YAM Class Notes: May/June 2017

YAM Class Notes: May/June 2017

Winter just took a final shot, easing my guilt at having fled to Florida and Mexico to avoid the cold during the warmest winter on record. Donna and I hosted Chip and Mandy Reames and Hilly and Sallie Hillenmeyer in Mexico. Chip demonstrated remarkable resilience on the golf course after recently recovering from major shoulder surgery, and Hilly returned quickly to form after a long layoff. City Fire, Hilly’s Nashville restaurant, is doing well as Nashville booms.

Jeff Miller reported on the class hockey dinner, which was held on February 17 at Mory’s before the Yale-Harvard game: “Though lesser in number than 2016’s record turnout of over 30, our group fit snugly into a long table in Louis’ Lounge and enjoyed Mory’s usual fine cuisine and an exceptional mini-concert by the Spizzwinks. Although unable to attend the dinner, Dan Vining’s son (also Dan) and grandson and Kyle Pruitt and family joined us at Ingalls to watch the contest. After tying Harvard 1–1 in Cambridge in January, hopes for an upset were high, but the overmatched Bulldogs ultimately succumbed after a spirited fight. Mark your calendars now for the next hockey dinner, February 24, 2018, when Yale will once again take on the Cantabs.” Thanks to Jeff and Dan Bergfeld for organizing another successful event, even though they couldn’t deliver a victory.

Jim DeAngelis provided a link to a story in Seven Days, a Vermont publication. The article, entitled “Lucky Bums: How a Generation of Skiers Shaped Vermont,” devotes considerable ink to our own Felix von Moschzisker. Jim noted: “While I’d guess that some of you know this story of ‘Peter Pans’ in the mountains, others may be interested to scroll to this long article’s mid-point and read about Felix’s contributions: www.sevendaysvt.com/vermont/lucky-bums-how-a-generation-of-skiers-shaped-vermont/Content?oid=4186489. There are several pictures of Felix, one that reminds us how he might have passed for John Lennon many years ago, at the Plaza in New York.”

Jim and Margot Butler spent two weeks traveling in January: “Margo and I joined my sister Tara and her friend Lucy in a trip to Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Zanzibar. The climb to see the Mountain Gorillas was tough but more than worth the cost.”

Charlie Benoit reported on the eventual recognition of his doctoral work: “I completed a PhD thesis at Harvard back in 1981 on the historical and literary origins of the seventeenth-century Chinese novel on which the national poem of Vietnam (“The Tale of Kieu”) was based. My plans to translate it for publication in Vietnam were curtailed when I left Vietnam (1995) to work in China. Out of the blue about four years ago a Vietnamese student who had discovered my thesis in the bowels of Weidner Library contacted me and asked if he could have it translated and published. Although I had pretty much given up hope when I heard nothing more from him for more than three years, he did finally complete the task as promised, and the book was published with great fanfare last month in Ho Chi Minh City.”

In other publishing news, Jim Danly filed this book report: “I just finished Kent Reinker’s book, The Death of Aloha, which he wrote under the pen name A K Gunn, and I can enthusiastically recommend it. The novel is about bigotry, fake news (how’s that for timely?), and the tenuous nature of civility. The story is beautifully constructed and beautifully written, and I found it an absorbing read.”

Fred Roberts continues to bring his creative photography to students around the world: “We are returning to India to conduct a ‘double’ workshop at the Aga Khan Academy in Hyderabad. One of the unique and most effective aspects of our program is our system of continuing education, part of which is returning to our workshop locations within two years. This is what we are doing in Hyderabad. We are bringing back our original students from October 2015 for a specially designed, intensive, three-day workshop. This will be followed by the normal, one-week (now eight-day) beginner’s workshop with a group of new students. In the near future, we hope to create a public Facebook Page so you can see our students’ work as they continue to create images. I hope you will take a moment and see the surprise video we received from our students in Lisbon. It was quite moving, and clearly illustrates the impact we have on these young people: http://fredricrobertsworkshops.org/galleries/lisbon-2016-life-with-another-lens.”

We recently lost two classmates. John Engel died at his home in McLean, Virginia, on January 4, 2017, after a three-year struggle with cancer. Malcolm Wiseheart passed away at his home in Coral Gables on January 22, 2017. Obituaries for both are posted on the class website (yale1965.org) and all are encouraged to post remembrances there. Bruce Smathers offered a few thoughts on Malcolm: “He was a very kind and generous man. He had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for the last years of his life. We roomed together our freshman year at the University of Florida Law School. He had a dry sense of humor, a very soft voice, and a kind demeanor that made one feel he was always more interested in the person to whom he was talking than himself. His two sons (Malcolm and William) spoke at his funeral and reflected the intellect, character, and sense of decency of their father.”

The last of the 2016–17 cycle of class lunches will be complete by early May. They include April 12 in Sedona, Arizona, Judge Mason, host; April 20 in Palm Beach, Florida, Jeff Miller and Peter Conze, cohosts; May 3 in New Haven, Jeff and Bruce Alexander, cohosts (invitations pending). Many thanks to Jeff for organizing the lunches, and to all who hosted and attended. A 2017–18 round is under discussion. 

By John Pinney, ’65