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YAM Notes: July/August 2014

By Gregory A. Weiss

We are not sure whether to call it a triple play, a three-peat, or a trifecta, but, whatever it is named, our class had three terrific events in April. Early in the month, in what hopefully is the first of many similar events to follow as we lead up to our 50th reunion, a very successful regional class dinner was held in Boston. Organized impeccably by Jay Westcott, over 30 classmates and guests had a great time catching up with each other and talking about the good old days. While most of the attendees were from the Boston area, several classmates from New York flew up to Boston to join in the festivities.

On the very next night 46 classmates and guests had a special evening attending a performance of Ted Shen’s musical A Second Chance at New York’s Public Theater (yes, he wrote it and produced it!) and then dining at Bud and Francine Marschner’s nearby Soho loft. Local classmates were joined by those from California, Cleveland, DC, and even Boston (an impressive back-to-back dose of Y’66 fun). The party, we are told, went on well past midnight. We thank the Shens and the Marschners for hosting, and Cary Koplin for organizing this terrific mini-gathering to get us in the mood for the big 50th.

What has become the highlight of our class’s spring season is our annual class dinner. With Fred Berg and Tom Opladen again doing a spectacular job in organizing the event, this year’s version, held in late April at the Yale Club of New York City, was a big success. Sixty-eight classmates and guests were in attendance. We were entertained by members of the undergraduate singing group, the Baker’s Dozen, who were great fun and, with freshmen and sophomores making up over half the group, incredibly young! A note from Dick Allen: “I was in Lincoln, Nebraska, in February (a JDRF ‘swing’ [about which see below] through Des Moines, Omaha, and Lincoln) and had an opportunity to have lunch with Chris Beutler while I was there. I hadn’t seen Chris since graduation, and so it was a big-time catch-up for both of us. I can report that Chris looks to be in ‘football-ready’ shape—he hasn’t changed much except, perhaps, for a barely noticeable gray hair (or two). We had a great time—talked Yale, family, career, etc. In case you didn’t see it, a recent Gallup poll named Lincoln as the tenth most ‘livable city’ in the US. Our classmate deserves a great deal of the credit.”

We were curious about Dick’s reference to a “JDRF ‘swing’” and asked him to explain. His response is very interesting: “JDRF is a NYC-based organization that raises money to fund research to find a cure for Type 1 diabetes (it used to be called juvenile diabetes, hence the J & the D). It’s an autoimmune disease that destroys the insulin-producing beta cells of your pancreas. My granddaughter was diagnosed with T1D when she was 2; she’s now 16. Ever since Hannah’s diagnosis, Mary and I have been actively involved with JDRF. I have been on the international board for six years and am about to complete a two-year stint as chair of the international board. The JDRF ‘swing’ that brought me to the Midwest was one of several I have done around the country for the purpose of giving people with T1D and their parents an update on the progress we are making. It’s about giving them hope and encouraging their continued support.”

Richard and Galene Kessin have retired to Norwalk, Connecticut, after a career of research and teaching medical and graduate students at the Columbia University Medical Center. Rich has written over 30 columns that explain basic science to readers of the Lakeville Journal in Lakeville, Connecticut. “We have joined the Yale Club of Northwest Connecticut, which we enjoy. Find us at rhk2@columbia.edu.”

Sad to say, but we must add one more obituary. Paul DeVries passed away on January 6, 2014, after a battle with melanoma. We have little more information but that he was living in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, at the time of his death.

A rare erratum: in the last issue we reported on Lew MacLaughlin’s new novel (under the pen name L. H. May), calling it The Game of Two Snakes. The correct title, it turns out, is The Gate of Two Snakes, which, interestingly, refers to an actual gate in Cuzco, Peru, where the Incas thought snakes were good luck. Our apologies to Lew. We obviously have been watching too much Game of Thrones on TV. The publisher, by the way, is AuthorHouse.