by Tony Lavely
Note: Classmates' names in gold font are links to a pre-addressed email form (if your browser is properly configured). Other links (underlined) take you to more information about the topic. A shorter version of these Notes is published in the Yale Alumni Magazine.
It's only January 2nd, but I'm feeling overwhelmed ... by the Class of 1964! As I write this column, I confront the word limit imposed by YAM of 800 words for a class of our size and vintage. The editors have graciously been accepting 1200 words from me, the most allowed for any class. Recently, classmates have been sending me so much good material that I can barely contain it to 3000 words, which we can at least post on our Class website where there is no word limit. Perhaps this outpouring is due to recent controversial world, national, and campus events. In any event, messages from classmates have inundated my inbox. At times, I'm tempted to take the advice given to Alexander Hamilton, "Talk less, smile more; don't let them know what you're against or what you're for."
Part of the volume is no doubt facilitated by today's communications technology. Only 15 years ago, most input to Class Notes came from the annual USPS Class dues notice, with hand-written replies. This past year, I received only six classmate messages in this format (and was happy get them). Last year, 59% of messages from 279 classmates came via email. An additional 39% came from social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, and blogs). If we don't have your email address, you're missing a lot of news! I guess I proved my creds, since I was invited to join SA@Y, an initiative to help connect Yalies and Yale alumni globally through social media.
Jim Rogers suggested that we make every classmate name mentioned in the column a "hot link" to his email address, so one click will auto-fill your email template. Thanks to Sam Francis for implementing this suggestion, and we'll use it going forward. Anyway, we live in interesting times! I steer clear of the really controversial messages, whether political or philosophical, but you can make your voice heard directly in the Sound Off! page on our Class website.
Turning to Class events, since the last issue Chris Getman posted his inventive account of the October 2015 golf outing, along with a group photo of participants. Tony Lee reported: "Pete Putzel hosted us for a 'warm-up round' with Ted Jones and Dave Elliott." Check out the plans for a new golf venue in September 2016. In November, I had an opportunity to join the Class table organized by Pete Putzel at The Yale Club of NYC. Eleven classmates attended and the lively conversation turned quickly to the publicity about recent campus events. Edward Massey and Bill Galvin suggested reviving the "Sound Off!" page on our Class website to focus specifically on campus issues under "Society/Campus Issues." Six classmates have already posted comments. After reading Larry Crutcher's report on Assembly LXXV, Howard Gillette, Joe Wishcamper, and Tony Lee offered very substantive comments, focused mainly on women's issues on campus. The disappointing result in The Game that same weekend also generated a lot of frustration among classmates, notably David Sherman, Dan Pollack, Nat Norton, and Patrick Caviness. That same weekend, Don Edwards sang the football medley with other alumni and enjoyed hearing Yale defeat Harvard: "The Yale Glee Club sang a much more interesting program, including several newly commissioned works, and sang much better."
All classmates with an email address should have received a blast email in November about a tour of the British Isles in September 2016 being organized by 1963. Douglass Lea quipped, "Are we being recruited simply to push around our elders in wheel chairs?" Douglass added: "I am becoming, gradually but inexorably, more canine than primate. Methinks I'm going to the dogs." The annual Class Council meeting is on February 6th. Squash Haven, one of the organizations we sponsor, reported two team members received early-decision acceptances.
Expanding on the restaging of "Sound Off!", Edward Massey emailed: "I would like to see an exchange of views on the Yale situation ... but understand, it is hard work." Responding to the blast email, Russell Sunshine replied, "What a great idea." Steve Klingelhofer asked, "Will these views be accessed by the Yale administration?" Theoretically, they could, but I doubt it. Nat Norton emailed: "Bold and definitive action is missing."
On Veterans Day, Kip Burgweger posted, "A Vietnam vet's request is very modest. Just say you respect what we experienced." Pat Caviness emailed, "Pat Conroy has always been one of my favorite authors. That he has to defend his critically acclaimed works to a school board in Charleston, WV, is a testament to the growing ignorance in America." Separately Pat emailed: "After reading Class Notes, I'm reminded how extremely proud I am of our classmates and what they continue to offer in service to our country and the world." Bill Duesing posted, "The NYT just supported labeling for GMOs. The tide is turning." Bill added: "We need to switch to energy conversation and renewable energy soon. Local organic food and farming are an important part of that."
Upon reading an article titled "Ask a Physicist to Speak at Your Funeral," I turned to Sam Francis who replied: "At our age, it's less about the first law of thermodynamics (energy conservation) than about the second law (entropy always increases)." Class dismissed! Sam also corresponded with another physics major, Phil Anderson. I was relieved to hear from Phil after the recent Texas flooding that he was okay: "We got very wet. Four inches of rain in 36 hours. Tornado sirens went off twice. Sneaking up on another birthday in less than a week. I expected to grow older ... I just expected it to take longer." Ed Gaffney posted strong comments on the San Bernardino shooting, Syrian refugee crisis, and the Federal Reserve, and added: "It's almost tax time, and I'm signed on with the local Jackson-Hewitt. What that means for you out in Facebook land is that I may not be as present as in other times."
Bob Hilgendorf was thanked by a friend, "With eternal gratitude for introducing me to that holding-hands-around-the-table-telling-people-what-you're-thankful-for thing." Sam Low posted that his book, Hawaiki Rising, "is now being used in a Lahaina classroom to train voyagers and also at the University of Hawaii." Mark your calendars, the Polynesian vessel, Hokule'a, will arrive in New York City on June 8, 2016. Ron Parlato, arguably the most prolific social-media poster in our class, has strong views on everything from affirmative action to climate change, not to mention Harvard placemats. One of his less controversial blogs, "Working for a Living; My Life as a NYC Taxi Driver," tells of the danger and adventure of the nightshift. Dan Pollack raved about the Frankie Valli concert he attended, "Valli didn't miss a beat!" Gerald Shea was interviewed on a Paris radio program "about my book 'the life malentendue' and my next book, 'the language of light'."
David Wyles posted a photo, "Rio 'Soulshocka' Wyles on the Jumbotron at Sony Studios big benefit concert starring Dave Stewart, Stevie Wonder, and Heart." Later, David reminisced, "Years ago, I did run with the bulls in Pamplona. I made it safely to the arena, and then while congratulating myself, the crowd around me parted and I was face-to-face with an angry bull." Stan Thomas' son, Chip Thomas, is the drummer in the hip band Postmodern Jukebox. I enjoyed his performance at Cobb Centre in Atlanta. Jethro Lieberman wrote: "I've retired from New York Law School and am now a full-time writer working from home." Don Edwards, who is an Associate Fellow at Ezra Stiles College, spoke at a dinner about "the intersections of religious and spiritual life, service, and study at Yale." Don also wrote: "I heard Jonathan Holloway speak at the New Haven Library in November about his new edition of DuBois, Souls of Black Folks. Francis Snyder wrote: "I was recently appointed to a part-time endowed Chair of Food Safety at Northwest Agricultural University in Yangling, China."
Peter Bradford visited Antarctica in November. "Susan and I spent most of November on a National Geographic/Lindblad ship traveling from Argentina to Antarctica and back. It's the 100th anniversary of Sir Ernest Shackleton's utterly unbelievable survival saga some fifty years before we graduated." Dan Berman emailed: "I just came back from three weeks in Bahia state, Brazil, with one week in Vitoria da Conquista where I served in the Peace Corps. I'm finding myself wearing my Yale 50th-reunion hat these days." After reading a recent Class Notes column, Bill Kridel emailed: "Great news about classmates, active, moribund, or coasting into that dark night." Tom Susman was spotted with Senator Orrin Hatch at a D.C. reception in November.
Tony Lee amped up his mountain-biking experiences with a GoPro camera, but said, "If you want to be an old mountain biker, you've got to stay in touch with your inner chicken!" Tony's latest hiking venue was Havasu Falls and the bottom of the Grand Canyon in Flagstaff, AZ. Mac Deford emailed, "I'm off to Beirut in November. Looking at the mess in the Middle East, you wonder why anyone would want to be president." John Ogilvie emailed with strong views about the events on campus last fall: "I have no pity or compassion for these students. They're way off base. And I have lost my respect for Yale's management; they are not showing any leadership." Dick Berk was a co-author of a recent amicus brief to the Supreme Court, Fisher v. Texas. "We take no position on the issue of affirmative action but debunk the junk science behind the mismatch hypothesis." Dick added: "Susan and I are still teaching at Penn and feel very lucky to have the kind of jobs we like and can do well even at our ages."
William Taylor wrote: "I saw my roommates — Ed Shaw, Joe Walsh, Jim Whitney, and Ric Brady — in Maine at Jim Barton's 50th wedding anniversary in September. Jim Rogers emailed: "My daughters Happy (12) and Baby Bee (7) are soloing at the Weil Concert Hall in Carnegie Hall in December. They are each singing in Mandarin and in English. I am as proud as any parent but am shocked that this is really happening." Ward Wickwire emailed: "I traveled to Cambodia/Vietnam on a Yale trip. Fantastic experience of ancient civilization (Angkor Wat), Vietnam War, and the future." In December, Chip Brennan told me that Joe Lieberman received the 2015 Winston Churchill National Leadership Award. Joe emailed: "This came as a big surprise but was truly a great honor." Joe Wishcamper emailed: "I spent December in Spain taking a 4-week intensive Spanish class in Madrid and am now qualified to join a conversation group of two-year-olds. I had dinner with Chip Levengood, who is busy as chair of Relief International, a major NGO." Mike Mazer added three new sailing paintings to "Visual Arts" on the Class website with a comment to Sam Francis, an avid sailor: "I'm not much of a sailor anymore, but as a kid I spent summers near Old Saybrook while I learned a lot about sailing."
Many holiday greetings brought news about classmates and their families. Pat Caviness put on a splendid 70th birthday party for Frederique: "We did it in grand style, with a band, me and a harmonica player with everyone coming in their Mad Hatter best." The Getmans posted a festive holiday-meal photo. Peter Giblin emailed: "Little contact with other 64s here; Sherman was the principal catalyst. but he seems to have gone quiet." Dick Niglio sent photos of a family reunion in Lake Tahoe in June and welcomed another grandson." Jon McBride included a photo of his daughter's wedding in September and reported on his role as "impresario for five gigs with his Classic Whiffenpoofs' singing buddies." Jon also emailed: "I'm off to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal in January." Terry Holcombe wrote: "We get our pied-a-terre apartment in New Haven in January which will make Class get-togethers much easier." With his career in university administration, much of it at Yale, Terry has a highly informed and unique perspective on the current campus situation.
Larry Lawrence included a wonderful photo of his family in elegant attire and wrote: "We visited Sweden, the homeland of Sally's family, and also St. Petersburg." John Hunsaker noted: "Yale has some extraordinary challenges nowadays." Chip Brennan and Mary included a classic winter scene of them with their dogs. Larry Crutcher included a photo of Hannah riding in a portion of the Iditarod in Alaska: "Hannah was wearing red, the musher was in green, so Reuters thought it made a good photo-op, syndicating it to CNN, Yahoo, and other outlets." Phil Anderson included a traditional hymn (which he helped record with Vocal Majority) with his e-greeting: "There is an unending joy in my heart in singing my heart out on these recordings." Sam Francis commented: "We're still easing rather than whizzing down the Yellow Brick Road of life, enjoying family and friends."
With so many classmate photos being posted and exchanged recently, I've taken the liberty of posting them to the "Photo Gallery" on our Class website. You can always post your own selections by sending them to Sam Francis. In addition to the aforementioned, you'll find new photos of: Dan Pollack hiking on New Year's Day, Pat Caviness on the beach in Koh Samui, David Wyles on New Year's Eve, Bill Duesing hiking and celebrating, John Howells on Christmas Day, Doane Perry with Steven Spielberg, Robert Whitby on New Year's Eve, Ron Parlato on Christmas, Phil Anderson with his granddaughter, Jeremy Wood at Thanksgiving, a throwback photo of Jim Klint and Kris on their wedding day, Angus Macdonald on New Year's Day, and Tony Lavely's family at Christmas.
There are two new classmate publications posted on the Class website: Francis Snyder, Food Safety Law in China; and Fred Hornbruch, Travel Stories from Rotarians Around the World. We have also added, posthumously, a book by Gerald Allen, The Place of Houses. Two more books are upcoming by the time these Notes are in print: Nortin Hadler, By the Bedside of the Patient, and Timothy Breen, George Washington's Journey. Tom Susman reviewed a new book, Lobbying and Advocacy, by Deanna Gelak. Laird Smith wrote: "Look for the publication of John Wylie's How We Became Human; it's a fascinating account of personal experiences working as a psychiatrist in a high-security prison." John Wylie mentioned Stephen Greenblatt in his blog "What's Missing in Matt Ridley's The Theory of Everything." Jim Rogers blogged: "As I look at the world, I'm not terribly optimistic." Bill Duesing blogged: "Connecticut NOFA: Progress and a different paradigm for the New Year." Ron Parlato blogged: "He hath loosed His terrible swift sword." John Meigs emailed: "Fred Bissinger and I saw Howard Gillette during a book signing at the Philadelphia Club.
It is my sad duty to report the deaths of two classmates since the previous column. You may read obituaries and remembrances at In Memoriam: James Eighmie, a foreign-service officer, died in Washington D.C. on October 31st. Gerald Allen, who had a distinguished architectural career, died in North Carolina on November 1st. Jon McBride sent a nice testimonial about the founding of a Palestinian School in the memory of Peter Gubser. Joe Wishcamper commented poignantly: "Every notice of a classmate death saddens me and makes me feel more fragile. Yours together on the journey."