YAM Notes: July/August 2018

By Christopher T. Cory

Bill Shipley, having deservedly earned the radiant (no pun intended, at least consciously) title of Andres Soriano Distinguished Professor of Radiation Oncology at Harvard Medical School, understandably broke his long record of modesty in May, writing of his “pleasure attending the Yale graduation because our oldest grandchild is graduating! Amazing.” Note to others: Please send news of Eli grandchildren.

Lew Spratlan has composed music to the ears of Bob Oliver: a volunteer offer to help with drafting obituaries for classmates he knew at least fairly well. Others who are similarly inclined to help Bob should contact him. Lew, our Pulitzer-winning composer, seems to be courted by his muse as regularly as ever: he is “peddling,” as composers must, sad to say, his new opera, “a black French-Caribbean Medea,” not to mention a 28-minute, four-movement chamber symphony (the International Composers Ensemble is interested in presenting it), and six piano rags. I’ll try to post excerpts on our website.

Richard Barnett has three sculptures among the 83 works in an exhibition running from now through July 29 at the 80-acre Brookgreen Gardens south of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The show is Richard Miller and his Circle, and has works by Miller and on loan from artists who were friends of or influenced by him. Dick was both, having met Miller, who died in 2004, in the early 1970s when Miller joined the Grand Street Artists Cooperative in Manhattan’s SOHO, where Dick still lives and has his studio. In his classes at the College of Mount St. Vincent in the Riverdale neighborhood of New York City, Dick points out the “generosity and graciousness” of Miller’s sculptures and the modesty of his saying that “talent is the ability to do the work.” Besides doing his own work, Dick is curating a show of paintings and prints by the artist Mary Sinclair (1914–2004), his mother, that will run from September 7 to November 4 at the Provincetown, Massachusetts, Art Association Museum. “When many people I know have retired or are ‘cutting back,’” he says, “I am as busy as I have ever been. And often I am having fun!”

Likewise, Tappy Wilder’s new Afterword in the most recent HarperCollins edition of his uncle Thornton Wilder’s play Our Town provides a good deal of background information about the play and where it came from. In mid-July, Tappy will be in Peterborough, New Hampshire, an important source of inspiration for the play, for the third of the yearly conferences on TW that he has helped develop, with “presentations, round table conversations, panel discussions, readings, and events featuring leading academics and theater professionals from around the globe,” according to a news release.

Gary Richardson is likely to be “camped up on the North Fork of the Big Wood River about ten miles north of Ketchum, Idaho,” where for several years he and his family have been coming for the free, three-week Sun Valley Summer Symphony. He says the full orchestra is made up mostly of 1st & 2nd chairs from across the country.

Bill Weber, a former wrestler, replied right away to a note from the university not too long ago making sure he’d heard about the new director of athletics. Pointing out that he goes to matches at Cornell, near where he lives, he said, “You may wish to review with Ms. Chun the advisability of returning wrestling to Yale as a Division I varsity sport.”

Though in my May website post about the class council meeting I tried to minimize the two tiny comments about Trump, John Carr noted: “Nice to hear what is going on with ’62, but I could do without the apparently now obligatory Trump-lines. Enough is enough. Don’t you guys have a better focus for your wit than beating that tired drum?” Probably not, John, until more of the controversies around him morph into real discussions and classmates send me their views for our website.

Necrology. We sadly announce the deaths since the last edition of these notes, of William Sanders, Robert C. Nicholas III, and Francis X. Lang, with obituaries to be posted on www.Yale62.org in due course. Newly completed obits are there now for David N. Dunn and Richard C. Lakein.