Life Stories

Hello Classmates:

Here is an update on our Life Stories collection.


The Life Stories are currently posted on our class website at We now have 31 contributions by classmates. Many of the stories have comments added by other classmates.

This is what the amazing impresario of our last reunion book, Don Watson, has to say about our site:

There are wonderful stories, all entertaining, some really, really good and well worth time and effort. I dip into them from time to time, appreciating the short tales that can be read in an all-too cluttered schedule. I learn something every time.

Something for all to be hale and hearty about in somber times.

All are appreciated,
Don Watson

Two New Subsections

One comes from an idea of Dick Bentley. It is called “Who We’ve Been.” Here classmates can try their hands at imagining what an obituary could say. Dick and Dyer Wadsworth have written theirs.

The other is “Our Life in 315 Words.” This comes from Joe and Alice Vining, who have recently encamped to a ”retirement” home, Kendal of Hanover. They were asked to summarize their lives for other residents, in 315 words, which they have done for us too.

Who is tempted by either of these possibilities, in addition to a life story of yours? You can send your contributions to Sandy Wiener at: If you have questions, let Sandy know by email, or by phone at 734-474-1855.

Other updated things to know

We do not have a word limitation. Several submissions are closing in on 3,000 words. But don’t go overboard. Someone asked about posting their autobiography. Won’t work. The suggestion for that classmate is to post a story from his bio, and in that make a linked reference to the whole book.

The Life Stories have expanded into accounts that contain varying degrees of fiction. Just fine, as long as you don’t cross a line into what might not be family-friendly; our class website is not password protected and is open to anyone to enter.

At the Class Council zoom meeting in December, Jim Pender encouraged more stories about times at Yale, where he laughed more than at any time in his life.

And Al Atherton, in the great “What If’s” arena, suggested stories of how our relationships at Yale have affected our lives. For instance Al meeting his wife Margaret because of an introduction from Randy Ney.

Why are persons writing Life Stories for the ’59 website?

Some people just want to write. Maybe especially in “retirement.” Maybe practicing one’s craft. And here is a good venue. Or, what about finding connections, common interests, with classmates. It’s great to establish these, and carry on from there.

An important reason is that classmates are writing stories for family members down the line. Get your stories in digital form, later to be read by kids and grandkids and other family and friends.

Plus, you can read and recall them too, when we may be wheelchair bound and our memory not the sharpest. And, in fact, it is easier to write individual stories on an ongoing basis rather than trying to plan a whole autobiographical manuscript.

Any other reasons anyone can think of?

Thanks for reading this, and, we hope, acting upon it.


PS: To find particular classmate names on the Life Stories page, using your keyboard, use CTRL + F (Windows) or Command + F (Mac) to bring up a search box, then type the desired name into the box and hit Enter (or Return). Your page view should go right to that entry, if it’s present.

So, write away! Sandy

Go to:
Life Stories
My Life in 315 Words
Who We’ve Been

Life Stories

The newest entries in this section are posted at the top of this list. Be sure to scroll all the way down each of the story pages, to see classmates’ comments (if any have been added) or to add your own!

An asterisk (*) denotes comments on the story.

The Canoe and I: Boyhood Memories and Reflections by Mike Whitney (added 5/10/22)

Sasquatch (Bigfoot) runs in Thanksgiving Day Race by E. Packer Wilbur (added 3/23/22)

Life as a Continuing Adventure by Bill Carney (added 10/26/21)

Poet on the Mound by Mark Blackburn (added 10/25/21) *

Hitchhiking Through Afghanistan, 1963 by Sandy Wiener (added 8/23/21)

On Growing Old Gracefully by John Torinus (added 7/26/21)

A Road Not Traveled: Blindspots, Fear and the ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ by Larry Climo (added 7/16/21) *

In COVID-19 Lockdown: Reflections, Regrets, and Confessions by Larry Climo (added 5/27/21) *

“James Nelson Shearer’s Extended Useppa 1980s Vacation” by Jim Pender (added 5/25/21)

Marrakech by Victor Dial (added 5/21/21)

“Little Ado About Even Less” by Gary Clarke (added 4/14/21) *

Africa & Israel, 1967-1970 by Victor Dial (added 2/22/21. updated 2/26/21)

The Short War by Lee Smith (added 2/22/21) *

“The Shah and I” by Victor Dial (added 2/08/21) *

“Notes from a Pro-Vaxer” by Alice Vining (added 2/08/21) *

“Walking on Water” by Alice Vining (added 1/08/21) *

“Bombe Surprise” by Victor Dial (added 12/14/20)

“Racqueteering” by Victor Dial (added 12/14/20)

“Chicago, That Toddling Town” by Gary Clarke (added 11/25/20) *

“A Life in Music” by Peter Pastreich (added 11/04/20) *

“Coincidence” by Pack Wilbur (added 10/29/20) *

“Maverick, and What If’s” by Sandy Wiener (added 10/27/20) *

“Hard” by Peter Sears (added 10/20/20)

“Unused Miles” by Dick Bentley (added 10/20/20) *

“Diplomatic Relations with Lesser Powers” by Curtis Kammen (added 10/12/20)

“BLACK BEAR SCAT ON RIVER BENCH PATH” by Erik Esselstyn (added 10/05/20) *

“SANTA EATS WIENER SCHNITZEL” by Bob Pellaton (added 10/01/20) *

“The Animal’s Right” by Alice Vining (added 9/30/20) *

“Black Lives Matter” – Twenty-nine Years Ago by Kent Hackman (added 9/24/20) *

“Palaver” by Bob Pellaton (added 9/24/20) *

“Over Jackass Hill” by Bob Pellaton (added 9/22/20) *

“IX Defilé de Lancone” by Robert Reitter (added 9/15/20) *

“Some Amusing Incidents From a Yalie’s Life” by David S. Martin (added 9/15/20) *

“Are You Superstitious?” by Victor Dial (added 9/10/20) *

“Opportunity Can Come From Unexpected Places” by Mark A. Gordon (added 9/07/20) *

“A White Dress” by Dick Bentley (added 9/04/20) *

“Hackers” by Dick Bentley (added 8/18/20)

“Adieu Georges” by Victor Dial (added 8/18/20)

“Chappy” – a memory from Lee Smith (added 8/18/20) *

“Big Business” by Dyer Wadsworth (added 8/18/20) *

“Jebaniana” by Don Watson (added 8/18/20) *

“poetry and precognition” by Sandy Wiener (added 8/18/20) *

My Life in 315 Words

My Life in 315 Words by Alice Vining (added 1/26/21)

My Life in 315 Words by Joe Vining (added 1/26/21)

Who We’ve Been

Dick Bentley (added 1/26/21)

P. Michael Mitchell (added 2/11/22)

Dyer S. Wadsworth (added 1/26/21)