Yale University

Class Events

Mini-Reunion in Santa Fe in 2002

by Tyler Smith (see pictures and list of attendees)

September 27 - 29, 2002

I was asked by the reunion's principal organizer and host, Bob (and Ling) Hilgendorf, to sum up the weekend's events. Trying to get 76 Yalies and their significant others to choose from the cornucopia (I don't know the Navajo for this) of eating, drinking, cultural and shopping options, to herd them into buses for uncertain destinations, and maintain calm in the face of such adversities as a tardy return to home base has left Bob in recovery. Actually, as of this writing Bob's state has morphed to post-partum depression. He actually misses us!

Yale Blue took on a decidedly turquoise patina for our three-day mini reunion held over the weekend of September 27th in Santa Fe, New Mexico. What made this gathering so special was not just the wonder of the place, but how, over the course of our three day stay, its many facets were revealed to us by the work and thoughts of fellow classmates who have made the Santa Fe area their home. Foremost was the work of Bob who put together such a full program, and his diligence in seeing that it all worked out. He topped it off Sunday with a brunch at his and Ling's new house located on the eastern foothills of Santa Fe. While the house echoed many of the traditional adobe themes, it was solidly and splendidly contemporary in spirit. On its walls were displayed the extensive modern art collection assembled by Ling. Equally evident in their home was music, and Bob brought that home by arranging for a jazz combo to play for us. Bob, you've come a long way from living in a hogan on the Navajo reservation as an in-residence tribal lawyer.

Saturday morning classmate Sam DeLoria, head of the American Indian Law Center at the University of New Mexico Law School, spoke eloquently and passionately about the issue of Indian Tribal Sovereignty. The group experienced this sovereignty head-on when, on Saturday afternoon, the elders of the Taos Pueblo closed the pueblo to the bus full of Yalies (and also to everyone else, without notice).

Also Saturday afternoon, classmate Ed Ranney opened his photographic studio to us and gave a slideshow glimpse of his life's work photographing ancient sites in Peru and the Southwest. He followed this with a tour of the striking new Santa Fe Art Institute where Ed occasionally teaches a photography studio.

There were other images and anecdotes that remain vivid to me. On Sunday afternoon the entire group visited the Pueblo cliff dwellings at Bandolier National Monument. It was a sight: with our various artificial joints, stiff legs, and expanding posteriors (along with our more agile and younger? spouses), we emerged one at a time, backwards from a low-slung cave opening onto a shaky ladder to descend ten feet to a narrow rocky path. Later that afternoon we all gathered in the gym of the Santa Clara Pueblo for a demonstration in the art of making Pueblo pottery arranged by David Smith. We were each given less than a golf ball-size piece of clay and told to make a mini pot (shot glass?). Like a group therapy session out of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest we all dutifully and intently potted away. The prize-winning entry went to Jim Baxter's wife, Barbara.

And the food! It ranged from haute cuisine featuring elk at Geronimo's Café with champagne and good New Mexico wine to an authentic chile buffet at the Santa Clara Pueblo. Food and beverage lead to the outstanding singing provided by the wait staff of the Casa Sena Cantina, and the more lame attempts of our group. In spite of Ed Massey's urgings and Michael Mazer's willingness to go solo, it took Jon McBride to produce a passable rendition of Bright College Years. And John Wilbur, you can't sing either.

Last there was the cake! Bob and I labored over the surprise 60th birthday cake conferring at great length with Santa Fe's best bakery: the size, texture, flavor, frosting and most importantly the true Yale blue color of the lettering. No sooner had it been delivered to the restaurant Saturday evening than it was dropped, splattering out of its container. With lots of egg based frosting on their face, the restaurant somehow produced a passable replica for consumption. All's well that ends well, and this reunion did.

See pictures.

Attendees were:

Balser, Paul, and Paula Del Nunzio
Baxter, Jim, and Barbara Brooks-Baxter
Buchanan, Bob and Sharon
Capodilupo, Larry and Jan
Crane, Giles and Diana
Damour, Tim and Susan
DeLoria, Sam and Vivian
Francis, Sam and Bobbie
Galvin, Bill and Ellen
Hart, Jim and Barbara
Harter, Tom and Amber
Hershey, Doug, and Bronwyn Bateman
Heyke, Rick, and Janet Merutka
Hilgendorf, Bob, and Ling Tong
Howells, John and Pat
Humphrey, George and Patience
Hutchins, Peter, and Martha Wolfgang
Lee, Tony and Margie
Lee, John, and Mary Lou Morong
Leka, Donald, and Jane Gilman
Levitch, Joel, and Nancy Rovelli
Manchester, Paul and Ruth
Massey, Ed, and Anne Hastings
Mazer, Mike and Hannah
McBride, Jon and Mimi
Milbrath, Bob and Diana
Moeller, William and Kitty
More, John and Livy
Morehead, Richard, and Ken Knight
Mosso, Curtis
Nielsen, Chip and Arlene
Odell, George and Frieda
Reum, Bob and Sherry
Smith, David and Patty
Smith, Tyler and Diane
Susman, Tom, and Susan Braden
Swanke, Albert and Valda
Truebner, Peter and Jan
Wickwire, Ward and Tracy
Wilbur, John and Beverly
Wishcamper, Joe and Carol