by Tony Lee
Chip Brennan has been traveling: "I
spent a fascinating week in Cuba in mid-January. With the demise of Comicom,
which accounted for the bulk of their sugar exports, and with a glut of
sugar overhanging world markets, the Cuban government turned to tourism as
its main source of foreign currency. Its efforts to make Cuba an attractive
tourist destination include: dollarizing their economy; restoring Vieja
Habana; privatizing restaurants; reopening La Tropicana; and joint venturing
new hotels with European hoteliers.
"Ernest Hemingway's home has been preserved exactly as he and Mary left it in 1960. As I walked into the house one of his old 78 records was being played on his original hi-fi system. The sensation was one of being whisked back 40+ years. As the docent described Hemingway's life and daily routines at Finca Vigia, you could almost smell his cigar and taste his mojita as he lounged on the veranda gazing at the Atlantic.
"While the Cuban government is not a paradigm of democracy, I think a normalization of relations between our countries is long overdue. Given our working relations with Vietnam, China and Russia after a half-century of conflict, not to have normal relations with Cuba is an anachronism of cold war politics. Clearly, Cuba has to move toward being a more open and democratic society, but what better position to encourage such change could we have than as an influential and valued trading partner. Hopefully, a more rational policy toward Cuba will evolve soon."
Tim Breen, a history professor at Northwestern, reports that his research project about an executed slave is being turned into an opera called "Slip Knot." Tim's research focused on a young slave, Arthur, who lived in Massachusetts and was executed in 1768 for allegedly raping a white woman. The woman never charged Arthur, but apparently his life was ended for overstepping racial boundaries of the day. Tim argues that Arthur's story helped to move public opinion closer to ending racial bondage.
Tom Susman appeared on Bill Moyers' NOW program in April as an expert on the Freedom of Information Act. Moyers' story was called "The Veil of Secrecy" and covered the recent measures taken by the Bush Administration to restrict public access to former presidential records. Tom is a lawyer in Washington, DC. A copy of one of his talks, "Government and the People's Right to Know," is on our web site. It contains a wonderful historical sweep of a democracy's right to know.
Also appearing on PBS TV in April was William Turnage in the wonderful documentary on Ansel Adams, the photographer who has dazzled us with beautiful black and white photos of Yosemite Valley. Formerly president and CEO of The Wilderness Society and now Trustee of The Ansel Adams Trust, William was instrumental in helping Adams attain worldwide recognition.
Roger Thompson, as Salt Lake City Council Chair, had an active role in the Winter Olympics. He was invited to fly to Athens to pick up the Olympic flame and transport it to Atlanta, Georgia, where it began its nation-wide journey. Roger claims the bidding scandal turned out to be a blessing because it resulted in a change of leadership in the International Olympic Committee and the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. Although people were initially apprehensive about the proximity to 9/11, it seemed the Winter Games helped heal the nation's wounds. The entire Thompson family got caught up in the Olympic spirit and were spectators at many of the record-breaking events. Roger and Colleen were very grateful for the tremendous volunteer effort that helped make the games so successful and for the new investments and development in the Salt Lake valley.
Alfred Lambremont Webre sent an announcement about the birth of the Institute for Cooperation in Space (ICIS). He is the international director of the non-profit, tax-exempt foundation whose mission is to educate about humankind's sacred common heritage, secure a weapons-free outer space, and facilitate a cooperative world Space Age economy. Interested classmates can obtain more information through the ICIS web site at www.peaceinspace.com. Alfred lives in Vancouver, BC with his wife Geri, a Canadian therapist.
Bob Dayton wrote: "Joanie and I are thoroughly enjoying our four (soon to be five) grandchildren, all of whom live in Minneapolis. I retired in June and we spend most of the winter on the Big Island of Hawaii and a good part of the summer on Chebeague Island in Casco Bay, Maine. We just returned from a wonderful trip to Australia and New Zealand. We recommend New Zealand to anyone! We often see both Harry Howell and Jack Metler as part of the US Seniors Golf Association."
Bonnie and Chuck Post spent last winter sailing in the Caribbean around Central America. "Too many pals getting heart attacks and cancer, so I took the winter off from ophthalmology, bought a Little Harbor 58 and away we went." A highlight of his trip was visiting with old friend Rod Martinez in Honduras. Chuck toured Rod's hospital and was amazed with his achievements and his motivation. Rod is married to Joan Leary, a pediatrician he met at Yale Med School, and they have 4 children "all of whom are bright and successful. As I rounded the hospital with Rod, I observed he still has a relaxed and caring manner with his patients. I coerced him into a photo next to the plaque bearing his father's name who was a founder of the hospital." The picture and additional story can be found on our web site.
From Paul Balser: "Life continues to be challenging and interesting. My family are all well and happy, including my newest addiction — grandson Ben. Work is trying especially in these tough times. The World Trade Center disaster has made me rethink my priorities. Choices count more now."
Our Summer Fellowship Coordinator, Frank Basler, has selected this year's recipient, Abhi Sud, from Toronto. Abhi has a double major in Linguistics and Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. He speaks Hindi and plans to go to Bangalore this summer to work in a for-profit urban agriculture project. We wish Abhi well in his endeavor and look forward to hearing from him at our annual winter dinner and hockey game meeting.
Wayne Batcheler has been tracking down information about many of our deceased classmates and posting it in the In Memoriam section of our class web site. If you haven't visited our site recently, I suggest you do so.
Nick Danforth hosted a Boston-area class of '64 gathering. Attending were Al Rossiter, Mike Price, John Madden, Larry Pratt, Doane Perry, Jeremy Scott Wood, Shel Leader (flown in from London) and yours truly. It was a wonderful evening where personal stories and challenges were discussed openly around an excellent potluck dinner. We vowed to do it again. Anyone in the Boston area who would like to join can contact me.