YAM Notes: March/April 2008

By Rich Banbury

On a miserable Saturday afternoon last November, a number of mates converged on Yale Bowl, joining 52,000 other spectators for The Game, the largest 2007 event by attendance in Connecticut.  Although the weather was cold and damp, the misery arose from the decisive loss to Harvard, paradoxically the more difficult to endure in light of our otherwise perfect season.  Nostalgic class veterans from the Trumbull football team, including John Hill, Jake Bennett, Dick West and Tom Yamin, tossed modesty aside during halftime in proclaiming the preeminence of their juggernaut squad.  Bob Walsh and I eagerly reminded them of Davenport’s upset victory over the Terriers in the inter-college championship game, as well described on page 140 of our Class Yearbook.  This good natured exchange was followed by some friendly emails, and I was glad to send along photographs of the Trumbull team, taken from the ’57 – ’59 Harvard/Princeton football programs, to Hill and Yamin.  Tim Ritchie reports having seen Bob Bose, Al Durfee, Herb Hodos and Dick Sigal at the Bowl.  The handsome guy sitting a couple of rows in front of Pete Knudsen and me was a youthful-looking Dick Gwinn. The old Davenport-Trumbull football rivalry sparked memories of Trumbull quarterback Bob Lewis, who was lost to the Class in 1961.  Although he shunned varsity sports, Bob may well have been the best all-around athlete in the Class, save the recently-departed Gene Scott.

Residing in the metropolis of Washoe Valley, Nevada, the afore-mentioned Dick West  and Joanne, grandparents of twelve, are celebrating their 50th anniversary this month.

Our class graduated seven Millers, including two Bills.  Our Florida Bill Miller, having retired from the law practice, is filling his newly discovered leisure time with travel, having recently explored Amsterdam, Vienna and Budapest after visiting his son in London.  His Pierson roommate, none other than the other Bill Miller, hangs out in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.  Double-dating with the two Bills must have been interesting.  In a pinch, just say “No, this is Bill Miller”.

Rosemary and Lew Lloyd celebrated last Columbus Day weekend by hosting John Blampied and Harold Hammett, with their respective wives, at the Lloyd retreat in New Hampshire.

When President James Buchanan decided to replace Brigham Young as Governor of the Utah Territory, the armed conflict which followed became known as the Utah War of 1857-1858.  Bill MacKinnon has written a definitive history of that conflict, described as a “remarkably bloody turning point in western, military and Mormon history”.  At Sword’s Point, an illustrated volume of 544 pages, is “a lively narrative linking firsthand accounts … from soldiers and civilians on both sides”.  Bill’s inspiration for this opus, published by the University of Oklahoma Press, has its early roots in Howard Lamar’s great course on the American West.  Bill and Pat have relocated to Santa Barbara and he can be reached at (805) 565-1592 or mackbp@msn.com. 

Yale, with its recent emphasis on developing links with China, has also re-discovered its historical ties to Japan, thanks in no small measure to Chuck Schmitz.  Chuck was a driving force behind Yale’s decision to create the Asakawa Peace Garden within Saybrook College.  Kanichi Asakawa is a hero to the Japanese children in his hometown of Nihonmatsu.  A scholar who taught at Yale for 36 years, Asakawa was the first Japanese professor at a major American University and also the first curator of Yale’s East Asia Collection.  In Japan, his enduring fame derives from his reputation as a tireless advocate for peace.  Prior to World War II, Asakawa  was a strong critic of Japan’s militarism and colonialism.  Chuck and Tazuko, along with a 40-person delegation from Nihonmatsu, recently traveled to New Haven for the dedication of the Peace Garden.

If you are looking for a contrarian in the global warming debate, check out the top geologist at the University of Pennsylvania’s Department of Earth and Environmental Science.  In a recent interview, Bob Giegengack was described as “a slim man of medium height with a very high forehead”, and was quoted as saying “I traded my hair for eyeglasses”.  Known to his students as Gieg, Bob is an outspoken critic of Al Gore and his popular documentary, An Inconvenient Truth.  After receiving his doctorate at Yale, Bob was hired by Penn to create an environmental studies program, which he subsequently directed for over three decades.  With a geologist’s perspective of 20,000 years, Bob argues that the Earth today is a relatively cool planet.  One factor in determining climate change is the alignment of the other planets, whose gravitational forces can affect the elliptical shape of the earth’s orbit around the sun.  Professor Gieg, relying on an epochal analysis, is unpersuaded that man-made carbon gases are influencing current climate changes.  Though disagreeing with Gore, Gieg promotes energy-saving programs, but warns that, due to the industrialization of China and India, “If CO2  is the problem, we’ve already lost”.