YAM Notes: September/October 2020

By John A. Wilkinson

If things were normal, I would now be composing an account of our 60th reunion, complete with names of attendees, awards, accomplishments, good times, etc.; but, thanks to COVID-19, it did not happen, at least, not yet. Ways are being explored to reschedule the event, or an event, despite challenges of time and space, and the uncertainties of this modern plague. More on that later. Meanwhile, I hope that all of you are safe and healthy, making good use of your isolation, and enjoying this life. Do remember we still have plans for a mini-reunion next spring in Philadelphia and Wilmington.

We now know of 24 classmates who have had daughters attend Yale College. Bill FinnSteve EasterEd Manley, and Estil Vance have been added to that club. In fact, Bill has three daughters and a granddaughter who entered the college.

Arvin Murch reports that our three class committees have concluded their work before turning the role over completely to the Class of 1986. Branford met in early March before COVID-19 closed down the university.  Aspin met online to interview and to make awards. Heinz opted to roll over the 2020 funds to next year.

To be published in October by University of North Carolina Press is the most recent work of Dan HorowitzEntertaining Entrepreneurs: Reality TV’s Shark Tank and the American Dream in Uncertain Times. If this appears to be too depressing in the current environment, you might try Dan’s Happier? The History of a Cultural Movement That Aspired to Transform America.

Long, informative letter received from Dick Seidman, who now watches The Game on TV from his home in Florida: 77 consecutive years, observing and analyzing every play, till recently at the Bowl. He continues to boast of his biggest bargain while at Yale: a life membership at Mory’s for $18, “a 20-percent premium (aka a ‘virtual bargain’)!”

Larry Nazarian writes from his retirement community in Rochester, New York, that he and Sharon are active in their church, much involved with ten grandchildren, and tutoring in a city elementary school. Let’s hope that the current pandemic subsides sufficiently to permit a resumption of all these activities.

In my previous column I mentioned the death of Al Veerhoff. Since then, the Washington Post has published an account of Al’s life (See Yale60.org) as part of its reporting on COVID-19 deaths. This is the first classmate death caused by COVID reported to me. May it be the last.

Paul Davis died in May in South Carolina. He transferred to Yale ’60 as an English major after studying engineering at MIT and completed his work at the University of Georgia, his home state. As information specialist for the Department of Health and Human Services, he served in ten presidential administrations.

Do look up the essay in our 50th reunion book of Rich Epstein, who also died in May. Rich was best known as a forensic psychiatrist, but his passion was Judaism. “Torah study, prayer, and the fulfillment of G-d’s commandments are the navigational beacon guiding the way I think, speak, and act.” The Torah scroll which he began to write before that reunion was completed and donated to his synagogue in 2015.

Bored? Restless? Try Vasily Grossman’s historical novel of the Battle of Stalingrad, two volumes, 1,832 pages: Stalingrad and Life and Fate. If that is too much, you might try Tolstoy’s War and Peace, a mere 1,136-page account of Napoleon’s defeat as well as the tale of three great literary characters.

In your spare moments, send me a line to add to this space.

Tempus fugitsumus hic.