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1966 - 40th reunion

Yale Medicine Magazine, 2006 - Autumn


Classmates present were in good spirits and looked well. Not a single tattoo or male earring was seen. 1966 was the year Medicare was enacted, and we were gun fodder for that program.

Stuart Kotler is active in radiology in New Jersey. His future looks rosy—he owns a gas station. Investors take note: through convoluted boilerplate, Stuart personally guarantees the solvency of British Petroleum. I introduced my wife of 40 years to Mary Alice Bernet Houghton. For some reason M.A. was surprised, and said she thought I had Invisible Wife Syndrome. I hope she sends more information about it. Are invisible wives silent? Can they see each other? M.A. is active in general psychiatry practice in Milwaukee with husband Bill, M.D. ’64. Of all the people my wife met that weekend (“They’re all wonderful”), her favorite was Mary Alice.

I inadvertently sat at the bad boys’ table at the class dinner. There were reflections on long-ago mischief. Joe Baron’s bar and beer were mentioned. Kindly campus police used to herd revelers to Harkness beds and were less judgmental than Mom. Back then there were some half-assed fraternities. They threw an occasional half-assed dance. At one such soirée, a classmate brought a hooker in signature street dress. This made for social anaphylaxis with the wives and dates who were present. One innominate classmate claims he doesn’t remember the occasion but admits he might have been the culprit.

Ed O’Keefe is retired from academic dermatology in North Carolina. He now does woodworking there in the winter and in Maine in the summer. Bob Gunn is semiretired after 30 years at the CDC—something about condoms; he is now in San Diego and has taken up golf.

The class dinner was held in the library of the Graduate Club. As the room heated up, Arne Youngberg, retired radiologist from Cheshire, Conn., and class secretary, turned on a window air conditioner. It was white with pigeon droppings. We may all be gone by the time you read this. Dick Bockman professes medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City. He arranged a memorial gathering for Donald Cohen.

John Howard does internal medicine on the elbow of Cape Cod. He sails. He also has a company for staffing nursing homes and jails, and serves as the local medical examiner. By Massachusetts tradition this office confers immunity from prosecution for misdemeanors. I mentioned to him that in my bailiwick, although they try to hang this office on a pathologist, I do not care for forensics and was delighted to have a psychiatrist fill the role.

Wilbur Kukes, native of Montana, was also in town for the reunion. Contrary to class legend, he rode into New Haven by iron horse. He arrived at Harkness Hall clutching one small suitcase. Sharpie upperclassmen spotted equine product on his boots and immediately hustled him for used textbooks. They promised Hamm’s Histology would read like a Louis L’Amour novel. Wilbur no longer mends the bones of cowpersons in Big Sky country but walks an Old English sheepdog on a beach in the state of Washington.

Larry Toder and wife Susan came from Missoula, Mont., where Larry is a retired orthopaedic surgeon.

Jon and Joan Wayland joined us from Klamath Falls, Ore., where she has retired from child psychiatry and he is a retired urologist.

Looking back at our class, formed 44 years ago, we decided diversity is nothing new. Wilbur was two standard deviations from the mean, and the Southerners one SD.

Lynne Lipton Levitsky is head of pediatric endocrinology at Mass General. She was at the class dinner with her husband Sidney, a cardiac surgeon. During the dinner Sid confessed they started dating when he was a resident and she was still a student. The assembly groaned in horror but decided it was too late to give our chief resident emeritus the hot water treatment. The bad boys wanted to know what the problem was.

Stuart Hauser and I met at the new Child Study Center, the legacy of our classmate, the late Donald Cohen. The center and several other buildings proved that Donald had a powerful edifice complex and was a master fundraiser, a skill much cherished in academe. Stuart said that fundraising is one of his duties as head of a Boston child psychiatry clinic, but romancing donors is not his favorite thing. He runs a long-term program in adolescent development.

Jimmy Brown is working part-time in oncology in Middletown, Conn. He also knows all the verses of “Amazing Grace,” useful in that specialty. Phil Bernstein is pounding out orthopaedics in the San Francisco area. When I mentioned my imperfect knees, he said 90 percent of his patients are happy with his joint replacements. I asked if he were flying back on the 90 percent airline.

Mac Griffiss came in from San Francisco, where he toils in microbiology pathogenesis. He is also a retired bird-colonel in the Army Reserves. For all your military needs, give Mac a call. Why fight with lawyers when you can get the infantry cheaper?

David Fox is working in Fresno as a child psychiatrist. A beloved avocation is playing the cello in a string quartet. When I mentioned that I had recently bought the six-disc complete Shostakovich series by the Emerson Quartet, he was a fount of information on the topic but, alas, I could have done better. Incidentally, if you are fed up with hip-hop noise at your gym, lob one back and stick some string quartets in the CD player. But be prepared to outrun vulgarians a third our age.

Me? Pathologist emeritus in Marshalltown, Iowa. I read a lot, take solo road trips and follow my wife around giving helpful housekeeping tips.

Spouses of our classmates should consider themselves assimilated into the class. [Caveat: The bad boys, in denial re: Club Prostate, still have lots of life, so certain conditions and restrictions may apply.]

Other classmates spotted but not engaged: Clarence Sasaki and Robert McRoberts.

There were reports of bad breaks and sorrows for some classmates, but this report is like that garden ornament that heralds only sunny hours.

Eugene P. Cassidy