Class Notes July 2014

Since I am not the incomparable Wes Bray, I cannot begin my submission with greetings from the banks of a balmy river in Connecticut. I’m writing from a hot office building in NYC on a 100 degree day in July. By the time you read this, however, it will be September or October so go figure. Also, thanks to the blast email capabilities of Stu Rohrer, I have been inundated with news. So let’s begin with a series of firsts:

Dr. John Healy missed the reunion as he was “occupied taking care of his first grandchild.” He doesn’t offer the baby’s sex but goers on to say “it’s an amazing experience” not only watching the baby develop but seeing his daughter becoming an “excellent mother”. I can empathize, my friend.

John is still leading Memorial Sloan Kettering where he focuses on curing bone cancer. This combined with his involvement in the spiritual side of medicine makes for a life of service as well as achievement. John recently received the Spe Salve award from the Dominican Health Care Ministry of NY and credits classmates Norm Selby and Marc Kasowitz as well as many others for helping to provide spiritual support and hope to the entire Cornell medical community, including patients and staff. BTW, John, you didn’t have to translate for me so I’m not translating for anyone else. Caveat scribus et lector!

Countering the adage “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” Kristina Pickering breaks her silence for the first time in forty years with a lovely discourse on her early days at Yale as a Nevadan “fresh from Reno High School” and the role of certain Yale teachers (Cleanth Brooks, WK Wimsatt and others) in conveying “when to trust intuition or imagination and when to go with logic.”

Since Kristina sits as a justice on Nevada’s highest court, this would seem to stand her in good stead. This lofty perch is not without its own trials, however. “We hear and decide all manner of cases” from death penalty appeals to one involving the Nevada DMV’s refusal to issue license plates with “Hoe”, short for “Tahoe”, on them. Hmmmm! While the tale is meant to illustrate the clear need for an intermediate court to adjudicate minor issues, my intuition suggests that, in a fit of political correctness, the DMV is trying to create a new protected class for Mustang Ranch employees. Hey, when I’m right; I’m right and logic be damned.

Ken Knodel writes that he is going to attend Billy Raymon’s first marriage in “Hollywood” which Ken will visit for the first time. I hope its California, Ken, and not Florida. None of us is ready for the dog track yet. I wanted to write, “Whatcha talkin’ about, Willis?” in response to Ken’s brief note which some will get and others won’t. But I didn’t. I might have angered the Nevada DMV. Best wishes to Billy, though.

Okay, that’s the last “first”.

Two separate notes from Chris Puello. The first notes that his “wonderful mother, Agnes Cecilia Johnson Puello” passed away in 2012 at the age of 99, that he is retired from the New York Fed; and that his scholarly writings continue to be published in the form of ironically titled books. The second notes his inclusion in the “African American National Biography Encyclopedia” joining his late father, Bob, who was the first person of color to be a unionized cinematographer in the United States.

So much more; so little space: Gary Lucas, our own guitar hero, has three albums out concurrently including solo guitar versions of music from films directed by such luminaries as Fellini and Hitchcock. The album, “Cinefantastique” also includes original film scores by Gary. Two other albums titled “Otherworld” and “Musical Blaze Up” complement the trio. Gary also has a book out on his collaboration with Jeff Buckley which precedes his coming musical direction of “Buckley” about Jeff and his father Tim, folk hero to us all. The prolific Mr. Lucas will also bring his new jazz ensemble to BAM in November while “Gods and Monsters”, Gary’s longtime band, celebrated its 25th anniversary with a reunion show on June 27th before a packed house in NYC. Would love to get more on Gary in but I can’t fit it which proves those who can’t do write class notes instead!

Scott Glasscock writes that he is the new, duly elected president of the Yale Club of NYC (free drinks?); Kevin Rogan has assumed the role of Chief Compliance Officer of the NYRA (that’s a horse of a different color); Eric Luse continues to live in Chevy Chase, to practice law and to send his kids to Princeton. Wait, did he say Princeton? He also has been battling a “nasty case” of prostate cancer for four years with help from the good surgeons at MSKCC (see John Healy, supra). Eric, we’re all with you and all share in your hope for a cure. Eric also really needs a successor as class agent so any volunteers would be much appreciated. I mean, it’s been 20 years!

There’s more if only I can find it. Don Humpal couldn’t make the 40th wife, Leah, were “between assignments” in Timor Leste and Senegal. Instead they celebrated their 40th anniversary of their first Peace Corps assignment at the Dakar airport. To paraphrase the old ad: “the hotel wasn’t so hot but the pay was great, 11 cents an hour.” Actually, I figure that was about my hourly wage as a first year associate in a law firm. We’ll see you at number 45, Don.

Both David Nikkel and Jeff Johnson did make the reunion but were kind enough to send news anyway. David and his wife, Lorena, continue to reside in North Carolina where he remains chair of Philosophy and Religion at UNC-Pembroke and Lorena works in early childhood education. They have successfully raised two daughters who are either well launched or about to be so. Jeff left the reunion after wandering all over the place with Sandy Morse, stopped briefly in San Francisco then continued on to Bangkok to conduct software design training. Despite the political upheaval in Thailand, Jeff said the only disturbing sight has been the nine foot monitor lizards wandering freely in the park. Though the lizards are billed as harmless, Jeff is still looking for his dog.

Finally, Ann Larson sent me a note which I seem to have misplaced. But I do remember getting it. Perhaps, I will find it before my next due date which is September 10th, the birthday of Arnold Palmer, Roger Maris, Greta Garbo and your scribe. Until then, well, until then…


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