YAM Notes: May/June 2008

As mentioned before, Sandy Wiener has nobly consented to oversee our 50th Reunion Classbook, a huge task. One of these days you will receive a request for biographical information, a personal essay, and a questionnaire that will form the basis of a poll on various issues. In the event, please be sure to take this paperwork seriously (a Web-based option will also be available) and respond with some dispatch, so as to minimize editorial angst. The book will have all sorts of bells and whistles but what you send back is its heart and soul.

Two authors of note. One is Dick Bentley, who sent along a copy of “A General Theory of Desire, ” a collection of wonderful poems that over the years have appeared in literary publications as
geographically diverse as the Hawaii Review, the Palo Alto Review, the South Dakota Review and the Chicago Quarterly review. Dave lives in Amherst and is not only a writer but a writing teacher. He has been associated for many years with the continuing education department of
the University of Massachusetts. The book was published by Patchwork Farm Press, 293 Chesterfield Road, Westhampton, MA., 01027. Dick also has a website, www.dickbentley.com.

The other author is Kerry Wood, whose “Past Imperfect, Present Progressive, ” can be found and ordered on Amazon.com. The book, part of which Kerry read aloud at our mini-reunion in Santa Fe, is an autobiographical recollection of a life that began in the Depression and continued on through World War II, military boarding school, Yale, the Army and a long and richly satisfying career as a high school English teacher at home and abroad, but chiefly in California, where he now lives. In a recent e-mail, Kerry says that one collateral benefit of the mini-reunion was that he became acquainted with Dave Lockton, a classmate whom he hardly knew at all at Yale, if at all. The two discovered that they were practically neighbors — Dave is in Carmel, a mere 10 miles away from Kerry’s home in Pacific Grove; they’ve since become friends and golfing partners. Kerry also claims to be one of the few lucky owners of a DVD of the Dave Lockton Trio performing at the Jazz Kitchen in Indianapolis. Dave, a man of many talents and interests (he was one of our first multi-media wizards) , decided in 2002 to take up the jazz organ, bought a Hammond and began taking lessons with a goal of attaining the skills to perform a concert in his home town of Indianapolis on his 70th birthday. That he did, accompanied by drums and guitar, with another musically-inclined classmate, the ace guitarist Alki Scopelitis , in the audience, and by all accounts the evening was a roaring success.

Some retirements: Evan Weisman reports from Atlanta that he is retiring after more than 37 years of practicing cardiology, and plans to divide his time between tennis, adult education, travel, grandparenting and advocating for universal health care. He looks forward to the 50th. John Huss, silent for many years, reports that he retired in 2000 after 40 years in marketing and corporate communications with two major financial institutions, a decision prompted by prostate cancer (successfully treated), declining interest in corporate life and a wish to get more deeply involved in civic and charitable activities in his home town of Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA. He and Sally get around. They’ve seen Jim Lineberger on the tennis courts of Delray Beach, Mike Hard at their 50th reunion at Pomfret, Dan Walker, Charlie Hoyt and Denny Corcoran at a reunion of former Camp Monadnock counselors and Dave Patterson on the golf course at Old Lyme, near which John and Sally have a cottage.

Here’s at least one not-at-all retired: Dick Maltby, who’s directing a new musical called “Mask,” which opened in March at the Pasadena Playhouse. This information comes courtesy of John Stickler.

We extend our sympathies to Alexis Barnett and Duke Barnett, the two children of Joseph W. (Bear) Barnett, Jr., who died in January after a long, difficult struggle with Parkinson’s. Bear had many friends, to whom he was unfailingly loyal, and they to him in return. Several classmates attended his funeral service at Christ’s Church in Rye– where the mischievous Bear had once, improbably, been an acolyte — and the reception afterwards at the Round Hill Club in Greenwich. Jim Lineberger was there, and the ushers included Sig Wendin and George Piroumoff, as well as Sherm Durfee from the class of 1958. Bear graduated from Hotchkiss, Yale and the University of Virginia Law School. He was also a lieutenant in the Marines. Bear was a partner at Badger, Fisher, Cohen and Barnett, and served at various points as general counsel ,consultant and legal adviser in the commercial real estate industry. Classmates who wish to honor Bear’s memory and the joy he brought to so many people can send memorial contributions to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research at www.michaeljfox.org. Bear will be greatly missed.

As these notes were being sent to YAM, Sergio Nicolau sent news of the death from cancer of Fernando Portuondo, on Dec 27, 2007. The news came to Sergio from Fernando’s daughter, Mariana. Fernando died in Havana, Cuba, where he had a distinguished career as an engineer and professor and, through ups and downs, remained loyal to Fidel Castro’s vision of a better Cuba. I will pull together some more material on Fernando — who also remained deeply loyal to Yale and our class — and include it in the next notes.