YAM Notes: May/June 2022

“Lead, kindly light, amid the encircling gloom . . .” The first words of Newman’s famous poem of 1833 depict the mood in March, as these notes are gathered and Russian troops encircle the cities of Ukraine, while their brave cousins huddle in the same bomb shelters of 80 years ago when another tyrant tried to conquer them. The images in the press and on TV bring back haunting memories of WWII and our childhood.

Thanks to ever cheerful David Wood, I have before me his New Year’s greetings featuring the Johnny Mercer/Bing Crosby song of 1944, “Accentuate the Positive.” To strengthen his point, he adds Helen Keller’s “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” And Desmond Tutu’s “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” Thank you, David.

Two more Tuesday Tea Talks have been added to our website. Both are by classmates, Tom Miller and Allan Caplan. Tom speaks of his multiple efforts to better the world, including Vietnam, Cambodia, Cuba, and Afghanistan. The Peace Corps, the Center for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, the Green Cities Fund, and several other projects have received his care. Allan’s compelling account describes his career as a defense attorney on both coasts, representing clients accused of—you name it, including the Mafia, Hells Angels, Triad gangs. Both presentations are fascinating. Take a look.

And from Chris Seger, good news. With the support of Steve Snyder, a book has been published about the fine work of Charlie DuellAmerican Landmark: Charles Duell and the Rebirth of Middleton Place. Charlie inherited this plantation of his forbears over 50 years ago, relatives who played a major role in the history of South Carolina and the nation, and has worked not only to restore this national landmark, but also to research and to publish its history, both white and Black. Visit the website (middletonplace.org) to purchase the book at the online museum shop. I also recommend Beyond the Fields: Slavery at Middleton Place. Thanks to Charlie’s stewardship, many descendants of the more than 2,800 slaves have reconnected with their families.

Bob Severance reports that he had resumed the study of Russian several years ago after a career in science. Encouraged by a Russian brother-in-law and Russian chorus roommate, Gene Pysh, he enrolled in the introductory course senior year, along with accomplished linguist Jim Karambelas. Now sufficiently proficient to enjoy the poetry of Pushkin, he wonders what educated Russians think of the current situation.

Four more posted obituaries on our website:

John Foster. Already a father twice at graduation, Jack returned to Ohio to join the family brokerage firm before launching his own computer programming company, perfecting skills which served him well at the bridge and poker table. Both Lake Michigan and Wyoming were his favorite vacation locations.

Peter Heyler. Pete came with his family to the US from Germany in 1939. An accountant by profession, he served as a chief financial officer, national teacher, and international consultant, especially to the United Nations. Both Newtown, Pennsylvania, and Missoula, Montana, were his homes and he served both well in his church and sundry choral groups.

John Hazelwood. A lifelong swimming advocate as well as a versatile lawyer, including a particular interest in the cheese industry, John also became a farmer, with all the usual animals and machinery and a beautiful, rehabilitated prairie with multiple wonders.

Charles Wood. Chas’s first career was as CEO of T. B. Wood’s Sons Co. and his second as businessman/ philanthropist providing freedom for travel, study, collecting, and service to Winterthur Museum and Gardens, Boston Celebrity Series, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Sarasota Orchestra.

Look forward to seeing many of you at our twice-postponed 60th reunion.

Remember that “Hope is the pillar that holds up the world; Hope is the dream of a waking man.”—Pliny the Elder.

Tempus fugit, sumus hic.