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Febuary 18, 2015
VOL. XVII NO. 2
THE WILDER SIDE OF WINTER
One of the significant cultural trends of our time is the reviving reputation of the deeply respected 20th century author, playwright and critic Thornton Wilder. Best known for his novel, The Bridge of San Luis Rey, and his play, Our Town, Wilder, a Yalie (1920), was sometimes glimpsed on campus in our day. He died in 1975 and his works seemed to be fading from view, but of late, all his major writings have come back into print, productions of his plays have multiplied, and critical symposia and re-evaluations have increased. Behind the revival, and until now not much noted in public, is the steady, thoughtful, and self-effacing work of one of our classmates, Thornton Wilder's nephew Tappy. In this issue, John Stewart spends a day with Tappy that reveals what Tappy's backstage efforts have wrought.
Also in this issue (scroll down): A classmate who rowed 112 miles in 24 hours, a fearsome forecast of a future epidemic, a burst of stringed instrument playing, a preview of a Hitchcockean tale of an overcoat, and a nod to winter conditions in the northeast. A satisfying mull.
A DAY WITH TAPPY WILDER
By John Stewart
"Thornton Wilder's re-emergence
can be attributed in great part to his nephew."
In late December I had lunch with Tappy at the Yale Club. The Director of the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, Gordon Edelstein, was there. He'd just staged a very successful production of Our Town by Tappy's uncle, Thornton Wilder '20. Earlier in the week in New York, Tappy had taken part in a reading of Thornton's The Long Christmas Dinner, and tonight at Alice Tully Hall we would attend a double bill of the play and Hindemith's operatic setting of it. What an extraordinary life Tappy's leading! Those of us who have been lucky enough to know him are aware of his intelligence and charm, and we especially can imagine how good he is at employing them in his job as Executor of the Thornton Wilder Estate. Click here for a glimpse of Tappy's nonstop literary rescue work and its profound results.
TO WORLD RECORD
Jan Greer, shown here with gloves, specially-padded seat, and coaching buddies, sent in his first-ever posting, allowing he is "at least mildly pleased" to announce that as of December 18, he had set a world record.
It came in the Male 70-79 heavyweight category on the Concept2 indoor rower which, he says, is "the machine of choice for dry land training by virtually all crew teams at the university, and at national and Olympic team levels. As an exercise vehicle, I've become more or less addicted to the damned thing within the past year."
In the 24 hours from 7 a.m. on December 17 to 7a.m the next day, he rowed day and night... Click here to get the result.
TO FOLLOW THE BLUE PUCK
By Gus Hedlund
The only poll that counts for national rankings is the PairWise Hockey Rankings. It is a purely computerized rating system based on who you beat or lost to. No coaches voting. Harvard was ranked #1 and Yale #14 before the January game at Madison Square Garden. After the game Harvard dropped to #2 and Yale moved up to 11th. This is important, since at the end of the season if Yale does not win the ECAC tournament (automatic bid) they get an at-large bid to go to the NCAA tournament if they have a high rank. This happened when they won the championship two years ago.
EVEN IF IT'S NOT EBOLA...
"We are increasingly vulnerable to a natural or man-made disease visitation."
By John Marr, MD, MPH
Not so mythical these days. J.M.W. Turner's "Fifth Plague of Egypt," illustrating a Biblical epidemic which could well have eliminated livestock. The author says it may be a forerunner of a biological disaster for us, our children, and our grandchildren.
Ed note: John Marr is an epidemiologist who has dealt with and studied real biological catastrophes both current and historical and has written novels about fictional ones, so we asked him to speculate on the current Ebola danger. The result is judicious but frightening.
We hope you'll share your own plans for a disaster, or confess to and explain the lack of same.
Recently, post-apocalyptic scenarios have become commonplace in novels and movies; most straining credulity, others not. The genre has a long history, from H.G. Wells to the more recent dystopic novels by James Wesley, Rawls (his preferred punctuation). Since 9/11, imaginary biological catastrophes that were otherwise common at the end of the century have largely been replaced by alien invasions, nuclear disasters, environmental cataclysms and cyber attacks. However, that may be about to change ...
Click here to see how John began to think about "what might happen if and when some highly fatal, rapidly spreading, air-borne disease was introduced into a city," and whether you might be trapped in your own infected city -- or suburb. Click here to comment (scroll to bottom).
Neither the fifty-fourth station of the "Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido" nor the thirty-seventh of the "Thirty Six Views of Mount Fuji," this is Alex Kovel's "View of His Tea-House" in Brookline, Massachusetts, near Boston, after the second week of the February snowfalls that eventually deposited nearly eight feet. Alex built the structure some 14 years ago, inspired by a trip to Indonesia, and the garden followed. Below is a more clement summer view.
A MASTER FRETTER
(But the worries of a smart daughter)
By Howard Kolodny
He can pluck, too. Howard with, l. to r., mandolin, ukelele, banjo.
For 50+ years, I've been collecting -- old motion pictures, antique cameras, and antique golf clubs, the clubs all restored to playing condition and used by me in various tournaments played with hickory-shafted clubs. As time went on, however, my sore lower back, fading eyesight, slowness of foot and weakening hand-eye coordination have led me to learning fretted musical instruments. Click here to find out which seven (seven!) instruments they are.
THE MAN WITH THE OVERCOAT
I was fascinated by how David Finkle came to write his new novel:
"It started as a dream. I was standing near the elevator bank in an office building on Fifth Avenue, when a man came out of an elevator holding a briefcase, and a man standing there handed him an overcoat. The second man disappeared, and I woke up thinking 'I can do something with this.'"
Soon, David said, "I found out who the first man was." Lo, David's unconscious produced a 37-year-old lawyer who follows clues in the pockets of the coat during a 24-hour quest to return it, meeting various New Yorkers including a woman who may be a future romance. "The characters start telling you what they say and who they are," David says. "Of course it's me, but it doesn't feel like me. Some of them are smarter than I am and say things I never would have said. In many ways it feels like transcribing."
The result is The Man with the Overcoat, a Hitchcockian psychological thriller to be published in April by the London publisher Nth Position and available on Amazon. David has kindly given us an advance excerpt. Click here
A CUBAN EXILE'S SHOUT-OUT
After President Obama announced his change in Cuba policy, Abel ("Alberto") Mestre briefly wrote to a number friends including your CorSec to praise a forceful objection in the Washington Post by Carlos Eire, a fellow Cuban exile who is a Yale professor of religion and history. Alberto said:
"I feel very proud to be a Yalie and to have in our faculty a scholar of the integrity, decency, honesty, love of freedom and knowledge about Cuba as he."If you are an online subscriber to the Washington Post, you may be able to read the piece, which describes the Castro brothers' violation of freedom and democracy and calls Obama's policy "disingenuous" and "shameful," by clicking here.
ARSENIC AND TOPLESS TUTUS
By Charles Merlis
I have developed a large fan base in the Connecticut running community by racing shirtless in a tutu, including a race run in 8-10 degree-below-freezing weather. I belong to the Run 169 Society, which is dedicated to running at least one race in every one of the 169 towns in Connecticut. I have now raced in 117 unique towns. A deck of cards to go. Please reserve your tickets as soon as possible before the runners get all the best seats. Call me for further info or cameraderie. Charlie is at firstname.lastname@example.org and 860 819-0332.
FINDING GUYS AHEAD OF AND AFTER US
Q. From Dick Schroyer: "Often, when I think about Yale and the people I knew there, the names that occur to me are from graduating classes next to ours, in 1961 or 1963. How can I get the same information about these people that I enjoy getting from our class?"
A. Check the online Class Notes in the Alumni Magazine under "Secretaries' Columns."
YALE DAY OF SERVICE
Are any of you thinking of participating on Saturday, May 9? Here's the website. If you get involved and would be willing to think about writing something short about it, please contact your CorSec at email@example.com or 631-599-9123.
UNIVERSAL PUBLIC SERVICE?
A TOPIC WORTH DISCUSSING ONLINE
In preparing the newly-posted obituary of Marine Corps Col. Fred Hemphill, Bob Oliver noted that at the end of Fred's thoughtful essay in our 50th Reunion Book, Fred gently added his hope for "some form of universal public service and the many forms it might take - Habitat for Humanity, medical service, Peace Corps, military, etc." Fred added: "I hope the class of '62 continues this discussion." If you have thoughts on that, please click here to honor Fred with a comment. If we develop additional support for the idea, I'll try to send a note about it to whomever is advocating it. Chris
NOTIFYING CLASSMATES OF SERVICES
If you would like classmates to be notified about your funeral or memorial activities, the Class of 1962 will send information to our email list, providing we get the information in time. Please ask those who will be in charge to send the details to Bob Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 203-624-5111, and for backup to John Stewart, Co-Corresponding Secretary, at email@example.com, phone 845-789-1407. We will not send information unless someone makes this request. Even if services are not involved, please encourage those involved to send basic information to the above and to the Yale Office of Information Resources at firstname.lastname@example.org or PO Box 208262, New Haven, CT 06520-8616, telephone 203-432-1100.
WE NEED YOUR FEEDBACK
Even more than we need spring! Well, maybe that's a close one. Please click here to let us know how we're doing - what you like, what you don't, how we can improve!
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