Alumni Notes: July/August 2015

Just when I think we’ve run out of authors (no new Richard Posner book for, what, a couple of hours?) the other prolific Richard, a/k/a Dick Rhodes, rides to the rescue. Dick’s latest is “Hell and Good Company: The Spanish Civil War and the World It Made.” Every review I have read has been very favorable, but the normally reserved Washington Post, which called it a “sublime little book,” was almost rhapsodic. As the reviewer observed, the book is not a conventional history, the usual account of the ideological and military struggle between Left and Right, between the Republicans and the forces of Gen. Francisco Franco. “That’s fortunate,” the reviewer says, “because we really don’t need another one. The war’s popularity among historians, especially romantic ones, has produced a rich literature. This book is instead a collection of idiosyncratic impressions, all delivered in transcendent prose….the book abounds with both hell and good company.” The “company” is, in essence, the company Dick keeps throughout his TALE : the volunteers, the soldiers, the journalists, THE POLITICIANS, poets, novelists, doctors, nurses, mechanics, engineers. The reviewer’s only complaint was that the book , at 302 pages, is too short. He wanted more.

But wait: there IS more, the latest from John Stickler, Yale Daily News alumnus, longtime resident of Korea (he got there via the Army), now of Georgia, who, with his Korean illustrator/spouse Soma Han, has won the Morning Calm Medal for their children’s book, “Maya and the Turtle: A Korean Fairy Tale,.” The medal, modeled on Japan’s Sakura Medal, is awarded by the 15 international schools in Korea. The picture book is based on a story told BY Maya’s grandmother many years ago. You can see it on Youtube. John and Soma, who met while John was working for CBS in Korea, also wrote “Land of Morning Calm: Korean Culture Then and Now.”,

Lots of us, it appears, pull up stakes in retirement and move to be closer to their children and grandchildren. As a contented empty-nester in Manhattan, I am horrified by the whole idea, but I sure like the way Kent Hackman and his wife Cynthia did it after their first grandchild was born — building a wing to his son’s home in Andover, NH, and moving in, one sure way of establishing proprietary rights. Kent and Cynthia married in 1997, he a professor of European History at the University of Idaho, she a professor of ancient history at Georgia State University. Based in Atlanta, they traveled the world on various archeological expeditions, then decided to migrate TO New England. Kent keeps active with tennis, conservation n efforts and some Yale-related activities. Having three generations under one roof, he says, “has proven to be a most positive experience..”

Shorter notes: Es Esselstyn is happy and spirited as ever as an environmental activist in Vermont, cajoling the state legislature to ban all-terrain vehicles in state parks and hydraulic fracturing anywhere in the state.”Bit of a David and Goliath struggle,” he says, “but the fun lies being in the game.”

Craig Llewellyn, in retirement in Florida, is enjoying his new carriage house in West Palm Beach, still teaching and consulting in emergency preparedness and medical care (after doing so in Washington for many years) and traveling extensively. Mike Grean, definitely not in retirement in Florida, is also living in West Palm and successfully selling ng real estate and “trying to keep my handicap down.”

Walt McLeod, our favorite South Carolina Democrat and one of the most charming and amusing people on earth, retired about 10 years ago as a professor of music at Newberry College and recently received an honorary doctorate. But he not at all retired from politics, having been re-elected in 2014 to the South Carolina House of Representatives despite a Republican 60-40 landslide statewide. He attributes his victory to ticket-splitting, which he says has been perfected to a fine art in Newberry County, where even Republicans seem to like Walt no matter who their party nominates to run against him. My guess is that Walt can represent Newberry County for as long as he wants.

We finish, as TOO OFTEN WE DO THESE DAYS, on two sad notes:

Don Mnookin, who was a member of Zeta Psi and The Yale Banner at Yale, and rose to become a lieutenant commander in the Coast Guard, died in March in Kansas City, where he was a lifelong resident. Don was in the packaging business and rose to the executive ranks of the Stone Container Corporation. He was active in his Temple and various Jewish philanthropies and the Truman Library. . He was predeceased by his daughter, Stephanie, and is survived by his wife, Diane.

Just as the deadline for these notes arrived, I received word from Jim Pender that Tad Foote’s wife, Bosie, had died of pancreatic cancer, which came upon her swiftly in the last few months. The unassuming daughter of Sen.J.William Fulbright ( Lyndon Johnson and Lady Bird attended her wedding) Bosie was an exceptional person, charming, vivacious, modest, a devoted mother of three, a full-time partner in Tad’s efforts to make the University of Miami into a world-class institution and a great comfort to him in his retirement years. Many of those of who knew Bosie will be on hand for her funeral, including Jim and Alki Scopelitis, and I may have more to report next time.

Until then, have a great summer, and please write.