YAM Notes: September/October 2022

By Scott Sullivan

Summer doldrums and not a lot of news. Not bad, in a way, as we have only one obituary — of a fellow with a rather tenuous connection to the class — rather than the six-seven-eight of recent issues.

Good stuff includes the revival of monthly lunches at the New York Yale Club, organized by Bob Morgan (who is also constantly adding wonderful our-era music to the class website; do tune in!). Our New Yorkers gathered at the club’s roof restaurant on May 13; present were MorganTim HogenHarvey SloanePete SpelmanSherman BullDon Frank, and Bill Fitzgerald, in town from faraway Los Angeles. Lunches will continue after a summer hiatus.

Our Zoom sessions, east and west, continue to thrive and prosper. Twenty-three comrades participated in the East Coast event on July 7. Most of the time went to legal discussion of the Supreme Court’s recent controversial decisions on abortion and gun control. Judge Ron Sohigian, late of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, provided a masterful analysis of the cases, teaching us all we needed (perhaps a bit more than we wanted) to know about the law involved. His conclusion on the abortion matter: the justices had no choice but to kick it back to the states. Tom Swidler agreed. Larry Bensky vehemently disagreed. So, less hotly, did Bibb Latane and several others.

We reminisced about Dick Cavett and Dave Adnopoz and how they enlivened the drama scene back in the undergraduate day.

Your corresponding secretary reported on his six-week trip to France and Italy. Highlights were an 85th birthday party at the Pied de Cochon restaurant in Paris, shellfish and camaraderie for 18 guests, including classmate Basil Carmody—and then the charming christening of my great-grandson Léo Balagna at Les Gets in Haute-Savoie, followed by a magnificent banquet prepared by grandson Alexandre Balagna and his wife Sandra at their Michelin-listed restaurant, l’As des Neiges. You must go there on your next European jaunt.

Finally, Hoyt Spelman (aka Pete) dumbfounded the attendant mob with the assertion that he holds not only a 1958 Yale BA but also a 1958 BA from Harvard. Seems that after graduation Pete attended a Radcliffe College course on publishing procedures, an important event as it inspired him to go to work at the New Yorker, where he carved an outstanding business career. Some years later, out of the blue, Harvard offered him a bachelor’s degree, which he gratefully accepted and proudly boasts. What those miserable Cantabs will not do for an endowment contribution!

Meantime, secretary Hogen has launched a kind of controversy (contest? treasure hunt? conundrum?) by declaring that only one of our number still dons coat and tie and goes to the office each day, that being Victor Kovner, a top First Amendment lawyer at Davis Wright Tremaine in New York. Though holding Vic in unbounded admiration, your corresponding secretary believed there were still several ’58ers hard at labor, possibly without coat and tie. A very quick search turned up two such: Bibb Latane, who still runs the Center for Human Science in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Tom Swidler, who still wheels and deals financially from his United Kingdom base. There are surely more. If you are still working or know a classmate who is, please let us know and he’ll be duly honored next issue.

Our only recent fatality is Ned Crosby, who died May 29 in Minneapolis. Ned came to New Haven in 1954 but dropped out after freshman year to join the army. He completed his studies at the University of Minnesota and compiled a distinguished career as a political scientist. He was the inventor of the citizen jury concept.

Last but not least, the gorilla in the room: our Cleveland mini-reunion September 29 to October 1. Pudge Henkel—quarterback, attorney, and all-around good guy—has prepared a splendid program of talks, meals, and visits rivaling those in Chicago, New Orleans, Boston, Minneapolis, and Washington. If you haven’t signed up already, get on your horses.

See you all on the shores of Lake Erie!