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YAM Notes: March/April 2021

By Gregory A. Weiss

THINK 55th REUNION!!! At the time of the writing of this column in early February we have finally learned one important thing: the University has canceled all in-person 2021 reunions. That is a real tragedy but one which is understandable given the status of the pandemic. But never fear. We WILL have an online virtual reunion. When it will take place is something that needs to be determined – – early June? Your reunion leaders, knowing that this situation was a serious possibility, have already made some real progress on a program. Tom Porter, for one, has reconstituted his “Memorial Team,” and they are hard at work preparing memorials for each Classmate who has died since the Fiftieth. Stay tuned!

A bright spot in the 2020 Class social calendar was the December 20 300-participant Zoom marriage of Ben Liptzin and Liz Schneider, reported on in detail in a January 1 article in the NYT, some highlights of which follow: “Elizabeth M. Schneider always had a soft spot for Yalies — her father and son went there — and she could belt out Bulldog football team fight songs and the “Bright College Years” unofficial alma mater with the best of them. So, she decided to place a personal ad in the Yale Alumni Magazine, inspired by her ties to the school and her upcoming 50th reunion from Bryn Mawr, from which she graduated cum laude. (She would have applied to Yale if women were accepted in 1964).” To shorten the rest of the story, Ben responded to the ad six months later, and, as they say, the rest is history.

In a November 12 note Rob Van Leeuwen let us know that his dear friend Henry Soper, Ph.D., passed away on November 5, 2020 in Thousand Oaks, CA. Living in Camarillo, CA, Henry had been a full faculty member of Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara for over 25 years, where he taught the subject that was his passion: neuropsychology. Henry’s brother Tom writes of him: “His area of expertise was the frontal lobe, and he wrote several books on that, along with a huge number of other publications over his career. He also maintained a robust private practice, with emphasis on helping court-referred juveniles.” Rob writes: “I first met Henry at our 30th Class Reunion, and what quickly drew us together was our service as U.S. Army officers in the Vietnam War. Henry was a 1st Lieutenant, executive officer of a combat engineering company, and was awarded the Bronze Star. In 2007 he sent me “One Soldier’s Story,” his unvarnished account of coming home from Vietnam. It is rough, but contains one dream all Vietnam veterans could readily share: ‘I had dreamed of coming home to cold Connecticut, getting into my car, driving to warm Florida, buying a hamburger and a milkshake, and walking to the beach.’”

Steve Shelov is “keeping busy as Founding Dean of a new medical school, NYU Long Island School of Medicine. Its mission is to educate primary care physicians in a three-year, tuition–free school In a new building at NYU Langone Hospital – Long Island – Mineola, New York.”

Bob Pratter continues his legal practice focusing on class action and environmental–product liability plaintiff cases in Philadelphia, enjoying the migration from the defense to the plaintiff side “as I feel I am helping people directly, and I am energized by the legal issues. I look forward to 2021 and returning to singing in a large classical vocal choir and church cantor.”

Jeff Lewis sends along an engaging short story (my term; see Jeff’s description below) about a young Jesus of Nazareth and his sister Samantha (see the Class website for a copy) with the following note: “A few years ago I wrote the piece I’ve attached below, then I didn’t know what to do with it. Too short for a book, too long for a magazine, too heavy for Instagram or one of those. Now it’s occurred to me that maybe it could be a Christmas gift of sorts. Not quite cheerful, not quite in point for the dreadful year that’s passing, but maybe it would mean something to some people. So, please, if you care to look at it, do. If you don’t, I won’t be offended if you trash it. Nor offended if you pass it along. On the contrary, I’d be pleased. Here’s to love at the end of a bitter season!”

Peter Stambler has sent a note (much abridged) bringing us up to date on his comings and goings: “What’s keeping me safe from Covid these days? My new bionic knee that has misbehaved from the outset three months ago. So I stay inside. The year, the pandemic, the knee are all preventing me from my three-way commuting retirement. I dearly want to be in Istanbul where I continue to volunteer at a community center for Syrian refugee children. Then there is my house in Costa Rica. Otherwise, I am housebound in Charleston.”

One final piece of good news: Steve Timbers has apparently put his COVID quarantine time to good use – – tuning up his golf game. He scored a hole in one on September 20. Congratulations Steve!