YAM Notes: January/February 2017

By Bill Sargent

William Parsons Brintnall Field II died on August 19, 2016. After serving as an officer in the US Navy, he was active in the securities business in Memphis, Tennessee, before moving to Seattle, Washington, to pursue a career in the accounting and audit field. Interested in boating, he was the editor of a club newsletter, the Bilge Pump.

Joseph Verner Reed Jr. died on September 29. He was a UN undersecretary-general, former US ambassador, and chief of protocol under President George H. W. Bush. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called Mr. Reed “a skilled diplomat, a global citizen, an art lover, and a dear friend.”

Jamie McLane writes that the next mini is in Philadelphia on October 12–15. Featured will be the new American Revolution Center (to open in April) and the new Barnes Museum, plus many other unique and interesting events. The theme will be Philadelphia, a Revolutionary City. The hosts will be the Mankos, Tierneys, Marvins, McLanes, and Maysie Starr.

George Longstreth says that he recently had dinner with Dick and Ruth Merriam and that he was headed to Savannah for the winter “and lots of fun” with Al Townsend, Bill Bayfield, and Walter Hough. George adds, “I have just published my first novel, called You Call Me Roc. The novel is medical fiction, but many of the characters, including Roc (who is dead now), are based on actual people that I encountered in my surgical practice.”

John Westley notes that he and his wife will again be spending five months in Italy and France, teaching, respectively, economics and English composition for another semester at John Cabot University and then “decompressing” in Nice for three weeks.

Gordon Gibson sends word: “Judy and I were honored to receive the Knoxville Area Urban League’s Whitney Young Lifetime Achievement Award. They cited our work from my involvement in the early stages of the Selma voting rights campaign in 1965 to our current local commitments and work on civil rights pilgrimages with the Living Legacy Project. As a retired Unitarian Universalist minister, it’s nice to get an award named for a Unitarian Universalist layman who took the Urban League to new heights. And we’re humbled to be the first non-black recipients of this Knoxville award.”

Reflecting on this year’s World Series, Andy Block writes, “I was 6 when the Cubs were last in the World Series and too young to go with dad to a game. Two years later, he took me to see Jackie Robinson in his first visit to Wrigley Field. I remember exactly where we sat and Jackie running the bases in his distinctive way, but the outcome has slipped from memory. Fifteen percent of the Cub stock was publicly traded, so I bought one share in 1968, hoping if the Cubs got to the Series, I could pin with dad (also a one-share stockholder) and see the games together. The Cubs were in contention one year when the printing deadline approached and yes, we were offered seats together. It obviously never happened. This year has been electric from start to finish with game 7 being a microcosm of the whole season. The home games started at 7:08 p.m., which in military time is 1908, the year that the Cubs last won the WS. Shaun and I went to three postseason games, one in each series. A son and I attended game 5 against Cleveland, so I could do with my 51-year-old son what dad would have done with me if I had been older. Chicago has poured its heart out to the team and its owners who have been extraordinary in making this happen. Very deservingly, a lot of credit is being heaped on a fellow Yalie, Theo Epstein ’95, who ended painfully long droughts first in Boston and now in Chicago. The Cubs epitomize team play, as every one of the 17 players who got into game 7 made a memorable contribution, including the three catchers who each had an RBI! The long wait is over and it happened in my lifetime! It happened much sooner for our children’s generation! They got off easy!”

I joined three of our classmates, John Paoletti, Bruce McCaul, and Bob Browning on a wonderful Yale-sponsored trip to the Italian Lakes and Milan. John gave three outstanding lectures related to the history, art, and culture of Italy. For the class notes John added, “Traveling in Italy brings vivid reminders of the hold of history on the Italians who are both divided among themselves regionally and ironically united in their understanding that mountains and seas separate them from the rest of Europe, a realization exacerbated by their failure to see any benefits from their participation in the EU. Yet around every corner there are captivating visual images recording their history that, even though oftentimes fragmentary, give them a sense of who they are. The colossal size of the Milan cathedral is notable more for its aspirations to include the entire population of the city within its walls than for its megalomania. The mountain resorts, while still redolent of the hold of a courtly class, still breathe a sense of the breath-taking aspects of nature that belong to everyone regardless of social position. Contemporary Italians are more and more aware, however, that their reverence for their history can be as much a shackle as a model for future greatness. For foreign travelers, however, the beauty of the country and the remarkable accomplishments of its peoples over centuries offer powerful lessons in how history can both guide and compromise the future.”

Nelson Kasfir says that he “was fortunate to be invited by the University of Basel’s African Studies Centre to present its annual Carl Schettwein Lecture this October. Afterward, my wife Liz Blum and I took the occasion to make a delightful trip through Alsace, Strasbourg, and Paris.”