YAM Notes: September/October 2006

Good news: Herb Hallas and George Piroumoff will once again serve as impresarios for the now-customary Class of 1959 Saturday home game tailgates at the Yale Bowl, with Herb’s 15-foot Yale flag marking the location in Parking Lot B Special, adjacent to Coxe Cage. Yours truly will be there whenever possible, and we hope that the founding hostess of these wonderful gatherings,  Barbara McLendon, will be, too. Tables, chairs, chips, dip and coffee will be provided, but BYOB and lunch. The first four home games this year are San Diego, Sept. 16 at 12:30 p.m.; Lehigh, Oct 14 at 1:00 p.m., Penn, Oct 21 at 12:30 p.m., and Columbia, Oct 28 at 1:00 p.m. The gathering for the Princeton game on Nov. 11 is, as usual, a separate deal, and all the relevant information about that will be included in Ben Gertz’s annual fall newsletter. For further info on the above, Herb and Barbara can be reached at 516-501-0106 or at hhallas@optonline.net and George and Rose at 860-242-8326 or rapgap@comcast.net.

Considering how quietly most of us slide into retirement, the University of Michigan’s two-day blowout honoring John Knott has to be regarded as something special. After receiving his doctorate from Harvard, John taught English and English literature at Ann Arbor for nearly 40 years, serving at various times as Associate dean and dean of the Department. In mid-career he developed a strong interest in environmental matters. He wrote several books on the relationship between American nature writing and natural places, and designed a curriculum revolving around the same themes. His retirement was marked by a two-day conference in his honor that attracted a number of important creative writers whose work addresses the role of nature and wilderness in American life and history. John is editing a book for the Nature Conservancy and  expects to do some occasional teaching.

Shorter notes: Alex and Betty Boyle are building their dream house on Martha’s Vineyard at a location handpicked by Alex’s daughter, Greer. With her husband, Christian Thornton, Greer is in her 7th season running their popular restaurant, “Atria,” in Edgartown. Greer runs the front part, Christian is the chef. Alex promises a clergy discount to all classmates. Whether Greer will buy this is unknown. John Wellemeyer, who has been so instrumental in raising money for the refurbished Yale Bowl, has moved to Princeton with his wife, Louise, and twin six-year-old sons, Douglas and James. The boys are attending Princeton Day School, which John attended well over a half-century ago. Among those who have descended upon him are Bill Casarella and Edward Mewborne. Ed Bloomberg’s daughter Amy was married last year to Jonathan Harris. Thus inspired, Ed got  himself married. “Life is good,” he reports from Kentfield, CA. Which, as it happens, are the exact three words that begin a detailed note from Fred Cowles,  who reports that his wife, Tina, is still a librarian  at the Middle School in Carmel, N.Y., and that his four children are happily and gainfully employed over a spectrum as wide as the economy itself– health care, business (L’Oreal), editing (NY Times Book Review), the  law (Pew Charitable Trusts). Fred himself embarked on a journey into the past that became, at the end of the day, a journey into America itself, a journey that took him to his birthplace in West Virginia, childhood homes in Akron and Cleveland,  a 92-year-old aunt in Stow, Ohio, to Mark Twain’s home town of Hannibal, Mo., — a journey encompassing large prairies and small towns, bustling cities and near-empty spaces like the Ozarks. Fred lives in what still passes in these parts as small-town America, South Salem, N.Y., 50 miles north of Manhattan but a million miles in terms of life’s daily rhythms.

We reported John Cooke’s untimely death from cancer two issues ago. Jim Sheffield reports that Yale dedicated a shell in John’s honor and memory on April 8 at the boathouse in Derby. Jim was there, along with John Holbrook and Wheaton Vaughan. John was a member of the 1956 Olympic gold medal crew and longtime chairman of the Yale Crew Committee.

I asked Ed Greenberg to post these notes on his new and beautiful website (www2.aya.yale.edu/classes/yc/1959)  a bit earlier than usual to let you know about the tailgating before the season actually begins. Normally we will try not to scoop the magazine.