SEPTEMBER 2022 YAM CLASS NOTES by Jack Casey
November 14, 2022 in Notes
Our 50th reunion exceeded all expectations, and I urge any of you who did not attend to join us in 2027 for our 55th.
Class Secretary Rob Bildner asked me to step in as interim corresponding secretary during this time when Jonas Zdanys is not available. My heavy workload in Albany politics and a solo law practice prevented my participation in class activities till now, but semi-retirement offers me time to help out. I’m honored to be tapped to collect and publish any notes you wish to share with our classmates. I’m eager to get your news and notes, so please send them to me! My contact information is at the top of the column.
Last fall Bill Fowkes and Rob Bildner asked me to make some phone calls and to help Cathy Olian proofread the reminisces of our classmates who have passed on. It was humbling to review their accomplishments and recall their energy, hopes, and dreams while we were together during those challenging times. On those phone calls to gather accurate email addresses, I spoke with many ’72ers I had never met. Sharing views with them about life after Yale stoked my enthusiasm leading up to the reunion. Since I had no idea this involvement was in the offing, however, I took no notes. I will try to reconstruct the weekend as well as I can remember. (And no, I don’t drink anymore for those of you who knew me way back when!)
More than 400 of our classmates and spouses invaded New Haven for our 50th reunion, hosted at our beloved Davenport (think Rob Bildner, Bill Fowkes, Marc Morgenstern, Deane Evans, Paul LiCalsi, Gary Jacobsen, and George Pillsbury). Our dedicated reunion committee ran the events flawlessly, so hats off to class secretary Rob Bildner and his committee: Cynthia Brill, Andrew Capitman, and Connie Royster as well as class treasurer Frank Krejci. They all gave rousing talks Saturday at our dinner in Commons.
We recognized the talents and accomplishments of our classmates with an artists’ display in the Common Room that included paintings from Georgia June Goldberg and Vincent Palladino and photographs from Neil Allen, Alan Cohen, and Rob Bildner.
Friday night Karen Gantz Zahler emceed a revue of our ’72 authors in the Davenport Theater where they discussed their work: Rob Bildner, Jonas Zdanys, Lydia Temoshok, Craig Mason, John Elefteriades, Debbie Bernick, yours truly, Ed Morrison, John Manuel, Ken Barish, Fred Gale, Will Cleveland, Sara Holtz, James Holston, Jack Cobel, and Henry Schneiderman. Curt Bakal kept us on track with the time clock.
My lifelong pal and roommate Mike Totten, with whom I’ve shared many adventures, has been doing important environmental work for decades. The band Pearl Jam is one of his clients. Mike’s work was applauded in the Thursday afternoon Climate Change lecture at Sprague Hall.
It was great to see Ian Gilchrist and Bob Masland from the freshman hockey team and to reminisce about our teammates Greg Rivet, Wick Goodspeed, and Mark Fitzsimmons who left us far too early. My junior year roommate Pat Duffy shared memories of our victories with the Davenport intramural hockey team.
Marci Shore, professor of modern European intellectual history, delivered a fascinating talk about the crisis in Ukraine. She ended with a moving film of a “flash mob” performing “Ode to Joy” with a full orchestra and choir in a fish market. The film left me in tears as it poignantly showed that the spirit of the Ukrainian people cannot be broken by Putin’s guns and bombs.
A dozen classmates gave informative talks in “Lessons Learned and Thoughts on the Next Ten Years,” stories about how they “pivoted” in their life journeys since graduation, and how they are looking forward with hope to meet our current challenges: Debbie Bernick, Jim Gadzik, Kay Hill, Craig Mason, Gary Palmer, Bruce Pitts, Donald Rothberg, Davie Schweizer, Lydia Temoshok, Steve Unger, and Alan Yamashita.
For those of you who remember The Rockets and the Jack Hoffman Band, the tradition of great rock ’n’ roll continued with Fred Gale’s Regressions in the Upper Courtyard. We kept on rockin’ till the moon went down. No one can party like ’60s kids.
In January 2020 I married my soulmate Victoria Wright, and after our COVID honeymoon we emerged wiser and happier and more determined to live every day to the fullest. A Northwestern grad and attorney in Raleigh, North Carolina, she fell in love with Yale at our 45th reunion, and she ramped up my enthusiasm for our 50th a full year beforehand.
Victoria and I spent some quality time with Katharine Ogden Michaels who was on her way to her villa in Tuscany. I immediately ordered all the books her late husband Leonard wrote about life in New York and Berkeley in the good old days.
What a joy it was to roam those familiar streets and quads and to recall all the deeds and misdeeds of our youth. The two landmarks I loved back then, Harkness Tower and East Rock, gazed down, it seemed to me, with great reverence for our journeys, poor little lambs who have lost their way, passing and forgotten with the rest.
Soon after the reunion I was in touch with Ed Case and Steve Skolnik and learned that their freshman roommate Dave Carpenter, a good friend from our entryway in Lawrance Hall, was in hospice. Dave passed on soon afterward. He was always a seeker. He constantly explored and challenged life to yield its essence and he grew wise in his quest for truth and meaning. It is to Dave and our many departed classmates that I dedicate my first effort at class notes.
Final note: Please send me your news and views so I can give our class of ’72 the prominence it deserves.
Share your Comments
You must be logged in to post a comment.