Yale University

Class Notes

July/August 2010

by Bill Drennen

[These notes are by Bill Drennen, "guest columnist," who was prevailed upon by Tony Lavely, our Class Secretary.]

My computer started adding space between letters as if I were trying to pad a paper. Space is what I study: the concepts of a man named Hameed Ali who writes under the pen name of A. H. Almaas. He is a fully developed thinker and writer and I have been a member of his Diamond Heart Inquiry Group since 1999. His newest book Diamond Heart Book V - Inexhaustible Mystery will be out next March.

Gordon Davis answered my "Linked-In" note to him with the information that he had suffered a heart attack in late March, drove himself to the hospital, where they wired and stitched him up and let him out in two days. He says he is a little disappointed in what China has been offering the world of late. He teaches now at Northwestern; his Political Science course is "Nations ― The Challenge to International Sustainable Development." Gordon has been badgering Gus Speth to step up his campaign to wrest power back from the consumer and political lobbies, and promoting Gus's book: The Bridge at the End of the World.

Gordon's episode brought to mind Bob Kaiser's essay about his "Tell-Tale Heart" attack. "Greeley" is still vibrant, writing for the Washington Post, and working on a new book about the breakdown of the financial system in this country. It is due to be published later this year. Check out Bob's 2004 essay and other publications on our Class Website; there's a wealth of information, pictures, and good memories, thanks to the design and maintenance of Sam Francis.

Gary Griffis and bride Leslie Pearlman stopped by Shepherdstown to share their spring with the Drennens. Gary seems healthier than ever and recommended his orthopedic surgeon in Braintree as the one to replace my knee pain. Grif's career as a consultant in banking and development in post-communist countries is very interesting for its globe-circling and problem-solving aspects: Africa, the Caribbean, Albania, Eastern Europe, and four years in Mongolia.

One common thread I've encountered in contacting classmates is how much we have in the way of medical and physical complaints. This is not a medical blog, but the issue of healthcare and its cost and insurance rates has held congress spellbound for months and is surely of increased interest to the Class of 1964.

John Morrison responded to my call for information: "I just passed the twenty-year mark as a contracting officer with the FDIC, a civil servant doing what I can to keep your banks solvent;, we are fairly busy. However, what I really enjoy is my avocation as a 'life coach', which I have been doing for over 25 years, mostly on a pro bono basis."

Merrill Pasco and I went sailing with friend/architect Ferdinand Johns on his sailboat, Cacafuego, in the San Juan Islands between Seattle and Vancouver. We encountered a pod of orcas peacefully moving north. On my way west driving my faithful 2002 yellow Ford Escape, I had a breakfast visit with Sam Deloria at the Indian Cultural Center in Albuquerque.

Tony Morris, ever the alert firefighter, dropped a note about a new film he is working on about the Italian crews that dip 7299 gallons out of the wild to dump on fires in Italy ... and how this country should have a more unified firefighting response.

Frank Hotchkiss was recently elected to the city council in Santa Barbara, CA. "Interesting work, and people certainly do return your phone calls."

Tony Lee and wife Margie were set to drop by Shepherdstown. (I know, West Virginia seems out of the way and backwoods, but it's really not. Only an hour to DC.) Unfortunately for us here it was not the backwoods but the rain that kept the rendezvous from happening. Tony's basement flooded and he had to put off his windsurfing trip to the North Carolina coast. Weather irony!

One of my efforts to dig up information included looking up classmates by name on popular websites from Google to Yahoo to Facebook to Linked In. That is where I encountered social-media folks like Nick Von Baillau, Jon McBride, and Sam Low. Sam and I serve on an awards committee of the International Documentary Association. So we get to screen movies and talk film for hours every fall.

Several classmates shared life items at the reunion in June. Kip Burweger and I had dinner at a table hosted by wine buyer and whiskey maker Owsley Brown II and his wife at the reunion dinner. Owlsley bought the wine for the class and his was a good table at which to be sitting. We got to watch Dick Niglio, who deserted us for a younger class ('65), dance the night away with his beautiful young bride. And we paid close attention to the election of new officers for the next five years.

We do have The Contemporary American Theatre Festival here the whole month of July which was graced by the presence last summer of Jack Cirie's daughter, Andrea. She will probably be back this summer for another run.

My email for information got Dick Ainsworth's attention. He called from San Diego, one of their homes. He and his wife were married in the chapel at the Coronado naval base forty odd years ago. Dick was on an LPD for his three years of naval duty, and he reminded me our paths crossed at the Brooklyn Naval Shipyard as she was getting outfitted. He was with the ship through several trips delivering troops to Vietnam. Dick told me he had been recruited by Dick Cheney to serve on a federal mediation panel during the period of Republican control. He always brought laughs to Washington to share with the Veep. His tenure concluded recently with a nice thank-you note from President Obama. He says he still enjoys get-togethers with roommates Walt Macauley, Dillon Hoy, and Bear Mason.

If you'd like to be a guest columnist for Class Notes, as I am for this column, please contact Tony Lavely, our Class Secretary. It gives him a break, and it's fun reaching out to classmates.

Bill Drennen