Class Notes: May/June 2020

Class Notes: May/June 2020

By John M. Pinney

This trying time reminds me of the song purported to have been played when the British surrendered at Yorktown: “The World Turned Upside Down.” Our 55th is canceled and the YAA is fully engaged with our reunion committee discussing alternatives. As ideas develop, we will keep the class informed. Needless to say, cancellation has disrupted the outstanding job by all involved, including David RoscoeCarl FarringtonBob LeichRalph ProtsikJohn SchenckDennis MackDan HoganBob HammondMike HansonStan TrotmanMel ShaftelBurt Haimes, Dorothy Armstrong and our class widows, class agents, and the class officers. We will proceed with two reunion-related items which should have occurred by the time these notes appear in the magazine: our class book will be sent out and we will have released the Y65–70 survey results, with a web event to follow. 

In the meantime, there is more positive news: Spring officially arrived here today when two ospreys reclaimed their nest off our property. We believe they waited for a heavy rain to clean away any residue from the bald eagle who frequented the nest over the winter. And there is news from the class Discussion Group (DG), which has been dominated by postings on the coronavirus, ranging from the effects on classmates living in retirement communities (Randy Totten: “Today we woke up to note under door advising that one resident had the virus. Orders to us: stay in your apartment until further notice.”) to Chris Cooke: “Two of my grandsons hopped on their snowmachines and went to the Yukon River area where they shot two moose. One is for their family and the other is for us, so we’ll have a freezer full of meat and can skip the lines at Costco.” Other postings involve epidemiological modeling and informed speculation about the course of the pandemic. 

Other positive news: The class lunches held as a runup to the 55th were a great success, at least until early March, thanks to John Schenck and the various organizers. Joel Papernik and Fred Kneip kicked off the lunch series with a January New York event that drew Ken BardachJim ButlerBill ClarksonDale FreemanAlan JacobsonRandy MorganChris Murck, and Bill Schwarze. A southwest Florida gathering was held on February 19, organized by Mike Hanson and Dar Gillett with spouses Patsy and Barbara, and joined by Dave Williams, Ken O’SullivanDon RaymondAlan HortonAlex VanceJohn and Peggy Carberry, and Tom and Sally Melvin. The Washington, DC, lunch followed on February 20 thanks to Bill Crosby and Bob Woodward with Pope BarrowChip SewardDavid GreenleeGerry Doyle and Nick Fessenden in attendance. Jerry Libby and Bob Leich organized a Los Angeles–area lunch in early March attended by Alan HowardDick PearceSam BruttomessoFred RobertsBill ChristianDan DenisonJay Lavely, and Jeff Jennings. Thanks again to organizers and attendees and, as plans for an alternate 55th emerge, gatherings like these may help us regain the momentum.

Brief notes: Ralph Protsik reported that Judge Barrington D. (DannyParker wrote the majority opinion for the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals, rejecting a request by the president’s attorneys for an en banc hearing on an earlier decision that Mr. Trump can’t block critics from posting on Twitter. Ralph also posted an offer to provide his stash of American chestnut seeds to classmates who live in areas where the trees could thrive. (Suggested headline from Duncan Bremer: “Ralph wills his nuts to Y65 classmates.”) I’m happy to say I will be attempting to grow a chestnut tree in St. Michaels. Steve Rockmore is recovering from neck surgery and complications from a hospital-acquired infection. He plans on being at full strength if, hopefully, we have a class dinner this coming October. Dennis Mack reported that his husband, Robert Cohen, an accomplished musician and composer, has launched a website to make his music and performances available to all.

More brief notes: Jeff Miller reported that “the class hockey dinner was held at Mory’s on February 8. A group of ten enjoyed the usual sumptuous repast and were entertained by the Spizzwinks for approximately the tenth year in a row. The game proved to be among the most entertaining ever witnessed by our group, with Yale defeating Princeton 5–3 in an up-and-down, dramatic, hard-fought contest that went down to the final moments. Thanks to all attendees, including my cochair Dan HoganMal Douglas, who traveled from Lynchburg, Virginia, and Phil and Katie Crane who came from Belmont, Vermont.” Jim Acquistapace informed us that he has sold his company, Davis Instruments: “After 50 years of ownership, I am now completely retired and loving every minute.” I can testify to his successful retirement as Donna and I hosted Jim and Susan, Bob and Mary Rounsavalland Carl and Christine Farrington for a week in Mexico in February, before the pandemic disrupted travel. The Farringtons were fresh off a trip to New Zealand where they visited with Landon (BunkyCarter and his wife Diane. 

I hope you are all well and will stay that way as we work through this incredible upheaval and face what may be a “new normal,” although I’d prefer to get back to almost the previous normal. In the meantime, stay connected through the class discussion group ( which so far, thanks to David Roscoe and our excellent webmaster, has brought many of you back to share (mostly) wisdom and experiences.