around his fellow Eli hoopsters. So Mike Baskauskas, Gary Rinck, Mike Oristaglio and Jere Shafir: your ears should have been burning. In case nobody remembers, Buzzy Baskauskas turned down a full ride to play football at Ohio State to join us in Saybrook and he and Jere Shafir each shot an astounding 45% from the floor as seniors. That they only took six shots between them is no longer relevant. Truth be told, they actually took a total of 332 shots, so there. Where do I get this stuff? Well, I roomed with Yale Daily Sports Editor Rich Feinstein who remembers such facts off the top of his head (not).
Finally on a personal note, Jessica and I will celebrate our 39th wedding anniversary next week (yes, the woman is a saint!) and we’re expecting grandchildren numbers six and seven before winter sets in. Since we will have then reached the number worn by my favorite Yankee ever, I’ve told my kids they can stop. But their favorite Yankee is Paul O’Neill and his number was 21. Yikes!