Sunday, November 23, 2008

Cass Squire

To the Great Class of 1969:

I regret to tell you that I learned today that Cass Squire passed away last July. Cass contacted me in 2005 after I featured him in a class trivia quiz and stayed in touch periodically, most recently in January 2008 upon learning about Mr. Lambert’s death. At the time, Cass summarized what a number thought when he wrote, “Bryce may have been one of the more eccentric teachers I ever had (remember his "very" cutter?). He was one of the toughest. He was absolutely the best. Despite all the schools I went to all over the world, and a marvelous college in NH, he is the one teacher who has popped into my head on numerous occasions over the years. I still can't bring myself to ever put the word "very" on paper. The world has lost a great educator.”

One site on the internet I found described Cass as “a Distinguished Engineer in IBM's Global Business Services, specializing in BI and data integration architecture. He has more than 25 years of management and staff experience and has been involved in all facets of requirements analysis, data modeling, and database and applications systems design. A specialist in information systems architecture and all facets of data administration and metadata, Mr. Squire began using information engineering techniques for data-oriented design of large-scale systems in 1981.” When I located what I thought was an abstruse presentation he had made a few years ago at a conference on information resource management, Cass downplayed it and told me he had made many others over the years that he thought were more significant. Who would have thought that Mr. Lambert’s influence would have extended to metadata management in the information age?

Cass lived in San Mateo, CA and had two adult children.


11/25/11 Correction:  The Dartmouth Alumni Magazine reported that Cass was survived by his wife, a son and three daughters and that he died of melanoma.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Fall Term - 2008

To the Great Class of 1969:

School News

The fall term ends today, and the joy on Albany Road will be palpable. For a change, final exams were dispensed with this term. I'm not sure about the underlying logic, however, you need not be concerned that the Academy is letting the current generation wimp out. I have it on good authority that the teachers all tried outdoing themselves with their assignments, thereby making this term even more challenging than last year when there still were exams.

The current issue of The Scroll arrived this week and was dedicated to the election. While there was no mock election this year, there was much discussion about the election in classes, and The Scroll endorsed Obama. For a sense of how the mindset has changed since we roamed the campus our senior year, the results of a mock election in October 1968 were: Nixon 50%, Humphrey 38% and Wallace 12%.

For the sports-minded, varsity football improved its record to 6-2, losing only to Andover and to Hotchkiss. The team was more dominant than its record indicated since the average margin of victory was 28 points. The team managed to avenge last year’s loss to Choate with a convincing 31-7 win in the rain at Wallingford despite the fact that Choate had a member of the Deerfield Class of '08 as a PG. Boys Water Polo capped off an excellent season earlier this month by winning the New England Championship meet at Exeter.

Class News

Since I last wrote, Ed Grosvenor has joined Howie Carr and perhaps others in the Class who have earned recognition in Wikipedia. Earlier this month, Howie was one of eight broadcasters inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Chicago. You can catch Howie from 3:00-7:00 weekday afternoons on WRKO 680 in Boston. If you’re a little further south on I-95, you might tune in to WPKN 89.5 and see if you can pick up occasional host Steve Morley’s eclectic program.

Another change since I last wrote is that Todd Stone has updated his website where you can view his e-Gallery. Next month Todd will be displaying his work in an exhibition in Bucks County, PA where he and his family have had a weekend place for years.

When I last wrote, Rusty Young was in the midst of hosting a benefit concert by The Boss in advance of closing The Count Basie Theatre for the summer for renovations. The happy news is that the concert was a financial success and that the project was completed ahead of schedule and below budget. Rusty received recognition for his efforts in The New York Times earlier this month.

As I mentioned in my posting last June, Steve Esthimer released his CD When Cousins Marry several months ago, and it has received recognition in the UNC alumni magazine. Despite his newfound fame and fortune, Steve has advised me that he is not giving up his daytime job at Saint Mary’s where he has taught for more than 25 years. Another teacher in our class, Dave Suitor, was cited in the St. Mark’s School Newsletter this fall for his multi-media presentation to the school on the current global economic crisis, helping students understand what a Depression is and how such conditions develop.

On November 4th, Tom Merrigan was re-elected to the Governor’s Council for the 8th District of Massachusetts. Tom received 90,000 more votes than he did in 2006 and a greater percentage of the votes than the top of the Democratic ticket.

Sandy Weissent is in Ft. Myers, FL this week where he and the Windy City Fire baseball team are defending their national championship in the Roy Hobbs 55 and over tournament. Last month they finished second in the MSBL World Series in Phoenix. When not displaying his business turnaround skills or obvious baseball prowess, Sandy has led the Harvard Club’s Adopt-A-School effort and enlisted Harvard graduates and their friends to support the Walter Payton College Prep High School on the near north side of Chicago where one-third of the population lives at poverty level in its mission of “providing every student an educational experience that instills integrity and a lifelong love of learning” and the motto “We Nurture Leaders.” Good luck, Sandy, and remember to "Finish strong"!

On December 6, Charlie Olchowski has organized a home brewed beer competition in Old Deerfield. You can find the rules on the Valley Fermenters website. As you know from my prior postings, we also have a vintner in our class, Hank Wetzel, who runs family-owned Alexander Valley Vineyards. AVV produces 100,000 cases of varietal wines and proprietary blends annually. Seventy-five percent of AVV’s production is red wine. Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon constitute over one-third of total production.

The Reunion

In the event that you are in a state of denial that our 40th Reunion is on the horizon, you should know that since I last wrote Tom Ehrgood has agreed to serve as Program Chair. Mimi Morsman organized a conference call earlier this week to discuss the topic for the Saturday Class panel. John Lacey, as Attendance Chair, is developing a plan to ensure that we have a robust turnout. Please mark your calendars for June 12-14, and take advantage of the advance registration price break by clicking on the link to Deerfield Reunions beginning December 3.

Best wishes to all for a Happy Thanksgiving. I look forward to seeing you next June at our 40th.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

1969 - 40th Reunion


I hope this finds you well. Someone raised my hand to foster attendance at our 40th Reunion. And yes, the rationale is a mystery. I am committed nonetheless. Some of you may well have already decided to attend, and others will be there if other life commitments permit. This missive is intended for those with little interest yet in attending the reunion, and especially those who aren’t interested because they know for sure what Deerfield reunions are like. Even though they haven’t been to one. There is perspective for me to share.

By assembling a group of ten New York region 1969 alums for a dinner three years ago, we proved to ourselves, to our astonishment, that the bonding threads of long ago can oddly survive. Even with what may have been just a half-step above acquaintanceship then, there was some epoxy in the attachments, that continues. An almost immediate observation at the restaurant: “It looks like we will not eat, we will dine.”

Each time I’ve attended a reunion, I have found it well worth the trip, the time, and expense. It’s been fun and valuable seeing old friends – the several whom I’ve kept up with as well as the larger group where I’ve lost track over the years. The highest appreciation has been the opportunity to spend time with classmates whom I didn’t know particularly well, and to talk about life things: families, work, books, movies, travel, baseball, teens, music. As a group, our classmates are interesting, approachable and fun to be around. We generally don’t take ourselves too seriously. I even got a chance to be contrite and apologize to a friend in 1999 for something important, but small and ancient.

Some invariably remark that suffering was part of the experience. So be it. But just as we teach as parents, there is always a valid reference point in both good and bad examples, and we learn, and we value that. Where we once scoffed, we now have hoped to engrain some of the same values and attitudes in our children. Like being on time. Or competing proudly. Nobody exhibits zero benefit today. Nobody. I glance back at those days sometimes as four years of vitriol and vituperation intertwined with great education and memorable people, followed by years of increasing respect, and even warmth. Sort of the opposite of marriage, I would say. Some of you quite frankly intimidated me when we were in school. I find it’s a lot more facile to talk now than it was, say, to find words at Bryce’s or Sully’s table, or any other.

For me, Deerfield reunions have borne virtually no resemblance to college reunions as represented in popular culture. Even if someone wanted to, it’s logistically impossible to drive up in an impressive car, because the world has more than it used to, and few care. Mine has 172k miles on it right now, it will be more when I arrive next year. If it would fit, my vanity plate would read “TWO CUTE GIRLS IN COLLEGE AT THE SAME TIME.” If only that were about my social life, then or now. There’s little opportunity for anyone to talk about net worth. Few care either. There’s certainly a good bit of “Hey, remember the time we ……?”

Deerfield is not just one of the most beautiful schools on earth, it is still one of the most beautiful places on earth. In that, it is like Augusta National is to golf courses. Your wives are gonna love you, all the more. Try to forget any preconceived notions, and please think seriously about giving this one a try. Don’t be concerned about being unable to remember names. We’ve reached the point where that kind of recall may be a feat, and its absence no weakness. Being worthy of our heritage, there will of course be nametags. With large print. You may be checked-in. Just no “three meals as second-waiter” if you are late.

Since you may not get your 2009 Hooters calendars until Christmas, you will need to mark the weekend of June 12-14, 2009 in your cell phones (like I did with the assistance of a rented high school geek). Black Sharpie on the back of your hand will likely not last long enough. I confess freely I have a unique, and marginally self-centered mind set about this one: I will be marking (celebrate is not quite the right word) 43 years as a diabetic on June 12, 2009. I truly did not expect to be here. Maybe some of you are as lucky as I am. And so, there are fewer reunions left than there have been so far. It’s worthwhile. Let’s go. I look forward to seeing you.

Kind regards to all,

John Lacey

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Spring Term 2008

To the Great Class of 1969:

News of the Academy

Commencement ceremonies for the 209th graduating class were held on May 24th under picture-perfect conditions. The keynote speaker this year was Henry Morgenthau ’37 whose grandson was a member of the Class of 2008. In 1985 Mr. Morgenthau received the Deerfield Heritage Award which is given annually in recognition of that alumnus whose professional and personal achievements represent a special contribution to the betterment of society. Since 1974 Mr. Morgenthau has served as District Attorney for New York County.

The Academy announced the retirement of Jeff Louis ’81 and the selection of Philip Greer ’53 as Head of the Board of Trustees. After graduating from Princeton University and Harvard Business School, Mr. Greer co-founded Weiss Peck & Greer, a highly regarded pioneer in venture capital investing. The Greer Family Distinguished Teaching Chair honors the legacy of great teaching at Deerfield, and the Greer Store in the Gymnasium remains one of the favorite gathering spots on the campus.

The preliminary college results confirmed that Deerfield graduates continue to crowd into the same colleges. By my unofficial tally, while Deerfield graduates have enrolled in more than 150 colleges over the past ten years, half have enrolled in just 15 colleges. Brown remains the most popular school over that stretch, however, Georgetown is gaining ground and has overtaken Penn in second place. Students spread their nets wide this year, submitting an average of nearly 13 college applications. Of the 196 graduates, approximately 8-10 are considering a gap year.

Boys Varsity Lacrosse had another stunning year, missing a perfect season at Avon with a one goal loss in May. According to LaxPower, the team ranked second in New England and 19th in the country. The Deerfield Tennis program continues to rock: Girls Varsity went undefeated at 10-0, and JV wasn’t far behind at 8-1. Mr. Morsman’s Boys Varsity more than held its own, finishing 13-2. For those who are counting, Mr. Morsman completed his 48th year at Deerfield and is the longest serving Master other than, of course, the Boydens.

News of the Class

For at least the fourth consecutive year, the parent body at Commencement included representatives of the Class of 1969. This year Frank Henry’s daughter and Steve Sheresky’s son became alumni, bringing the total number of classmates whose children have graduated to 12. Steve and his wife Tapley headed the Senior Parents Committee this year which shattered all previous fundraising records by raising approximately $2.6 million for a new exercise facility to be constructed next year where the old squash courts are located.

Ben Walbridge wrote recently that the youngest of his children will be attending the University of California at Berkeley next year. If Ben makes it down to the boathouse, he’ll probably run into Eric Tompkins whose son was recruited to row at Berkeley a year ago.

Christian Liipfert completed his third BP MS150 bike tour from Houston to Austin in April under trying weather conditions. As you may recall from prior postings, Christian’s brother was diagnosed with MS several years ago, and Christian has been participating since then in this annual fundraising event. This year Christian raised approximately $4,000 for the cause from friends which BP matched.

In another act of generosity, Rusty Young hosted a benefit concert featuring The Boss in May. The sold out event netted over $3 million for the renovation of the Count Basie Theatre and also provided seating at no cost to 40 wounded New Jersey war vets who were bussed up by the military from Walter Reade Hospital for the event. Another Jersey Boy, AC Starkey, passed on a Deerfield Phonathon that night in order to hear Springsteen play Born to Run from start to finish. AC continues to be active in the Princeton community where he recently was named a trustee of the Morven Museum which showcases the cultural heritage of the Garden State.

In April, Folio Magazine published its list of 40 people to watch in 2009. Ed Grosvenor was singled out for having bought 75% of American Heritage “with the intention of reviving the magazine’s historic, literary roots”.

While visiting the Academy last month, I stopped in to see Mimi Morsman who is in charge of Deerfield Reunions as well as the Lambert memorial service. I am pleased to tell you that John Lacey, with assistance from Ben Walbridge, has agreed to head up attendance. In his most recent e-mail to me, Lacey indicated he is considering asking Mr. Merriam to check names off on a clipboard upon arrival next June 12th to make sure that everyone gets in the spirit of the weekend. You all will be hearing from John shortly. This year’s reunion will conclude with a service honoring the life of Bryce Lambert on June 15th at 10:30 in Memorial Hall. If you have been procrastinating, you may still be able to get a room at The Hotel Northampton (413-584-3100).

Class Trivia

Eric Tompkins and John Lacey correctly identified Marty Kaiser as the Mystery Classmate in my Winter Term Report Card.

Best wishes for the summer.


Friday, March 07, 2008

Winter Term 2007-2008

To the Great Class of 1969:

The Winter Term has ended to the relief of many, and the dramatic contrast with last year would have escaped notice had not the words “global warming” become a part of the public vocabulary. Without drawing any conclusions, you can see what how much the weather changed between my visits to campus over a two week period in the slide show to the right.

Academy News

Those members of the Class who swam on Mr. Boyle’s undefeated Varsity team during the 1968-1969 Winter Term (Herndon, Liipfert, Walbridge, Allen, Galuszka, Calder, Louis and Spitznagel) will be glad to know that this year’s Varsity team culminated its season by winning the 46th installment of the New England championships which were hosted at the Koch Natatorium. You can read all about it here.

On the college admissions front, 69% of the senior class applied under either an early action or early decision plan. Of the students who applied, 47% were admitted which means, if you’re following my math, that approximately two-thirds of the parents are probably now in a state of high anxiety. One of the most astonishing statistics in the annual college lottery is that all 14 early decision applicants to Penn were turned down. Over the last number of years, more Deerfield graduates have matriculated at Penn than at any other school except Brown.

Class News

Much of the Class appears to have spent the winter in hibernation, however, here’s what little I can report:

In case you haven’t visited Albany Road Redux since my report card on the Fall Term, you will find postings about Tee Johnson and Steve Esthimer, each of whom is featured in artistic releases. You can learn more about each by going to Tee-vita! and Shotgun Wedding on Albany Road. In other media news, Ed Grosvenor has published the first issue of American Heritage since buying control of the magazine and the related website last fall. A reviewer in The Washington Times wrote, “In its new life under the editorial directorship of Mr. Grosvenor and Executive Editor John Ross (a former senior editor of Smithsonian) American Heritage is both handsome and eminently readable. The winter 2008 issue is on newsstands and worthy bookstores.”

With politics much in the news, I have begun checking in with Classmates during the extended primary season. A few weeks ago I contacted Marty Kaiser who, as you know from past reports, is a big Poo-Bah in newspaper circles (as well as the editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Online) to get his prognostication on the Wisconsin primary. To his credit, Marty correctly forecasted the outcome but underestimated the margin of victory. Earlier this week I contacted Michael Buerger, our only Ohio representative, and Christian Liipfert from the Lone Star State, neither of whom, based on the actual results, need consider giving up their daytime jobs for political punditry. The next major stop for the Democrats is PA where we have half a dozen Classmates.

As our Massachusetts classmates may know, Howie Carr was in a contract dispute last fall over plans to move from WRKO-AM to a competing morning drive-time show. What you may not know is that Howie has a far wider following than simply New England which I recently discovered when I picked up a copy of The New York Post and found his column weighing in on Senator Kennedy’s Obama endorsement.

In February, Bill Morine, public information coordinator for the North Carolina American Radio Relay League, the US national organization of amateur radio operators, was appointed to lead the National Public Relations Committee.

In case you’ve been short sub-prime or are feeling particularly flush, Rusty Young has arranged for The Boss to host a one-time concert benefiting the Count Basie Theatre this spring. According to the announcement, VIP/Gold Circle Seats are available for the Springsteen concert on May 7th at prices ranging from $15,000 – 5,000 per seat. Classmates who have attended events in the past and are prime prospects include AC Starkey, Todd Stone, Larry Gottlieb, Mark Hall, Jim Lunt, Douglas Arnstein and John Davies.

I omitted to mention last fall that Lunt Silversmiths sponsored for the 17th year a golf fundraiser for the Baystate Franklin Medical Center, an acute care center in Greenfield. Jim Lunt, president of Lunt Silversmiths, commented, “I, too, am grateful for our hospital’s supporters. Thanks to them and to a great management team, Baystate Franklin Medical Center enjoys good health and thus can provide the same for all of us who live in this community.” The event raised $38,000.

Photo Trivia

After a real dearth of photos, I recently came across the picture on the left and, since I didn’t recognize at first the Classmate in question, thought others might be similarly puzzled. You can let me know who you think it is by e-mailing me at

Thanks to all who shared their remembrances in January about Mr. Lambert. A memorial service in his honor is planned at the Academy on Saturday, June 15th at 10:30 AM. Tell me if the hapless soul under Mr. Lambert's skeptical gaze in the photo doesn't look like Jim Lunt.

The Academy reconvenes on Easter, March 23rd for the beginning of Spring Term. Until then, best wishes to all.


Sunday, January 06, 2008

Goodbye, Mr. Lambert

Houlton, Maine is a town of 5,200 located at the end of I-95, 2 hours north of Bangor and on the border with New Brunswick. It is the seat of Aroostook County (know as “The County” to all in Maine), which is by far the largest county in the state and is known for forests, lakes, few roads, seemingly endless potato fields, the French language and border crossings into Canada. It is what Bryce Lambert referred to as “God’s Country”, and it is where he was born and where he died. He was in physical and mental decline at the end, and was a nursing home resident.

I made the trip to Houlton on January 4, 2008 with Rick Warren; native of Bangor, several generation owner/publisher of the Bangor Daily News, Deerfield class of ’63, and, according to Bryce Lambert, “not a very good croquet player”. Rick and Beth Warren had hosted a dinner for BVL a few years back that included his “scholars” Whitney Azoy ‘58 (former diplomat in Afghanistan), Jo Ann and Robert Clough ’69, and Republican Senator Susan Collins (BVL: “I am of course a democrat....”). We ALL addressed the honored guest as “Mr. Lambert” through the course of that evening.

Houlton is small enough so that we could interrupt a local citizen’s snow shoveling to obtain detailed directions to the funeral home, which is across from the town hall and looks and feels like a farmhouse. The thirty or forty in attendance were mostly members of his extended family but included 6 former students. A Deerfield banner was prominently displayed over the small box engraved with “Bryce Voter Lambert”, which was surrounded by miniature books of poetry, history and Shakespeare. Easels displayed photos of family, friends and students with Mr. Lambert, and a table held several notebooks of saved letters from former scholars. His L.L. Bean overcoat and his Brooks Brothers raincoat were on display. Prominent were photos of Mr. Lambert’s trip to Jordan, where he was royally hosted by former student King Abdullah II. Speakers included Jay and Mimi Morsman, 2 former students and members of his family. One of his nephews and a niece made it clear that Mr. Lambert’s teaching and style were also of great importance to many outside the Deerfield community. A eulogy was delivered by the local pastor. There was of course humor, but also heartfelt respect, love and sadness expressed. The pastor was careful to correct his grammar and eliminated every “very” from his talk. This was after witnessing a perforated essay held up by Marshall Peck ’70 showing the effects of the “very cutter”. It was a simple and brief gathering, but the representation by multiple generations of students from as far away as Missouri gave added meaning to the continued importance of Mr. Lambert in the lives of so many of us. I think he might have smiled.

When I arrived in Bangor in 1987 a letter from Mr. Lambert appeared welcoming me to “God’s Country” and telling me of the mermaids that he saw on his lawn on the coast. When I performed surgery on one of his older brothers Mr. Lambert appeared and gave glowing reports to my nurses about his former scholar (maybe because I was able to recite “Richard Cory” to him at his brother’s bedside). When I wrote my father’s obituary it was cut out and enclosed in a letter with compliments (and no corrections!) from Mr. Lambert. When his own health began to fail, he enclosed his medical reports for my opinion (which I doubt affected any of his decisions). When he told me of plans for his remains to be in the cemetery at Deerfield, he requested that former scholars recite poetry over the site, and promised to not correct us. When he died I was left with a profound sense of loss and a renewed appreciation for my good fortune at having been his student. More than anyone, he embodied for me all that was fine about the unique educational experience that is Deerfield Academy.

Robert A. Clough ‘69