Haven Pell checks in with this update: “In late October 2017, Robert S. Mueller III ’62 was much on the country’s mind. By the time this issue appears in the winter of 2018, he might still be or he might not, depending on how quickly and unpredictably politics and the news cycles move. A few days before ‘Mueller Monday,’ when Paul Manafort and his colleague, Rick Gates, were indicted and George Papadopoulos pled guilty, Bill Matthews ’61 and I were interviewed by NBC Peacock Productions for a profile of the School’s second special counsel/prosecutor (the first was Archie Cox ’30, who was fired in what became known as the Saturday Night Massacre that triggered the end of the Nixon administration). The interviews took place at the Women’s National Democratic Club in Washington, D.C. NBC flew Bill to Washington, but I walked from my house a few miles away. Mike Schultz, the producer, asked questions from off camera that were not to be included in the show. Fumbled answers led to ‘do-overs’ as when I established the date Mueller became FBI Director as ‘a week after 9/11,’ when it was actually a week before 9/11. The show was scheduled to be aired in December 2017 or January 2018.”
Tony Parker submits this note: “I had an unusual opportunity last week to meet China’s President, Xi Jinping, and give a speech in the Great Hall in Beijing to about 1,100 people, representing the top political leaders in China and 200 political party leaders from 120 countries.
Since 2013, I have been participating in a series of dialogues between the leaders of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the two major U.S. political parties. These dialogues have been sponsored by the East West Institute (EWI). This bilateral dialogue process was established in 2010, with the goal of developing the links between the principal political parties of the two countries; the CPC and the Democratic and Republican Parties of the United States. Since 2010, leaders from the three parties have met nine times. Its 10th meeting was convened on December 3-5 in Beijing. What made this a bit complicated for me was that the Chinese had not told the EWI staff what I was expected to do. It was represented that I would meet, in a group, with President Xi and then give a ‘welcome’ to about 100 or 150 people. I had thought it would be a few sentences long. I asked the EWI staff to prepare remarks for me to review when I arrived in Beijing on Thursday night. As I talked to the EWI staff on my arrival in Beijing, I began to realize that this was going to be a much bigger event than they had originally realized. I took a look at the draft they had prepared for me and realized that it wasn’t going to work for the occasion. I asked them to rewrite the draft, gave them some thoughts, and then retired, having been up for 30 hours by that time. I asked them to meet me at 7 a.m. the next morning, the day of the speech. I had a chance to practice it and was ready by 1 p.m. The media covered both President Xi’s speech as well as the speeches of the rest of us. It was an extraordinary opportunity to engage in one of the most unique things I have done in my life.”
Ted Baehr writes: “I now have 10 grandchildren. My daughter, Evy, had a little girl, Audrey, three months ago. MOVIEGUIDE continues to grow at a phenomenal rate. By the way, we had 52 million different folks on our Facebook site. After 22 rounds of chemotherapy and monthly operations last year, my wife, Lili, is doing much better. We have been able to help more entertainment industry producers, writers, and directors, with several of our Kairos Prize winners succeeding in the box office, and several others being optioned. I just finished my 36th book, but not something for the SPS crowd, called REEL TO REAL: 45 Movie Devotions for Families. I had a great time lecturing in Hungary and Singapore.” Jad Roberts enjoyed attending a wedding on Cape Cod over Labor Day weekend with his daughter, Ellie Roberts ’08, and son, Bayard. Ellie is a resident in emergency medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City and Bayard works for a computer firm in Washington, D.C. Jad will be retiring from his position at Amtrak in April.
Denis Ransmeier reports from Washington State that he has now retired from his career in college administration and spends his leisure time “fishing for trout.” He is on the board of Trout Unlimited “because I love angling and because of its environmental efforts to preserve and enhance clean watersheds.”
We have had an eventful fall with two major gatherings. In September, a number of members of Coach Blake’s undefeated football team of our senior year returned to SPS to celebrate the 50th anniversary with Coach “Bud.” In attendance were: Jim Colby, Trip Farnsworth ’69, John Hagerty ’69, Charlie Hickox ’69, Susan and Bill Hoehn with grandson Jack, Cathy and Tucker Hood, Rick King, Ann and David LeBreton ’69, Morgan Paulk ’69, Annie and Bob Rettew ’69, Jim Robinson, Todd Rulon-Miller ’69, Trisha and Tom Stewart, Karin and Sumner Waters, Sims Wyeth, Michael Blake ’66, Ray Hornblower ’66, Bob Stockman ’72, and Alice and myself. Highlights were a Friday-night dinner, attending the varsity football game with a field tribute to the 1967-68 team, and a Saturday dinner, honoring Coach Blake. At the dinner, Bill Hoehn and Todd Rulon-Miller announced a scholarship fund in Coach Blake’s name.
The second event was one of sadness. A number of us attended a memorial service for Steve Ahlgren. Mary Ahlgren, their children, grandchildren, family, and a great group of friends were present. Wallace Thompson, Ron Russell, Boone Porter, and I were able to attend. One last note: I hope to see you all in June. Boone Porter writes: “This past September, Maggie and I hiked the 100-mile-plus-long West Highland Way in Scotland. I was glad I could do it after having open heart surgery seven months earlier.”
Bill Hoehn sends this news: “We were thrilled with the birth of our fifth grandchild on December 12. His name is Billy, and I am a proud Pops.” A message from David Parshall ’65: “On November 16, I attended a magnificent tribute to Christopher Gray titled “BLOCK BY BLOCK: Christopher Gray’s New York,” at The Museum of the City of New York. The format was a panel discussion with illustrious architectural historians and journalists, moderated by renowned architecture critic Paul Goldberger and including former Real Estate Editor of the New York Times Mike Leahy, who was Christopher’s editor during the many years of Christopher’s weekly “Streetscapes” column. The room was packed.
The panelists commented on Christopher’s extraordinary knowledge of New York City architecture, attention to detail, and his perceptive way of bringing out the humanistic and social context of the buildings that he described in “Streetscapes.” Adding well-deserved words of praise, Christopher’s New York Times editor commented that “Streetscapes” was beloved by its readers. Erin, Christopher’s wife, introduced the panel discussion and, among other things, commented on his interest in architecture from school days. She cited an entry in his extensive diary from a journey to Russia in the summer of 1968, just after graduating from SPS, with John Taft and Alec Ulmann, describing the hotel where they stayed in what was then Leningrad, as follows: ‘Our hotel, The Sputnik, is far out of town and is the perfect example of USSR incongruities of design and engineering. It is a big aluminum-glass structure with an underground entry, bare floors, broken doors, makeshift check-in desks, all in the middle of this housing project, whose grounds are a few weeds and dirt piles. A radio that you can’t turn all the way off makes us suspicious.’ I suspect that SPS helped inform Christopher’s interest in architecture, his infinite curiosity, his high integrity, his writing facility, and, perhaps, even his singular sense of humor.”
From Procter Smith: “I attended my mom’s 90th birthday with my family last summer on the Vineyard – wife Laura, our daughter, our two married sons, plus our granddaughter, Mariposa. I am in my 15th year teaching English at Salisbury (46th year in the classroom). Recently stepped down after 12 years (26 productions) heading the drama program and now serve as director of sports information, providing up-to-date content on Salisbury’s varsity teams and profiling top student-athletes for the school’s website. I’m afraid Charleston is not in the cards for this 69er. May is our busiest time of the school year, and work will keep me tied down. Did you know that supervised evening study halls are alive and well? Are your memories of Lower School study hall as vivid as mine? The questions are not as random as they may seem: I write you this evening from Salisbury’s supervised study hall room, where I am riding herd over 26 boys in still, humid, 80-degree air. I am surprised at how well they’re taking it. I don’t know that we were as well-behaved in the 1964-65 school year.”