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YAM Notes: November/December 2019

By Gregory A. Weiss

We’ll let Eric Gordon deliver his BIG NEWS in his own words: “At the age of 74 (never too soon!) I have gotten married for the first time! My husband is Juan José Guerrero, whom I met in 2012 or so in a yoga class in Los Angeles. We started seeing each other romantically the following year. In 2017 he returned to his home town of Zacatecas, Mexico, and then couldn’t get a visa to get back to L.A. So we were married there by a civil judge in a small ceremony on May 23, 2019. We have a petition filed with the Dept. of Homeland Security to get him back to the U.S. as my spouse, but these things take time: Our lawyer estimates up to two years! In other news, I am still writing and editing, but now half-time, for the online People’s World, and I have some feelers out to translate three different novels from Portuguese.”

“Passing Time With the Eternal Footman” is the title of a rather humorous article written by Jim Kaplan and published in the Vineyard Gazette on August 22 (in case anyone wants to read the whole piece). His theme is reaching the age of 75. The first several lines will give you a good idea of what he has to say: “People say, ‘I can’t believe I’m turning 75,’ as if the Eternal Footman was already holding their coats and snickering. Well, it is a landmark birthday. You can no longer call yourself young, middle-aged or even late-middle-aged. At best, you’re starting the fourth and probably last quarter of your life. What counts is how you handle it. I turned 75 on March 6, and I’m not going to sugarcoat the event. The warning lights had already turned on.”

As is becoming all too regular, we must report the passing of yet another Classmate, JK Singh, who died in India in early September. The email notice from his family refers to JK as “the larger than life guiding light, traveling onward to the heavenly planes. He had a naughty gleam when he made plans, he was a dreamer but with a concrete plan, he never lost his cool, he could be stubborn but always to help and do good.”

We also lost the Rev. Jedediah (“Jed”) Mannis, who died on September 9th. Jed was a New York native who migrated to Boston. As he described in a fascinating presentation at our 40th Reunion, Jed was a lawyer for 30 years before he found his second calling, tending to the street folks of Cambridge, MA. He co-founded the Outdoor Church in Cambridge in 2003 and was awarded a Harvard Divinity School degree in 2004. In 2009 he published a book about his work, Joseph Tuckerman and the Outdoor Church. As expressed by his brother David (Y ‘69), “Jed was a very special man who became more so over the years, choosing a path of selfless service to the homeless of Boston.”

In our last column we reported on the death of Ross Sherman, Jr.. This was a mistake for which we sincerely apologize. In fact, it was Classmate Ross S. Tippin, Jr. who died. The error traces to a mistake in the newspaper obituary that was forwarded to us. It omitted his surname, and we regrettably followed what was written.

Ben Liptzin sends photos from his annual August in the Berkshires brunch before the concert. The 10 Classmates and 7 spouses in the photos look like they are having a great time. “Weather was glorious and so was the concert at Tanglewood,” says Ben.

Speaking of mini-reunions, seven of our golfer Classmates happily participated at the end of August in the Sixth Annual Yale ‘66 Eastern Long Island Golf Outing, playing at two of LI’s most prestigious golf courses. Organizers Steve Gilhuley, Kirk Ressler and Rich Look deserve tons of credit for initiating this event and making it thrive.

Toby Condliffe  recently responded to an email from the YAA seeking early memories from the experiences of Yale undergrads. His submission was then used in a YAA online publication. What it “remembered” was “a hot spring evening in 1963 when word was passed on the Old Campus that when Harkness Tower tolled midnight, everyone was to flush their toilets bursting the water pipes.” (Yeah, right!) It goes on to describe a somewhat unruly group of students spilling out onto Elm Street and heading for Helen Hadley Hall, the graduate women’s dorm, that was firmly tamed by the unexpected appearance of Dean Harold Whiteman. Toby asks: “Do any of you remember the night I describe?”

If you are looking for an exciting evening of musical theater on Broadway look no further than the “euphoric”, “spectacular” (says Ben Brantley in the N.Y. Times) Moulin Rouge! The Musical, which opened in July “in a shower of fireworks, confetti and glittering fragments of what feels like every pop hit ever written“. “Directed with wicked savvy by Alex Timbers [(Y ‘01), son of Classmate Steve Timbers,] this Moulin Rouge is a cloud-surfing, natural high of a production.” Alex’s Broadway career has been hugely successful, with two Tony Award nominations already. He has much to be proud of – – as does Steve!