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1961 - 45th reunion

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2006 - Autumn


Our class reunion dinner at the Graduate Club went on well into the night. Attendees included David Brook and wife Judith, Christopher Durham and wife Susan, Joseph Jasaitis, Marguerite Lederberg, George and Christa Lordi, James Lurie, Vincent Marchesi, Anoush Miridjanian, Roland and Grazina Paegle, Roy Ronke, Warren and Myra Widmann, and Donald and Alice Young.

We exchanged e-mail addresses, anecdotes about former professors, family stories and continued appreciation of the Yale School of Medicine (YSM) experience. Joe’s first impression of YSM was the welcoming address by Dean Vernon Lippard: “When I came here this morning, a young man asked, ‘Hey, Mac, where is the medical school?’ We at Yale do not address anyone as Mac.”

In an attempt to tap the wisdom accumulated during our long and active careers, a mini-survey circulated among the members of the class asked for definitions of happiness. Our Declaration of Independence lists “the Pursuit of Happiness” as one of our inalienable rights. Jim noted that “accomplishment and public recognition are evanescent. Happiness is playing chamber music regularly; seeing children for psychiatric treatment and having them improve and be successful; watching my own children grow up and become interesting and creative.” For Roy, happiness is “loving those around you and the work you do.” For Marguerite, it’s “learning to let go of fixed expectations and taking satisfaction in the present moment.” Anoush’s definitions changed: “When younger I viewed happiness as caught up with lots of accomplishments and being a useful person. Happiness now is peace with yourself and what you are, time and enough means to do what you want to do.” “It used to be beer and pizza,” but now George finds happiness “wrestling with grandchildren and having your children develop into mature adults with secure careers.” David’s definition also changed to becoming “more flexible and accepting, reviewing more of the possibilities, fewer of the limitations.” Roland defined it as “dating adorable women and finding and keeping the one. The right spouse will create a wonderful family.” Don Young liked “remembering the good stories we experienced as medical students. There is a bond that develops that you retain for a lifetime. Great teachers like Averill Liebow and Harry Greene leave memories that never leave.”

Warren found happiness to be “a moving target. In youth happiness assumed a safe home; in medical school it was success in preparation for life as a doctor. ‘Life’ assumed a supportive marriage, healthy children and then a successful career. Retirement did not equal happiness to me. I felt that my career was too much a part of what defined me for me to just walk away from it—and I lucked into a full-time academic position with summers off. Happi-ness is seeing our children happy; but now, what was not even really on the radar screen before, are the issues of health and impending inevitable decline, and the hope that contentment can prevail without undue decline of function until death. Happiness is seeing grandchildren grow up healthy, achieving well, making the right choices and hoping that we can live long enough to see them well on their way in life.”

I agree with Jim that “this reunion was fun.” Hope to see more of you at our 50th.

Roland Paegle