YAM Notes: May/June 2019

By Stephen W. Buck

Please accept our regrets for the several-month dry spell in Yale ’62 communications. We have learned that developments can happen at our age that we did not anticipate. We are pleased to resume these notes, and also hope to relaunch our long-established Yale62.org website in the spring.

More than ever, our communications team needs your input about what is going on in your lives that you want to share with classmates, as well as your ideas for and participation in the website. We think the Class of 1962 and Yale remain an important life experience for us as we approach our eighth decade.

Alex Garvin continues to teach Study of the City 176 in Yale College (now in its 53rd year) and the architecture school’s course in city planning and real estate development. On May 7 Island Press will be releasing his eighth book, The Heart of the City: Creating Vibrant Downtowns for a New Century. Alex’s publisher writes that the book “digs into the recent resurgence of cities including Boston, Cincinnati, Philadelphia, and Seattle.”

Retired foreign service officers Bill Rope and Steve Buck are separately involved in an extraordinary program offered by the State Department called Foreign Affairs Oral History. Retiree FSOs receive professional help in a series of interviews preparing their lifelong oral history. The resulting transcript goes to the Library of Congress where others may read it as part of their own research or training.

Bill’s oral history, which runs 376 pages, is finished. It, not surprisingly, focuses on his years of work on China and Asian policy, including all the fascinating places that he and Priscilla lived. There also are sections on his upbringing and his children and grandchildren.

Steve is halfway through editing 250 pages covering his serving at US diplomatic missions in eight Arab countries. Steve hopes to finish his oral history editing before publication this year of his wife Hala’s book Bridge between Worlds: A Lebanese Arab American Woman’s Journey. 

We plan to offer more on the oral histories on the website where we will welcome comments from classmates who know about or participated in this unusual program. You can learn more about it at www.adst.org.

Retired from teaching for the State University of New York, Dick Riseling is transitioning his farm to a farmer training–farm village destination site under new ownership. He remains active on federal, state, and regional agricultural and sustainability boards and locally designs hydro, solar, and wind systems at no cost to businesses, municipalities, and residences. He looks forward to hearing from classmates and says “Stop by the farm anytime. We always have plenty of room.” Check out applepondfarm.com. Dick’s e-mail: DickRiseling40@gmail.com.

Jonathan Ater and Al Chambers and wives Deanne and Alice spent several delightful days together in New Orleans shortly before Mardi Gras. They balanced time between club and street music and wonderful eating with learning about the history and preservation of the city, its recovery, and the surging tourist boom after Katrina. The couples had traveled together previously. In fact, the Aters, already married, lived in an unusual Capitol Hill, Washington, house during the summer
of 1962 with Chambers, the late Peter Bell, and Chris Cory, when the Yale foursome all had great summer positions and participated in an amazing program of events and interviews with other Elis, all based on connections and contacts with Yale alumni.

The New Orleans trip would not have been as successful without the extraordinary advice and encouragement of Fred Starr, who lives in the Crescent City when not in Washington, DC, or the Central Asian nations that he studies and advises. In addition to his Central Asia publications, Fred has written books and forwards for other authors on New Orleans. His Louisiana Repertory Jazz Ensemble is the longest continuously playing participant (dating back to 1981) in New Orleans’s famous Jazz Fest. LRJE was scheduled to play the last Friday in April. We hope to have follow-up on Fred and the group’s 2019 performance for the rejuvenated website.

Turning to what is one of the true institutions of Yale ’62: the more-or-less monthly lunch discussion group has met continuously at the Yale Club since Ken Cascone started it about 25 years ago. The present major domo, Larry Prince, reports that a recent meeting included such a good discussion that he felt moved to distribute to the about 50 classmates on his lunch e-mail list information on the later years of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Larry learned to his dismay that the information given to him was riddled with errors. Yes, these are tough times to get reliable information. The anchors, according to Larry, include Rich Davis (originally 1960), Bill Nye, Al Ogden, Larry Price, Larry Prince, and Joe Schwartz (originally 1961). Turnout is between 4 and 12 and any classmate from the metropolitan area or just visiting Gotham is welcome. Just e-mail Larry Prince.

Class Secretary John Stewart has invited the class council to their annual meeting at the New York Yale Club Tuesday, May 14, at noon. It will be the first time the meeting has been on a weekday, with the hope that participation in person and over the phone from around the country will be larger. The agenda will include the purpose and objectives of the council and also roles that members can play in reinvigorating our communications and beginning to think about other possible class events leading up to the 60th reunion.