YAM Notes: November/December 2017

By Martin M. Snapp, Jr.

My, what an accomplished group of authors we have, many with new books out!

Bob Leahy recommends J Harvie Wilkinson’s elegantly written All Falling Faiths: Reflections on the Promise and Failure of the 1960s. “J was in JE with me and always seemed like the brilliant, decent gentleman that this book reflects,” says Bob. “There is a great deal of authenticity, warmth, compassion, and J’s love for the law here. You may or may not agree with his view of some of the consequences of the 1960s, but J’s book is an important contribution.”

Bob himself just published his 26th book, Cognitive Therapy Techniques: A Practitioner’s Guide, second edition. He also edited a book on cognitive therapy for professionals and wrote a book for ordinary readers about jealousy. “People often think I get no sleep because I write so many books,” he says. “Not so. My life is very predictable and balanced. It’s really about having discipline, listening carefully to my patients whose stories help write these books, and wanting to learn something myself. Without curiosity I don’t know how I would get this done.”

Our man in Hollywood, Joe Cohen (12 Years A Slave), has published his first book, Investing in Movies: Strategies for Producers and Investors. “I wanted to use a sexier title, So You Want to Walk the Red Carpet?” says Joe, “but my editor said the current title was more Googleable.” Meanwhile, Dave Richards’s latest book is Skulls and Keys: The Hidden History of Yale’s Secret Societies. “It covers the whole ground, from Phi Beta Kappa in the 1780s through the final inclusion of women into the last of the societies in 1991, and discusses not only the ‘abovegrounds’ but the ‘undergrounds’,” he says. “While a Hamilton-like musical may not follow, it will be of interest to all those wanting to know the social history of Yale College, and of its non-WASP, non–boarding school castes in the classes as they arrive and then strive in New Haven over almost two centuries.”

Speaking of Hamilton, those of us who loved John Mauceri’s lecture, “Broadway from Gershwin to Hamilton,” at the reunion will not be surprised to learn he’s equally as adept with the written word, as evidenced by his new book, Maestros and Their Music: The Art and Alchemy of Conducting. Just listen to this rave review: “With candor and humor, Mauceri makes clear that conducting is itself a composition: of legacy and tradition, techniques handed down from master to apprentice—and more than a trace of ineffable magic. He reveals how conductors approach a piece of music (a calculated combination of personal interpretation, imagination, and insight into the composer’s intent); what it takes to communicate solely through gesture, with sometimes hundreds of performers at once; and the occasionally glamorous, often challenging life of the itinerant maestro.”

After our reunion I got this e-mail from Rick Moody: “Inspired by our reunion, I discovered that our classmate, and my former roommate, Ed Amarant, is at Mesa Vista, an assisted living facility in Boulder, Colorado, just ten minutes from my home. I dropped in and surprised him, and we took up our conversation where we’d left off—48 years ago! I was surprised by his appearance and probably would not have recognized him otherwise. I stayed for an hour or so and it was a very good visit, hopefully the first of many. Ed remembered an incredible amount of things from our time at Yale, and he also seemed to know a lot about current events. I’m in no position to judge his overall mental state, but in physical terms, it’s clear that he’s suffered a lot in the years since I saw him last. On July 3 Lanse Crane, also of Boulder, and I will be visiting Ed to celebrate his birthday. One thing I’ve learned from my career in the field of aging is that, as we get older, it’s the little things that count.”

Finally, guess who else was at our reunion? Bill Hilgendorf’s brother, Rob ’64. “I was inspired to go to the reunion by contacts with Frank Clifford who was writing the piece about Bill for the 50th reunion class book,” he writes. “I gave him some materials from my file and even got in contact with Star Black, who came to Santa Fe and met with me and Frank. The class of ’67 has been so loyal to Bill’s memory that I wanted to attend to thank the class members and just make some personal connections with Bill’s friends. People were so warm to me when they saw my name. Everyone recognized the name and shared stories about Bill. What a pleasure for me to have that experience. Jack Walsh told me about the time Bill and he were elected to be class officers and how Bill said they should think about doing more than just editing the class notes as officers. The lecture by Jorge Dominguez gave me the opportunity to thank him for being there and for his friendship with Bill. I reconnected with Bill’s close friend and roommate Sandy Sommerville. He and Ceci have kept up our friendship and have always been so loyal and gracious to me over the years. I made new friends too, too numerous to mention by name. I never got a chance to formally thank the class for its contributions to the Howard W. Hilgendorf Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund, which is still going strong, having provided summer travel/research grants to three students a year for the past 50 years. The initial contributions from our family and the class 1967 of $57,719 have grown to $408,535, generating annual support of some $20,000 per year (as of 2013). I get three letters a year from students who appreciate the travel opportunity. And the weather was perfect, food fabulous, and the lectures free of political discourse. A break we all needed from the cloud that is hovering over Washington. Thank you, Class of ’67, for this opportunity.”