YAM Notes: March/April 2015

By Rich Banbury

Our class authors, with their quill pens and kind keyboards, have been hard at work. Some of their sagas are fit for the silver screen.

As his sixth novel, Bill Peace has recently published Hidden Battlefields, a sequel to The Iranian Scorpion. The plot involves a big time shipment of drugs from Peru to a criminal cartel in southern Italy. Robert Dawson, in undercover capacity, follows the shipment initiated by the guerrilla organization Shining Path. Robert’s father, a retired Army general, enters the battlefield, along with MaryJo, a defense department contractor with top secret clearance, and Kate, a Pulitzer Prize journalist. All the characters eventually overcome internal conflicts, including romantic choices. Now living under the British flag, Bill’s homestead has the intriguing address of Great Kingshill, Bucks.

The publishing house of McNally Jackson has recently released an adventure/mystery novel authored by Jonny Weiss and Otis King, titled A Star Over Harlem. Attempting to solve the riddles left by his father in his Will, the protagonist is joined by a beautiful blonde stranger who may be a CIA undercover agent. Ancient religious secrets are introduced into the story, which takes place in Barcelona, Jerusalem, and Harlem. Danger lurks at every turn, and the mystery behind the assassination of Malcolm X is also woven into the plot. At the end, a miracle saves the day, as light and truth emerge.

A prize-winning short story by Doug Macdonald, Sharing Daniel, tells the saga of Adrienne and Daniel, who have been living together for three years in a house they own in rural Vermont. A poet of some success, Adrienne misses the pulse of the city, while Daniel, a builder and carpenter, prefers the country life. The role of a third-party ultimately brings the relationship to a crossroad, where issues are reconciled. Doug lives in Evanston, and the story won the third prize in a nearby Chicago contest.

Peter Green of St. Louis reminds us of his Ben’s War with the U.S. Marines, a humorous World War II biography of Peter’s father. With two small children at home, Ben enlisted to serve his country and was ultimately stationed on Guam with the Armed Force Radio. Ben’s War has been a favorite with veterans. In Peter’s words, a few months of military training transformed “lovers into fighters.” In addition to Ben’s War, Peter has republished Crimes of Design, the first of his mystery series featuring Patrick MacKenna, the vigilant main character. An architect as well as a prolific writer, Peter can be electronically accessed at Pete’sBookshop.

Mike Freeman’s Neither Mountain Nor River, his second book, is a memoir celebrating his love of both nature and language. Much of Mike’s life has been spent in rural areas, including a small town in Alaska, which explains his appreciation for hunting and fishing. At the center of Mike’s reflections is his admiration and affection for his father, Matt Freeman, and the filial relationship is the primary premise for the story. It’s a very poignant and personal memoir, often emphasizing the mentoring role of Matt, by way of wilderness skills and the deeper character lessons which fathers pass on to their children. Mike quotes Matt as saying “Life comes at you fast.” Experiencing the wilderness with his father became a “museum of memories and the chance to generate new ones.”

Our exceptional class has its own significant presence on the Old Campus by way of the Bart Giamatti Bench. While walking in that direction recently, Monroe Price observed that the Bench may be the only sculptural addition to the Old Campus for perhaps a century.

There is still time to sign up for the 55th Reunion. If by chance you have mislaid the registration form, contact co-chairs Harry Mazadoorian (hmazadoorian@comcast.net), or

Al Puryear (anpuryear@aol.com). Incidentally, Harry recently uncovered a 1956 document, On the Fence with 60, revealing that Dean Hal Whitman had, as an “experimental step,” extended female visitations from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. That’s an interesting comparison with the current discussion in New Haven as to whether mixed gender suites should be available for freshmen and sophomores. Apparently juniors and seniors already have that opportunity. No more bus rides for mixers at Mount Holyoke.