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Yale 62

YAM Notes: July/August 2024

By John D. Hatch, III for the Communications Team.

Tappy Wilder proudly shares that “Among many upcoming Wilder productions here and aboard, 2024 will feature a significant regional world premiere, and shows on Broadway and in London’s West End.” Of special note is the world premiere of Thornton Wilder’s unfinished full-length play, The Emporium, completed by Kirk Lynn and directed by Rob Melrose, will have opened at the Alley Theatre in Houston.

And speaking of pride, a new book “From the Front Row: Reflections of a Major League Baseball Owner and Modern Art Dealer” by Jeff Loria fascinates and educates.  It describes the impact of Vincent Scully’s lectures on Jeff, who then switched majors and went on to become a dealer in modern art, in part by getting to know the artists. When he branched out to give substance to his childhood fascination with baseball, Jeff became engaged with baseball club ownership.  He rose up through the ranks and levels until he became owner of the Marlins and rapidly built it into a World Series winner.  As John Stewart says, “Fascinating!” and he is trying to persuade Jeff to share more with the class.

Have you penned a publication, including an autobiography, and not shared the fact with us? Or participated in an art exhibit, concert, play or another such event?  If so, please do let us know.

The April and May Coffee Hours were very different but equally informative.  The first featured retired Yale professor Jesse Geller. Based on his experiences and observations as a psychiatrist, he encouraged us to pursue lifelong learning, so that we may continue to live full lives as we age. He was joined by Lauren Summers, Sr. Director of Lifelong Learning and Travel for the Yale Alumni Association, who described the varieties of options they provide to Yale alumni.  Having recently returned from Ukraine, Professor Marci Shore spent most of the May Coffee Hour responding to questions about life there and sharing thoughts about what might be happen with the ongoing war, and why. John Stewart adds: “She (also) spoke so knowledgeably and strongly about the trolling source of false information. Impressive.”

Marci ended her time with us by responding to a question about life on campus and student feelings about the conflicts in both Ukraine and Gaza. In response to a question, Marci commented that she didn’t have a background in the psychology of mass movements so John Stewart contacted David Scharff for his professional thoughts with, in part, the following quick result:

“Mass groups are something else, with a qualitatively different set of dynamics than the smaller groups and organizations that clinical psychology and psychoanalysis mainly study. But people are indeed subject to mass identifications in which personal differences are swept aside.  The nearly universal urge to belong to a cause ignores almost all that we know of individual psychology in favor of the way that the individuals, like ants, swarm to a cause and feel elevated to this supposedly “higher cause,” enabling them to ignore so very much, and especially anything bordering on nuance. [….] Mass psychological seduction is a deadly game that we are seeing played out not only in our college campuses, but globally. And once it infects a system, it’s very hard to find the right medicine.”

On a lighter yet still cautionary note, your scribe received the following memo from his wife, which I will share as a warming for all who, like me, are known to take a sip: “It’s a hot summer day and the cool water from the garden hose or sprinkler seems so inviting. Yet, you’ve been warned not to drink it. How dangerous could it be? The truth is that the warning is based on fact. Lead, BPA, and phthalates are used in garden hoses mainly to stabilize the plastics. The most common plastic is polyvinyl chloride, which may release toxic vinyl chloride. Antimony and bromine are components of flame-retardant chemicals. Further, a study conducted by the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor, M.I. (, found lead levels exceeded the safety limits set by the Safe Water Drinking Act in 100% of the garden hoses they tested. A third of the hoses contained organotin, which disrupts the endocrine system. Half the hoses contained antimony, which is linked to liver, kidney, and other organ damage. All of the randomly selected hoses contained extremely high levels of phthalates, which can lower intelligence, damage the endocrine system, and cause behavioral changes.”

I had hoped to attend Bob Meehan’s memorial but couldn’t at the last minute so I asked Dixie Carroll to share his impressions.  Dixie relates: “It was a fun event! I didn’t see any other Yale classmates that I recognized. A lot of people spoke. A number were moving.  The food (afterwards) was plentiful and great.  I was happy I went. There is some kind of video site being developed where people can contribute memories and accounts of Bob that can be shared; …details I will pass on (when available.)”

Sadly, we have lost other “lights” of our class: Norm Chimenti and Barry Smoler; may we be thankful for the gift of their lives. We now have full obituaries on our class website for Bob Meehan, David Wills and Chip Neville.