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YAM Notes: July/August 2016

By Gregory A. Weiss

50th Reunion

Spectacular—the only possible word to describe our 50th! A total of 414 classmates, 12 widows, and 305 guests had the times of their lives.

We began on Thursday with a wonderful brunch graciously hosted by Waring and Carmen Partridge at their beautiful New Haven home. The weather was perfect, and 320 classmates and guests filled the Partridge’s back yard for a “Taste of New Haven.” We then headed to campus for one of our traditional “open mic” sessions, the topic this time being “How I met my spouse/partner/significant other.” Clark Abbott did a great job as moderator assisted by Russ Dilley. The proceedings kicked off with a rather humorous short skit authored by Clark and Toby Kennedy. Nearly 20 classmates and spouses took the mic with some truly funny personal stories, and we ran out of time before we could hear at least a dozen more. The well-deserved “best story” award, an etched magnum of our 25th reunion cabernet, went to Eric Gordon.

After a short break, Michael Dalby masterfully anchored a session entitled “Who Knew”—what we learned from the preparation of the spectacularly (that word again!) successful class book. Assisted by Howie Moffett, Jim Munson, Stephen Billard, and Rob Ulery, as well as your corresponding secretary wearing his reunion cochair hat, the session drew many responses from the audience and even more laughs. Dinner that evening was under an enormous tent in the Davenport courtyard.

Friday afternoon, after morning lectures by Yale professors and lunch at Davenport, we returned to Sprague Hall for two sessions moderated with great style by Jesse Lovejoy. The first featured 11 classmates discussing (in an almost impossible six minutes each) their “passions,” which ranged from flying model aircraft to antique board games to cinematic animation to croquet. The audience was transfixed.

At the next session Chris Ogden spoke of his interactions with world leaders over a 40-year career at Time magazine; Chris Quigg educated us in an amazingly comprehensible fashion about the discovery of the Higgs boson atomic particle; and Duke Klauck described his love affair with hot springs from his hippie days to the proprietorship of his world-renowned Ten Thousand Waves Spa in Santa Fe. We then moved to Battell Chapel for the class memorial service led by Tom Porter, Steve Clement, Bob Hughes, and Ben Liptzin and featuring some beautiful singing by our own Whiffenpoofs.

After cocktails in Beinecke Plaza, we filled Commons for the class dinner. The reunion gift committee chairs (Tom Barry, Bob Brundige, Biff Folberth, Waring Partridge, and Steve Timbers) announced the amount of our reunion gift: a whopping $59,400,000! Michael Dalby, Howie Moffett, and Tom Porter were given distinguished service awards for their work on behalf of the class, and reunion cochair Cary Koplin received a well-deserved standing ovation for his leadership of nine of our ten class reunions. After dinner we repaired to the tent and were entertained again by our magnificent Whiffs.

The highlight of the highlight-filled reunion was on Saturday afternoon—the world premiere of Naked Lunch, the Musical. With book and lyrics by Bill Hannay and music by Damon Baker and with 12 classmates as members of the cast, the audience loved it. The tunes were catchy, and the story and acting were hilarious. It was truly extraordinary. We are reluctant to single out any one of the players—they all were so terrific—but John Carney’s rendition of “The River is Served,” and Rich Look’s portrayal of the Naked Lunch author, William Borroughs, were compelling.

Excitement continued into the evening. Thanks to the generosity of Willy Monaghan, we were entertained during dinner under the tent by the nationally known New Orleans jazz pianist, Henry Butler, and after dinner by the equally well-known New Orleans band, Funky Meters, led by the renowned George Porter Jr. We may be approaching geezerdom, but the band was great, and the dance floor was packed!

Among the many people who deserve special thanks are Josh Jensen and Ted Elliott, who generously contributed more than 90 cases of wines from their vineyards, and Duke Klauck, who brought from Japan some very special sakes for tasting at Davenport.

Bravo to the class, and here’s to 2021!