YAM Notes: May/June 2009

By Rich Banbury

So what’s all this buzz about discreet party suites at certain residential Colleges during the days in New Haven when we were young pups?  I’m told that there might be a future feature story in this magazine concerning vintage haunts and hideaways reserved for celebrations with lubrications.  Was there really an underground party venue in Silliman known as the Beach Club?  Did Calhoun actually have a party palace with the unlikely name of Bookworld?  If there are any untold stories out there which would animate our fondness for the good ole days, perhaps with Harry Belafonte or The Kingston Trio as the mood makers, I’d be happy to pass them along to the gang.

According to Jim Sale, the best medicine for balky backs is swimming.  Jim and his wife Janet were advised by Dr. Dave Johnson, a Yalie and an Olympic freestyler, that swimming was the most effective way to alleviate those nasty signals sent to the brain by cranky joints and rusting parts.  Jim not only feels a lot better, but he also won six gold medals at the 2008 Washington D.C. Senior Olympics in freestyle and backstroke events.  In several of those races, Jim, who competes on a masters swim team, achieved qualifying times for the national Senior Olympics.  After retiring as a senior planner and analyst for the federal Department of Transportation, Jim was offered long-term opportunities to work on transportation planning in Russia or China, which he diplomatically declined due to the length of those commitments.

The Yale Medal is the highest honor awarded by the Association of Yale Alumni and is conferred annually on four or five alumni/ae for outstanding service to the University.  A recent mailing from the AYA listed the Yale Medal recipients from 1988 through 2008.  Two mates were deservingly on that list:  Al Puryear (1991) and John Pepper (2007).

Having returned to Ridgefield, Connecticut after fourteen years in St. Charles, Illinois, Jean and Steve Cole are pleased to be back in scenic New England.  In addition to working as a substitute teacher, Steve also coaches girls junior varsity soccer and tennis at Ridgefield High School.

It’s likely that many classmates, particularly members of Beta Theta Pi, knew Steven Adams ’59 during our first three years in New Haven.  Steve has done pretty well for himself in various fields of endeavor, including his significant influence on changing the community banking, outdoor advertising and recreational vehicle industries, to say nothing of his extensive wine-producing vineyards in Bordeaux.  The tale to tell, however, is that Steve and Denise Adams have recently surfaced as the anonymous donors of $100 million to the Yale School of Music in 2005.  Steve’s philanthropy has allowed the Music School to amazingly declare on its website that:  “A full tuition award and fellowship are made to all students who are admitted”.

Although a nightingale still sings in Berkeley Square, the Whiffs no longer sing at Mory’s on Mondays.  It seems that the tables down at Mory’s, due to financial problems, have been quiet since January.  Most observers view this as a temporary situation, and the new Mory’s, at the same location, will have a tap room and a modernized menu, although the Welch rarebit and Yorkshire buck will presumably survive.  Whiffenpoof board member Peter Wells is among the optimists who predict a return of the Green Cuppers to Mory’s later this year, along with other undergraduate a cappella singing groups.  Meanwhile, the Whiffs, in their centennial year, are in great demand, with updated versions of their signature songs, including A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square.  That’s the London Berkeley, pronounced bark-lee, where the nightingales have no fear of being displaced from their musical muse.