Author Archives: Alec Haverstick

About Alec Haverstick

Class Co-Secretary Alec Haverstick (SY), having held his Lehman stock to the bitter end, is still working as a private wealth advisor with Bessemer Trust. When he isn’t chasing new business or his 12 grandchildren, he continues to develop his understanding of American culture, which has been his primary intellectual pursuit since junior year at Yale

May 2022 Class Notes


Compiled May 11, 2022

I am working from home today and avoiding the almost three hours I have spent on my daily commute for almost 45 years. It’s a pleasant feeling sitting here in shorts and a tee rather than work garb, although I will admit that, since “dress for your day” has replaced the suit and tie I have worn for my entire career, going into the office is certainly more comfortable than it once was. I keep a suit and tie in my office closet just in case but, generally, I haven’t needed to use it. Perhaps there will be a time when clients return to office visits (about the same time as the oysters return to Oyster Bay), but since the New York Times reported this morning that only 8% of the pre-pandemic workforce has returned to the office full time, I am not going to hold my breath. 

I do hold my breath, however, when I turn on the news, because none of it is good and I don’t want to hear about Tom Brady’s contract with Fox Sports in the same general time slot as I hear about Ukraine, the climate, inflation, the markets and the general state of the world. In fact, I don’t want ever to hear about Tom Brady again. Yes, I am a Giants fan. Eli Manning is completing the renovation of a perfectly normal center hall colonial about two miles from where I live, and nobody cares. That’s normal.

Sandy Wood Forand

So it was with these various emotions filling my soul that I tuned in yesterday to what has become an oasis for the life of my mind to rediscover the community of thinkers I visit with every month on the Class of ’74 Zoom call. I think our regular attendees have come to welcome it and we were pleased to welcome some new attendees to the May call including, but not limited to, Harry Hamlin, Rich Feinstein and Sandra Wood Forand.  Rich, by the way, has just become a grandfather for the first time; Harry is about to start filming a series for AMC based in New Orleans; and Sandy is at the forefront of making sure rights of privacy are preserved in, at least, Connecticut. And thank God for all of that. 

Over the last six months or so, our monthly call (now the 2nd Tuesday of each month) has featured a variety of speakers whose stories seem to have migrated from post Yale career narratives to increasingly revealing personal journeys, the last of which featured  Lela (Everyone knew her as “Singie”) Shepley-Gamble’s moving saga from Wall Street to Buddhism with Canada, marriage, widowhood and child rearing as rest areas along the way. After Singie’s great tale, I emailed my friend Bob Martin, who I can blame for introducing me to the world of investment banking, and we had a great exchange about what does it all mean, a conversation I remember having over and over again at Yale including one particular memorable one with Rob Cohen in the JE dining room on the value of metaphysics where he introduced me to the concept of  whether a barely subsisting individual at the bottom of the economic ladder actually has time to focus on whether virtue can be taught. Thanks, Rob, your lesson has served me well. I worked hard to gain the economic freedom that allows me to find time to think, although never enough. 

Anyway…on this particular call, we decided to take a break from stories to riff upon, well, what have these get togethers meant to the participants and where would they like to see them go in the future. Apart from being reminded of the impossibility of herding cats, I found the hour delightful. How often do you get 25 really smart people on a single call? And if that isn’t good enough, how often do you get any really smart people on a single call who have no interest in demonstrating how smart they are but just want to move the discussion forward?

So off we went as the topic moved from the calls, to the reunion, to the class as a community that might want to accomplish something by the reunion to what people viewed as their ultimate concerns. I invite you to view the recording that Stu Rohrer, our class keeper of the archives, that he will have posted on our website by the time you read this. I also invite you to read the accompanying chats that Stu preserved which introduces a plethora of ideas. And, finally, I invite you to contribute your own thoughts either on the website or for these notes, as to how to make our fiftieth reunion as meaningful as possible for all who attend. We also want it to be inclusive in the following sense: no story is unwelcome; no idea not respected; no person’s attendance not valued and no intolerance of ideas tolerated. Some questions: do we want to unite around a class project? Do we want to share personal journeys? Do we want to do both? More? Other stuff?  We need your ideas and, if you have something to which you are committed, we want you to help make it happen and to share it with the rest of us. As Lisa Goldman put it, it’s an opportunity for leaders to lead. The first to put his actions where  his mind is will be Mark Cramolini (no one knew him as Gordon) who has promised to craft what can best be described as a values/mission statement for how we might interact with each other as we try to find a common purpose in our remaining years, really how we diverse, disparate people might become a class. It’s a grand experiment. I invite you to participate. 

“So I think I’ll light out for the North Country ahead of the rest cuz Aunt Sally, she’s gonna ‘dopt me and civilize me. And I can’t stand it. I been there before.”

March 2022 Class Notes


Compiled March 8, 2022

This is a class of ’74 day. At least, it has become one. After a morning of numerous work calls and other tasks, I remembered this was the Tuesday of our class zoom. I raced downstairs to make a sandwich, and, stuffing my face full of chips, lunchmeat and diet Coke, I turned on my personal computer just in time to admit 35 classmates to the March monthly call. Sharon Vaino took the conch first to update us all on the plight of Danny Voll who has become a regular presence on our zooms since narrating his “deprogramming” experience at the hand of one Ted Patrick back in 1972. I had known Dan was in for some complex surgery on both his knee and his throat but was distressed to hear that his recovery was not going well. In fact he’s ambulatory but has lost a great deal of weight to the point that his is down to a dangerous level. I just sent him an email, but I know he would appreciate hearing from any of us. Danny’s email is dannyvoll@yahoo.com.

On a happier note, Gary Lucas, sent me a note announcing the release of his new album Double Dare which will also be released in vinyl this summer. Since Gary tells me I will enjoy it, and I always believe him, I plan to download it shortly.

 In light of Gary’s announcement, this from Tom Strumolo:

“Our 45th reunion was full of ‘reunification exuberance,’ I thought, and it was there I had my first chat, since graduation, with Gary Lucas as he set up to play for us with Geoffrey Menin, Joel Bluestein, and Jonathan Rose. Until that encounter Gary and I were bound together mostly by our Things that go Bump in the Night experience at Yale, which you remember was produced by Gary and Bill Moseley and for which my roommate Jack Jones and I provided all the necessary condiments, legal and illegal, if I can put it in those terms, to turn the horror movie experience into an entirely satisfying evening. (It turns out selling beer out of buckets of ice on the floor in Linsley Chittenden was against some dumb state law). Since 2019 I have had time to catch up with Gary through his music, his compelling and detailed Wiki pages, his website, and in person. Gary is approachable, indefatigable, and prolific. You should listen to some of his music, his guitar magic, online or download it or go see (hear) him play.  

When much of the talk among us is about retirement or adapting to elder change, Gary – through talent and tenacity – had great year in 2021 during a debilitating pandemic. In January he released his 40-year retrospective double album “The Essential Gary Lucas” which surveys his massive multi-genre output (over 50 albums to date) and received glowing reviews all around the earth and made a bunch of best-of-the-year lists. (How many of you remember Gary on Yale’s WYBC where he was DJ and ground-breaking Music Director?) This is an incredible album, like an autobiography with just the soundtrack. In September last year, Gary’s song “Grace”, co-written with the late Jeff Buckley, was named “One of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time” by Rolling Stone Magazine. In December Gary gave a private solo concert at Winfield House in Regent’s Park, London for Acting US Ambassador Philip Reeker (Yale ’86) and invited guests. And despite the pandemic, Gary found time to tour solo – a man with a guitar – in Italy, the Netherlands, France, and the UK, and also to live-stream solo concerts three times a week from his apartment in the West Village! What really blows me away – besides listening to the prodigious skill and range in “Essential” – is that this was just another of 20 big years like it in his career. Gary is better known in Europe and on a couple of other continents than here at home, which says something. I recently got an email from him from his Hungarian dentist’s office – from Budapest, I mean, not the Village. Gary is keeping up the pace in 2022 with several new albums already underway. www.garylucas.com. We are talking about reprising Things as an environmental horror short which horror film superstar Moseley would act in, Gary would lay down the soundtrack, and I would of course provide the condiments, now all legal in most states.”

I can’t tell if Tom’s recent correspondence is reflective of a new period of reflection on his part, but my reflex response is that it must be, because not only did he wax on about Gary, but warned me that more writings were to follow featuring Bill “Leatherface” Moseley and Sim Komisar. Thanks,Tom !

Today we were treated to a talk by Greg Ho on business development in Harlem, once again displaying both his legal and McKinsey training (author’s note: McKinsey’s employment brochure actually refers to careers after McKInsey…what’s that about?), his immense recollection of both data and names and, most importantly, his generous heart. My takeaway from the talk was less on the specifics and more along the lines that equity cannot be achieved without access, and that it’s the systemic lack of access by large subsets of the citizenry that sustains, well, itself. Lela (Singie) Shepley will be speaking in April and then we’re going to take the brave advice of Lisa Goldman and shift for a while to a more interactive format where a topic is introduced, and we actually discuss it. Can virtue be taught? Is the American century over? Who ordered the veal cutlet? Thank you, Lisa, and thank you Oded Ben-Ami for offering yourself as moderator when and if we pull this off. 

Let’s see: what am I missing: Mathew Weston-Dawkes sent a note into the Alumni Office announcing his retirement but they scan it and send it to me and now I can’t find it. Sorry, Matt! Send me an email! What else: the amazing Candida Piel sent me a panel from “Zits” on ‘Captain Bee Fart” (sorry Gary, but you gotta take the bitter with the batter) and fourteen members of the Princeton Class of ’74 sent me the New York Post’s most recent article about Harry Hamlin, once again proving that they remain envious of having to attend a safety school and that they all drive Porsches—Yalies don’t need one—but I will end with a simply request. Manny Kapelsohn, Tower Drive misses you! Phone home!

February 2022 Class Notes


(compiled February 4, 2022)

Good afternoon from yet another ice storm in New Jersey. I thank God (or the manufacturer) every day for my Yak Trax which fit so nicely on my LLBean shoes and add that grip not quite afforded even by the patented chain link tread. It saves this old guy from falling on his keister, and, since I’ve already had two hip replacements and one revision due to a fall (not to mention accumulated over 40 stitches on my forehead), I am grateful for the upgrade in non-slip products. About three years ago, I was falling so much, my office sent me home with a supply of bubble wrap. The only problem with that particular product is that, if you wrap it around your head, you can’t see where you’re going. I know; I’ve tried it!

I want to open this column with a quick reminder that we are now averaging about 50 attendees at each of our monthly Zooms and to let you know that the next speakers up will be Mark Cramolini on February 8th and Greg Ho, my Yale and Columbia Law classmate, in early March. Also just opened an email from Lela Shepley-Gamble volunteering for a slot which I gratefully accept. Stu Rohrer sends out the invites to everyone by email a week or so before. (If you’re not getting those emails, a quick note to stu@yale74.org should take care of any problems.) For those who, like me, did not know Mark at college, you may at least remember that his was the name most called out at Class Day . I hadn’t heard somebody’s name called out so often until the last time Jennifer Lawrence attended the Oscars. 

I also want to thank all the speakers and listeners to date, including those who suffered through my life on the trading floor at the last get together. (Watch the replay on our yale74.org website.) I appreciate the kind notes from so many of you. 

Two of the first speakers in our Zoom series were Stan Weiss and Tom Strumolo. More on them in a minute. But since there seems to be some connection between those who speak or participate in our Zooms, I want to include recent and congratulatory news on Fred Peters, who not only entertained us with the stories of building his real estate company but actually managed to sell it at almost the same time as he was speaking to us. And I thought men couldn’t multi-task! Fred tells us in a note sent in December to Yale and not to Andover:

“My wife Alexandra and I just returned from a week in Jamaica, which made me think about the LAST time we were in Jamaica, in early February 2020. My life has been vastly altered since then in ways both expected and unexpected, to wit: three weeks after our return, my beloved, impossible and (in recent years) demented mother died in the guest room of our apartment on Central Park West, with each of my children asleep beside her. Two weeks later, the world shut down. I was thrown into the maelstrom of dealing with a complicated estate, a business in crisis, and a fractious and acrimonious collection of siblings. The first is only now in its final weeks or months of resolution, the second, after six months of awful decisions and terrible anxiety, came back to life, and the third, for better or worse, has resulted in irrevocably damaged fraternal relationships. All these events, positive and negative, have been strangely liberating. And they have led to some major life decisions. My wife and I now spend more of our time at our home in northwestern Connecticut than we do in New York. We love it there and have become obsessed gardeners. And, in a huge and somewhat unexpected life change, I sold my company to Coldwell Banker in the beginning of October. I expected to feel filled with ambivalence but instead I am just plain thrilled. We will see what this next (and maybe last) chapter brings.” (Scribe’s note: I attended Fred’s mother’s service in his apartment, having known Phyliss for more than 50 years. It was moving and also packed. Two weeks later, NYC closed up shop. For the next six months, it was all but impossible to get a will probated in New York County which would not have helped Fred’s state of mind. Lesson to all: to the extent you have assets, think about transferring them to a revocable trust and sparing your loved ones a lot of work.)

So, back to Stan and Tom. Little did I know of their extraordinarily accomplishments in their respective fields, nor was I aware of them until after they had spoken to us.  If you, however, Google them, the word pioneer comes up more than once, Tom for his work in solar power/climate change and Stan for his work in epidemiology.  The next paragraph is straight from Tom and is in so many ways Tom that I can’t help but smile:

“I started Energy General in 1978 to provide innovative energy audits for building owners, occupants, tenants. I was considered a pioneer at the time, now I’m full time disrupting the field I helped create. We are doing too much auditing and reporting and talking and not enough actual retrofits. Worse, we are starting to argue over technologies and the climate and have brought politics into “my” space. My new year’s reminder – and work anniversary message – is simple: FIX THE BUILDINGS! I am focused right now on the worst emissions offenders, buildings burning #2 oil, and especially on those we have ignored for 4 decades: old buildings in “high risk” communities (what the professionals call them) or disadvantaged communities (what they are). For capitalists, my message this: STOP BUYING HEATING OIL. If you want to complicate this plan with your hang-ups on whether nukes are better than solar with storage or if Greta is wrong or if oil was handed to us by God to burn in any way we see fit, please leave me off the thread. When you are living oil free, or in any other way want to be involved with fixing the buildings, get back to me. I am not going to be able to get to all 10 million buildings in need of serious energy retrofit in this country by myself!

But thanks for the kind thoughts on my work anniversary. Here’s an update on where my thousands of clients are after 44 years: 305 million kWh and 65 million gallons oil saved, 1.5 billion pounds C0₂ and $243 million energy costs avoided.”

I would put Tom up for a Lifetime Achievement award for both accomplishment and passion, but like so many of us, he toils for the sake of his beliefs and in an area that has yet to receive it’s appropriate coverage.  However, no stranger to the recognition he does not seek, is Dr. Stan Weiss who has recently been honored twice this year for extraordinary contributions both to epedimiology and to public health, to wit: 

“Dr. Stanley H. Weiss an infectious and chronic disease epidemiologist and professor at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and the Rutgers School of Public Health, was honored with the American Public Health Association’s John Snow Award from the Epidemiology Section for distinguished service to the health of the public through outstanding contributions to epidemiology, a lifetime achievement award. AIDS

 Dr. Weiss was a leader from the early days of the HIV epidemic in 1983. He was the first person to realize and demonstrate that HIV was a chronic disease that would have a far more devastating impact than most authorities recognized. Dr. Weiss was one of the few voices warning that the risk HIV posed to the blood supply was greater than thought. The virus was more common than most perceived, and the risks far higher. He worked with the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to quickly put screening in place. While sensible in retrospect, screening was challenging. The American Red Cross had a research contract with the CDC for a key study, but the Red Cross did not fully trust the conclusion of the CDC that HIV was NOT the cause of AIDS. The Red Cross approached Dr. Weiss’ supervisor to repeat the study, fully blinded – but insisted this collaboration had to be kept secret; and it remained secret for 35 years.”

 Who knew? Nobody!!! But Stan was also honored for his work with the city of Paterson, NJ (home of Lou Costello) :

“The City of Paterson New Jersey has been named a recipient of the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Global Mayors Challenge award of $1 million dollars. The Global Challenge focuses on identifying and accelerating the most ambitious ideas developed by cities during the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The project from the City of Paterson includes a focus on drug use issues and problems affecting the homeless. 

The City of Paterson competed against applications from mayors in 631 cities in 99 countries around the world. It is one of just three US cities selected to receive the award.  Paterson will use this award to implement the breakthrough ideas presented in their application.

“Dr. Stanley H. Weiss, professor in the Department of Medicine at the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, has served as medical consultant to Mayor André Sayegh and was involved in every aspect of the application. 

Paterson’s application was the only one in the world that included strategies to deal with the intractable problem of drug use. They call their initiative RealFix, a safe, rapid way to reach opioid users who have the cravings and effects of opioid withdrawal, and which is available 24/7. 

Dr. Weiss has been involved in examining the epidemiology of drug use issues in New Jersey, including Paterson, since 1984. He is the principal investigator of the largest long-running cohort study of drug users in the world and other endeavors. He serves on multiple committees that deal with drug abuse and public health matters.”

I am humbled by such talent and dedication and will remain so.

Year-End 2021 Class Notes


Compiled 12/2/21

Where has the year gone? I no sooner submit one set of class notes that I get a notice that I’m overdue on the next set.  Ferris Bueller was right. Life happens to fast, and it is increasingly hard to keep up the pace. Seasons seem to come and go with little to mark them but changing weather and light conditions, with the result that my daily long walk with Rosie has been moved from 5PM to an earlier time which in turn often conflicts with work…yes I said work… and the sleeves on my “work at home” shirts have gone from short to long. Rosie is mad. 

Rosie is also mad because my office has reopened, and she can no longer count on me to be at work upstairs five days a week. I actually am supposed to go in 70% of the time. Now, since the work week is five days, and, since we all can do the arithmetic that says 70% of 5 is 3.5 days, the math just doesn’t work for someone who commutes. What is a half day anyway? And who did the math?

My solution is to move to base 10 and conclude that I should be in seven out of every ten work days, but, since we began “Operation RTO (return to office)” on October 28th (not, as one might think, on November 1st, which was a Monday), I haven’t come close, and have only become less efficient in both work arenas. I go into the office when I want to see people badly enough to leave the house by 7 AM and not when I don’t or when I have a face to face engagement or simply when I need to escape.

For 45 years, I was one of the first to enter the office every morning, and it was a point of pride to me. Now, I no longer care. I come in when I want to and leave when I feel like it. I have come to see that breakfast is something that should be eaten at home but not necessarily lunch, especially since I can now stream “Days of our Lives” and never miss an episode of that true to life drama.

Perhaps Covid did me a favor because I may have finally learned that what mattered so much at 25,30 and 45, simply doesn’t apply at age 69. If I want to drive my grandson to school, I can go in late or work from home. If I want to leave early, I arrange my day to do. Now, believe me, I always did some of this as I hardly ever missed my own children’s high school games, and I rarely felt guilty. But this is a little different. I don’t leave for work at 5AM anymore on game days (since my youngest is 32, there really aren’t any!) and I invariably eat breakfast at home. But it feels a little different, and I think have Covid to thank for it.

So…why do I write this? Because I would like to hear from you about how the last 20 months or so has impacted your lives and how you think about them. Some people post their thoughts on social media. Others do not. But, as growing older, if not becoming old, is something we all share, we also share the last 20 plus months. Let us know what they were like. 

Speaking of “sharing” (ugh!), I have to mention how Covid has changed the dynamics of my role in the class. Eight years ago we reinstated class lunches for those in or around NYC. Covid effectively ended those, and we moved to a Zoom format. This has turned out to be pretty popular, and we have between 30 and 50 people on every call. The format has also evolved as we offer the floor to anyone who would like to talk about pretty much anything. So we’ve had Naomi Lewin talk about being a classical DJ, Tom Strumolo discussing solar, Fred Peters on real estate, Danny Voll on being kidnapped and Carolyn Grillo on her experiences in Afghanistan. Next up are Philip Halperin on his Russian business (ad)ventures to be followed by Phil Clark on intrafamily finance (Note to Phil: I have always known the date of the music dying but I never knew that American Pie was the name of the airplane carrying that ill fated group. Good one!) Anyone else who wants to offer words of wisdom, amusement or just plain good stuff is welcome to let me or Stu Rohrer know, and we will get you on the agenda. Otherwise, I’m going to have to do “my life on Wall Street (which is not a monolith)” or show clips of my fourteen grandchildren, and I promise, some of you may be interested in the former (Yes, Lehman died of Goldman envy) but only I would enjoy the latter. 

Barry Messinger (left) receives award from Dr. Robert Green

News Flash: As I was about to send this off, I received and read an email from Peter Delenick  informing me that Barry Messinger was named 2020 Humanitarian of the Year by the Connecticut Orthopedic Society and was featured as a “member of the month” by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Congratulations old friend. I have read about your work in Guatemala. You well deserve any recognition you get!

Happy Holidays to all of you. I got all the way through this without a single reference to the attack on Roe v. Wade, decided while we were in college when Connecticut was still banning the pill. Think about it. 

Fall 2021 Class Notes


Compiled 9/25/21

Allow me to start off by thanking each and all of you who responded to my query about class zooms and lunches. I owe you all emails but will begin by listing what I hope is an inclusive list of those who responded: David Stone, George Hauptfuhrer, Doug Cassel, Phil Clark, Jay Clayton, Sandra Boynton, Chris Coffin, Stan Weiss, Carolyn Grillo, Robert Kyr, Gail Kedrus, Manny Ramos, Peter Marshall, Joe Orfant, Patty Barz, John O’Donnell, Paul Zelinsky, Jeff Johnson, Philip Halperin, Christine Padesky, Oded Ben-Ami, Michael Sheketoff, Michael Booth, Jim Devine, Therese White, Clifford Ross, Tom Strumolo and, of course, Fred Peters.  On our most recent Zoom call, I also received input from Anne Riney and Sue Lightfoot Dowd. 

So here’s the upshot, and as you might imagine, it’s part of the cultural change and expediency of communication engendered by the pandemic: 

Since we now have a way of communicating beyond geographical borders and time zones, we will host a Zoom call for any and all members of the class on the first Tuesday of every month. If that day is a holiday, or immediately follows/precedes a holiday, we will move the call to the following week.

A reminder email is normally sent out the Friday before the Tuesday call. These blast emails contain the information necessary to be on the call, so please look for them. Obviously if we don’t have a current email address we can’t remind you — so if you’re not receiving our notices in your inbox send me your up-to-date email address as soon as possible at alec@yale74.org.

As for in-person lunches, we are going to attempt to have them quarterly in NYC. Information to follow. I realize this is sensitive because most of you don’t get to New York, but enough of you said that a quarterly lunch schedule might provide an incentive for you to visit the Big Apple especially if lunch was free, so it will continue to be. 

The following suggestion also emerged in the form of a question: “If I hold an event just for the class where at least ten members show up, can I send you the bill?” Based on my extraordinary executive powers as the writer of the class notes, co-secretary and upcoming reunion chair, my answer is “Yes!” We want to encourage get togethers just not at the most expensive restaurant in town (the Yale Club is far from it and, generally, the lunches are dry). It would be good to know in advance what is being planned, but we can cover it as long as we all continue to pay our class dues. 

Now a quick note as to content: these Zoom calls are free-form UNLESS somebody wishes to speak on a particular topic they feel would be of interest to the class (Naomi Lewin’s  talk on her career and Tom Strumolo’s solar discourse being two good examples of informative and entertaining topics as will just about classmated talking about what he or she has been doing for the last fifty years). So feel free to let me know if you have an interest in holding forth for a part of our call. Frankly, I like it not only because it’s interesting but it takes a lot of pressure off me for which I am grateful.

Okay, I’ve gotten a lot of names into this one but two correspondences deserve special mention: I received emails for each of Steve Immelt and Brian Clarke. In the former, Steve wrote about his career, his interests and the depth of his marriage to classmate Sue Carroll, and, in the latter, Bryan wrote of his relationship with Tim Karpov which preceded Yale and continues into the present. I can’t publish both of them here due to space and time constraints but I will send them to Stu Rohrer for the website. 

But in that same spirit, I’m sending a Saybrook shout-out to Manny Kapelsohn, Jay Ginsberg, Colly Burgwin,  Rich Feinstein, Ted Swett, Chip Davison, Ed Resor, Steve Fernow, the late Jim Feldman and Kathy Smith, Barbara Borst, Peter White, Pedro Castillo, the late Kate Kernan, Sandee Blechman and many more in the class of 1975. If Mary hadn’t flashed the lights, we’d all still be in the dining hall. Which is a story in itself and which Jim Feldman reserved the right to tell. But, as I am left to tell the tale, I will do so at some future date. Right now, I have to walk Rosie.

September 2021 Class Notes


Compiled 7/19/21

Greetings and report to your local draft board! Yes the heat has finally gotten to me and I have become a mad dog as well as an Englishman, albeit one who lives in New Jersey. 

This is the last class note I will write before I turn 69, and it occurs to me that the older I get, the more I realize how little I know. This was brought home to me by a lovely email I received from Brian Clarke. He remarked on my comments about being limited by my own provinciality in the last YAM and noted that he, too, had struggled with similar limitations while at Yale. I think we all did. But it made me realize that the first time I saw Brian off the football field was when he had a recurring role on “Eight is Enough” playing a really nice guy named  Merle the Pearl, an aspiring professional athlete whose career had been cut short by injuries.  Even though he was acting, I found myself unable to reconcile the sweet faced man on the television with a guy I pictured as the ultimate jock who was more likely to stomp the bejesus out of me on York Street than smile and say hello. Except, of course, my imagined Brian had nothing to do with the real Brian, but it’s taken me almost 50 years to find that out. In his note, Brian was tougher on himself than I was on me. He asked whether he was too provincial or to chicken shit to break out of the mold. I’ll answer for me: it was both. And we both have the same regrets. So many missed opportunities based out of fear.

So in the interests of breaking out myself, I want to let you all know that I have just finished a remarkable and very disturbing book, “Facing the Mountain” by Daniel James Brown. Brown is the same man who penned “The Boys in the Boat” about the 1936 Olympic boat, and he seems very committed to ideas of equity and equality that appear in our Constitution if not in our behaviors. Brown’s editor is Wendy Wolf (YC 1975) and one of my dearest friends in Saybrook, and I have made it a practice to read every book I know she edits. 

Anyway, “Facing the Mountain” is about the experience of American Japanese on our shores (and profoundly in Europe where the 442nd kicked the you know what out of the Axis) during WW2. And reading it filled me with the same profound sadness as any book by Colson Whitehead. We were at Yale with the descendants of slaves, but we were also at Yale with the children of Americans who were interned in American Concentration camps. This was and remains one of the least studied and publicized events of American history because, well, America wants to pretend that it never happened. But it may explain why so few, if any of our classmates of Japanese descent have stayed in touch with the class. If any of you would like to share your thoughts with me and/or the rest of us, we’d like to hear them.

In an attempt to glean how many Americans of Japanese descent were in our class, I went back to the geographical distribution section of my edition of the Old Campus before I realized that studying the names from Hawaii and the West Coast constituted the worst kind of profiling even if well intended. What did strike me, however, was that the section did contain a category called “Foreign” which seemed to be a catch all for anyone hailing from a country other than the United States. I guess that’s because anybody not from the 50 states or a territory thereof  was “Foreign.”

Phil Clark
Phil Clark

On that basis, two people who have become dear friends of mine over the years—Phil Clark and Shary Aziz, are listed as “Foreign”. I didn’t realize you two had so much in common. LMAO!  I’m not sure I can fault Yale for its then characterizations, but the need to type and categorize people is reflective of the provinciality of the University at that time and of the notes that began today’s column. And it makes me focus on the note I received from Phil Halperin  hoping that after the reopening, we can continue to have ZOOM calls. Since Phil resides in Israel, he’s about as likely to make a Yale Club NYC lunch as Peter St. Clair  residing in California is.  So let’s put our heads together and figure out how to be (yes, I’m going to say it) more geographically inclusive over the coming years. I’d appreciate any and all thoughts you have.  And to all our classmates, whether black, brown, of Japanese descent or whatever you are, college is over, life will soon be, get connected!

Other notes this month? Well, there weren’t that many. In fact, there was only one more, from Gail Heidecorn Kedrus, who tried to email me a pre-Yale memory of Geoff Menin, attorney cum virtuoso, from 1969. I fear it was lost in the ether. Gail. if you can resend it, I will put it in the next issue.

That’ all folks

Class Notes March 2021 (for May / June YAM)


On days when I look at my Outlook calendar and see “Class Notes Due,” my first reaction is not often a good one. In fact, more often than not, it’s one of pure panic: what the hell am I going to say?

Sometimes the irreverent in me takes over. I think of making stuff up like imagining a conversation between Sherrod Brown and Ted Cruz or actually getting a response from Paul Krugman to my numerous emails. The recent televising of Clarice can bring forth a fantasy chat with Ted Tally on the pairing of fava beans with a good chianti, and I still long to find out if the former president ever paid the fees he likely owes Marc Kasowitz.  I even picture Leslie Cockburn making stump speeches in Charlottesville and wonder how that’s working out. But mostly this week I am thinking about how the world changed a year ago, how long that change has lasted and the impact it has had on millions of people around the world of which I am hardly a microcosm. Compared to most, I’ve had it easy, but I still regret the lack of casual connectivity: the chats with colleagues, the impromptu and/or scheduled lunches, drinks and the like, the pace of it all. I don’t miss getting up at 5AM to drive to NYC before the traffic gets too bad but I do miss the drive home when I invariably listen to a novel on Audible and decompress before arriving. Some weeks I feel like the workday begins at 7AM on Monday and continues unabated into Friday evening—a constant marathon punctuated with questions like do I live to work or do I work to live. I find these days it is too often the former.

But inevitably something happens to awake me from my Puritan slumbers. It’s called life. This week there were three such events.

Some weeks ago at the urging of Steve Blum, I found myself agreeing to take on a Yale senior as a mentee or, perhaps better stated, agreeing to attempt to mentor a Yale student. Several days later I found myself on Zoom with a 23 year old person with whom I needed to make a connection. But, other than Yale and a willingness to enter the program, the two of us have little in common. We are separated not only by 45 years but by race, gender, background an interests. I am not surprising anyone when I say that I am a child of white privilege, that I went to a Yale feeder and a prep school no less, that I love the humanities and cannot comprehend science or math (although I trust both) and that for me Yale was as logical a next step in my life as politics was for a member of the Adams family. Only Henry dared reject it. 

My mentee, conversely, is none of these things. She is so much more. And beyond that it is not my place to characterize her. We have worked hard to establish common ground and have agreed that authenticity is paramount. But the practical question I faced was how to advise someone who wanted to go to medical school. Hell, the closest courses I took to science at Yale were psychology and anthropology. 

But I do know about getting into places: I’ve had four different careers and twice as many jobs and I can tell the difference between admissible and admitted even if not a hawk from a handsaw. So my advice: “You need to meet some of my classmates who practice medicine.” The first person I emailed was Charlie Thorne. That fine gentleman was back to me the same afternoon expressing his willingness not only to speak with my Yalie but to introduce her to others in her aspirational field. I knew I tried to play freshman baseball for a reason, and, much as I was out of my league on the same field with Charlie, Pat O’Gara, Ken Knodel, Rich Edwards and Don Massey (to name a few) and much as I am in over my head with my pre-med student, I felt that immediate feeling of being on the same team. And it’s sustaining.

I said there were three events and that leaves two. So I want to thank Naomi Lewin for her entertaining multi-media presentation of her career at the Tuesday Zoom lunch and for her patience with her ham-handed technician. Naomi followed such luminaries as Stan Weiss, who is rapidly becoming New Jersey’s most quoted infectious disease expert, Forbes columnist and real estate maven Fred Peters, and Dan Voll, quondam kidnappee and now a teacher in Colombia as speakers on our monthly Zoom. And yes, we NY centric provincials are trying to figure out a way to make this more accessible nationally. We have enlisted San Francisco based Kevin McKean in this process and would love volunteers from west of the Hudson (including you Ralph Fascitelli) to address us about their passions. We will even set up a special Zoom at a special time to make it happen. 

And that brings me to event number three as one of my dearest friends from freshman year has reappeared in my life. The electric “Solar” Tom Strumolo will grab the mike for our next Zoom which is scheduled for April 6th. Tom has devoted his professional life to practical approaches to solar conversion and with climate change being one of the topics that not only confronts the planet but seems to polarize Americans as much as anything else, it should make for a lively discussion. 

So that’s it for now because, uncannily, of space constraints. Bennett Gilbert, you will appear soon. Carolyn Grillo, you, Tom Corbi and Jane Miller need to take your act beyond Facebook. Chris Coffin, I hope you got your shots and Jeff Johnson, I will envy your minimal reaction to shot number two until the day I die. I’m not bitter…just sore.

Be careful out there!

Class Notes November 2020 (for Jan/Feb YAM)


Greetings to all. I am writing this towards the end of the week following that week that was and before the week that will be. By the time you read it, however, it will in all likelihood be 2021 which, for those of us who have decided that the only way to survive 2020 is “one day at a time,” is immeasurably far into the future even though only 45 days away. 

The events of the last eight months, culminating in the events of the last two weeks, have taken their toll on all of us and certainly on me. As what Myers Briggs categorizes as an intuitive extrovert, living without the stimulation of being in Manhattan daily or at all has required an exercise in self-management that I have, in the main, handled tolerably though far from excelled at. And I have awaken on more than one morning with that “Groundhog Day” sensibility that must be conquered just to get out of bed. And I am one of the luckiest people I know, so how must it be for those less fortunate than I am? 

Simultaneously, as a student of American intellectual history, I have experienced a level of anxiety, a true fear for the future of the Republic, that is only now beginning to subside but which can crash over me whenever I turn on the news. This is not only a fear for the health of the Republic itself but for the health and well being of its citizens who, if they read Shakespeare, must feel like “flies to wanton boys are we to the Gods. They kill us for their sport.”  I cannot claim the fault is in our stars. But I can feel it may be in ourselves, that in our willingness to compromise, we have become underlings. 

I have found that communicating these feelings with some of you both privately, on calls and, yes, even on social media has been both important and useful. I have counted on my dialogues with “the regulars”: Jane Miller, Carolyn Grillo, Charlie Thorne, the irrepressible Tom Corbi as well as Peter White and Peter Marshall, two high school classmates of each other who could audition for Shana Alexander and Jim Kilpatrick in another life. And I appreciate the insights from the group I identify as the “cogent observers” such as Rich Edwards, Ralph Fascitelli, Chris Coffin and Russ Leavitt not to mention Sandra Wood Forand, Naomi Lewin, Anne Riney, Richard Brown, Dan Voll, Doug Cassel and Marion Suter. And then there is the only male character Virginia Woolf would like: my dear friend, Fred Peters, who actually posts pictures of bread he has baked and pies he has made as the winds rage all around him. If that’s not bringing order out of chaos, what is?

From our Facebook group: Tricia Tunstall [PC] married Eric Booth in October!

Just writing this has made me feel better, so I will tip my hat to Harvey Kent, Shary Aziz and Stu Rohrer who actually do all the work so I can look good. And to all you lost folks who received and responded to Kate Wodell’s wonderfully illustrated card, thank you for your email addresses. I promise that I have not sold them to telemarketers to make up late class dues. 

Okay…I’m done, except for the following:

I received the following from Doug Berman and Bill Schwartz just after I sent in my last class notes. It deserves a full printing:  

“We write to report the sudden passing of our dear friend and roommate, Judd Magilnick, from a heart attack on September 23, 2020.  

Judd moved to Los Angeles shortly after graduation to pursue a career in filmmaking.  Over time, his interests shifted, and he turned from his camera to his pen, founding and running MarketPlace America, a trade and communications consulting firm.  At about the same time, Judd, who had grown up in a Reform Jewish family in suburban Connecticut, took up Torah study in Los Angeles, and soon became an active member of LA’s Modern Orthodox community and a leader in his synagogue, the Pacific Jewish Center (The Shul on the Beach).  He also became active in conservative political circles, writing thoughtful articles for the American Spectator and other conservative journals. Together with his family, Judd’s Jewish identity and his commitment to Jewish tradition were the pillars of his life.  

Judd was a kind and gentle soul known for his his deep, iconoclastic intelligence and his amazingly quick wit.  He was as facile with a pun as he was finding humor in life’s many ironies.  Judd readily opened his heart and his ear to anyone who approached him.  He was a loyal friend, beloved by his classmates in TD.  He actively maintained his Yale friendships throughout his life by attending our reunions with his cherished wife, Denise, sending dozens of carefully curated articles to his many Yale friends according to their interests, regularly participating in our weekly Covid-era Zoom calls, and welcoming any classmate who happened to be stranded for a weekend in LA to his Shabbat dinner table. 

Judd met Denise shortly after moving west.  She was the love of his life, and they formed a perfect partnership.  One could not have scripted a better suited or more loving couple.  Together they raised five wonderful children – Nathaniel, Joshua, Aryeh, Gavriel, and Betsy – who adored Judd and whom he adored; there was much to be learned from Judd about parenting.  He also leaves behind ten grandchildren who, sadly, will not get to play with him, learn from his wise counsel or laugh at his jokes as they grow up. 

All of us who knew him at Yale will miss him deeply.  May his memory be a blessing.”

May we all experience a blessing in our lives. All of us. 

(compiled 11/12/2020)

Class notes November 2020


My apologies to all members of the class, but I am late in getting this in. As a result, it will be necessarily short, which is probably just fine with many of you.

Why am I late, you ask. Well, how’s this for a reason?  When I opened the last YAM issue to the “In Memoriam” section which I invariably do so as to ensure I haven’t missed a classmate’s passing, I was shocked to see Alan Strasser reported as having crossed the great divide. Don’t worry, Alan, you are still with us in body as well as spirit. As a matter of fact, we became FB friends some weeks after your reported passing.

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Class notes September 2020


Greetings:  Since launching our email recovery campaign as announced in the last YAM, we are grateful to have received emails from many of you either volunteering your email addresses or asking if we have them. We have even received emails from several of you who didn’t realize they had requested Yale not release their emails to the class. We appreciate the positive response! If by any chance you are not getting the emails we are sending out independent of YAM, please let me know at alec@yale74.org.

Here are some of the people we have heard from in recent weeks with stories to tell, information to impart or even just an email address update:

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