YAM Class Notes: November/December 2019

YAM Class Notes: November/December 2019

By John M. Pinney

There is too much news to fit in the usual weather commentary—classmates have been busy these last few months.

The big news in the literary/theatrical world was reported by David Roscoe: “Ralph Protsik’s stage adaptation of Warren Rothman’s book series, Kafka in China, was presented in theater workshop form at the Berkeley Repertory Theater on August 17. Eight actors were involved, including our own Dennis Holahan. To celebrate this highlight of the 2019 Bay Area artistic season, a slew of enthusiastic classmates, accompanied by several spouses and a few kids, attended a pre-performance dinner arranged by Ralph and Susan Protsik. The merry group then ambled to the theater to enjoy the performance itself, and to engage actively in the post-performance critical review. In addition to Protsik, Rothman, and Holahan, Y’65 attendees (some accompanied with wives or kids) included: Jim AcquistapaceKen BardachSteve ClarkBob HeilKent ReinkerDavid RoscoeKarl Schornborn, and Jack Ostrich ’64, Jeff Parish ’66, and Josh Jensen ’65/’66.” Videos and pics of this jolly event are posted on yale1965.org. David is exploring including a New Haven debut during our 55th reunion.

Travels with classmates: David Roscoe also reported: “Dennis Mack and I made a one-day round-trip drive to Towanda, Pennsylvania, to visit Duane Campbell and his lovely wife Judy. Recovering from recent spinal surgery, Duane has been unable this season to give his normal attention to his backyard garden but nonetheless it is still an awe-inspiring creation.” And Mal Douglas: “We’ve just returned from a wonderful ten days in the 1,000 Islands in New York on the St. Lawrence Seaway. Actually, there are 1,784 islands. The pace is very slow, almost no cars, no leash laws, lots of bikes, and amazingly friendly people.” Mal’s 1,000 Islands trip came on the heels of the annual 1,000 Islands gathering of Peter DesjardinsJohn Shattuck and Ellen Hume, Perrin and Peggy Quarles, and Donna and me. Mal then proceeded to Martha’s Vineyard and Connecticut where he saw Don and Fan OgilvieJeff and Susanne MillerRick Buddenhagen, and Port and Cathy Draper

Not to be outdone in the travel department, Dennis Mack and Robert Cohen are on a journey to Indonesia, with detailed travel reports sent to the listserv via John Leo. Anyone contemplating this trip should note the first line of Dennis’s opening report: “We arrived at our hotel 27 hours after leaving our New York apartment. Our starting place was Medan, Indonesia’s third largest city.” 

Rusty Tilney alerted us that his son Alex has written a novel just published by Little, Brown. “As one of his mentors put it, ‘Your job now is to make sure that every person who will enjoy the book knows about it.’ So, here it is: The Expectations follows students and faculty trying to survive at a boarding school in 1994. It’s about class, whiteness, love, legacy, the niche sport of squash, physical bliss/agony, Dubai, money, and self-doubt. But it’s also about how cool Tevas were in the 1990s (why are they back?) and how nice the heavy receiver of a payphone feels against your head. I hope you see something of yourself in it no matter who you are, and we would love to hear what you think if you read it.” 

David Roscoe’s review: I just finished Alex’s book, and while my thoughts are fresh, wanted to let you all know that it is a masterful piece of work. I wouldn’t have expected the experiences of a 14-year-old boy from a privileged family attending his first year at an elite New Hampshire prep school to make for such riveting reading, but indeed it was. It is beautifully written, and captures the inner thoughts, nuanced hopes, and raw struggles of a young man searching for his identity in a complex, confusing world.” 

Classmate recognition: Hardy Brereton was awarded the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship (NCCS) Ellen L. Stovall Award for Innovation in Patient-Centered Cancer Care. And Andy Graham has been recognized (again) for legal excellence and client service by the 2019 legal ranking guide, Chambers USA. In this year’s guide, he earns his fourth “Star Individual” ranking, a designation reserved for attorneys garnering exceptional recommendations from peers. 

Sandy Liu notified us of Rolf Gehlhaar’s passing: “Rolf died in London on July 7, 2019. He was a composer, professor of experimental music at Coventry University, and a researcher in assistive technology for music. Rolf was the son of a German rocket engineer who emigrated to the US to work on rocket development. Rolf was a founder of the British Paraorchestra and served as its technical director. His survivors include his wife, Nouritza Matossian, and two sons, Hagop and Vahakn. In his senior year Rolf lived on the top floor of Morse College Tower with me, Rick Gallaudet, and two faculty members.”

Ted Cox reported the loss of Peter Grillo: “Sadly, Peter Grillo, our Yale classmate and my Phillips Academy Andover classmate, as well as my neurosurgical partner for many years, passed away on August 6 at his home in Windham, New Hampshire. Peter was a well-respected practicing neurosurgeon in the Merrimack Valley area of northern Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire for many years.” 

Reunion notes: Be sure to mark your calendars for our 55th reunion, May 28–31, 2020. John Schenck has recruited a large group of volunteers to hold class lunches as a prelude to the 55th. The reunion committee is hard at work planning the program and activities. David Roscoe is pursuing an especially intriguing session in which we would compare notes with the Class of ’70, whose experiences at Yale and beyond are very likely to diverge from ours. Reminder: please be sure to update your contact information with the AYA (https://alumni.yale.edu and click on Directory).

Class hockey dinner on Friday, March 1, 2020, the evening of the Princeton game.