YAM Notes: January/February 2018

By Scott G. Sullivan

Short and sweet again this issue. Maybe it’s the approach of the 60th, maybe the effect of great age or the numbing warmth of the Florida sun, but I’m just not getting much input from you all.

No deaths, either, which is a nice thing.

Best of the few tidbits comes from David Burke in Paris. With his wife Joanna, he has produced an hour-long movie called Paris Noir: African-Americans in the City of Light. On November 10, they showed the movie at the Smithsonian’s new Museum of African-American History in Washington and four days later at City Hall in Paris. The film moves from black soldiers fighting in World War I, through the jazz age and Josephine Baker, to the long period during which Paris was, in effect, the world center of American Negro culture.

Gil Shelton actually graduated in 1960, but he matriculated with our class and still feels very much a part of it. As a former resident of Calhoun, Gil chimes in with a heartfelt diatribe against the college’s recent name change. He echoes the sentiments expressed by Fred Blue in our last issue, and amplifies them. He describes the action as “ill-advised but near-comic, amazing, and incredible.” Not to mention “short-sighted and shameful.” He suggests that Grace Murray Hopper’s family withdraw her name from “this Barnum & Bailey circus”; then the college could be renamed for Nathan Hale, who, having been hanged at 18, would be uncontroversial. Seems to me this name-changing kerfuffle will be a major topic for our reunion discussions.

A very brief note from Al Ferguson: “Aortic heart valve replaced late 2016. Still trying to swim my way back to health. A very slow process!”

Michael Scofield writes about his new book (his tenth), called Dedicated Lives, which came out in September of last year; it consists of interviews with 13 Good Samaritans from Santa Fe: foster parents, the head of the homeless shelter, the provider of meals-on-wheels, and the like. More info on dedicatedlives.com.

Class Secretary Tim Hogen announces that Sherman Bull has agreed to chair our 60th reunion gift committee with cochair David Waterbury.

Tim also reminds me of how many of us are still extremely active in our 80s. Jon Foote continues to commute between Arizona and Montana, practicing architecture in both states. Victor Kovner remains a top First Amendment lawyer in New York, while continuing energetic political activity in Washington. Dave Mackenzie goes on coining money at Merrill Lynch. Bob Cushman recently gave up the same pursuit at Smith Barney but remains busy with his painting. Linden Blue will never stop running a flock of West Coast businesses, while Olympic coxswain Bill Becklean hits the Charles River daily to teach the art of rowing to Cambridge high school kids.

A final, personal announcement. On November 14, my grandson Alexandre Balagna (voted “best young chef in France” in 2015) opened his first restaurant, called L’As des Neiges (Ace of Snow) in the village of Les Gets in the Haute Savoie region of France. The food and décor are to die for. Try to get a reservation before that becomes impossible.

And don’t forget your contribution to the “public service” class book, which was due by January 1.


Joyeux Noël et bonne année!