Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Dear Classmates,
When the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving, they gave thanks not because the preceding year had been easy, but because it had been difficult and yet they had seen it through.
For many, including me, this is has been a very difficult year. But as I sit down for dinner tomorrow, I will do so with a thankful heart. I will be thankful for my family and thankful for my friends - all of whom made the most trying parts of this year a bit easier. And I will be thankful that 2008 marked a new beginning for the Class of 1987 - the beginning of a greater sense of community among our classmates.

2009 looks to be another year of challenges. May we face whatever challenges the New Year may bring by supporting each other and may we all look back on 2009 this time next year with hearts that are thankful.

Wishing you and yours the happiest of Thanksgivings.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

News from Adam Reeder

Adam Reeder, who lives in Manhattan, writes in: "DeAnnie and I are having a great time raising our sons, Ethan (11) and Austin (8), who are thriving! We all just got back from four days in Moscow -- an amazing trip! I had not been there for 25 years . . . how incredible to see (and feel) the changes!"

News from Bill Grimes

Bill Grimes wrote in with some news:

"My new book, Currency and Contest in East Asia: The Great Power Politics of Financial Regionalism, has just been published by Cornell University Press.  It is the first book-length study to be published in English on financial cooperation in East Asia.  Financial regionalism is of major interest in East Asian capitals from Tokyo and Beijing down to Bangkok, but it has gone mostly unnoticed except by a small number of academics and Treasury officials in the US.  Anyone who has an interest in being the only person in his or her social circle who knows about this topic should buy my book.  Actually, I welcome book purchases for any reason, whether curiosity, an appreciation for a pretty cool cover, loyalty to a classmate, or guilt.

In other news, Melinda Stanford (also class of 1987) and I recently celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary.  We feel fortunate for all the happy years together and look forward to many more.  Our daughter Isabel is now in kindergarten and loves it.  We are frankly jealous of all the great projects and activities they are doing.  Our 3 1/2 year-old son Will has emerged from a year of major transitions (good-bye to crib and diapers!) as an engaging little boy whose only major bad habit is growling at people when he is angry.  He has decided he wants to be a superhero when he grows up.  Melinda continues to teach voice students and do her own music on a part-time basis, as we juggle our schedules so that we stay involved as full-time parents.  Life is good, although we do notice that our ambitions have increasingly focused on fantasies of more sleep."

Yale/Harvard Tailgate

In my never-ending quest to bring classmates together, I announced recently a Class of 1987 tailgate atthe Yale/Harvard game.  What could be better than enjoying a nice November afternoon with some classmates and their families?

When I first hatched this plan, my wife, Lisa, warned that it might be cold.  "It's always freezing at Harvard," she reminded me.  A Michigan native, I was not deterred by the thought of a cold day.  The average temperature this time of year is about 50, after all. I was sure that the bright sun would keep us warm.  (As those who attended can attest, I was wrong.)

The night before the tailgate we packed the car, which made our pre-dawn escape the day of the Game much easier.  As we drive from Connecticut to Cambridge, we tracked the outside temperature on our mini-van's thermometer -- 14, 15, 20, 18, 22.  Lisa was right, it was going to be cold.  Really cold.  Yet, we trekked on, arriving at our tailgate spot around 10:00 a.m.

We set up quite a spread -- hotdogs and hamburgers and hot chocolate were the best sellers.  The grill doubled as a warming spot.  But, the best part of the day was our conversion of the back of the mini-van to a children's warming hut.  At the peak of the morning, after classamtes and their friends arrived, we had 12 kids of classmates hanging out in that van at a time.  When we finally decamped for the game, it was like a circus clown car, with a never-ending stream of kids spilling out.

One of the highlights of the day was when some hungry and cold current students came by.  Lisa, ever the Italian mom, couldn't help but feed them.  "What class were you in?" they asked.  When Lisa told them that we were in the Class of 1987, they responded in unison, as if they had rehearsed it -- "We were born in 1987."  Lisa and I looked at each other and, without saying a word, could read each other's mind: "These could be our kids.  We can't be that old!"

Despite the age gap, we had a great conversation with these current undergrads.  They are worrying about the same things we worried about when we were seniors -- Where am I going to work?  What is the best career for me?  These seniors were enjoying the day, but their comments made it clear that they are facing a future colored by anxiety about the current economy.  It is a notable coincidence that the current seniors, born in 1987, are facing some of the same uncertainty that we faced just after graduation in the fall of 1987.  

The 1987ers that actually made it into the Game were reminded just how cold Harvard Stadium can be.  Lisa, it turns out, was absolutely right about the weather.  And, Harvard didn't make things any better -- for some reason Harvard's stadium feels a good 10-15 degrees colder than the outside temperature might suggest.  Maybe it's the concrete seats.  Maybe it's the layout of the stadium.  Maybe it's that Harvard Stadium was designed by Dementors from the Harry Potter series.  Think about it . . . that would explain a lot.

So, with the 2008 Yale/Harvard tailgate in the history books, we turn to 2009 class events.  Feb Club Emeritus is just a few months away.  And, we will spend the next 12 months retooling the class tailgate concept, with a heavy emphasis on warmth.  

Thursday, November 20, 2008

News from Steve Harper

I ran into Steve Harper at Kara Unterberg's cocktail party in November. Steve told me about his new musical -- The Truth About Magic. Here is a brief write-up:

Fourteen year old Ginny Chen is a natural problem solver: she goes to school, helps pay bills and keeps her 20 year old brother Miles in check. When the Statue of Liberty vanishes, and Miles, a budding magician, claims he did it, Ginny?s world plunges into chaos. With Miles in jail, earthquake tremors inexplicably rocking Manhattan, an overzealous civil servant eager to put Ginny in foster care and the appearance of a mystery woman who just might be the statue in human form, Ginny?s problems, for once, are more than she can handle. Or are they?

The Truth About Magic is a new musical about one girl's struggle to keep her family together, maintain her sanity and restore order to her world. In this comic tale of survival and love Ginny?s journey takes her all the way to the Oval Office as she comes to terms with a family secret and the awesome possibility that magic is real. Original Story by Wendy Fang Chen, Hane Landers, Steve Harper.

For those of you who have not kept up with Steve since graduation, he has been very, very busy. His plays include Urban Rabbit Chronicles (Weissberger Nomination), The Escape Artist's Chidlren, The Laundry Channel, This is Now, Actual Cost and Iggie Imagines Marriage. Other work includes the shot film, Betty on the Bed (also director and actor), the radio pilot The Real Deal (co-writer) and the martial arts feature Undefeatable (co-writer). As an actor, Steve has appeared Off-Broadway (Atlantic 2), at major regional theatres (The Guthrie, The Kennedy Center) and on national television (Law & Order: SVU & CI, Rescue Me). Awards: Telly Award, Le Compte du Nouy price at Julliard, MacDowell Colony NEA fellowship and the Skidmore Residency for Artitsts of Color at Yaddo.

If you're interested in learning more about Steve's show, please e-mail him at

News from Christopher Franck

Christopher Franck wrote in the following: "2008 has been a busy year for us. After reluctantly leaving Manhattan in 2007 to test out the benefits a suburban existence might provide our two young children, we finally capitulated and bought a home in northern New Jersey. In April, my wife Cay and I welcomed with love our third child, a daughter we named Cecilia Catherine. Then in August I returned to my professional roots at Deloitte Consulting as a Partner in the life sciences strategy and operations practice based in New York. Needless to say, we're all looking forward to a year without moving, changing jobs, or having another baby!"

Monday, November 17, 2008

More Yalies Needed to Help People Make Wise Health Decisions

Elliot Turrini reports that he and fellow 1987 classmates Rob Long, Graham Anderson, and Cliff Simpson are trying to develop a more effective approach to proactive health, which will make it easier for people to eat right, exercise, build strong relationships, and keep their minds sharp. Too many Americans are making unwise health decisions, creating billions in preventable health care costs. The guys have found that neuroscientific advances are shedding light on why people "just can't do it," revealing that the unhealthy American environment has "trained" many of our brains towards unhealthy actions. They are passionate about addressing this problem, and they'd appreciate any and all help from the Class of 1987. Their effort involves combining the science of behavioral change (both neuroscience and psychology); entertainment (particularly video humor); and web and collaborative technologies -- which means there are lots of ways to contribute. You can contact them at If you help, Rob Long promises to make you laugh.

Books by classmates

As you may have noticed, I have started to list books written by classmates on our website and the class blog. I was so interested in this diverse body of work that I have started to read them.
Being a Literature major, I started with a work of fiction - Claire Messud's "The Emperor's Children". It was a great place to start.

Claire's books have been extensively reviewed, and I won't attempt to review this book here. I will say that I found the book to be thought provoking and beautifully crafted.

My only other observation is about perspective. There was a time when I would have more closely identified with the younger characters in the book, thirty year old friends from college striving to find their way in the world. Although I could identify with some of the struggles of these characters, I could more closely identify with the parents than I would have thought possible just ten years ago. And, Claire's examination of parent-child relationships raised as many questions for me (as a parent) about my relationships with my children as it does about my relationships with my parents.

Please share your thought's about "The Emperor's Children" on the class blog.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Class Finances

In an effort to keep our class fully informed, Ray and I have posted the class financial statements on the Welcome Page of the website.