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Yale 62

The Three Musketeers of Bassick High School, Homeroom 10. Part III

Final Installment. See Part I and Part II, if you missed them.

By Lee V. Bakunin

Here, in his own words, is Tim’s journey. (Tim Kish)

“At the end of our sophomore year at Yale, I realized that I was more interested in the social sciences than in engineering and I changed my major to sociology, thinking that eventually I would go into law. In fact, after graduation I began studying law at the Columbia University School of Law. However this step proved to be premature and I withdrew after several months to answer John F. Kennedy’s call to join the Peace Corps.

I was selected to train for a community development project in Lima, Peru, and spent the next four months studying with Boston College’s School of Social Work faculty and the Peace Corp’s Outward Bound training program in Puerto Rico. During my community development studies at Boston College I met Tita, who would eventually become my wife.

Tita had come to the United States from Bolivia as a foreign exchange student and was living with a family in Newton, Massachusetts. At the time that I met her she was the Assistant to the Chairman of Boston College’s Foreign Language Department and had been hired by the Peace Corps to also teach introductory classes in Quechua, the language spoken by the Inca Indians beginning with the Inca Empire in the 1400s and continuing through to the present by the indigenous populations in Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. Tita has maintained a close relationship with her host Newton family through present day and members of that family have visited Tita’s family in Bolivia.”

My first year in Peru I worked in a Community Development Project located in the poor areas located along the flood-prone banks of the Rimac River, about 30 miles outside of Lima.

In my second year I served as the Peace Corps Liaison, Special Projects Office, U. S. Agency for  International Development, based in Lima.

Upon my return to the States at the beginning of 1965, I was met at J. F. K. Airport by my parents who, after welcoming me back with hugs and tears of joy, handed me a notice from the Bridgeport draft board to appear in New York two days later for a physical. I went to the physical, passed it with flying colors and was told to report three days later for induction. Upon my return to Bridgeport with my head spinning, I immediately went to the draft board and asked what was going on. I was told that our country’s growing involvement in Vietnam was requiring every draft board throughout our country to provide increasing numbers of draftees. This was all news to me. Having spent the previous two years immersed in community development projects in the poor areas of Lima, I had not heard anything about Vietnam. The head of that Board expressed her apologies that my two-year service for our country as a Peace Corps Volunteer was not the basis for a deferment and she suggested that I take two months to explore opportunities in an officer-oriented program instead of letting myself be drafted. I did just that, and chose the Navy’s 4-month Officer Candidate School in Newport, Rhode Island.

After successfully completing that program, on the morning of December 17, 1965 I was commissioned as an Ensign in the United States Naval Reserve. The afternoon of that same day, Tita and I were married in the Naval Base’s Chapel by the Sea. The next day we headed off to the Naval Supply Corps School in Athens, Georgia for a six-month advanced training program.

At the conclusion of that training program Tita and I were sent to San Juan, Puerto Rico where I served for the next four years as the Supply Officer for the U. S. Naval Communications Station (Sabana Seca). While serving in Puerto Rico I was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, J.G., and then to full Lieutenant. Also while I was serving in San Juan, our daughter Liana was born.

Upon completion of my 4-year tour of duty in Puerto Rico, Tita and I moved back to the Boston area and I entered Boston College Law School. In December of my second year at the Law School, our son Stephen was born.

At Boston College Law School I was elected to the Board of Editors of the Law Review and graduated magna cum laude. Upon graduation in May of 1969, I joined the Boston law firm of Bingham, Dana & Gould where I practiced corporation law with an emphasis on bank and bank holding company regulatory and transactional matters. Tita and I bought a house in Wellesley Hills, MA and finally settled down (or so we thought). During these years I remained a member of the U. S. Naval Reserve. I attended monthly meetings, served two weeks of active duty training each summer and ultimately was promoted to the rank of Lt. Commander, U. S. Naval Reserve.

However, settling down in Wellesley proved to be less than permanent. In 1978, I accepted an offer (one of those that one can’t refuse) from the Miami-based law firm of Greenberg Traurig to join their firm and help develop their financial institutions practice in the South Florida area. I was made a partner and practiced there for the next 14 years.

In 1992 I left private practice and assumed the position of Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Capital Bancorp and its principal banking subsidiary, Capital Bank, one of my principal clients. During those years our daughter Liana and son Stephen graduated from high school in Miami and went on to Wellesley College and Bucknell University, respectively.

Eight years later, in 2000, Capital Bank merged with a larger financial institution based in Georgia and I decided to retire. Still owning our home in Wellesley, MA (we had rented it our during our 22-year stay in Miami) and with our daughter and two grandchildren now living in Wellesley and our son not far away in Pennsylvania (at least compared to when we lived in Miami), it was an easy decision to return to Wellesley for our retirement years.

Our daughter Liana graduated from Wellesley College in 1989 and lives with her husband, a Professor at Boston College, here in Wellesley. Liana is a teacher at Newton North High School. In 1992 our son Stephen graduated from Bucknell University where he was a member of the university’s crew (rowing team). “Upon graduation he was hired as the University of Rhode Island’s Head Crew Coach and for the past 22 years has been the Head Coach of the Women’s Rowing Team at Bucknell University.

Tita and I still reside in the Wellesley home that we purchased in 1972 but we spend three months each year (the cold and snowy months of January, February and March) at a home that we own in Cochabamba, Bolivia, the city where all of Tita’s family resides.

Here is Richie’s take: (Richard Schupbach)

Time Line:
After Graduation I went out to UCLA for their MA/Ph.D. program in Slavic Languages and Literatures (‘62/’69).

On the way I worked as a lifeguard at a swimming pool at a hospital for the mentally retarded in Pomona, CA (summer of ’64… changed my life in many, many ways).

Defended my MA 6/64

Worked as a “consultant” at RAND (part-time ‘64-‘68)

Painted houses and boats, bought a motorcycle, was in-and-out of love several times, lived in a wonderful Bohemian enclave called “Beverly Glen” (this is all detailed in Rostov — – Papa (I’ll send it to you).

Met Viviane, my wife-to- be (5/68).
Ph.D. -ed 6/69.
Spent a year out in the dusty, windy steppes of Rostov-on- the-Don (‘69-‘70) see Rostov — – Papa)

Taught Russian at Moorhead State College in Minnesota, “just across the river from Fargo N.D.” (9/70-6/71)
Married to Viviane (5/71)\

Had a son, Michael (3/77), and a daughter, Morgan (3/82) plus numerous dogs and cats (and bees, and rabbits, and guinea pigs… you get the picture).

STANFORD (9/71-6/2010)
Chaired the Slavic Dept. (9/85-6/93), etc., etc.

Published technical articles and two books on aspects of Russian grammar

Did research on Russian lexicology at the Academy of Sciences in (then) Leningrad,

Was the Visiting Professor at Stanford’s Moscow Campus (‘02 and ’08) Spend the fall and winter in our house in Palo Alto; spring and summer up here at our “dacha” in Tuscarora, NV. (to present)

Lee, the third musketeer, details his timeline:

In the fall of 1962, I started law school at the University of Michigan and left in good standing at the end of the fall semester.

I then enrolled in the Masters Program in the School of Education and worked as an Associate for the Institute of Social Research.

I moved to New York City in June, 1963, enrolled at Teachers College, Columbia to complete my M.A. and obtained full time employment as a Market Research Assistant for Chirurg & Cairns Advertising Agency.

I left advertising for a position as a Market Research Analyst at U.S. Plywood, married Carole Blecher (a Central High School and Southern Connecticut grad) in June, 1964 and moved to Briarwood, Queens, New York.

Working for Travelers Insurance Company as an Agency Service Representative replaced Marketing Research at U.S. Plywood. I worked at the Travelers Exhibit for three months during the 1964-65 New York
World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows. Also saw my first New York Mets baseball game.

Completed my M.A. in Education and Psychology at Teachers College and returned to law school at the N.Y.U. Law School evening division in the Fall of 1965. Went full-time in January, 1968 until I finished at the end of the fall 1968 semester. During that time, I worked part-time as an assistant at a law firm in Bridgeport, CT.

I moved with Carole and Michele to Phoenix, Arizona on October 30, 1968.

Shortly thereafter, I began working as a Bailiff for Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Fred Hyder and supplemented my income by working as a cashier at the Turf Paradise, a local horse track, on the weekends. I took and passed the Arizona Bar and was admitted to membership in April, 1969.

Unable to secure a position with a law firm or governmental entity, I opened my office in August, 1969. I supplemented my income by accepting criminal appointments, working part-time for another attorney and obtaining other contract work.

Four more children would be born between December, 1969 and June, 1977: Denise in 1969 Jodi in 1971, Casey (F/N/A Charles) in 1973 and Marnie in 1977. All attended college. Among them are 15 grandchildren, 4 long-term marriages, 3 divorces, one transgender change and 5 completely different lifestyles. 2 of the older grandchildren are married, one a Captain in the Air Force and the other studying to become an Orthodox Rabbi. One great-granddaughter was born in September, 2018 and two others in 2020.

In 1971, I became a Pro-tem Phoenix Municipal Court Judge and spent about two-three days per week on the bench until I was voluntarily retired when the City of Phoenix passed a law that required its judges to have at least five years experience. Shortly thereafter, I was able to obtain to be appointed as part-time Maricopa County Superior Court Criminal Court Commissioner in which I served for a couple of years while still maintaining a full-time office. Later, I’d become a Pro-tem Court Commissioner in Family Law and Probate to supplement income from my law office. In addition, I began part-time work for a client as in-house counsel for Martin Oil and Gas and Midwest Oil and Gas.

I briefly concentrated my efforts of starting a Women’s Professional Basketball Team called the Pink Panthers in 1974-75. The team folded and I spent the next several years paying off the debts.

Returning to full-time law, I began building a firm as the laws regarding advertising began to change.At its height, there were ten full time staff and during the summer, an intern. It was a general practice firm, with the emphasis on Personal Injury Law, Family Law, Wills and Trusts, Probate and Contracts.

Carole and I separated in September, 1983 and our divorce was final in May, 1984.

My time for bachelorhood was brief. Deciding to attend my paralegal son’s wedding in Long Island New York, I flew east in late August to spend a few days in Bridgeport with my mom and see friends. Visiting my good friend Alan and his wife Sylvie for dinner one evening, they convinced me to call a lady in Stamford by the name of Patsy. I called and the only time we could meet was on Labor Day, September 2 for breakfast.

We went to the beach and talked. Before I left, I gave her a ring I’d purchased at a Native American trading post in Arizona. A turquoise ring. It fit and was her birthstone.

3½ months later, we married in Cape Town, South Africa.

For over 3 years after our marriage, I commuted back and forth to Connecticut every two or three weeks for 10-15 days and she on occasion to Phoenix. Several times, we met somewhere in the middle of the country for a long weekend.

When in Connecticut, I worked in various occupations: a temp assignment for a relocation company as a Mail Clerk and Assistant, a contract assignment for a law firm in Norwalk and as a Manager Trainee for a McDonald’s franchisee. At the same time, I managed my law firm in Phoenix and did long distance legal work for clients.

Though I thought I would relocate to Connecticut, I was unsuccessful in being hired by a law firm. Patsy relented, gave up her fine position in recruiting and moved to Phoenix in 1987. She worked for my law firm for a while and then several recruiting jobs before starting her own company, Co-Counsel, providing contract attorneys for law firms and corporations.

By 1990, I had downsized the law firm from two offices and ten employees to myself, a paralegal and a manager/administrator assistant/attorney. I made a deal with another law firm to handle our volume of Personal Injury Cases, hire my Manager who’d passed the Bar and provide Patsy and I with office space. That arrangement worked well.

In 1997, we were able to purchase our first house, into which we moved our businesses.

We had finally settled into a nice lifestyle. My children had grown, their costs for education were mostly completed and for the first time since 1984, I had a positive cash flow.

From 1997 through 2015, I worked from that home.

In 2010, Patsy and I purchased a home on one-acre with natural desert landscaping in Cave Creek, Arizona. It was to be our permanent and final home.

However, we’d sell that home in 2015 to go on an extended sabbatical and purchased a home in Cyprus.

Cyprus, the third largest island in the Mediterranean, has scenic coastlines, beaches, mountains and quaint villages. The fruits and vegetables are fresh and delicious as well as the local cheeses, fish, meats and poultry. Regarded as the 5th safest country in the world, Cyprus is a member of the E.U. and is a mecca for tourists seeking affordable vacations in a laid-back atmosphere.

We now live in Chloraka, Paphos, Cyprus where Patsy, who has the green thumb in the family, tends our large garden with fruits, vegetables and flowers besides studying Greek.

I remain on sabbatical while deciding what to do with the rest of my life. I’m busy with writing, mentoring, and developing a consultancy besides having time to develop my culinary skills.

After my divorce and marriage to Patsy, Tim and I re-connected and we were able to visit Tim and Tita on several occasions in Florida and in Connecticut. Both Tim and I were able to attend our Bassick High School 50th Reunion in 2008 and our Yale 50th Reunion in 2012.

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the 60th Bassick Reunion in September, 2018.

The three of us reconnected as I began my Memoir. Planning a visit to the East coast in September, 2019 became a catalyst for a mini-reunion on September 21, 2019.

Tim and I and our wives spent several wonderful hours visiting our home-room teacher and class advisor Virginia Loch at her residence in Bridgeport, then organized a get-together lunch at Vazzy’s in Shelton with a bunch of our classmates. What a great time reminiscing! My wife Patsy and Tim’s wife Tita now have learned about some of our past escapades and faces to place with names from our high school era.

Aside from a few wrinkles, some creaky bones, grey hairs or lack thereof, we recognized each other and our banter and enthusiasm remained the same. As a treat, I did my signature gifting presentation with each classmate selecting a wrapped gift as a remembrance.

Once a musketeer, always a musketeer. Borrowing a line from our Bassick High School fight song On For Bassick: “onward ever, backward never.”

God Bless You, Richie and Tim, for your friendship, caring and contributions.

Lee V. Bakunin
October 13, 2019.

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