P.A. 1964
Tom Seligson
15 Bradley Street
Westport, CT 06880
July, 1999

Our 35th reunion was, without question, an extraordinarily special occasion. Whatever contribution Paul Gallagher and I made to our class gathering was minor compared to the unpredictable events that made the weekend so memorable. The fabulous spring weather was a party planner's dream come true, and Stimson Hall provided a comfortable home for the 42 classmates who made their way back to campus. We came from as far away as Brazil (Alex Mizne) and Switzerland (Chip Nevius). Bruce Wylie traveled cross country from Seattle, Doug Everett flew up from Alabama, Randy Roden and Tory Peterson from North Carolina, Pete Schandorff from Missouri, and Pete Pfeifle came up from Texas for his first reunion ever. The weekend offered the usual schedule of lunches, dinners, lectures, and the traditional alumni parade from the Addison Gallery to the Memorial Gym. Despite how well we generally appear, every reunion we move inescapably down the line, closer and closer to those feisty gentlemen making up the Old Guard. Its gotten so it's not such a stretch to imagine ourselves carrying their banner. Double our years since graduation and we become them.

Perhaps it's this vivid awareness of the passing years, or that we are all at an age where we have nothing to prove, at least to one another, but after lunch on Saturday a remarkable thing happened. Doug Cowan organized a group encounter session at Stimson for classmates who wanted to discuss what was occurring in their lives. No wives or girl friends were invited. Though skeptical at first about how open we'd all be, the twenty-odd classmates who participated held nothing back. We talked about problems at work: the fact that younger men were breathing down our necks, and the fear that we could suddenly be replaced. Classmates told of being fired; others of being financially strapped. Another revealed that two suicides in his family had made him who he is today. Questions about money, values, and whether we had lived up to our expectations were all shared with a candor not revealed at any previous reunion. This extraordinary intimacy set the tone for the entire weekend. We were even at the receiving end of a faculty member's surprising revelations. Later on Saturday afternoon, Tom Lyons came by the dorm to visit. Tom is retiring this year, and feels a strong kinship for our class, which was the first he taught at Andover. Those of you, myself included, who recall Tom Lyons as a friendly albeit intellectually intimidating instructor will be surprised to learn that he was barely one step ahead of us, learning the curriculum just before he taught it. He also admitted to being intimidated by one of our own: namely John Hay. Tom gave us the ultimate compliment, saying that he considered our class one of the brightest he taught.

Hovering over the weekend, of course, was the question of whether or not George Bush would show up. He was campaigning in New Hampshire, and many felt he would drop by, adding an historic quality to the event; never before has a reunion class had a classmate in the midst of a presidential campaign. Rumors that George made a secret visit will remain unconfirmed; the press has besieged us enough already. But Paul Gallagher, veteran journalist Sam Allis and yours truly did get our hands on a confidential memo that was revealed at our Saturday night class dinner, and which will be published here for the first time. This "Class of '64 Only" document reveals the positions in the Bush Administration George plans to fill with those classmates who attended the reunion dinner (the fate of others will come at a later date.)

Here's the list: John Axelrod, always a model of behavior, will be Chief of White House Protocol. Rick Brock will leave lawyering in Vermont to become Ambassador to Upper Volta. Tim Wolf will abandon his criminal defendants for a similar position in Lower Volta. John Hay will be George's private bodyguard. Doug Everett will become Surgeon General. Doug Cowan, who has a great bedside manner, will be George's personal physician. Randy Roden will become Counsel to the President. Architect Don Grinberg will redesign the President's private office for private entertaining. And in the unlikely case that George finds himself in any Monica-like trouble, Tony Bryant, who's been known to keep vampire killers out of jail, will handle his defense. Fred Fay, who's in the chemical business, will be heading up the EPA. Paul Gallagher, who knows more about "legal" drugs than the rest of us, will be the new Drug Czar. Pete Pfeifle, George's golfing buddy, will be Ambassador to Iceland. Alex Mizne will be our representative to Nepal. Bruce Wylie will apply his skills at mime to the United Nations. Alan Rubenstein is our man at the Vatican. And the Semple brothers, who've been negotiating with one another for 53 years, will handle probably the world's toughest posts. Nat's going to Serbia, Bill to the soon-to-be-independent Kosovo.

George has selected Jay Heard to be Secretary of State. L.E. Sawyer will be the new Attorney General, and Bart Loomis is the chief spook of the CIA. Financial wizard Tory Peterson will head up the I.R.S. And I defy you to find someone better suited to run the FBI than Fran Crowley. Jim Lockhart will do for George what he already did for George's father: be the boss at the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. Dewey Fulton heads up the President's Council on Physical Fitness. John McCullough is the Chief Warden at the Federal Bureau of Prisons. John Volk is armed and dangerous with the ATF. Howie Cutler will use his WGBH experience to run the FCC. David "Howie" Reines is the White House Haberdasher (he still has a madras jacket from Andover days), Terry Trimble the keeper of the Presidential Seal, Tony Sapienza the new White House Chauffeur, Frank Holland the White House astrologer, Pete Schandorff will run the White House Travel Office, Randy Elkins will be Chief Party Planner, and Jack Sartore has passed all the tests to be head life guard of the White House pool. George has chosen Chip Nevius to be the new President of the World Wrestling Federation. There's never been a Secretary of Defense as beautiful as Jackie Eby, and George's most critical appointment, his running mate as Vice President, is none other than Larry Darby. As for George's Press Secretary, Sam Allis and I will share the job. I'll be on board when we're winning wars, and Sam will man the microphone should any scandals erupt.

Our 35th undoubtedly produced lasting memories for all who came. I'll remember that we enjoyed each other so much many stayed up past 2:00 AM on both nights. I'll recall the Semples, decked out in identical blue shirts and yellow ties, fresh from the Andover Shop, the Gallaghers and Lockharts dancing with the professionalism of Arthur Murray instructors, and how when Howie Cutler pulled out his guitar on Saturday night and sang "Mr Tambourine Man," Jack Sartore knew all the verses by heart. I'll remember Pete Schandorff's suspenders, Randy Elkins' laugh, and Frank Holland singing "Amazing Grace." I won't forget the closeness I felt for my classmates, and the accompanying depression I and others admitted feeling on Sunday when we all left to resume our lives.

But what will stick in my mind the longest is what happened after lunch on Saturday. A stooped old man from the class of 1929, celebrating his 70th reunion, came by Stimson to see if any one from our class remembered his son. His son was named Dave Townend. You may not recall, but Dave died of a car accident while at Yale. Jack Sartore hurried over to tell the visitor that Dave had been his roommate at Andover, and his fraternity brother in college. "I named my son after Dave," Jack told him. Jack told me later that he'd been thinking of Dave while driving down to the reunion. "I never was able to make his funeral, and I felt guilty about it for years." Frank Townend is 88, hard of hearing, and Jack couldn't tell how the news affected him. But the old man surely left with the reassurance that his son had not been forgotten. You see, even in death we mean a lot to each other. Take care.

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Last updated 13 July 1999