YAM Notes: November/December 2019

By John Wilkinson

These notes are being transmitted from Trinity Hall, Cambridge, where 33 of us, including spouses and widows, are beginning our first full day of a mini-reunion at this great, historic university. Present are Meg and Bob Ackerman, Linda Goulston and Peter Benfield, Betsy and Sandy Campbell, Judy Reid and Rick Collins, Lillian and Bruce Duggar, Molly Hart and Mike GriffinDoug Guiler, Brita (RichardGwinn, Lynn and Rob Hanke, Natalie and Ralph Hirshorn, Anne (RichardJonesArvin Murch, Nancy and George Rieger, Jean and Talmage Rogers, Martha and David Sampsell, Lyn and Jim Taylor (our leader), Tom Trowbridge, Virginia and John Wilkinson, and Patty Schulte and Tom Yamin. A detailed report of our adventure will be entered on the class website.

From New York, Jonny Weiss writes, “At 80, I decided to break my principle of never writing about myself in class notes as too self-promoting, but I see you list others’ publications in this last issue. I have published about 90 pieces and three books, in law, philosophy, and miscellany, while writing a large volume in philosophy now. There is an excellent left website, cyberplayground.org. In May I wrote about ten short idiosyncratic diatribes there.” As many of you know, Jonny has devoted his long legal practice to the elderly, the indigent, and the oppressed. Our imperiled planet earth is now his urgent concern.

From Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, Jim Carlisle writes, “I live in one modest room in a Quaker-founded assisted-living cluster in Pennsylvania where daily living invites and nurtures very close community and mutual enlightenment. I’m discovering my natural friendliness and witty humor, have privacy and quiet for writing poems, and am developing a life-changing meditation practice which deepens my soul and relationships. I am particularly grateful for the wise teachers who moved me to lead a good life and to become a teacher.” I know Jim’s community well and envy his presence there.

From San Francisco, Tom Miller writes about his ongoing efforts to correct this imperfect world. A full account appears on our website under “classmates and activities,” but, in brief, he with Bay Area chefs and a small nonprofit are working to improve the quality of life in Puerto Rico. Activities range from such basics as farming and food (including the gift of a small tractor) to a conference to address the island’s social and economic structure. See www.greencitiesfund.org for information about their mission and educational travel to Puerto Rico. Tom and his wife, TT Nhu, recently attended the 50th anniversary celebration in Vietnam of the plastic and reconstructive surgery hospital that he cofounded to treat hundreds of war-injured children.

From Boulder, Colorado, Reynold Ruslan (SteveFeldman recommends that we give Wisdom during the holiday season. His full report is on our website under Classmates and Activities, but the “wisdom”—pun intended—refers to his most recent book, Wisdom for Living: Learning to Follow Your Inner Guidance. Reynold offers to contribute $2 to the class treasury for each purchase by a classmate. Contact him at reynoldruslan@gmail.com.

Golfers alert: From West Palm Beach, Al Gilison, competitive for over 67 years and Long Island Boys Champion, reports (modestly) that not only did he and his partners win the senior division at the Beinecke Invitational at the Yale Golf Course last year, but he recently—despite numerous age-related physical challenges—came in four under par for a remarkable score of 68 at the world-renowned Breakers Rees Jones Course West. Can you match that, Steve O’Brien? How about you, Bev? Al adds that he has been communicating recently with John Segal and Mike Gold, both of whom are okay, which, at our age, is okay.

George Green died on August 5. He first gained fame as president and CEO of the New Yorker and later of Hearst Magazines International. Ron Gordon, outstanding Ohio lawyer and generous mentor to many aspiring students, died on August 4. John Curtis, Army captain during the Vietnam War, noted internist and pulmonologist, died August 17. Art Munisteri died on August 4 in Northampton, Massachusetts. In addition to a distinguished career in the law, he was an enthusiastic country dancer, in its several forms. All four obituaries are on our website.

Two corrections: It is Donald R. Worley, not Worthy, which Don certainly was. Tricia informs me that, among his many accomplishments, “he was also an incredible amateur historical biblical scholar.”

Dick West advises me that room, board, and tuition in 1956–1957 was $1,800, not the $1,400 reported by me. The university archivist confirms Dick’s number, thus, the increase since our freshman year is a mere $51,670.

Otium cum dignitate.