YAM Notes: May/June 2017

By Christopher T. Cory

If you’re still on the fence about our 55th reunion June 1–4, your hesitation may be quite understandable. However, when this was written in mid-March, there were at least three signals that, at the very least, the reunion will give the hesitant as many chances as they do—or don’t—want to reconnect, reflect, and renew. Who can’t use a little of at least one of those?

For instance, strong indications of interest arrived this winter from more than 75 of us, about half of those our committee expects will be there, not counting wives and guests. Nine classmates have agreed to give ten-minute presentations on topics ranging from avoiding nursing homes (Louis Audette, a pioneer in the “aging in place” movement) to the complexities of military air defenses in our dangerous world (Ken Luke, who worked on them for NATO at Hughes Aircraft). (The themes of the juicy sessions with three-minute personal anecdotes were still undecided at press time.) Finally, you can now see who’ll be there, at https://yale-alumni-events.secure.force.com/
EventAttendanceList?EventCode=REU-2017-1962. Several are coming to their first reunion ever.

In short, please reconsider. It’s not too late.

Reunion thoughts may be one reason several of us are working to capture, curate, and maybe finally understand various pieces of our family histories. If you’re doing anything in this line, please let me know for future notes columns or items on our website.

For instance, Ellis Wisner is researching “my dad’s grandfather, who fought in an Illinois cavalry regiment during the Civil War,” and is tying up loose ends of getting some of the private papers of his own dad, who was instrumental in establishing the CIA, to the University of Virginia. Ellis sings (musical notes, not intelligence secrets) with the Cathedral Choral Society, a large “symphonic” chorus based at the National Cathedral in Washington, and has agreed to be “sort of an agent of agents for our class for the Yale Alumni Fund.” Your CorSec, for his part, recently found a cache of about 30 manuscripts for essays and speeches by his great-grandfather, J. Cleveland Cady, the architect (Scully liked his work) of the lecture room with Tiffany stained-glass windows in Linsly-Chittenden on the Old Campus, of the brownstone wing of the American Museum of Natural History, and of mostly Presbyterian churches from Manhattan to Ojai, California. I will be giving those papers to Trinity College in Hartford, of which he was an alum.

Not long ago our near-classmate Bob Kaiser ’64 told Ellis Wisner that he and one or two others had an enjoyable lunch with Kevin Buckley. Clark Winslow, in partial retirement, spent two winter weeks in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, before jetting to the Maldives archipelago for a deep dive (11 days) into his latest hobby, scuba. Tony Gorry writes: “A couple of years ago, I contributed a piece to our class reflections on WWII. My writing touched on my father’s experience in combat and my much later dealing with cancer. Now I have completed a memoir in which I explore these matters more deeply. It has just been published (www.pauldrybooks.com).”

“Old People Matter” could be, but isn’t, the subtext of our forthcoming reunion, but it’s the title of Chris Bent’s latest self-published inspirational book, available for $9.99 on Amazon with several short chapters available for reading (with soft background music) on YouTube. Its goal: encouraging people like us to pass some of what we’ve learned to our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Sample: “The fast lane is for fools. Only when you are much older do you understand that . . . it takes time to be good, to be kind, to know truth, and to show that you love others more than yourself.”

Thirsty me! For news of classmates, that is. What’s news? For these notes or for our website, in a few lines or a few paragraphs, let classmates in on how your world view and attitudes have changed from when you were 30 or 60 or 75. Dave Honneus says he wonders how many of us have reversed from the days when, as Stephen Sondheim says in the show Follies, “everything was possible and nothing made sense”? Do you have more sense but fewer possibilities? Tell us your latest activities, whether volunteer or entrepreneurial, let us hear you foaming at the mouth over a current outrage, and describe one or two ways you’ve never stopped dreaming. And PS: on the website, we can show your videos, so please send them!

Necrology: We regretfully inform you of the loss of Peter MacDougall and Michael Greely. Full obituaries will be posted on our website in due course.