YAM Class Notes: January/February 2016

YAM Class Notes: January/February 2016

Despite my fears of post-reunion fatigue, some 75 classmates, spouses, and guests attended the annual class dinner at the Yale Club of New York City on October 30. Our speaker was Howard Gillette, Y’64, who provided a thought-provoking talk based on his latest book Class Divide, Yale ‘64 and the Conflicted Legacy of the Sixties. Howard put his class on the cusp of the dramatic changes that occurred in the sixties, a theme that should resonate with ’65 as well. Several class dinner “regulars” were not in attendance, most notably Mel Shaftel, who was having hip surgery, and Ron Wilmore, who is undergoing another round of treatment for cancer. I hope both will be back in full form for next year’s dinner.

The class council had its annual meeting prior to the dinner. The major topic of discussion (other than the need to replenish the treasury—hint: please pay your class dues) was post-reunion activities. Jeff Miller kindly offered to reach out to the pre-reunion lunch organizers to plan a new round of local/regional lunches. There was also enthusiasm for planning several mini-reunions starting in 2017. Stay tuned, and if you are inclined to organize one, please contact me.

Kent Reinker, who has written four novels under the pen name Alain Gunn, or AK Gunn, posted the following fascinating item on the listserv: “Some of you know that my first novel, A Tale of Two Planets, ends with an astronaut being stranded on Mars alone, and my second novel, Red Exodus, picks up what happened to him over the next few years. Both were published in 2013, so I was obviously very interested in Andy Weir’s book, The Martian, published on Amazon the next year, in which he details how an astronaut stranded there was able to survive. I read his book, enjoyed it very much, and saw the movie, which is excellent. Having read the book, I’m convinced that his work is entirely his own, without any ideas pirated from my books, and that it’s pure coincidence that three books with the same plot element were published within 12 months of each other.”

In other literary news, as previewed in the last notes, Bob Woodward’s new book The Last of the President’s Men was released in October. Our own David Martin interviewed Bob for CBS News. David also spoke with Alexander Butterfield, the eponymous subject of the book. Gracia Barry, David Barry’s widow, gave us all an incentive to go to the movies: “I just saw Bridge of Spies with Tom Hanks. (Peter McRobbie was the CIA director!) It was an excellent movie based on a true Cold War story about an ordinary lawyer who brokered a hostage deal with the Soviets and East Germans. I read one positive review that actually mentioned Peter. Peter was David’s roommate junior year abroad at the Sorbonne.”

Doug McPheters sent the following updates and legal advice for prospective wedding officiants: “Reading the class notes, I realized the rush of the 50th helped me forget to report two significant family events. Only May 15, my elder son, John, and Minya presented my first grandchild (boy, weighing in at 10 lbs.), appropriately named Max. Fewer than 24 hours later, I presided at the wedding of my younger son, Alec, and Katie Burke in Germantown, New York. Alec first wanted me to do this using an online minister’s license, apparently today’s rage and often described in NYT wedding reports. New York has a statutory list of people authorized to officiate at weddings, which is a bit vague on what counts as clergy. Research revealed one New York appellate case arising out of a ‘divorce’ following a Suffolk County ‘wedding’ performed by a relative with an online license, where the court held the man and woman were never legally married. My son really didn’t care until I pointed out issues related to marriage validity such as rights of children or a surviving spouse. So I arranged for a local Germantown judge to say just the magic words and everyone was happy. Other states may have differing rules, but beware of having your yoga teacher, therapist, or friend officiate at a New York wedding.

Joe Williams reported on his ambitious tour of the United Kingdom in August: “I became an ‘end-to-ender’: I rode my long wheelbase recumbent bicycle from Land’s End in southwest England to John o’ Groats in northeast Scotland. It took three weeks to do the thousand miles, and the tour might better have been named ‘Byways of Britain,’ since we rode country lanes most of the way. England in August is glorious, green fields carefully hedged off, villages bedecked in multicolored flower boxes, cool air (ideal riding temperatures) and mostly sunny. Scotland has more dramatic landscapes with vistas of moors, purple heather coloring the hillsides, and Scotch mist, the light rain that drifts down frequently for (seemingly) days on end.”

Bob Leich forwarded news from Mike Smith of another adventure: “Pat and I are again planning to hike the John Muir Trail in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. Last year we did the entire thing, southbound from Yosemite Valley to Mt. Whitney. With side hikes for resupply, that trip was 240 miles, which took us 24 hiking days (we generally plan for 10 miles/day).” Mike also sent Bob and David Roscoe the following comment on the 50th: “I owe you both an apology and huge thanks. The apology for being so persistently resistant to attending the reunion, and the thanks for your being so persistently insistent that I do so.” A clear endorsement for the 55th.

Finally, an interesting and important factoid from Alan Dickson: “I have been a ‘Dead Head’ for many years, and still painfully remember the day in 1995 that Jerry Garcia died. Recently, I have been reading the 480-page hardbound book Complete Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics. One of their very popular songs was ‘Sugaree.’ What I did not know until reading page 161 was that this song’s first live performance was on July 31, 1971, at the Yale Bowl! Boola!”

Reminder: Class hockey dinner, February 6, Yale vs. Harvard.

By John Pinney, ’65