YAM Notes: November/December 2010

By Rich Banbury

It’s been quiet lately.  So I wonder if everyone who had something interesting to say about themselves, or the universe in which we inhale our daily dose of oxygen, did so in their contributed essays to the extraordinary 576-page Reunion Book.  Twenty-seven of those pages encompass the anonymous Confessionnaires.  No question that these submissions, inviting candid revelations but with the confessor behind a paper screen, are somewhat diminished by the lack of attribution.  Some of the quick hits, however, are worth their weight in words, exemplified by the following:  The ticking of the clock would seem to mock the beating of my heart.  I guess we’ll never know if that poignant thought was original to the classmate by whom it was submitted, although I presume it is.

The final essay in the Book, submitted by Yogi Jensen, was apparently snuck in by Peter Parsons at the bottom of the last page, presumably just minutes before the publisher’s deadline, although that day of reckoning was a moving target for many months.  I would guess that Yogi was sometimes late for class, although that leap of logic may be flawed by the fact that Yogi can often be located in a South American jungle.  In fact his essay reminds us that “mountaineering and jungle exploration have kept me close to natureAnd my import/export business has provided opportunities to travel”.  Nominally based in Seattle, Yogi clearly prefers the equatorial territories.

One of the great photographs in the Reunion Book has the following caption:  Jack Child and 70,000 penguins on the Sub-Antarctic Island of South Georgia.  After 20 years as an Army officer, including two tours in Vietnam and service with 101st Airborne, Jack moved to the academy, receiving a doctorate from American University, where he also acted as an assistant dean.  Since 1982, Jack has been teaching Spanish and Latin American studies at American, having recently been honored as one of six University Professors.  His particular interest in the “Far South” has inspired his success as a published author and explains his fraternization with those thousands of penguins.  In 2008, Duke University published a treatise involving one of Jack’s subspecialties, that being a scholarly examination of the politics and semiotics of Latin American postage stamps.

Sprinkled throughout the Reunion Book are the brilliant renditions of a parallel universe – the offspring of Steve Johnson’s fertile imagination wedded to his masterful artistry.  You can find his talents displayed under such headings as Aging Yalie Comics (pages 34 through 40) and the Reunion Sketch book (Pages 96 through 104).  It is interesting that Steve’s signature sketch for this project, appearing on both pages 2 and 35, is a risqué little item which thankfully eluded the censors.  Johnson is not the only creative artist recognized and celebrated in the Reunion Book.  Both Dave Sellers and Charlie Weymouth, illustrators, designers, and successful architects, have also contributed to the Book.  There is a nice profile of Dave, the pal of Patch Adams, beginning on page 41.  Working from a small town does not preclude achieving international fame, since Sellers, who receives his mail in Warren, Vermont, has been recognized by Architectural Digest as among the 100 best architects in the world.  Having worked in various building trades, and served on a Navy destroyer, Weymouth is eclectic in his artistic subjects, which include aircraft and submarines.  In addition, Charlie has won several awards not only for his architectural talent, but also in the related fields of urban planning and landscape architecture.

Jonathan Weiss has a good excuse for not attending the Reunion, since it conflicted with his prior commitment to witness the World Cup in South Africa.  Although Jonathan praises the “warmth and hospitality” of the host country, he was not particularly pleased with the incessant blaring of the vuvuzelas, nor the quality of the officiating.  Our class representative at the World Cup also managed to get into a bit of a skirmish with a group of inconsiderate fans from Slovenia.  This large group of soccer hooligans managed to stand and hold banners over their heads throughout the contest against the U.S., completely obscuring the sight lines of those behind.  After the Slovenians refused to listen to reason, Jonathan and his female companion went physical and a bit of a scuffle broke out.  Although the dispute was adjudicated without serious injury, it can be assumed that Jonathan’s passport will never be stamped at the airport in Ljubljana.

The Board of Directors of Rotary International has honored Dick Sideman with the prestigious Service Above Self Award.  Although Dick and Susan have retired to Palm Beach Gardens, they often travel back to Connecticut to visit with family and friends in the Hartford area.