Local news first: Judy and I celebrated our 70th birthdays and 44th anniversary and were recently musing how convenient it is to still be in love. When she noted that this may be more a matter of habit than conviction, I wasn’t taken aback. I can’t be choosy, as anything I get is more than I deserve. However, all this makes us newbies. We hosted Barbara and Dave Webb for a couple of delightful hours on our deck and Dave recounted verbatim the line he used to sweep Barb off her feet at an eighth-grade sock-hop. (He used to share it with his students at Choate in the hopes it might work for them, too.) Dave has kept in touch with a great circle of friends from Wes and reported seeing Paul Jarvis in Chicago while visiting his son, a realtor. They hadn’t gotten together in a while, but Tim Polk’s passing made them—as it should you—realize there are some things you should not put off to next year.
One of the benefits of my job is that I sometimes get into wonderful e-mail exchanges. Bob Svensk ’fessed up to watching a PBS special on Janis Joplin and recalled when she came to Wes. It was Brian McCoy’s first big deal as college social chairman. In a joint deal with Yale—Friday in New Haven and Saturday in Middletown—for $2,500 each at the behest of her agent, this unknown California singer was booked to introduce her to the East Coast. (Brian established the date as March 9, 1968.) After the performance, several of the brothers invited her back to DKE where she swilled Jack Daniels and ate pasta glop without utensils ’til dawn.
I think it’s quite something to look back and consider that, at this point, most of us are grandfathers and she, long gone, has been given her own stamp by the U.S. Postal Service. While I never spent a night in the company of such a character, I—like you—have memories of all sorts from back in the day and it’s for that reason I plan to spend May 24 to 27, 2018 at my 50th Reunion. Sandy See [email@example.com], Stuart Ober [firstname.lastname@example.org] and George Reynolds [email@example.com] continue looking for guys to help out with things.
I caught up with Eric Conger in a call that proved to be an insight into a life in the theater. After Wes, he attended Hartford Seminary until the lottery graced him with a good number. Then he, along with Bob Helsel, revitalized a summer stock theater in Ohio. (Bob pulled a bad number and joined the Navy while Eric continued there for four years, gaining some notice as a director.) Earning his Equity Card after five more years in regional theater, he came to New York and landed a contract on the soap, Another World. Additionally, he spent almost 20 years as an actor at respected venues like Hartford Stage and Princeton’s McCarter Theatre. He countered this gig-to-gig lifestyle by saving like crazy and getting into some real estate ventures. But, by the early ’90s, he wanted to stop traveling and switched into doing voice-overs, commercials, and industrials.
Since 2008, he’s focused on being a playwright and, in 2010, experienced what he described as a “dream experience.” His play, a comedy-drama entitled The Eclectic Experience, was produced at Philadelphia’s 1,200 seat Walnut Street Theatre for a sold-out six-week run. One night Andy Stone hosted an Eclectic reunion that drew 60, at which the guys loosely depicted in the play mingled with the actors playing them in the production. Eric has had two dramas produced at smaller venues and is working on a new project with the support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. He lives in Weehawken, N.J., with his wife, Gayle Humphrey. Their daughter, Sophia, is making films at Ithaca College and their son, Davis, is entering George Washington. Like many of us this year, Davis is keenly interested in politics.
I spoke with Dave Gruol in August. After a brief flirtation with New York banking (and these were times when bombs were going off and management trainees protested the war during lunch), he hitchhiked through Europe for three months. During that period, he arrived at an American military base at 2 a.m. to see Steve Horvat and was let in and directed to Steve’s barracks. (Reminds me of the time, as a kid, a pilot asked me into the cockpit to help fly the plane.) Always interested in photography, he returned to the States and took a job with a tech wizard doing various commercial projects. In 1980, he went off on his own doing mostly product photography for smaller outfits. (One choice assignment was for a chain of Caribbean hotels.) All the while, he did personal work in black and white; series on boxers, jazz musicians, and a lot of New Jersey urban landscapes many of which are not far from his home in Morristown. Married later in life, his wife, Joan, is involved with the Thomas Nast museum. In good health and very happily self-employed, he is not contemplating retirement. Every summer, he gets together with a wonderful bunch of classmates— Steve Horvat, Dick Emerson, Craig Dodd, Peter Hardin, Jacques LeGette, Ted Ahern, Ray Solomon, and Ron Schroeder—for golf and tall-tales.
Last summer, I inspected Dave Losee’s new digs in Camden, Maine. Apart from the fact his front lawn does not overlook Penobscot Bay, it was perfect. Los—a pitcher who, by his own admission, was no Whitey Ford—most appreciatively remembers Dave Gruol as his center-fielder who would snag anything not put into permanent orbit. Finally, Rich Kremer ’69, one of my all-time favorites, is up in Vermont. A superb golfer back in the day, he is back at it with a particular eye to special courses.
LLOYD BUZZELL | LBuzz463@aol.com
70 Turtle Bay, Branford, CT 06405 | 203/208-5360