Thursday, October 30, 2008

PA 1959 Class Notes
May, 2008
David Othmer

Top Ten Reasons Why You Should NOT come to our 50th Reunion, June 11-14, 2009.

Number 10: I’ve got Bad Memories of Andover. Bad memories? What bad memories! Face it, at our age, none of us can remember s---, no one ever really meant to tease you and Mr. ah, Mr. well, Mr. What’s-His-Name, deep down, he was a very nice guy who did those things just because he really cared.

Number 9: There were no girls there when I went there. Yeah, but put it in perspective—just a decade before we were there, you had to take Latin. Civilization advances a step at a time. Just be glad that even though you don’t know what in loco parentis means, PA was a way to get away from the parentis, and that was good. Ipso facto. (BTW, it means “my parents were crazy”).

Number 8: They tore down Will Hall. Yeah yeah yeah. You’re just mad just because they succeeded where we failed.

Number 7: They only want my money. No. They want your love and affection too. And, seriously, while you’ll be asked to support one of a few initiatives designed to improve the school—and the world—between now and the reunion, the sooner you give, the sooner the requests will stop, and no matter what you do, no one will ask you for money at the reunion. Not once. Promise.

Number 6: I can’t afford to come. Can’t afford a measly couple of hundred bucks? Do you know how much it costs to go to PA today? If for no other reason, come just to walk the Vista and say “I came here for $1400 bucks a year. Wow!” Besides, there will be a scholarship fund. Really.

Stay tuned for the top five reasons in my next class notes.

Reunion planning is in high gear. The two guiding principles for June 11-14, 2009, are: first, everyone who ever had any relationship to the class of 1959--four years or four days—should be at the reunion. We want 100 percent participation. And second, the goal of the reunion is to give us all many opportunities—informal and formal—to talk with each other about our lives, about how they have been influenced by the incredible changes—large and small—that we’ve seen in the world over the past 50 years, and our plans for the next 50. Details at

The activities, spread over four days, will range from an exhibition of our creative talents (organized by Quinn Rosefsky), to discussions of how our lives were shaped and often unexpectedly changed by large forces—from the Vietnam War, for example, to the Women’s Rights and Civil Rights Movements, Globalization and the fall of the USSR, or small forces—a job decision, or a wrong turn in a car, a casual meeting. There will also be golf outings, tennis, and squash, a Memorial service for the two and a half dozen of us who have died, and many, many opportunities to just sit and talk one-on-one or in small groups about Diz Bensley, Piggy Chase, Joe Namath, the rise of sushi, American Idol, Big Bird, and yes, the demotion of Pluto. Among others.

A huge number of people from the Andover and Abbot classes of ’59 have been working on these plans, (for a full list go to and we need you to help out in two specific and easy ways: first, call two people—your roommate and another friend—and make sure they come to the reunion, second, look at the list of deceased classmates and consider delivering a 30 second eulogy of one you knew well at the Memorial Service.

Bill Anderson reports that George Steers, both live in Seattle, has been an estate planning lawyer working especially on opportunities and problems of owners of closely held businesses. He’s been involved with a ton of non-profits, including the Seattle Library and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Bill, meanwhile, tells of trying, unfortunately unsuccessfully, to get in touch with Rusty Hale while playing in a bridge tournament in San Francisco last year. Bill—former generalist corporate lawyer for Unilever and Dairygold, a Seattle dairy coop—sails, plays squash, gardens, travels, consults/advises non-profits and more—check him out at under Bill. It was Bill, by the way, who pointed out that our lives were as affected by small changes as they were by large ones.

Lea Pendleton, also a lawyer, practices in the Boston area. Lea worked for a large firm in Boston until he got tired of the commute, and in 1994, with two friends, founded a small firm—which has grown considerably since then—that concentrates on high tech companies, specifically on the early stage issues that they and venture capital firms face such as dealing with corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, and patent issues. Lea is semi-retired, spending time with his wife Suzie who is in remission from a form of leukemia.

So get your essay and six worder for The Book to Bill Bell, make your plane reservations, check for updates both on the reunion itself, on The Phillipian 50 years ago, on various blogs, and on your and everyone else’s essays posted in the Pot Pourri section of the website. Did I mention that that was

Monday, February 11, 2008


PA 1959 Class Notes
January, 2008
David Othmer

The first order of business, of course, is our reunion—it’s gonna be great! For the latest details, go to, Paul Neshamkin and Alan Albright’s magnum opus bringing us all into the wired age. When you read these notes, the reunion will be a mere year away, and it’ll be time for you to do three things: first, scratch June 11-14 in indelible ink on your calendars; second, write your essay for the ’59 Class Book—the deadline for submissions is fast approaching; and third, continue to think of what it is that Andover does best that you want to encourage.

The Schedule. We’ll gather on the evening of the 11th for an opening reception where our many arts works—art defined very broadly—will be on display. Quinn Rosefsky has been working on this activity for some time, and the extraordinary range of objects and ideas that he’s accumulating will surprise you. Maureen and I are bringing—and making—the wine for the evening, and that may surprise you as well! Friday all day, and Saturday morning we’ll have a variety of activities—physical and mental—from which to choose. There will be sports events—golf, duh, and anything that can be done at the PA facilities; seminars, and, we hope, some hands on activity probably associated with one of the several initiatives our class will have gotten behind. The rest of the weekend will be a combination of ‘59er events and reunion wide events at various places on and off campus. Key people here are Quinn, John Doherty, and myself.

The Essay. Bill Bell and Suzie Stedman as you know, with help from Jim Hayman (see below) are putting together what promises to be a mold breaking book. With Jim’s help, they’re looking at new design approaches, integrating the Andover and Abbot entries, and, most importantly, encouraging us all to write something unexpected. There are a number of examples at—go there. Be inspired.

Encouraging PA. One of the most meaningful things we can do is to give PA the value of our 50 years’ perspective on life, and our thoughts on what PA can and should do more of. Since we know that one size won’t fit all in this area, we expect to give you a number of initiatives from which to chose, and, of course, we urge you to come up with ideas of your own. Key people here are Art Rogers, Hank Higdon, and Lee Webb. So there’s lots to do and think about—get going!

One initiative that is well under development is the Sustainability Initiative I alluded to in the last notes. Here is a note from the school about a recent related activity:

From January 25th through February 25th, PA and 31 other independent schools will compete in the third annual Green Cup Challenge (GCC). The goal of the competition is to educate our community about the environmental and economic impact of one’s actions with relation to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions by measuring reduction in campus electricity use. The school with the greatest reduction wins the cup!

In other news, an undated and enigmatic note from Les Cheek: “trip tracing voyage of Aeneas from Troy to Italy, and 16 day visit to Galapagos and Inca ruins.”

And now Jim Hayman:- What have I been doing for the past 40 to 50 years? Yikes, what a question.The short answer is mostly writing.The longer answer starts after I graduated from Brown and finished serving for six months in the Army Security Agency. At that point, I headed for Madison Avenue. From '64 to '95, I worked as a copywriter and creative director for several New York ad agencies, mainly at Young & Rubicam where I helped create print and TV campaigns for clients like P&G, Lincoln/Mercury, Advil, Merrill Lynch and the US Army ("Be All You Can Be") and a bunch of others.I left the agency business in '95. As Cormac McCarthy might have put it, New York ad agencies are No Country for Old Men. I spent the next five years writing freelance, mostly advertising and marketing pieces, from our home in Ridgewood, NJ. It was about at this point that I began thinking seriously about trying my hand at fiction. Meanwhile Jeanne and I were building what was originally intended as a summer-house in a beautiful spot we found on Peaks Island, Maine. The island is technically part of the city of Portland and just a short ferry ride away.In 2001, our youngest, Ben, started college at UVM. We sold the house in New Jersey and moved to Maine fulltime. The itch to write fiction was getting stronger but was again postponed when I accepted an assignment from Banknorth, a large regional bank headquartered in Portland, to write their history. The result was Taken at the Flood. a big, glossy coffee table book. This was followed by researching and writing a similar book for Maine Medical Center.The second book was finished at the end of '05. I'd just turned 65 and realized if I was ever going to take the plunge into fiction, it better be now. I started writing The Cutting in January of 2006 and completed a polished draft eighteen months later. I was lucky enough to land a really wonderful agent in New York, almost immediately.The Cutting is the first of what is planned as a series of thrillers featuring Portland homicide detective Michael McCabe who, like me, is a transplanted New Yorker. St. Martin's loved the book and the characters and made an offer to publish both The Cutting and a second book, which I plan to start writing in early 2008, in both hardcover and paperback versions.

So be well, start writing, and drop by anytime to

Thursday, July 19, 2007

PA59 Summer Class Notes

PA 1959 Class Notes
May, 2007
David Othmer

OK guys, time to get it together. Here are two printed alumni quotes—not hearsay, not phone calls, not even emails—from non-Andover, classmates of mine:1) “After publishing [a book about arthritis]…I’m now writing a murder mystery and teaching a course on genocide at Stanford.” And 2) “…two days after our honeymoon I departed…for three months in Karachi. My wife did not travel with me as she could not find proper care for her 11 year old miniature poodle…” Now really, why don’t I get material like that from you all? Could it be that hard? Are all your lives that spectacularly predictable? We did grow up in the fifties, I know, I know—

Reunion Update—less than two years away, and developing fast. After last fall’s get together at our house in Philadelphia, Bill Bell and his wife Barbara staged the “Second Annual Alan Albright fly-by-on-his-way-from-Florida-to-Canada” dinner. This year it was in Maine with Bill’s Abbot counterpart as coordinator of The (Reunion) Book, Suzy Stedman, along with Peter Moock, Jim Hayman (writing a novel) and his wife Jeanne, and Suzy’s classmate Tina Treadwell and Alan’s sister Suzie. Ted McCarthy was coming, but had to bail at the last minute, apparently because he got so carried away surfing the wonders of!

Just a couple of days earlier, half of our Denver area classmates—Doug Jenner, and Pepper Stuessy—and I had a great catch-up dinner in Denver They both looked great, and had each settled into very comfortable lives, Doug—who grew up in the Denver area—is now a real estate agent, Pepper a 12 month a year tax consultant. Log cabin update: Doug has now finished refurbishing five of the six, and is selling all but the one that he and Fran will keep to folks looking for weekend places close to Denver. He is instrumental in insuring that Denver’s old housing stock (“old” in Denver is pre-1940) is appreciated and valued as it should be. He showed me around his neighborhood which has a rich history of a community that successfully integrated in the 50s, not without a lot of effort on the part of the white residents there, supported by aggressive editorial support from the local newspaper. It was touch and go for several months, before settling into the healthy, vibrant integrated community it still is.

Pepper, after stints in the late 60s and early 70s with the Federal Reserve and the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington and a PhD in economics (which allowed him to call himself “Dr. Pepper”), headed west, loved Boulder, CO, and set up his own accounting firm, which has been going strong ever since, in no small part because of Bill Bell’s being one of his oldest and most loyal clients! Turns out we all have kids in their late 30s or early 40s, the food was good, and we were all happy to have finally gotten together.

Denver is a lovely city, by the way, with a new Leibeskind designed Art Museum that echoes the Rockies on the outside, and has some great art on the inside (the modern art and pre-Columbian collections are particularly wonderful). So even if you don’t need a new house or your taxes prepared, stop by!

Then on June 12th (after these notes were submitted) Art Rogers and Hank Higdon organized a lunch in New York attended by Garrett Kirk, Peter Foote, Mike Bassett, Giles Payne, Paul Neshamkin, Peter Pochna, Beck Gilbert, Jay Nelson, Sven Hsia and a couple of Andover people. We discussed how PA59 could help shape Andover’s future in an area such as China and globalization, having a “green” campus as a global warming initiative, and a couple of other areas—your suggestions are needed and wanted. .

Many of you reminisced about Dickie Thiras and Fred Stott. Tom Stirling put it well when he said “Andover won’t be the same without Fred Stott or Dickie Thiras. No one embodied the school more than those two.”

Finally, a note about Art Burnham. When we were at Andover, being from another country was so rare that it really didn’t mean much to us. I came to PA from Brasil, but Mom was from Michigan and Dad from Iowa so I really wasn’t a foreigner—ok, with that parentage at Andover in the fifties, I was a foreigner—“Iowa? Here in the east we pronounce that ‘Ohio’”. But we did have some bona-fide classmates who were born and grew up in other countries. Art Burham was one of them. And what a great experience it was to know him.
After an incredible rowing career at Andover, Cornell and Cambridge (he rowed in the fabled “The Boat Race” of 1965 in the winning Cambridge boat), Arthur defied British tradition and the odds by enrolling in the 10-year apprenticeship and technical training program as a perfumer in Grasse, France. His experience in Grasse led to being responsible for a major perfume company’s commercial operations in South Africa, Australasia and the UK. He subsequently created his own firm, developing fragrances for a large list of major companies.

Art died very suddenly on Sunday 29th April in the early evening, following complications from his last hospital admission.
Competitive rowing and perfumery appeared an incongruous combination. Only an outstanding character could pull both off with panache.

Fragrance was his Oxygen.

What’s yours?