YAM Notes: January/February 2007

By Rich Banbury

Our Class has once again been challenged!  You may remember that the Class of 1961 had engaged us in a lifetime marathon contest, in which we prevailed with the most runners (22) and the best time (Jon Blake).  A golfing gauntlet has now been thrown down by a bold crew from the Andover Class of 1955.  The Summons was served on Dick Sigal, who chipped the challenge to Steve Lasewicz, the competitive captain of our legendary linksmen.  It should be anticipated that the Andover slicers and hookers will attempt to sneak a ringer or two onto their audacious squad.  Meanwhile, our guys have been sharpening their skills for match play on various courses at Dafuskie Island and Hilton Head.  The gracious hosts for this senior tour were Helen and Bob Payne.  The Melrose, Sea Pines and Harbour Town courses taxed our team and took their toll on even our most talented players.  Mike Harris emerged as winner of the Alling Cup, having both the low gross and low net cumulative scores, as well as carding the most pars.  Shooting the most birdies was Tom Nolting.  As always, this open-enrollment roving band of fun-loving classmates shrugged off the triple bogies and immensely enjoyed the company of each other.

Dr. Tamara Harris works for the National Institute on Aging.  Her research, as forwarded by Guy Robinson, claims that there is a scientific basis for the reassuring  bromide that you’re only as old as you think you are. “Rigorous studies are now showing that seeing or hearing gloomy nostrums about what it is like to be old can make people walk more slowly, hear and remember less well, and even affect their cardiovascular systems.  Positive images of aging have the opposite effects”.  Sounds like science is finally catching up with common sense in recognizing the power of positive thinking.

There’s more to it than a positive attitude.  Swimming is a good way to maintain a healthy housing for the vital organs stored within.  John Le Bourgeois is a nice example.  He ranked in the top ten finishers in all six long-course freestyle events at the 2004 US Masters competition for our age group.  After retiring as a Dean at the Temple University School of Business in 2003, John pursued intellectual as well as athletic distinction.  His Art and Forbidden Fruit:  Hidden Passion in the Life of William Morris (Lutterworth Press), has been praised by pre-eminent Yale scholar Harold Bloom.  Morris was a 19th Century man for all seasons, known as a great poet and successor to Tennyson as Poet Laureate, as well as an outstanding designer of stained glass and fabrics.  When not engaged with his amazing creative talents, Morris rose to the leadership of the British socialist movement, which eventually became the modern Labour Party.  The provocative title reflects a central thesis of John’s book: an explanation of how Morris’s obsession with his sister drove him to greatness and caused havoc in his personal life.  Sounds like a great read and perhaps a story for the producers of Masterpiece Theatre.

Nice to get an update on Gary Ashcraft, who retired from the federal government and is living in Columbia, Maryland.  Gary was one of the first computer programmers in that hefty bureaucracy, and his talents were utilized in establishing the computer gears for Medicare and Social Security Disability programs.  Gary and Penelope have been married for 46 years, with a family consisting of daughter Jennifer and granddaughter  Lora.  The note, presumably from Penelope, observes that, with one wife, one daughter and one granddaughter “you could call him a one woman man”.

Diane and Herrick (Bill) Garnsey ventured east from their home in Greeley, Colorado to visit with Ann and Dick Lindgren while homesteading at the Yale Club in New York.  They camped in Manhattan in order to celebrate the ordination of daughter Elizabeth into the priesthood of the Episcopal Church.  A recent graduate of the Yale Divinity School, Elizabeth is now on staff at St. Bartholomew’s in mid-town Manhattan.  Describing himself as semi-retired, Bill spends half of his time working as a marriage counselor and the other half earning bonus points at home while performing honey do’s.

Our trustworthy Class fiduciary, Dave Carls, has issued his annual financial report for the fiscal year ending May 31, 2006.  Despite unquestionably sound fiscal management, we sustained a nominal operating loss of $3,951, based on income of $43,943 and expenses of $47,894.  It turns out that we actually had a good year, however, since the expenses included a special charge of $18,745 to cover close-out costs for the 45th Reunion.  Cash on hand at the end of the year was $56,183.  Those who don’t pay Class dues should try to shake loose $95 bucks.  Among other things, your dues pay for the Alumni Magazine, which the lower portion of your bi-focals are right now helping you to read.  By the way, Dave’s report also reveals that there are 848 members of the Class, miraculously 17 more than our census from the prior year.