Yale Class of 1975

YAM Notes: May/June 2021

By Thomas J. Bourgeois

In more than one sense of the term, the Reverend Caroline Bail has been a faithful correspondent over the years, regularly updating us on her ministerial posts and her family’s pursuits, progress, and milestones. Carrie, who now serves the First Congregational Church of East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, filed this latest report along with her class dues: “I continue to work part-time in ‘Transitional Ministry.’ Currently I am called as the ‘Designated Term Pastor’ for three years to help the congregants discern their future path—a difficult task in a pandemic when in-person meetings are verboten. East Longmeadow is a suburb just south and east of Springfield. The location is good to go anywhere, when going is possible, being twenty minutes from Bradley and at the crossroads of Routes 90 and 91. My husband Darius, now retired from the University of Vermont, suffered a major stroke last year. He has recovered most of his speech and all of his function, but being the only able-bodied partner does take time. Our son Jonah continues his work in jazz history in Vermont. Twins Geneva and Orelia are about 2/3 finished with their doctorates, the former at Northwestern and the latter at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.” I thank Carrie, as always, for staying in touch, and send best wishes for her congregation’s discernment of a future path and for Darius’s continued recovery.

Ben Yagoda, now retired from the University of Delaware, where he taught journalistic writing, is hard at work on two O. Henry projects: editing an anthology of the author’s collected writings for the Library of America—a most prestigious assignment!—and writing a book about his years in New York just after the turn of the twentieth century. February marked the tenth anniversary of Ben’s entertaining—and both linguistically and culturally insightful—blog Not One-Off Britishisms, subtitled “British words and expressions that have got popular in the US.” You see what he did there?

The visibility of writer, public intellectual, and economic and political journalist and critic Doug Henwood has seen a recent spike. One could even say he’s trending. I thank our treasurer Nancy Young and Julie Sullivan, respectively, for posting about the following newsworthy items on the class Facebook page. In late January Doug appeared on Trevor Noah’s The Daily Social Distancing Show to explain the seemingly strange circumstances surrounding the meteoric rise in the stock value of retailer GameStop. Doug’s lucid answers to Mr. Noah’s astute questions explode the myth—a product of Robinhood’s own public relations campaign—that the internet platform is somehow democratizing stock trading. The interview is on YouTube. The April edition of Harper’s features Doug’s fascinating and well-researched article “To Serve Is to Rule,” which recounts the historical ascendancy, consolidation of power, and rather recent decline of the White Anglo-Saxon Protestant financial and political establishment. It takes a probing look at how the nation has been served—and disserved—by those notorious “elites.” You can also find Doug’s informative Behind the News interview program on Berkeley’s KPFA radio.

Fred Cantor writes, “I’m delighted to report that my new book, Fred from Fresh Meadows: A Knicks Memoir (Strickland Press), has generated some very favorable write-ups and reviews. This is all happening in part due to positive feedback and encouragement from old friends I shared portions of the manuscript with, including Dan MagidaRob Watson, and Chip Carey. I had started working on it merely as a project to transport me from the pandemic, but then it escalated into something else. Media highlights so far have included my guest appearance on New York’s WFAN radio to chat about the book, and its being featured in a two-page spread in the arts/entertainment section of the Hearst CT Media Group’s dailies such as the New Haven Register. To paraphrase a couple of the reviews (and borrowing from an old NYC commercial for Levy’s Rye Bread), you don’t have to be a Knicks fan to enjoy the book.” Kudos to Fred, and here’s hoping his recent run of luck rubs off on his beloved Knickerbockers, who at this filing cling to a three-way tie for the National Basketball Association’s final Eastern Conference playoff spot. Against this tense backdrop, Fred is no doubt hanging on every possession.

While we’re in the sports section, so to speak, Peter Kaufman filed a post on the class listserv under the heading “My Side Hustle Is Golf Journalism,” referring us to a March 18 piece he wrote for the online newsletter Morning Read: Golf at a Glance about the legendary and colorful World Golf Hall of Famer Juan “Chi Chi” Rodriguez. You can find Peter’s delightful “Catching up with Chi Chi” at http://tinyurl.com/4acx3j2d.

Finally, with sadness I report the passing of Karl Dommerich Lange, who died on April 23, 2020, in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Before arriving at Yale, Karl grew up in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, and graduated from the Greenwich Country Day School and Phillips Exeter Academy. He is fondly remembered as captain of the lightweight crew contingent that included classmates Mike Danaher and Gail Ferris. After our graduation, he went on to earn a law degree at the University of Virginia. Subsequently, he lived in Southport and, during his last 15 years, in Stockbridge. He loved sailing. During his time in Southport, he belonged to the Pequot Yacht Club and volunteered as a boat builder for a program that benefited young people in need. In Stockbridge, he took part in Berkshire County hiking groups and the Stockbridge Library Book Club. He was also active in environmental and land preservation causes. Posting the news of Karl’s death on the class Facebook page, Chris Whipple recalled, “Karl and I grew up together in Old Greenwich/Riverside and reconnected at Yale after Exeter and Deerfield. He was whip-smart and, more important, a kind soul.” Kim Elliman described Karl as “an accomplished and driven man, with good values.” He is survived by his loving sisters Jean C. “Gusty” and Mary Louise Lange, brother-in-law Steve Ettlinger, nephew Dylan, and niece Chelsea Ettlinger. The family asks that donations in Karl’s memory be made to the Berkshire Natural Resources Council or to Yale’s crew and lightweight crew.

As always, I invite your news, especially of time spent with classmates. I sign off as your happily vaccinated (Moderna, for those of you keeping score at home) scribe.