The planning for our fiftieth reunion kicked off at The Yale Club in New York City on September 10th with a lunchtime gathering of about twenty-five of our classmates. Wait…what? I’m wrong again. What kicked off was the first of the fall 2019 monthly lunches which was attended by about 25 of our classmates. What also kicked off was mine and Stu Rohrer‘s 68th year since we both turned 67 on that day (also the birthday of Roger Maris, Arnold Palmer and, wait for it… Pope Julius the Third who is entering his 582nd year and looks remarkably well preserved. None of the three made it to the lunch, however).
So at the lunch, Naomi Lewin promised to send me the following and she did! “Having always claimed that I majored in Glee Club, I have just completed the ultimate ‘senior’ project. I produced a three-part podcast about how the Yale Glee Club went co-ed after the college did. It was fun going back so many decades and interviewing folks who had a part in this, including Sam Chauncey, who helped implement co-education, and Glee Club members from the classes of 1958 through 2022. The entire story is told in the voices who lived it—not only through interviews but through eight decades of Glee Club (and other) recordings. The music of Yale is woven throughout the narrative, often to make humorous comment. You can find and download the podcast, which is called Time and Change, on the Yale Glee Club website at this link: 50Yale150.
There’s been a lot of stuff about the 50th anniversary of coeducation circulating this fall and I understand a big celebration is scheduled for this coming weekend (September 20-22), Coincident with that, and again with my birthday, September 10th saw the publication of Ann Gardiner Perkins’ excellent book, Yale Needs Women, which provides a non-academic story-based look at how women not only were admitted to Yale but how within three years of that event, the admissions policy changed from no women to 1000 male leaders to sex blind admissions. It’s a great study in how change happens at a major institution and a very personal story to me. More importantly, it’s a story of bravery by the women we knew in the class ahead of us and several of our women classmates, including Linden Wise and Carolyn Grillo, and is told as such. Finally, it is history, and that point was brought home to me in a conversations with a woman colleague from the class of 1988, who was shocked to read about the attitudes towards women at her school only 15 years before she matriculated, and with my daughter, class of 2011, who simply had no idea of or perspective on what it must have been like. We had 1000 men from whom to draw friends of the same sex; they had 230. Divide that by twelve for the colleges and each college averaged less than 20 women for the class of 1973 and less than 40 women for the class of 1974. How did they do it? BTW: full disclosure: I’m in the book too!
Okay now to news, of which there is a paucity. Zack Rogow has published two books this year: Irreverent Litanies, a collection of his own poems (Regal House Publishing), and Bérénice 1934–44: An Actress in Occupied France (Peter Lang Publishing), his co-translation of a new French novel that won the award for a book celebrating a woman of action. Nice job!!!
And finally, got short notes from both Don Massey and Ken Knodel promising to be at the 50th. Don promises that he is still playing baseball despite a stroke suffered in 2011. He’s just not doing as much catching. And Ken commented (favorably) on my Firesign-like “ramble” in the last class notes. I actually would really like not to “ramble on” but I really need some news. So I think I’ll end this column with a question and pray for some responses:
By the time you graduated from Yale, what was the one song you never wanted to hear again?
I know my answer. But let me hear yours first.