by Chris Getman
I was having dinner with the Holcombes the other day and excused myself for a moment as guys our age do. When I came back I had been awarded the role of corresponding secretary until Tony Lavely is able to sort things out from the ruins of Katrina. I wish I could report more about Tony, but all I know now, with the deadline for these notes being tomorrow, is that he and Wanda are fine, currently located in Orlando, but unsure of what's left of their house in New Orleans. Having been in dry-dock as a scribe since 1974, I hope in my temporary status to keep you updated on the whereabouts and whatabouts of many of Yale's greatest class until the venerable Lavely comes off of the DL.
First, mark your calendars. We are planning a mini-reunion in Chicago from September 28 to October 1, 2006. The committee organizing this is: Chip Brennan, Harry "Horse" Howell, George Covington, Herrick Hunt, Bill Moeller, and Bob Reum. You should have received a preliminary notice about the reunion by now, but it will be centered around the new King Tutankhamen exhibit that has been touring the country to rave reviews.
We are scheduled to be at the Whitehall Hotel, but any of us who'd prefer not to be in the downtown are invited to stay at the Brennans' house or in Horse's barn.
As many of us have learned, mini-reunions are a great way to reconnect with one another in interesting and diverse settings. I'd encourage all of us to make the effort to go to Chicago. We won't regret it.
Our annual class meeting is scheduled for Saturday, February 25, 2006, followed by dinner at Mory's and the Yale-Princeton hockey game. This is always fun and should provide an opportunity to critique the new administration (Holcombe et al) and begin thinking about our 45th reunion, which is being chaired by Waldo Johnston.
Chip Brennan wrote, "I am being elevated to the office of Grand Seneschal of the Sous Commanderie de Chicago of the Confrerie des Chevaliers du Tastevin." Translated, I believe, that means that he's the head of the Chicago Burgundy Wine Society. Harry Howell is also a member. Also, Chip and Harry are members of the National Seniors Golf Association, but Chip had to go on the 15-day disabled list after he sprained his wrist trying to unscrew the top of a vintage bottle of burgundy.
Terry Holcombe writes that he, Marya, and their two kids, Sam and Marjorie (ages 9 and 10), have relocated from Branford to Old Lyme, Connecticut. "We wanted to be in a community with its own named disease," writes Terry, "and Carpal Tunnel, New Mexico, was already designated as a retirement community for Dave Kalayjian." Terry and Marya are true soccer parents, as both Sam and Marjorie play on travel squads. They'll be needing a golf cart to get to their kids' college games.
Speaking of New Mexico, I received a nice e-mail from Bob Hilgendorf noting that he, his wife Ling, and Tyler Smith had gone to the Aspen Great Ideas Festival where they stayed with Doug Hershey. On the program, in addition to Bill and Hillary Clinton, was Gus Speth, who continues to warn at the highest levels of the perils of global warming. Again, I recommend that you read Gus's book, Red Sky at Morning: America and the Crisis of the Global Environment, which has a sequel included. Bob and Ling bumped into Gus and Cameron when they were out hiking and had a great encounter with them. Bob also wrote that his National Senior Olympic basketball team (ages 60-64) representing New Mexico went 4-1 in the national championship tournament, although they didn't end up with a medal. It's amazing what a two-inch vertical leap will do for you. Mike Sherwood, fresh from 12 days scuba diving in Palau, dropped in on the Hilgendorfs, looking fit and trim. It's encouraging to see how many classmates are still in top shape and doing challenging things while many of us are gravitating to the golf course. Dorf's 20-year-old daughter, Ran, after a year at Mt. Holyoke, is now studying at Qing Dao University in China, the country she left when she was five years old.
Hopefully Ran will meet Hilton Augusta "Happy" Rogers, currently 27 months old and the daughter of Jim Rogers and Page Parker. Happy is currently fluent in both English and Chinese. She has a Chinese nanny, and it should come as no surprise that Jim and Page are thinking about where the action is going to be in the future. They spent last summer in Shanghai and Singapore, and bumped into Len Baker's son, Griff, in Shanghai where he's working for a newspaper and has a Chinese ballerina girlfriend. Do I sense an entrepreneurial trend here? While I asked Jim about the state of his books (Investment Biker, now in its tenth printing, and Hot Commodities, now in its 12th), he seemed more anxious to talk about the wonders of parenthood. "I was dead wrong," he said, referring to his chastisements of those of us who became parents in the traditional time frame. (I believe this is the first and last time Jim has ever admitted to being wrong.) "I can't wait to drop by the Social Security office on the way to first grade to pick up my check." Amen.
Joe "Chomp" Wishcamper is spending considerable time in New Haven consulting with Yale about various long-term development projects. We look forward to seeing him on an ongoing basis.
Neil Hoffmann writes that he's never been busier. He's currently designing four projects, an addition to the Free Library, an addition to the Geisinger Wyoming Valley Hospital in Wilkes Barre, a medical/oncology/surgery building in Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, and a 48-unit subsidized apartment building in West Philadelphia which will serve the mentally ill and severely handicapped. Keep it up, Neil.
In my effort to gather news for this column, I sent a blast e-mail to our reunion committee. Ed Massey responded with a great idea. Why not ask all affected classmates, including Tony (Jim Bowers comes to mind), to write about their experiences during Katrina. We could do it either on the class website or in the notes. It's your call, but it would be a good story.
When we're our age bad things happen. I'm sorry to report that Jack Goodyear died of congestive heart failure on July 6. Jack was originally in the class of 1961, but ended up in our class with his brother Dick. Those of us who knew him remember him as funny, witty, intelligent, and a force. Our condolences go to Dick and his family.
I'm sorry that I don't have more to report, but
the time was short between my excusing myself and the deadline. I can
honestly say that even as one who might be too close to the action to be
objective, I'm convinced that the university is running on all cylinders.
Rick Levin has a vision to make Yale the top "global" institution in the
world and he's well on course to success. I encourage you to come back to
see this for yourself. If you're planning to come to the Harvard game, you
might want to attend the Blue Leadership Ball on Friday night. It's a great
party honoring five former Yale athletes, not necessarily letter winners,
who have distinguished themselves post-Yale. Eight to the Bar, who played at
our reunion, has been engaged for the evening. Our own Jim Duderstadt received a well-deserved George H. W. Bush Lifetime of Leadership Award at
the BLB in 2003. If you'd like to know more, give me a call at 203-773-1036.
It's a great setting in which to reconnect.
For Tony's sake, I hope this is the only column I'll need to write. It's a fun thing to do, and I'd encourage others to step up if Tony's situation proves continuously difficult. We all hope that it doesn't and that his life returns to normal soon. All the best to you. Please send news.