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Yale 62

Y62 Voices from the Pandemic

From Charles Merlis: “First personal news: about five weeks ago, my car was totaled (no one hurt) by a hit/run driver. Four days later, in a stupid bicycle accident, I broke the neck of my femur. After the operation, I was making progress in a rehab facility (except inability to urinate on my own), when I went into uroseptic shock using a Foley catheter and was rushed to the hospital ICU where I was pumped full of antibiotics. I’m back in a different rehab facility, making progress again and beginning to be able to urinate a little on my own, although I continue to need straight catheterization for retained urine. Meanwhile, the Corona epidemic has been good to me, as it has given me more time for housing and financial issues. Also, being in a facility is better than solitary confinement in my house without a car and with limited mobility. There are always bright spots in life’s tribulations.

“Another virtue of the Corona epidemic is the opportunity to see how gifted (or not) President Trump is in a non-political crisis. I’m sure all who were against Trump to start with think he is doing a disastrous job with the epidemic. I know many in our class, though some may have decried his use of language, believed he was doing a good job. How do you feel he is doing in the war against Corona and has it affected – pro or con – your support of him as our Leader?”

From Norm Jackson, “Hey guys, things are changing so fast it hardly seems worthwhile to send ‘news’ that’ll be outdated long before it’s printed, but one cataclysm has rocked my life that seems to be worth mentioning:


“The bars and pubs I can do without, but the RESTAURANTS?!!! Aussie food is so delicious, fresh, and varied — a mixture of European (from its immigrants), Asian (from its continental neighbours), and innovation (from its isolation) — it’s simply a delight. My wife and I had made a variation of the old French phrase, ‘Chérie, c’est vendredi…’ (‘Dear, it’s Friday…’) a way to dedicate our Fridays to reinforcing our love by going out to lunch every Friday, to one of Fremantle’s many excellent restaurants.

“Now, I guess it’ll be Domino’s, Uber Eats, or simply more of my own restaurant-quality (or so some people say) cuisine… I spent ±3 hrs yesterday making a vegetarian lasagne, with Quorn ‘mince’ — which can’t be distinguished, by the way, from ground beef — that should keep us for at least 4 meals for 2.

“On a more serious note, I think we should thank our karma we’re in countries that have an easy lifestyle: can you imagine what it must be like being one of the 1.6 billion Indians who are on lockdown? (How do you ‘stay at home’ when you don’t have one?) Or even people less fortunate than we in the U.S. And we should use our privileged position to try and promote the idea that we’re all interconnected: we are all no more well than any one of us who is ill. We need to care for all animals, and our entire planet.

“There’s a great little thing circulating on the internet:
WORLD TO MOTHER EARTH: How can we cope as a planet with all the difficulties that climate change is bringing?
MOTHER EARTH TO WORLD: Here’s a virus. Practice.

“Stay well if you can, and be kind. Best to all.”

From Phil Proctor: “As to COVID-19, Melinda and I are pretty much at home here in our Benedict Canyon home most of the time, although we can easily drive to markets, pharmacies and even go out for a pleasant walk on the Beverly Hills Park paths with a minimum of exposure to others.

“We are so lucky to have our pensions and healthcare plans with our performance unions, as well as our “Social Insecurity,” although we have had to cancel many acting jobs in various parts of the country, and our participation in the run of William Saroyan’s “The Time of Your Life” with our beloved Glendale-based Antaeus company, will also likely be postponed until next season, and of course our theatre trip to NYC to see our Yale Dramat pal, Austin Pendleton ‘61 in a new Broadway play, was cancelled.

“So — we are in it for the long haul if need be, but it’s comforting to know that my daughter, Kristin and her hubby and their two kids are 5 minutes away, even if we can’t visit them at the moment. (They have extra toilet paper!)

“To keep me connected, I am participating in a new podcast for RadioPictures called “Phil & Ted’s Sexy Boomer Show,” interviewing such jesters as Phil Hendrie, Harry Shearer and my partner David Ossman of Firesign Theatre fame! And there’s always PLANET PROCTOR ( – my monthly take on world events, to which you can subscribe at No physical is required, but a “psychical” is mandatory, so good luck…

“I’d love to hear how the rest of you are faring in this perilous political and economic environment. Hang in there, mates! We are now all a part of history, and, God willing, love will see us through…”

From Communications Team member, Chris Snow.

Now that virtually all of us in the class of ’62 have been more or less forced to remain at home and practice social distancing for the foreseeable future, we all find ourselves facing what to do to avoid cabin fever. How to pass the time? I asked my wife how she thought I should use my time. “Productively,” she replied. “How about taking a stab at the income tax?” What a thought!

There was still plenty of time before the filing deadline, but I plunged into the pile of accumulated credit card receipts, brokerage reports and bank statements I had so carefully culled, only to discover that I had over-culled in my zeal. It took me the rest of the week, and many telephone call and emails, to bankers, brokers and providers to reconstruct everything, but the sense of accomplishment after we finished was elating.

“Now what?” I asked.

“How about updating our wills?” my dear wife suggested when I got up from my nap. “It must be five years since we last reviewed it.” A daunting search revealed the ten-year-old documents which we were proud to be able to bring up to date with our attorney via email.

“Enough with the files,” I said. “Let’s do something fun.”

“How about going through all those slides and pictures we’ve been collecting over the years?” And several wonderful evenings of ‘who is that’ and ‘where was that’ ensued. Next it was the CD and DVD collections.

All of this was punctuated by conversations with distant friends and relations via telephone and email and the internet using SKYPE and ZOOM for group conversations.

“Not yet,” my wife stated. “What about that list of friends over 70 to call and cheer up?” as she handed me the directory and telephone. I was in luck. The first number I tried was busy, but I persevered and eventually someone sounding a little distracted picked up. Realizing I had interrupted whatever he was doing I apologized for interrupting whatever he was doing.

“Oh no,” he said, “I’ll put it on hold.”

“What are you putting on hold?” I asked.

“I was just watching a fascinating Swedish video series called ‘Miss Firman’s War’ set in the 1920s, about love, friendships and equal rights, through my new ROKU.” (ROKU turned out to be a flash drive-size device that plugs into a TV’s HDMI port, through which we are now able to stream thousands of videos, including many freebees.) I apologized for disturbing him, thanked him for the tip and hung up.

Without delay I visited and ordered my own ROKU Ultra player (at no charge!) which arrived within a few days. I had it up and running with no difficulty and was able to find ‘Miss Firman’s Wars’ (a free offering) with no trouble, in time to spend a delightful evening watching the rest of the episodes at my leisure.

Last night after the curfew we saw a documentary on life and career of Itzhak Perlman, one of our favorite violinists. More good viewing lies ahead.


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1 comment to Y62 Voices from the Pandemic

  • Dear Classy mates,

    I am so grateful to Steve, Dick and Chris for affording us the opportunity to stay in touch from our respective far-flung haunts “at a safe distance.” I wish Charles a steady recovery , Norm, a chance to discover “The Joy of Leftovers” (keep the heat steady down under). and I share with Chris the gift of binge-watching with ROKU, especially since we seem to have lost our access to DirecTV – go figure!

    And this very morning, I was able to reconnect with our dear Firesign friend, the incomparable John Goodman, (who’s stuck in North Carolina, awaiting the resumption of his series “The Righteous Gemstones”,) in a heart-warming, very personal interview on another episode of our impending podcast: “Phil & Ted’s Sexy Boomer Show” — soon to launch EVERYWHERE. So until then, please stay safe and of sound mind and good spirits, and I hope to read of more of your adventures next time around.

    Love to all ~ Phil Proctor and Melinda Peterson