Spring 2008 Taft Bulletin

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Rising Global Temperatures?









How to Avoid Dangerous Climate Change

Manufactured Housing | Founding National Lampoon | S P R I N G

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B U L L E T I N Spring 2008 Volume 78 Number 3


Bulletin Staff Director of Development Chris Latham Editor Julie Reiff Alumni Notes Linda Beyus Design Good Design, LLC gooddesignusa.com Proofreader Nina Maynard Mail letters to: Julie Reiff, Editor Taft Bulletin The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A. ReiffJ@TaftSchool.org Send alumni news to: Linda Beyus Alumni Office The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A. TaftBulletin@TaftSchool.org Deadlines for Alumni Notes: Summer–May 15 Fall–August 30 Winter–November 15 Spring–February 15 Send address corrections to: Sally Membrino Alumni Records The Taft School Watertown, CT 06795-2100 U.S.A. TaftRhino@TaftSchool.org 1.860.945.7777 TaftAlumni.com The Taft Bulletin (ISSN 0148-0855) is published quarterly, in February, May, August, and November, by The Taft School, 110 Woodbury Road, Watertown, CT 06795-2100, and is distributed free of charge to alumni, parents, grandparents and friends of the school. All rights reserved.

This magazine is printed on recycled paper.

Taft Bulletin Spring 2008

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The Parody’s the Thing........................... 18 National Lampoon cofounder Henry Beard ’63 has made a name for himself making fun of just about everything. By Sarah Albee

How to Avoid Dangerous Climate Change..................................... 24

If global temperatures continue to rise, the risk of potentially catastrophic impacts increases greatly. By Amy Lynd Luers ’84

This Is My Home..................................... 28 The Challenges and Opportunities of Manufactured Housing Story and photos by Adam Rust ’87


Letters.................................................... 2 Alumni Spotlight.................................... 3 Around the Pond.................................... 9 Sport....................................................... 16 By Steve Palmer

From the Archives.................................. 72 The Talk of the Town, 1936

On the Cover: Global Warming? Amy Lynd Luers ’84 helps us make sense of the legislation Congress is debating and which laws really will help us avoid dangerous climate change (see page 24). Miquel Zueras/Getty Images

Taft on the Web Find a friend’s address or look up back issues of the Bulletin at TaftAlumni.com For more campus news and events, including admissions information, visit TaftSchool.org

j Why have a prom in the spring when you can get snowed on heading to the Winter Formal? Joe Dillard ’09 was among the many students attending the annual event. For more information, see page 12.

What happened at this afternoon’s game? Visit TaftSports.com Don’t forget you can shop online at TaftStore.com 800.995.8238 or 860.945.7736 Taft Bulletin Spring 2008





From the Editor

Some of you may remember our coverage of spring break trips offered by Taft in recent years—and March was just as busy this year. In addition to the Collegium tour that Bruce Fifer has been organizing for the last decade or more, TJ Thompson took the jazz band to perform on Beale Street in Memphis. The Orphanage Outreach trip to the Dominican Republic is in its fourth year, and last year’s leadership and democracy-in-action program to South Africa was so popular that it was repeated this spring as well (see inside back cover for photos). Of course spring training is as popular as ever (and a number of students managed to participate in both kinds of trips) with baseball, lacrosse and crew all traveling to Florida for a few days of good weather to jump-start the season. This issue includes a wrap-up of the winter season, but if you want to see how the spring teams are coming along, please check out TaftSports.com. Taking a cue from my brother-inlaw Henry Reiff ’71 (see “Going Back Home,” fall 2007) I was able to spend a few hours hanging drywall in the Upper Ninth Ward while attending an alumni magazine conference in New Orleans in March. Although we weren’t able to finish much in a short period of time, it was powerful to see such an infamous place firsthand, even so long after Katrina. And I also gained a newfound appreciation for how service-oriented trips can open our students’ eyes and add more to their education than we could ever do on campus. And the trips don’t end here. In June, another group will head to Guatemala to help in community projects there—not to mention the Page and Poole Fellows and Kilbourne Arts Fellows, who are busy planning their summer. The learning never ends. —Julie Reiff

Taft Bulletin Spring 2008

Cum Laude? The attitude of the school to the fact that all Cum Laude inductees were girls seems to be one of mild indifference, if not amusement. I find it downright distressing. What’s happening to our boys? —John W. Elder ’45

At the Wade All the guys at the Wade House (winter Bulletin, page 68) are from the Class of ’65, not ’60. Since we could not smoke until we were seniors, this photo must be 1964 or ’65. The person standing is Derek McDonald; Charlie Jacobson is smoking the cigar. —Guy Hatfield ’65

Regarding Study Hall During my tenure at Taft, mids and lowermids were required to spend their free periods there (see winter issue, page 32), I believe without exception during class time, but if their grades were good enough, they could skip the afternoon 5:15 to Vespers and night 7:00–8:30 ones, but they were required to be in their rooms. As I recall, the library was not an acceptable place to be. For uppermids and seniors, if your grades were bad enough, and mine were almost the entire time, you had to attend study hall. They had to really be bad to have to go during class time on your free periods, but I spent most afternoon and evenings in study hall rather than in my room. The lowermids sat to the front and mids in the rear half. There were assigned desks. And, yes, we wore coat and tie to each and every one. The big joke was to steal an alarm clock and either put it in a drawer in

Taft Trivia

the master’s desk or under the platform and set the alarm to go off during the study period. Apparently, study hall duty was rotated among the more junior masters. I found I could daydream just as well in study hall as in my room. I taught myself the Greek alphabet from the back of a trig table book one period instead of studying what I needed to be studying. I do still remember it. Where were the exams administered when Mr. Potter co-opted the study hall? We had all the exams with the famous little blue books in that room—bar none. —Tommy Hickcox ’57

A Good Soaking In the picture of students shoveling snow (page 68) the caption indicates that this was part of the Job Program. In my day, 1945–49, it did not include any outdoor work—especially not snow shoveling which could not be anticipated two weeks in advance. My guess is that these boys were shoveling snow instead of participating in their required athletics that day. We had to play either football or soccer in the fall; hockey, —continued on page 35

Love it? Hate it? Read it? Tell us!

We’d love to hear what you think about the stories in this Bulletin. We may edit your letters for length, clarity and content, but please write! Julie Reiff, editor Taft Bulletin 110 Woodbury Road Watertown, CT 06795-2100 or ReiffJ@TaftSchool.org

Can you name Taft’s legendary hockey coach who earned the nickname “Winter God”? If you need a hint, check out the photo on page 34. Send a card or e-mail to the address above with your answer. A Taft luggage tag will be sent to the winner, whose name will be drawn from all correct entries received. It looks like the multiple-choice question from last issue was still too difficult for most readers. The Parents’ Association Field House, which neighbors Rockefeller football field, was built in 1938. I hope more of you will play Taft Trivia this time!

j Steve Erlanger ’70, in the old city of Jerusalem, gets ready to move to Paris after four years in the Middle East as New York Times bureau chief. Rina Castelnuovo

From Jerusalem to Paris The first piece Steve Erlanger ’70 wrote as Jerusalem bureau chief for the New York Times was about a roadside bombing, and there’s been no shortage of news in the four years since: the death of Yasser Arafat, Ariel Sharon struggling for life after a massive stroke, Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, and Hamas’ victory in the Palestinian elections. As he packed for the move to become the paper’s Paris bureau chief, National Public Radio’s “Talk of the Nation” asked Steve about the chance for a peace agreement. “There’s a long way to go,” Steve said, “Peace is not coming soon, I promise.” Despite that sober summary, Steve offered this observation: “Gaza is fascinating, something new in the world,” he said. “It’s a semistate, it’s semi-occupied and it’s in the control of a group that by the U.S. and the European Union and Israel is considered a terrorist group…. Gaza seems to be pulled apart from the West Bank, so it’s making the idea of a future of a

Palestinian state, which George Bush favors, seem more divided, farther away.” Steve was interviewed on Open Source back in January about George Bush’s legacy in the Middle East: “Whatever you thought of the Annapolis meeting, the United States snapped its fingers and within a week got 49 countries to come to Washington, including the Saudi foreign minister and the Syrian deputy foreign minister. That was power,” said Steve. “That power has not disappeared. George Bush may be considered—particularly at home—a weak figure, and abroad he may be hated by many people. But this notion that American power is down the drain is simply wrong.” Steve got his start in professional journalism as a correspondent for the Boston Globe while still a teaching fellow at Harvard. He joined the Times as a metropolitan reporter in 1987, but soon became Bangkok bureau chief and has since served as Moscow bureau chief (the post he held when Barclay Johnson

’53 interviewed him for the spring 1995 Bulletin), chief diplomatic correspondent in Washington, bureau chief for Central Europe and the Balkans and Berlin bureau chief. Is it depressing to report from the Middle East? NPR asked. “It’s also enthralling,” said Steve. “I like reporting from places where there are real problems, not just whether you have a latte or something. People live at an edge. The Palestinians have enormous problems and yet they are willing to talk to you, they’re hospitable. The Israelis have real enemies in the region but they’re very talkative and eager. It’s a fascinating story; it’s just not one that’s going to end very quickly. What depresses me sometimes is feeling that when it’s not going anywhere quickly, that I’m just cataloging useless death. That is depressing.” To listen to these interviews, or read recent articles by Steve, or any, in fact, from his two decades with the New York Times, visit TaftAlumni.com for the links. Taft Bulletin Spring 2008

Connecting the Dots Before heading to college, classmates Dan Furman, Willy Oppenheim and Nick Smith ’04 took a year “on” and went to India for three months. “We returned home with a raised awareness of how little it takes to change someone’s world,” says Willy, “and how much material wealth surrounds us.” As volunteer English teachers at a small school in Dharamsala, they learned the power of “connecting the dots.” The school was a hub of different community-service projects, all driven by volunteers from India, Tibet, Europe and the U.S. Traveling to other parts of India, they came across innumerable projects they also wanted to support. “On our last day, we met Omprakash, an old gentleman who suffered a severe stroke 30 years earlier and now lived at the Mother Teresa Home for the Dying and Destitute in Delhi, where six nuns care for 300 physically and mentally disabled residents,” Willy explains. “Living conditions were far from what we would call ideal, but

Omprakash told us that he felt like he was in paradise, simply because the nuns had been so kind to him.” By letting the voices of people like Omprakash resonate among their friends and families, Dan, Willy and Nick hoped they could share the sense of humility and gratitude that this man inspired in them. So they returned to the U.S. and started writing letters. Deciding to focus primarily on projects involving education, the trio embarked on a six-week research trip in 2006 to visit more than 20 schools in Tibet, funded by grants acquired through Johns Hopkins and Bowdoin College. “We are also working to connect the dots by directing volunteers toward schools around the world that have expressed the need for native English speakers to help teach the language,” Willy says. “We do not offer any sort of guide service that will escort travelers to and from their volunteer opportunities; we offer advice and encouragement to young Americans looking to broaden

their perspectives by entering a foreign community and forging relationships without the filter of an organized travel group. We strongly believe that this effort of ours will be eye opening and intensely educational for both American volunteers and the foreign communities they will serve.” The original group has now been joined by Gordon Guthrie ’04, Ashley Moore ’05 and former Taft English teacher Steve Le. Their largest donation to date is $10,000 to help fund an afterschool center near Cape Town, South Africa, but they have also supported diverse projects in India, Nepal, Tibet, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, Cambodia. “The thing I want people to understand,” says Willy, “the thing that excites me most, is that our website (omprakash.org) has become a selfgenerating network of relationships through which Americans can find ways to help meet the needs of different grassroots educational projects around the world.” j Willy Oppenheim ’04, Dan Furman ’04, Nick Smith ’04, in the mountains above Mcleod Ganj in Himachal Pradesh in northern India, got the idea for their nonprofit Omprakash while volunteering in the country during a year off. Courtesy of Omprakash

Taft Bulletin Spring 2008

j Through Girls on the Run, Tracey Cahill Early ’96, right, coaches Isabela Caetano, 10, who could barely run a mile when they started. She now regularly jogs three. “She went from being really shy to being a leader,” adds Tracey. Courtesy of Fitness Magazine

Girls on the Run “I began running with my dad when I was 11 years old,” Tracey Cahill Early ’96 told Fitness magazine in February, “and am grateful for all that it’s given me.” Tracey is now executive director of Girls on the Run Manhattan, a division of GOTR International, a nonprofit group that helps preteens develop healthy lifestyles through running, which she launched back in 2006 with six participants. There are now more than 200 girls enrolled.

Squash and Ivy

Volunteers serve as role models to the girls through coaching a 12-week, 24-lesson curriculum that addresses all aspects of girls’ development—their physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual well-being. “I’ve never seen anything more beautiful than the expressions of pride, confidence and strength as those girls cross the finish line!” adds Tracey. For more information, visit girlsontherun.org

A number of alumni reunited on the courts in New Haven last November for the annual Ivy League scrimmage that kicks off each season. From left, Sydney Scott ’06 (#2 at UPenn), Alastair Smith ’05 (Harvard), Supriya Balsekar ’04 (Harvard captain), Taft coach Peter Frew ’75, Michael Shrubb ’06 (Dartmouth), McKay Claghorn ’07 (Cornell), Alisha Mashruwala ’07 (#2 at Harvard as a freshman).

The Mayor is In

Maplewood, New Jersey, had a meet-and-greet reception in February for their new mayor, Ken Pettis ’74, followed by an informal question and answer session. With a population of 24,000, the township is located in Essex County, just 15 miles from New York City. Although Ken was elected to the five-member township committee in 2003, he is the first black mayor in Maplewood’s 84year history. Still, he pointed out that it would be even more historic if race did not even need to be mentioned. “While I am not so naive to believe that we are there yet, I do believe that we here in Maplewood may be as close to Dr. King’s dream as anywhere in America,” he told the Newark Star-Ledger, “even though we, too, have a ways to go.” Ken, a native of Chicago, began his public service in Maplewood about 15 years ago, when he decided something had to be done about various issues affecting his neighborhood. “That experience demonstrated to me that, at least in this town, a group of concerned citizens together with a responsive government really can make a difference.” A graduate of Brown and former trustee at Taft (1999–2003), he and wife Karen have two children, Kendra ’06 and Kristian. Taft Bulletin Spring 2008

Alumni Puck Time More on George

Harlow Unger ’49 has been named Mount Vernon’s distinguished visiting fellow of American history for 2008. As such, he will deliver three talks there—on June 17, September 16, and November 18—on “The Hidden Genius of George Washington.” His most recent book, America’s Second Revolution: How George Washington Defeated Patrick Henry and Saved the Nation, describes the struggle among the Founding Fathers over how to govern themselves and their countrymen following independence from Britain. Harlow is the author of 15 books, including The Unexpected George Washington: His Private Life and the awardwinning biography Lafayette. “His talent for delving into little-known aspects of the personalities and character of historical figures makes him an incredibly compelling speaker and scholar,” said Mrs. Shepard Ansley, regent of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association, the country’s oldest national preservation organization, which owns and operates Washington’s home. “George Washington did far more than lead America’s Revolutionary War,” says Harlow. “He was also the father of our Constitution and architect of our system of government, which revolutionized the world by entrusting citizens with rights never before granted to ordinary people in the annals of man.” For more information, visit mountvernon.org. Taft Bulletin Spring 2008

Twenty-eight players took the ice in the annual Alumni vs. Alumni Hockey Game in Odden Arena on February 9. Red beat white 5–3, with Matt Donaldson ’88 sneaking in a final goal before the buzzer. Before dropping the puck, the group took a moment to remember Scott Richardson ’82, a faithful alumni game participant for many years who passed away in June.

m Front, from left, Brian Grady ’96, Mike Erensen ’00, Christian Jensen ’01, Eric Turgeon ’97, Eric Hidy ’93, Jonathan Lieber ’91, Jeff Overman ’97, Courtney Wemyss ’78, Jerry DeLeo ’82, John Long ’88; standing, Headmaster Willy MacMullen ’78, Sean Coakley ’97, coach Danny Murphy, Sean Bennett ’09, Matt Donaldson ’88, Mike Aroesty, Dougie Freedman ’88, Tim Cooney ’90, Gary Rogers ’83, Jordy Davis ’91, Larkin Glazebrook ’76, Chris Watson ’91, Paul Stancs ’79, Tucker Cavanaugh ’86, David Wood ’69, Casey Archer ’86, Paul Kessenich ’88 and Pete Maro ’83.

Remember Madame Butterfly?

After a year with Vancouver’s Ballet British Columbia—where she was featured in work by John Alleyne, Crystal Pite, Paul Taylor, Twyla Tharp and Martha Graham—dancer Tara Lee ’93 is back with Atlanta Ballet, which she joined in 1995 and where she recently played the lead in Romeo and Juliet. “I got to experience a whole new perspective on my art,” says Tara of her time in Vancouver. “I was given the chance to perform different repertoire and to work with some very talented artists.” Although she has undertaken some professional choreographic work, in-

cluding two pieces performed by the Atlanta Ballet and a commissioned piece she created on Emory Dance Company in 2004, dancing has obviously kept her busy since 2002, when she was last profiled in the Bulletin (summer 2002, “A Butterfly Takes Flight”). “Dancing itself has remained my top passion,” adds Tara, “and I’m so grateful to have enjoyed a long career.” “This whole year has been incredibly rewarding,” she says. The company recently completed its performances of Romeo and Juliet, which was a personal highlight for Tara, who adds, “Whatever we’re working on at the moment is my favorite. When you commit yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually to what you’re doing, it’s hard not to love it.” This spring, the company performed two contemporary classics: Twyla Tharp’s In the Upper Room, and George Balanchine’s Serenade. They finished out the season with a collaboration with Big Boi of the famous hip-hop duo Outkast in April. For more information, visit AtlantaBallet.com. b Tara Lee ‘93 as Juliet in Atlanta Ballet’s recent production of the Shakespeare classic. Charlie McCullers.

In Print

Everything But the Kitchen Sink: What Every Modern Woman Needs to Know Francesca Beauman ’95 Simon & Schuster, 2007

Twenty-first-century women are called upon to perform any manner of tasks, recall even the most random bits of information and all the while carry on a charming conversation. Thankfully, from historian and British television personality Francesca Beauman comes this indispensable and authoritative survival guide that will

allow women to tackle any problem and work any party with ease, style and grace. Everything But the Kitchen Sink is a compendium of delightfully witty facts, figures, diagrams, lists, charts, quotes and practical advice. True, you may not ever need to know how to roast a hedgehog, treat a shark bite, or say

“No, thank you. Please leave me alone” in Russian. But isn’t it good to know you can? Fran divides her time between London and Los Angeles. Her book, Pineapple, King of Fruits, was published in 2005. For more information, visit her website, aniaandfran.co.uk.

Hispaniola: A Photographic Journey through Island Biodiversity Eladio Fernández ’85 et al Foreword by E.O. Wilson Harvard University Press, 2007 A Dominican-based conservationist and photographer, Fernández is documenting the efforts of a distinguished team of international scientists as they unravel the workings of evolution being played out on the island of Hispaniola. At 40 million years, Hispaniola (home to Haiti and the Dominican Republic) is far older than the Galápagos. Its considerable age,

along with a diversity of habitats, makes this island one of the most spectacular, if poorly understood, troves of biota on the planet. The extraordinary richness of species, much of it endangered and yet to be described, is showcased here in nearly 400 spectacular photographs. The photos are accompanied by essays—in English and Spanish—that make known

the Hispaniolan fungi, plants, and animals by the experts who know them best. What Fernández captures here so vividly is not just the amazing variety of living creatures that have erupted in evolutionary isolation, but the urgency of scientists racing to give that variety a name before it vanishes.

This is My Home: The Challenges and Opportunities of Manufactured Housing Adam Rust ’87 Carolina Academic Press, 2007

Housing of choice or housing of last resort? Manufactured housing is both. Importantly, it is home for millions of Americans. Through photos and interviews of residents in land-lease communities, This Is My Home acknowledges that

problems confront manufactured housing and suggests that hope lies in the examples made by the work of innovative nonprofits across the country. It will leave a reader with a new sense for how manufactured housing can be an asset in

combating our nation’s affordable housing crisis. Adam, a photojournalist, is director of research at the Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina. (Read excerpts on page 28.)

The Adventures of Isabel

Ogden Nash, Illustrations by Bridget Starr Taylor ’77 Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2008 Meet Isabel, a remarkable girl (based on Ogden Nash’s own daughter) who encounters four fearsome foes and doesn’t worry,

scream or scurry. Courage, spunk and a lot of humor help make Isabel’s adventures something you’ll share over and over again. Listen to

Ogden Nash read the poem on the accompanying CD. Bridget’s beautiful watercolor paintings bring the poem vividly to life. Taft Bulletin Spring 2008

In Print

Crime, Jews, and News: Vienna 1895–1914 Daniel Vyleta ’92 Berghahn Books, 2008

Crimes committed by Jews, especially ritual murders, have long been a staple of anti-Semitic invective. Through the lens of criminality this book provides new insight into the spread and nature of anti-Semitism in

Austria–Hungary around 1900. It also provides a re-evaluation of the phenomenon of modern ritual murder trials by placing them into the context of wider narratives of Jewish crime. Dan is the son of Czech refu-

gees who emigrated to Germany in the late 1960s. He holds a PhD in history from Cambridge University, and lives and works in Berlin. The book is volume 8 of a 10-part series on Austrian and Habsburg Studies.

ship with a street orphan named Anders and his budding love for his upstairs neighbor, Sonia. As the action hurtles toward catastrophe, the hunt merges with one for the truth about the novel’s protagonist: Who exactly is Pavel Richter? Peopled with pimps, prostitutes, spies and a gang of child thieves, Pavel & I explores the power of storytelling to wrest meaning from the wreckage of civilization. An electrifyingly suspenseful novel

played out among the first salvos of the Cold War, Pavel & I is a literary debut that introduces a writer of brilliant imagination and virtuosity. “Vyleta conjures a convincing postwar Berlin in all of its moral ambiguity,” writes Publishers Weekly. Booklist writes, “Vyleta pens an intricately creative tale.... This novel charges through a frigid winter and an equally chilling political adventure.” This is Dan’s first novel.

Pavel & I

Daniel Vyleta ’92 Bloomsbury, 2007

Set during the winter of 1946–47, one of the coldest on record, Pavel & I unfolds against the tattered social fabric of postwar Berlin. Pavel Richter, a decommissioned GI, finds himself at odds with a rogue colonel in the British armed forces and a Soviet general when an American friend deposits a dead Russian spy in his frozen apartment. The race to take possession of the dead spy’s quarry soon begins threatening Pavel’s friend-

MUSIC The Flame You Follow Jason Spooner ’91 Falcon Ridge Productions, 2007 Armed with a sound and clarity of purpose that can only result from countless live shows and years of ensemble performance, the trio, fronted by Jason and rounded out by Andy Rice (bass) and Reed Chambers (drums), quietly entered a small rural studio in the dead of the Maine winter and set to work. “We all felt the same need to build this record from the ground up,” says Jason, “around the core sound of the band.” “Spooner’s roots-rich contemporary folk sound stretches far and wide,” writes reviewer Jim Kirlin. “He filters through his folk, blues, Taft Bulletin Spring 2008

soul, funk, rock, and even classic singer-songwriter influences, giving them all a place at the table. His songs belie a sharp-tooled craftsmanship on the writing side, yet wash over the listener with fluid finesse.” The maturity and strength of his debut album, Lost Houses, quickly began to turn the heads of fans and critics alike. Jason also won the International finals of the 2007 Mountain Stage New Song contest in New York City and was honored as a national finalist in the 2007 Starbucks Music Makers competition in Boston.

For more photos or information about events on campus, please visit TaftSchool.org.

Around the pond by Joe Freeman

Democracy in Action Students in Rachael Ryan’s AP Government classes awakened long before the first bell on January 7, to pile into buses and take a three-hour journey to New Hampshire, where they became first-hand witnesses to presidential politics on the eve of the nation’s first primary. Students spent the day attending rallies for Senator John McCain and Senator Hillary Clinton. Given their age and exuberance, many of them were asked to fill coveted places on the risers behind candidates.

As pictures of Tafties streamed out on CNN, MSNBC and the New York Times website, Taft students witnessed the energy, spirit and subtle imagecrafting that lies at the center of a major political campaign. Ryan described the event as “one of the most exciting races in recent history and a once in a lifetime opportunity to see, hear and meet Hillary Clinton and John McCain.” Harrison Siegel ’08 noted the “unbelievable response that people had when they saw the candidates. It showed

me that as long as people cared, no matter who the president is, our country will have a chance to succeed. It was also enlightening to see how money affects a campaign, from Hillary’s polished and controlled rally to McCain’s impromptu speech on the steps of a courthouse.” “Listening to the candidates’ speeches,” said senior Emily Gumbulevich, “made me realize how much the next president’s term will affect my life as I heard the vast changes that both senators hope to make in the next four years.”

j Seniors Carissa Bloosom and Fei Zheng meet Senator Hillary Clinton during the New Hampshire Primary. Taft Bulletin Spring 2008

Seniors Maggie Hutton and Shanika Audige play spinster sisters in the winter production of Arsenic and Old Lace, along with Charlie Fraker as their nephew “Teddy Roosevelt.” Peter Frew ’75

Jury-rigged Jig

The Jigger Shop set up temporary quarters in February in a corner of the dining hall while the student union and snack bar in the Arts and Humanities Wing underwent much-needed renovations. Sandy and Marty, above, expect the Jig to be back in operation in its regular quarters by the start of summer school. Peter Frew ’75 10 Taft Bulletin Spring 2008

The Weird Sisters Taking full advantage of a wonderful cast of veteran actors, drama teacher Helena Fifer directed and produced a three-night run of the classic comedy Arsenic and Old Lace over February Parents’ Weekend. The play, written in 1939 by Joseph Kesselring, takes place in a boarding house run by Martha and Abby Brewster (Shanika Audige ’08 and Maggie Hutton ’08). In addition to looking after their nephew Teddy (Charlie Fraker ’08), who believes himself to be Theodore Roosevelt, they provide a final resting place for their lonely boarders. When the true nature of their hospitality is uncovered by their nephew Mortimer (Max Jacobs ’08), he becomes embroiled in an effort to protect his aunties and his fiancée, Elaine Harper (Madeline Bloch ’08). When his brother Jonathan (Brendan Maaghul ’08), a serial killer disguised as Boris Karloff, returns to the house to hide from the law, the conflict driving this dark comedy is fully exposed. From an elaborately designed set

that evokes a boarding house frozen in late-Victorian Brooklyn to a wildly popular ensemble cast, including the scraggly Mr. Gibbs (Matthew Ale ’08) and the aspiring playwright Officer Brophy (Samuel Fifer ’11), the production received numerous accolades from parents, students and faculty. Ms. Fifer enjoyed the challenges of putting on the production, noting the comedy’s darkness as a significant departure from the farcical comedies put on in years past. The actors also enjoyed the change. Maggie described her role as “really fun” and noted that “the entire cast really seemed to fit into their parts.” Charlie Fraker added, “I couldn’t have asked for a better group of kids to work with for my final Taft production.” Brendan explained that the production gave him his first experience in playing a major role onstage, noting that “you could see the results of the hard work you put in when people come to the show and enjoy themselves.”

Yee-Fun Yin

Sounds of Afrika “Nguzo Saba!” This Swahili term, meaning “seven principles” and referring to the seven principles of Kwanzaa, rang out from the stage of Bingham Auditorium as the drum and dance troupe Sounds of Afrika performed for the Taft community in January. The group, founded in 1995 by Kojo Bey, Abishai Ben Reuben and Deborah Calhoun and dedicated to promoting and sharing African and African-American culture in schools and communities, has performed nationally and internationally in schools and at cultural festivals. The members of the troupe have diverse backgrounds in the arts and have studied African drumming and dance techniques extensively. They stress the importance of developing unity and respecting all cultures through their performances.

In addition to performing for the school community, Sounds of Afrika offered dance and drum workshops for groups and classes throughout the day. “I had never participated in a drum circle before,” said dance teacher Elizabeth Barisser, who organized the troupe’s visit, “in spite of having invited Kojo to many venues and watching him conduct one. The drum circle was the most intensely communal experience I’ve ever participated in outside the realm of dance—the power of creating a collective rhythm, the sense of purpose, the knowledge that my small rhythm mattered.” Students also found inspiration in the workshop experience. “It showed me how beautiful it is when a big group works as one to make beautiful sound,” said senior Louise Trueheart.

Bailey Fowlkes ’09 called the workshop “really powerful for me, and I was overcome with the sense that I was participating in an important tradition from another culture.”

A Romantic Interlude On Valentine’s Day, Taft hosted the 60-member Radcliffe Choral Society, the renowned women’s choir from Harvard University, for a free concert in Walker Hall. The group came to Taft in preparation for a performance for the American Choral Directors

Convention in Hartford, and the concert was arranged through the efforts of the group’s business manager, Antonia Fraker ’04. One of the oldest women’s choirs in the nation and highly acclaimed for its worldwide tours, the choir boasts a dynamic rep-

ertoire that ranges from Renaissance to contemporary arrangements. In addition to performing for the community, the group spent an evening on campus, eating in the dining hall, visiting with students and touring the campus.

Taft Bulletin Spring 2008


Peter Frew ’75

Yeah, Baby! The Class of 2008 hosted the Winter Formal at the Farmington Marriott in February. This year’s theme was “Austin Powers,” and students piled into buses in the midst of a furious snow squall to dance the night away to big band and DJ music. The school monitors poured significant amounts of time and energy in decorating the hotel in modish fashion, and many

students embraced the theme, bringing out their best velvet suits, ruffled shirts and costume jewelry. The school monitors were particularly excited about the turnout, and according to Monisha Dillard ’08, “it was really exciting to see those students not normally involved in the social scene to break out at Formal. There were fewer than 30 students who chose not to go.”

Rockwell Visiting Artist The works of Caren Canier (P’05,’08) an MFA in painting from Boston were on exhibit in the Potter Gallery University, where she studied with from January 25 to March 5. Canier, Philip Guston and James Weeks. professor of drawing and 2D design She has won numerous awards for at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute her work, including grants from in Troy, New York, holds a BFA in the Pollock/Krasner Foundation, painting from Cornell University and the Ingram Merrill Foundation, and fellowships from the American Academy in Rome and the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions in galleries and museums across the country. Canier addressed the community in a school meeting, where she discussed her longstanding relationship with the school as a spouse and mother of Taft Alumni. She then deArtist Caren Canier, second from right, scribed the process by which she goes talks with students at the opening of her about creating her paintings, notexhibit in Potter Gallery. Yee-Fun Yin 12 Taft Bulletin Spring 2008

Louise Xu ’09 plays the pipa, a fourstringed lute and one of the oldest Chinese musical instruments, for the Global Concerns Benefit Concert. Yee-Fun Yin

Global Benefits Students in the newly formed Global Concerns Club put on a benefit concert in February and raised $300 for a school in Peru (a project identified by Kelin Hall ’05 who has volunteered there). Performers included the jazz band, a faculty rock band, piano soloists, step and even Irish dancing.

ing the importance of photographs to capture images in her mind and showing different stages of composition. She described how she shifts and augments the various elements of the work, adding and removing figures to create a unity through the entire piece. She also discussed the importance of color contrasts and symbolic imagery in her works, describing how trees, or cars, or family members, or figures taken from classical sculpture are meant to evoke specific ideas working in tandem. Ultimately, Canier stressed the relationships between the individual parts of her painting as a way to show that “discipline, exhilaration, hard work and teamwork are all key to making the things that we do meaningful.”

The Dream is Global The Taft Community continued its tradition of celebrating Martin Luther King Day by offering a series of workshops and lectures inspired by the legacy of Dr. King’s vision of a color-blind nation. The central theme for this year’s celebration revolved around global diversity and the importance of service. The two-day series of events was highlighted by a lecture given by Dr. Gloria White-Hammond, a Boston-based pediatrician and minister, and a leading voice in issues of health, youth development and slavery and genocide in Sudan and Darfur. A graduate of Harvard Divinity School and co-pastor of the Bethel AME Church, she shared her experiences of traveling to Sudan and working to start public service initiatives both locally and globally. Students also heard a presentation by Linda Biehl, co-founder of the Amy Biehl Foundation. Amy Biehl, a

We are the World: Collegium Musicum performs as part of the school’s MLK Day festivities. Peter Frew ’75

Fulbright scholar committed to human rights, was murdered in Cape Town in 1993, and her parents began the foundation bearing her name to end racial violence. Joining Linda Biehl on campus was Kevin Chaplin, the CEO of the Foundation, and Easy Nofernela, one of the four men involved in Amy’s killing. The group spoke of contemporary racial issues in South Africa, citing the Truth and Reconciliation hearings

advocated by past President Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu as a way of healing the scars created by racial violence and injustice. As in years past, these community events were complemented by a variety of teacher and student-run workshops that examined various global issues associated with race and poverty. The school hosted area religious and civic leaders for a prayer breakfast on Monday morning. Taft also hosted a program for area middle-school students that offered programs in artistic, academic, and athletic skills, continuing the school’s important mission of service and outreach in the greater Waterbury area.

so cheap that when we ran out of guns, we used our fingers and shouted, ‘Bang!’ Things have gotten a little more advanced since then. I take a lot of pleasure in trying to create the Photo by Yee-Fun Yin, Design by Keith Culkin ’09 same feeling as the real Bonds.” Rick has made about 12 Bond Bond, Bob Bond another 20 years before he tackled films over the years. In Paragon Tryst, For director and video teacher Rick 007 on film. Bond is played by Bo Redpath ’10, Doyle, his fascination with all things “It started as a fun thing to do Louise Trueheart ’08 as Moneypenny, Bond started in 1961. “I fell in love while I was at Forman School in the and Oliver (the villain) is Nick Morgan with Dr. No,” says Rick, but it took ’80s,” adds Rick. “The first one was ’08, along with a houseful of thugs. Taft Bulletin Spring 2008


Around the pond

Peter Frew ’75

Ulrich Guillard

Ulrich Guillard, founder and CEO of the Batey Relief Alliance, spoke in Morning Meeting about the group’s ten-year history and the organization’s collaborative work to address the socio-

economic and health needs of children and families severely affected by poverty, disease and hunger in Dominican Republic’s bateyes (sugar cane labor communities), as well as plans to expand

the organization’s humanitarian mission into neighboring Haiti. BRA’s main focus is health, specifically the spread of HIV/AIDS. They deliver primary care and medicines to over 10,000 people annually, and are building a health complex to serve another 20,000. To learn more, visit bateyrelief.org. Ulrich is a U.S.-trained attorney with academic focus on international law and business. He is the founder and president of Falcon International Consulting and has worked as a legislative aide for U.S. political figures, including a New York City mayor. Other Morning Meetings during the winter term included Columbia University chaplain and associate provost Jewelnel Davis and storytellers from the Institute for American Indian Studies, including Terri (Many Feathers) Delahanty. Courtesy of Taft Papyrus

Winter Dance Concert

A mother-daughter moment: dance teacher Elizabeth Barisser, left, and her daughter Eleanor perform in “Reflections,” as part of the winter dance concert. Yee-Fun Yin

Code Red? As we go to press, seniors anxiously wait for fat letters in the POs. Papyrus editor-in-chief Nate Breg ’08 created this take on the government’s threatlevel system as it applies to the college counseling process. 14 Taft Bulletin Spring 2008

Model Students Training leaders of tomorrow starts with the students of today, and so a few dozen Taft students got a sense of what those responsibilities might be by attending Model Congress or Model United Nations programs this winter. Twenty-three students spent four days in Boston in late February, participating in Harvard’s Model Congress. “This conference gives kids a tremendous opportunity to learn what it is like to be a member of Congress and try to get laws passed or act as a lobbyist or a member of the press corps,” says adviser Rachael Ryan, noting that senior Emily Gumbulevich spoke about the case involving “under God” in the pledge with the director of the ACLU when he came to Taft “because she had served

In Brief ACLU speaker

Anthony D. Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, spoke at Morning Meeting in March about protecting basic freedoms during times of crisis. He took the helm of the 87-yearold organization just four days before the September 11, 2001, attacks. In 2005, Romero was named one of Time Magazine’s 25 Most Influential Hispanics.

Best Taxi Ride Ever

Over winter vacation, Taft science teacher Robertson Follansbee enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame after an appearance on Cash Cab, a trivia show on the Discovery Channel. He and two college friends piled into an ordinary looking New York City taxi, and, as they were ferried through the streets of Manhattan, correctly answered every question asked by the host. Arriving at their destination, Rob and his friends chose to go for the difficult double-ornothing bonus question. Rob quickly came up with “Kodiak” in answer to a question

as a lawyer who argued that case before the Supreme Court at Model Congress. It is the best way to learn—by doing.” At the conference, senior Nate Breg served as the Austrian delegate on the historical committee that dealt with the rise of Hitler and Germany prior to WWII (and won the Award of Excellence for his role). Hannah Vasquez ’09 served as Alexander Hamilton on the historical constitutional convention. For more details, visit harvardmodelcongress.org. Teachers Kris Fairey and Annabel Smith took a delegation of ten students to Yale for a Model United Nations program a month earlier. They were assigned to represent the Haitian delegation. (Since that’s a nine-member delegation, Jessica Yu ’09 became a delegate from Latvia!)

about a bear native to the Aleutian Islands. Rob and his friends won nearly $4,000 and still hold the record for the biggest winners ever to appear on the series.

Dial M for Murder

An entirely student cast and crew produced the well-known thriller written by Frederick Knott and made famous by director Alfred Hitchcock. Nick Tyson ’09 directed the Masque and Dagger production in the Woodward Black Box Theater on March 1 and 2. The cast consisted of M&D regulars and newcomers alike, including Kate Sutton ’08, uppermids Alexis McNamee, Kathy Demmon, Will Sayre, Juliet Ourisman, Brianna Ong, Daniela Garcia, Catherine Winslow, and middler Lara Watling.

“Given both our school-wide focus this year on Haiti (based on the all-school read Mountain Beyond Mountains last summer) and the increasing momentum in the school for global studies,” says Kris, “this renewed participation in the Model U.N. offers a most fitting way for students to focus on current issues and events connecting the nearly 200 member states.” Model UN Conferences happen all over the world, and all over the U.S., but the Yale program has been in operation for 34 years. Students independently research the issues distributed in December through position papers to the various U.N. committees on which they serve. Nearly 50 high schools attend, mostly from the Northeast, but also from California, Tennessee, Kenya and China. To learn more, visit yale.edu/yira/ymun/.

Photography show

Two Taft photography students, Giovana Espejo and Barbara Romaine, were juried into this year’s 28th Annual Photography Exhibition sponsored by the New Canaan Society for the Arts. The show ran from February 10 through March 9. For more information, visit carriagebarn.org/photoshow08.html


David Friedman, with five Broadway shows, his own off-Broadway show, eight Disney films, three television series and recordings by such artists as Diana Ross, Barry Manilow and Nancy LaMott to his credit, brought his upbeat cabaret performance to Walker Hall on February 29. He was joined by Broadway singers Scott Coulter and Kristy Cates. Monthly Walker Hall concerts are free and open to the public. Taft Bulletin Spring 2008


S S S S Winter



Wrap-up by

R R R R 2008 Steve

TTTT Palmer

Jack Nuland ’09 executes a perfect leg shot while capturing 2nd place at the New England wrestling tournament at 160 pounds. The Western New England champion, his record this season was 17–1. Julie Reiff

Patsy Odden drops a ceremonial puck in the first game of the 25th anniversary Patrica K. Odden Tournament as Choate captain Emily Vitale and Taft captain Bridget Sylvester take the faceoff. Taft faced Hotchkiss in the final contest, placing second, but finished the season at 15–6–1. Peter Frew ’75

Girls’ Basketball 10–10 An impressive win against rival Hotchkiss in the final game, including a season-high 56 points, was a fitting way for the team to end. This was a team that had athletic tenacity and played tough defense but had to work hard for the offensive points. Led by captain and three-year starter Chelsea Berry ’08 (8 pts. per game) and defensive specialist Brooke Hartley, the Rhinos won six of their final seven games to gain the .500 record. New senior Nyasha Miller was the team’s leading scorer and most versatile player, while Ann Samuelson ’08, Christine Trusio ’08 and captain-elect Ches Fowler ’09 played well around the basket all season. 16 Taft Bulletin Spring 2008

Boys’ Squash 5–13 Last year’s #8, Max Kachur ’10, moved up to play in the top spot all season, just one indication of the mountain this young team faced. It was a slow start for Taft, dropping four of their first five matches, but led by the steady play of captain Peter Johnson at #2 (11–8 record), the team improved dramatically as evidenced by their 2–5 loss to New England champion Brunswick later in the season. They also ended on a high note, with a 7–0 win over Westminster and a 4th-place finish in the “B” draw of the New England tournament. In that tournament, Will Bunker ’09 won at #7, while Charlie Wagner ’09 placed 2nd at #4.

Girls’ Hockey 15–6–1 This was a skilled group that played solid team-hockey at both ends of the ice. In fact, coach Jon Guiffre’s squad defeated several of the best teams in New England, including Berkshire (1–0) twice, Westminster (4–2), Tabor (2–1) and Choate (4–2), but fell agonizingly short of making the tournament. The peak of the season came in the double-overtime game at home against rival Berkshire. After 63 minutes, the score stood 0–0, but a Berkshire penalty and Taft’s pulled goalie set up a six-on-four advantage with 24 seconds left. The first three shots did not go in, but the final face-off went to Geneva Lloyd ’09 at the blue line, who fired a low shot into the corner for the improbable victory with 1.9 seconds left. The team sorely missed tri-captain Ashleigh Kowtoniuk ’08 (knee injury) and next year will miss

many seniors: New England player of the year, tri-captain Erin Barley-Maloney ’08, the team’s leading scorer (20 goals, 20 assists); tri-captain and four-year player Bridget Sylvester ’08; and top New England defensive player, Kailey Nash ’08. Captain-elect Lloyd will help lead the ’09 team along with assistant captain Becca Hazlett ’09, who finished the season with a 1.43 goals-against average and six shutouts in net.

Co-Captain-elect Bobby Manfreda ’09 helped the basketball team go 17–6–0 for the season and become quarterfinalists in the New England Tournament. Peter Frew ’75

Boys’ Hockey 13–9–1 The boys’ team was talented and scored goals in bunches (91 total) but also suffered from unfortunate injuries and some defensive letdowns. After a 4–4 start to the season, Taft would go on an eight-game winning streak, including tough road wins against Kent (5–4) and Salisbury (3–2). The most exciting game this year was a 6–5 home victory against Salisbury, in which Kevin Nugent ’08 scored four goals. Down 3–5 late in the game, Taft exploded for three third-period goals to win in the closing minutes. The leading scorer was Robbie Bourdon ’09 (16 goals, 17 assists), who centered the productive line

with captain-elect Jesse Root ’09 (23 pts.) and Sean Curran ’08 (25 pts.). Three-year varsity letter winners and co-captains George Hughes ’08 (20 pts.) and Andy Balysky ’08 (20 pts.) led the team on and off the ice and will be missed next year along with Tom Cantwell ’08, Aaron O’Callahan ’08 and a strong group of seniors. Boys’ Basketball 17–6 New England Quarterfinals The boys’ team once again qualified for the New England Tournament, the fifth time in the past six years, this time as the #6 seed. Characterized by an aggressive team defense led by captain Mike Mastrocola ’08, Taft won 13 of their final 15 games, including victories over league rivals Loomis (47–42), TrinityPawling (62–45) and Avon (72–62). Their best win came at home over a talented Salisbury team (60–51), avenging an earlier loss. Senior point-guard Tyrone Hughes led the team in scoring (18 ppg) and assists. Hughes was just as effective defensively, and for his all-around play was named to the First Team All League. Greg Nicol ’10 was the team’s leading rebounder, and Rob Daley ’08, Patrick Antoine ’08 and Drew Connolly ’08 all played an important role at both ends of the floor. Next year’s squad will be led by versatile co-captains Bobby Manfreda ’09 and Dan Lima ’09. Girls’ Squash 9–8 After a slow start, including tough 3–4 losses to Andover and Exeter, the girls’ squad pulled things together and finished the season with five straight wins. Behind the strong play of Kelly Barnes ’10 at #1 and Ellie O’Neill ’11 at #2, Taft defeated Deerfield (4–3), won the “B” division of the National High School Team Championship with a 4–3 decision over Tabor, and then avenged an earlier loss to rival Hotchkiss (4–3). At the New England Tournament, cap-

tain Chelsea Ross ’09 finished 5th in the #4 draw, and Megan Clower ’08 placed 4th in the #7 draw. Boys’ and Girls’ Skiing Despite the snow that fell early and late this season, the weather did not help the ski competitions. The final NEPSAC championships were canceled twice, leaving the Berkshire League Championships as the final event, where Taft placed 6th overall. In the Giant Slalom, captain Will Hibbs ’08 placed 12th and Ben Johnston 22nd, and co-captain Annie Shafran ’09 39th out of 80 skiers. In the slalom, Hibbs was 14th, Johnston 18th, and Shafran 42nd. Wrestling 10–6 This talented team wrestled their best when the odds were stacked against them; missing four varsity wrestlers, Taft defeated a solid Choate team 42–29, behind wins by Tucker Jennings ’10 (112 lbs) and captain-elect Jimmy Kukral ’09 (119 lbs). The Rhinos ended with a victory over perennial powerhouse Trinity-Pawling, 36–35, with John Riggins ’08 (171 lbs), co-captain Isaiah Capel ’08 (189 lbs) and several others winning after moving up in weight. At the Western New England Championships, Taft would enjoy its best day, even without injured co-captain Sam Shiverick ’08 (171 lbs). By placing in the top four at four different weight classes, Taft finished with 144 points in 4th place of the 20 competing schools. Capel took 3rd at 189 lbs, captain-elect Will Ide ’09 placed 4th at 140 lbs, Isaac Bamgbose ’09 was 4th at 145 lbs, Reed Shapiro ’10 4th at 152 lbs, and Mike Brunelli ’11 took 3rd at 103 lbs. Leading the way was captain-elect Jack Nuland ’09, who won the 160 lb championship and then placed 2nd at the all-New England tournament two weeks later. For more on the winter season, visit TaftSports.com. Taft Bulletin Spring 2008


The Parody’s

the Thing cofounder Henry Beard ’63 has made a name for himself making fun of just about everything. By Sarah Albee

18 Taft Bulletin Spring 2008


itting in the hushed, clubby restaurant on the 22nd floor of the Yale Club on a chilly day, Henry Beard scans the menu with a practiced eye. His voice is soft-spoken, his affect self-effacing, his manners polite and reserved. With his tweed jacket, glasses and neatly trimmed gray beard, you might think him a professor, or a psychotherapist, perhaps even a lawyer on a dress-down Friday. In outward appearance, manner and general outlook, in short, Henry Beard doesn’t appear to be much of a crack-up. But then he’ll utter a low-voiced comment that reduces his listener to helpless laughter. Beard has authored or co-authored more than 40 humor books, many of which have spent weeks on the New York

Andy Borowitz. Beard admits the screenplays “went nowhere.” “Writing well-respected, if unproduced screenplays struck me as an ideal profession,” Beard says. “I made a lot of money. But I just wasn’t comfortable with producers telling me what to do. You know, ‘It’s great, Henry. Now just change the mom to a dad, the dog to a dolphin and the love scenes to car chases.’” Beard admits that going back to regular book-publishing contracts was an adjustment. “You have a look at your contract and find yourself saying, ‘Hey! There are four zeros missing here!’” Beard also favors the tougher humor genre. It’s a truth universally acknowledged in show business that it’s harder

“Follow your dreams…except for the one where you show up at work naked.” Times best-seller list. His list of books includes Latin for All Occasions, The Official Politically Correct Dictionary and Handbook, Poetry for Cats, French Cats Don’t Get Fat and dictionaries on fishing, cooking, sailing, skiing and golf. Beard’s specialty is parody. But you get the feeling he can write something funny about virtually any subject, and in any comic genre, and that the words roll effortlessly off of his pen. His medium is strictly print. He has a knack for incongruities, for generating jokes that are based on a collision of unlikely contexts. But he shines at wordplay—in his best-selling book, Murphy’s Laws of Golf, for example, he defines a sand trap as “a deep depression filled with sand filled with golfers in a deep depression.”

Better on paper

For a brief time a number of years ago, Beard did make an attempt at writing screenplays, collaborating with the writer/humorist

to make people laugh than to make them cry. And it’s even harder to make people laugh when there are no visual props to cue them about what’s funny. Performing comedians have the benefit of inflection, pauses and timing—and sometimes, shamefully, laugh tracks. The written word on the page, on the other hand, has nothing to support it. But even without the benefit of visual props, Beard’s books make you laugh until milk comes out your nose. Part of Beard’s comic genius lies in his ability to take the banal and introduce the unexpected, to turn clichés on their heads. “Follow your dreams,” he writes, “except for the one where you show up at work naked.” A bumper sticker in his book, Latin for All Occasions, reads: SI HUNC TITULUM CURRULEM LEGERE POTES, ET LIBERALITER EDUCATUS ES ET NIMIUM PROPRE ME SEQUERIS, which translates as “If you can read this bumper sticker, you are both very well educated and much too close.” The title

The Fine Print: a partial collection of Beard humor • Bored of the Rings:

A Parody of J.R.R. Tolkien’s the Lord of the Rings (with Douglas C. Kenney, 1969)

• Ship’s Log

(with Roy McKie, 1983)

• Fishing: An Angler’s Dictionary (with Roy McKie, 1983)

• Sailing (with Roy McKie, 1981) • Miss Piggy’s Treasury of Art Masterpieces from the • Gardening (with Roy McKie, 1982)

Kermitage Collection (1984)

• Dodosaurs: The Dinosaurs

• Cooking: A Cook’s Dictionary

That Didn’t Make It (with Rick Meyerowitz, 1983)

(with Roy McKie, 1985)

• The Pentagon Catalog:

Ordinary Products at Extraordinary Prices (with Christopher Cerf, 1986)

• Golfing: A Duffer’s Dictionary (with Roy McKie, 1987)

• The No Sweat Aptitude Test (NSAT) (1988)

• A Dictionary of Silly Words

About Growing Up: Written for Parents Who Never Understand Anything Anyway (with Roy McKie, 1988)

• Skiing: A Skier’s Dictionary (with Roy McKie, 1989)

• Latin for All Occasions:

Lingua Latina Occasionibus Omnibus (1990)

Taft Bulletin Spring 2008


of a book on his Latin “Bestseller List” translates as “GreatTasting Hot Meals Your Slaves Can Whip Up in Two Days or Less.” A suggested excuse for an errant schoolkid is translated as, “A coyote whose habitat was destroyed by urban sprawl ate my homework.” Beard is married to the writer Gwyneth Cravens. “She is a fabulous writer and a great person. The two of them completely understand one another,” says Beard’s long-time friend and collaborator Christopher Cerf. He describes Beard as soft-spoken, shy, almost hermetic. But “under his breath he’ll mumble brilliantly funny things. I’ve heard him utter some of the smartest one-liners of anyone I’ve ever known.” He’s also genuinely nice.

Root causes

Beard was born and raised in New York City. His parents were both Christian Scientists, and while they were “not proselytizers,” he does note that when he got sick as a kid not only could he not get any support whatsoever, “there was a certain air of disapproval” from his parents. Whether it was his upbringing or just plain dumb luck, Beard admitted with a sheepish shrug that “I have never been seriously ill in my life.”

Valedictorian of his Taft class and a legacy at Yale— both his father and his brother went there—Beard’s great act of youthful rebellion was to attend Harvard instead. Why Harvard? Characteristically, Beard did not want to choose the easy path. Perhaps, Beard says, it was his maternal grandfather who ultimately swayed his decision. He put young Henry into the car one day and drove him around Cambridge, showing him the excitement of Harvard Square, while at the same time muttering darkly subversive comments about New Haven. At Harvard, Beard joined the Lampoon as a staff writer. He had no interest in joining one of the finals clubs, or even writing for the Crimson. He knew he was cut out for humor writing. Along with fellow Lampoon staffers Bob Hoffman and Doug Kenney (who would go on to co-write Animal House and Caddyshack), Beard helped to produce nationally distributed parodies of Playboy, Life and Time magazines. The Playboy parody sold over half a million copies, pouring dollars into the Lampoon’s empty coffers. The money was used for a much-needed renovation of the building that housed the magazine, an eccentric, triangularly shaped

…Sand trap: “a deep depression filled with sand filled with golfers in a deep depression.” —Murphy’s Laws of Golf Following in the footsteps of his father (Alexander Beard 1908), Beard attended Rectory and then Taft. Going to boarding school was “what one did,” he stated matter-of-factly, if one were the son of “reasonably solvent parents.” Taft’s job “was not about the promotion of social justice, or the correction of past bad behavior on the part of the ruling classes,” he added. “Its job was to educate people who could pay the tuition.”

• The Book of Sequels

(with Christopher Cerf, Sarah Durkee & Sean Kelly, 1990)

• Latin for Even More Occasions: Lingua Latina Multo Pluribus Occasionibus (1991)

• Latin for All Occasions and

Even More Occasions/Audio Cassette (1991)

building known as the Castle, that had fallen into disrepair. “Unlike the fancy finals clubs, which had huge endowments, the Lampoon had nothing,” says Beard. “And the building was a money pit. All of the funding for the renovation of the Castle was parody money.” The staff of the Lampoon—all male of course in those days—tended to be a mix of personalities, ranging from former

• French for Cats: All the French • Golf Your Way (1993) Your Cat Will Ever Need (with John Boswell & Gary • Mulligan’s Laws: A Lifetime Zamchick-illustrator, 1991)

• The Official Exceptions

to the Rules of Golf (with John Boswell, & Ken Lewis-illustrator, 1992)

• The Official Politically Correct Dictionary and Handbook (with Christopher Cerf, 1993)

20 Taft Bulletin Spring 2008

of Golfing Wisdom from the Genius Who Invented the Do-Over by Thomas Mulligan (1993)

• The Way Things Really

Work (And How They Actually Happen) (with Ron Barrett, 1993)

class clowns to socially awkward, brainy misfits. But it was a place where humor was taken very seriously. Beard thrived. The Life parody, though critically successful, did not do as well financially as the Playboy parody had done. The Lampoon’s bank account plunged into the red again. Feeling

place for young writers to take chances and to generate funny material on a regular basis. It included satires of classical literature and pulp fiction as well as hilarious high-concept parodies. By virtually all accounts, the early ’70s were the National Lampoon’s funniest and most creative period. The

…National Lampoon published books, produced an off-Broadway show, record albums and a critically acclaimed radio hour—which in many ways presaged Saturday Night Live… partly responsible, Beard and Kenney decided to embark upon another money-making project. They co-authored a booklength Tolkien parody called Bored of the Rings. The book sold extremely well, and all the revenues went to the Lampoon. All the revenues? Beard nods cheerfully. “Well, we did get meal tickets to Tommy’s Lunch,” a deli near the Castle. In spite of its dubious fare, battered Formica-topped tables and unflattering lighting, the place was a favorite late-night hangout spot for Harvard students. Even after graduating from Harvard, Beard, Kenney and Hoffman were still looking for ways to improve the fortunes of the Lampoon. Accordingly, they convinced the Lampoon staffers to license the magazine’s name in exchange for a very generous royalty. The three then founded a nationally distributed, for-profit magazine—the National Lampoon. The money paid to the Harvard Lampoon for the use of the name, along with revenues from Bored of the Rings and from the profitable Time parody, permanently resolved the financial crises of the Harvard Lampoon. And Beard was the common denominator on all three ventures. At the National Lampoon, Beard acted first as executive editor, and then as editor in chief. The magazine was an ideal

magazine attracted top talent long before the Harvard-toHollywood humor-writing pipeline was established. Under Beard’s leadership National Lampoon published books, produced an off-Broadway show, record albums and a critically acclaimed radio hour—which in many ways presaged Saturday Night Live both in cast (John Belushi, Chevy Chase and Gilda Radner) and in format. Beard sold his share of the magazine in 1974, followed soon thereafter by Kenney and Hoffman. After they left, the magazine took a right turn politically, and a marked downward plunge editorially.

• The Official Politically Correct • Sex and Dating: The Official

• The Official Sexually Correct

Dictionary and Handbook/ Book and Cassette (with Christopher Cerf, 1994)

• Poetry for Cats:

The Definitive Anthology of Distinguished Feline Verse (with Gary Zamchickillustrator, 1994)

Politically Correct Guide (with Christopher Cerf, 1994)

• Leslie Nielsen’s

Stupid Little Golf Book (with Leslie Nielsen, 1995)

• O.J.’s Legal Pad (with John

Boswell & Ron Barrett, 1995)

What does BS really stand for?

If the Harvard Lampoon was his comedy school, Taft was Beard’s comedy nursery. He wrote a regular humor column for the Papyrus, called “The Bard.” (Visit TaftAlumni.com to read some of his columns.) His comic intonation is evident even in his youthful prose. His Taft career was a program of instruction in the classical greats, and boys were taught a shared cultural inheritance that included Latin, art, history, literature and writing. Math and science, too, of course, but Beard admitted that they were

Dictionary and Dating Guide (with Christopher Cerf, 1995)

• The Official Sexually

Correct Dictionary and Dating Guide/Cassette (with Christopher Cerf, 1995)

• What’s Worrying Gus? The

True Story of a Big-City Bear (with John Boswell, 1995)

Taft Bulletin Spring 2008


not his forte. (It’s possible he even may have cut up a frog or two but admits that, without any girls to throw eyeballs at, there wasn’t much fun in it.) It was at Taft, Beard says, that he learned to write. He honed his skills in part through sheer volume. In addition to his column for the Papyrus every other week, he was also assigned a weekly 1,200-word essay. And on a regular basis Beard and his classmates faced the dreaded English class exercise known as the 2–8–2 (2 minutes to think, 8 minutes to write and 2 minutes to correct their work). Beard credited these exercises for instilling a facility to communicate in the English language. “It was also,” he concedes, “the making of a great bullshit artist. “There was an expectation to perform at a certain level, both academically and behavior-wise,” says Beard. Life at Taft was a mix of classical education, adolescent mayhem and rigid authoritarian rule. “And the dining hall served Spam.” Beard joined the army reserve in the early ’70s. “I don’t want to make Taft out to sound like an actual gulag,” he says, “but I do recall thinking that, after Taft, Army food tasted pretty good.” By the time Beard graduated from Taft, he “had the func-

this bizarre education…. It meant that once I got to Harvard, I could spend all my time hanging out at the Lampoon.” You get the feeling Beard doesn’t just make it look easy; it is easy, for him. Beard’s parodies explore the dimensions of absurdity with exquisitely funny simulations of their original subjects. There are lots of humor books about dogs and cats on bookstore shelves, so what makes French for Cats, A Dog’s Night Before Christmas and Poetry for Cats stand out? Beard has an uncanny knack for sounding like a dog or a cat, even in French. “Il ya peut-être eu un malentendu. Sortez de l’endroit où je fais mes sommes immédiatement. (Perhaps there has been some misunderstanding. Remove yourself from my nap place at once.)” He can also imitate all kinds of writing styles—epic poetry, for example, or iambic pentameter, or blank verse. His humor is purely funny, with a Wodehousian cadence. There’s something gentle and sweet about his writing, even when he’s gleefully spoofing golfers and sailors and other assorted members of his own privileged class. Unlike plenty of other funny writers, there seems to be no chip on his shoulder, no hint of vitriol or self-loathing.

Life at Taft was a mix of classical education, adolescent mayhem and rigid authoritarian rule. “And the dining hall served Spam.” tional equivalent of a college education.” Between Rectory and Taft, Beard received eight years of Latin instruction. As the introduction to Latin for Even More Occasions points out, he “spent a good part of his wonder years reading the works of Caesar, Cicero, Virgil, Horace, Catullus and Plautus.” Beard never dreamed he would be “fortunate enough to cash in on

“Henry’s humor has never been mean,” says Cerf. “He has a wicked sense of satire, but it is never raunchy humor, and it never skewers people. It may make them look silly, but it’s always gentle and fun.” To create a good parody, Beard says, “you need something to start with.” The copy often co-opts its original subject,

• Bad Golf My Way (with Leslie • Zen for Cats (1997) • The Dick Cheney Code: Nielsen & E.H. Wallop, 1996) A Parody (2004) • Rationalizations to Live By (2000) • The Unshredded Files of • X-Treme Latin: Unleash Your Hillary and Bill Clinton Inner Gladiator (2004) (with John Boswell, 1996) • Skiing (2002) • X-Treme Latin: All the Latin • The Official Exceptions to • Fishing (with Roy McKie, 2002) You Need to Know for Survival the Rules of Golf, Centennial in the 21st Century (2005) Edition: The Hacker’s Bible • Where’s Saddam? (2003) (with John Boswell, 1997)

22 Taft Bulletin Spring 2008

taking on its own life force and becoming more famous than the original subject. Few people were aware of the relatively obscure newscaster from a local TV station that Gilda Radner was impersonating with her hugely popular, nasally voiced Rosanne Roseannadanna. But the word parody is often misused. “The Supreme Court gave it a special exemption

And his books have sold like hotcakes. “I think one of Henry’s signature traits is his encyclopedic brain,” says another of Beard’s collaborators, Andy Borowitz, “coupled with his profound and genuine modesty. A number of years ago I was having dinner with Henry and asked him if he knew anything about German wine. He

Henry was the only grownup on the staff. While the other guys sat around cracking jokes, Henry made sure the magazine came out. from copyright law,” says Beard wryly. “So whenever we did anything funny we’d call it a parody.” It probably helps that he’s also a quick study, with an ability to grasp the essence of any subject he’s spoofing. He learned skiing in two weeks in order to write a book about it (but came away deeply unimpressed with that pastime. There were too many ways to catastrophically injure himself ). “He’s as smart and incisive as anyone I’ve ever known,” Cerf says. “As more than one person has pointed out, Henry was the only grownup on the [National Lampoon] staff. While the other guys sat around cracking jokes, Henry made sure the magazine came out. He’s the only person I’ve ever worked with where we had fights about the other person not taking enough credit,” adds Cerf. “You had to force him to be fair to himself.”

Midas Tactus

Whatever his process may be, there is no doubt Beard has been blessed with a strong business savvy. The parodies he worked on kept the Harvard Lampoon solvent. The National Lampoon circulation accelerated rapidly under his leadership.

• The Complete French

for Cats: French for Cats and Advanced French for Exceptional Cats by Henri de la Barbe (2005)

• French Cats Don’t Get Fat: The Secrets of La Cuisine Feline (2005)

responded, ‘I don’t know much…’—and there followed a 30-minute recitation of the grapes, varietals and vineyards of Germany. I came away thinking that in order to know more about German wine than Henry Beard you would have to be a German winemaker.” His modesty is genuine, as is his lack of competitiveness. Although an avid golfer, he never keeps score. Says Cerf, “I’m sure he’s very good. I’ve heard he’s very good. But the score doesn’t matter to him.” Beard concedes that he has had a remarkably successful writing career, but “I got there because I was absolutely, utterly, indescribably lucky, and then I tried hard not to screw it up.” Sarah Albee, a former Harvard Lampoon member herself, is the author of more than 100 children’s books. She has had three of her books appear on the New York Times bestseller list. Before she began her career as a children’s book writer and editor, Sarah was a newspaper cartoonist, fashion model and semiprofessional basketball player. These days, she lives on campus with her husband, Jon Willson ’82, and their children Sam ’11, Cassie and Luke.

• A Dog’s Night Before

Christmas (Susann Ferris Jones-illustrator, 2005)

• Murphy’s Laws of Fishing

(Phil Scheuer-illustrator, 2007)

• Murphy’s Laws of Golf

(Phil Scheuer-illustrator, 2007)

• A Cat’s Night Before

Christmas (Susann Ferris Jones-illustrator, 2005) Taft Bulletin Spring 2008


How to Avoid

Dangerous Climate Change By Amy Lynd Luers ’84

If global temperatures rise more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels, the risk of potentially catastrophic impacts increases greatly. A U.S. climate policy consistent with avoiding such temperatures would require a reduction in heat-trapping emissions of at least 80 percent by 2050.

A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that sustained global warming of more than two degrees Celsius or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, above pre-industrial levels (i.e., those that existed prior to 1860) could have such damaging effects as the extinction of many species and extensive melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets—causing global sea level to rise between 12 and 40 feet. In light of this evidence, policy makers in the European Union have already committed their countries to a long-term goal of limiting warming to 2°C. The United States has agreed in principle to work with more than 180 other nations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, but has done little to live up to that agreement thus far. And although there is growing momentum within the United States to pursue deep reductions in emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping gases that cause global warming, U.S. policy makers have not had access to any rigorous scientific assessments that would provide a sound rationale for specific emissions reduction targets. This is one reason for the wide variation in state-level targets that have been put into law and federal targets that have been proposed.

Step One:

Set a Global Target A new Union of Concerned Scientists analysis fills the information gap by proposing U.S. targets based on atmospheric levels of heat-trapping gases that existing scientific studies suggest would give us a reasonable chance of preventing a temperature increase of more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels. To be precise, stabilizing the concentration of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere at or below the CO2 equivalent of 450 parts per million (450 ppm CO2eq—a measurement that expresses the concentrations of all heat-trapping gases in terms of CO2) would provide a roughly 50 percent chance of keeping the global average temperature from rising more than 2°C. Given current levels of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere, meeting this stabilization target will likely require atmospheric concentrations to peak above 450 ppm CO2eq briefly before returning to the target. Recent studies indicate that, to follow such a path while still maintaining a reasonable chance of keeping temperatures from rising more than 2°C cumulative global emissions must not exceed approximately 1,700 gigatons (Gt) CO2eq for the period 2000–2050. Constraining cumulative global emissions (i.e., those of industrialized and developing nations) in this way will require reductions on the order of 40 to 30 percent below 2000 levels by 2050.

Taft Bulletin Spring 2008


Step Two:

Step Three:

If we assume that the world’s developing nations pursue the most aggressive reductions that can reasonably be expected of them, the world’s industrialized nations will have to reduce their emissions an average of 70 to 80 percent below 2000 levels by 2050. Industrialized nations’ share of the cumulative emissions budget must be no more than 700 GtCO2eq (approximately 40 percent of the budget). This 70 to 80 percent range for reductions by 2050 also assumes that industrialized nations’ emissions will peak in 2010 before starting to decline, and that those from developing nations will peak between 2020 and 2025. A delay in the peak of either group would require increasingly steep and unrealistic global reduction rates in order to stay within the cumulative emissions budget.

There are several ways to determine the United States’ share of the industrialized nations’ emissions budget. Our analysis explored three methods, including allocations based on the current U.S. share (among industrialized countries) of population, gross domestic product (GDP), and heat-trapping emissions. Using these criteria, the U.S. cumulative emissions budget ranges from 160 to 265 GtCO2eq for the period 2000–2050, of which approximately 45 GtCO2eq has already been emitted. Given our aggressive assumptions about reductions by other nations and the fact that a stabilization target of 450 ppm CO2eq represents the upper limit needed to avoid a potentially dangerous temperature increase, we propose that the United States should reduce its emissions at least 80 percent below 2000 levels by 2050. The costs of delay are high. To meet this minimum target, starting in 2010 the United States must reduce its emissions,

Divide Up the Work

Define Our National Goal

What Happens If

Temperatures Rise More Than 2°C? Scientific studies indicate that crossing this temperature threshold will increase the risk of potentially severe impacts in the following areas.

Sustained warming between 1.6°C and 5.2°C above pre-industrial levels could initiate widespread destabilization of the Greenland and West Antarctica ice sheets, leading to sea level rise between 12 and 40 feet. While the full increase may take centuries to occur, even an increase of one meter (about three feet) would threaten major cities including Mumbai, New York, and Tokyo, and inundate some small islands. Rising seas also magnify the destructive potential of coastal storms; projections show a mere 7- to 14-inch rise could produce flooding in Boston and Atlantic City, N.J., equivalent to today’s 100-year flood almost every year on average. Sea level.

thresholds, and marine ecosystems could suffer from increasing ocean acidification. Warming in this range has been linked to increases in the severity of floods, droughts, fires, and heat waves. A 2.4°C increase, for example, would cause many cities across the northeastern United States to experience a projected tripling in the number of days with high temperatures above 32°C (90°F), increasing the risk of heatrelated illness and death among vulnerable populations. Weather-related events.

In the continental United States, drought-prone ecosystems are projected to expand approximately 11 percent in area for each degree Celsius of additional warming. Worldwide, 1 to 2 billion people would be at risk of increased water scarcity. Water resources.

Even 2°C to 3°C of warming could threaten 20 to 30 percent of Earth’s species with extinction, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Many coral reefs would become bleached at these temperature Wildlife.

26 Taft Bulletin Spring 2008

Cumulative U.S. Emissions in 2050 400 300 U.S. Emissions Budget Range

on average, approximately 4 percent per year (equivalent to an average absolute reduction of approximately 0.16 GtCO2eq per year, or about 2 percent of current levels). If, however, U.S. emissions continue to increase until 2020—even on a “low-growth” path projected by the Energy Information Administration (EIA)—the United States would have to make much sharper cuts later: approximately 8 percent per year on average from 2020 to 2050, or double the annual reductions that would be required if we started promptly.

The Way

Forward Of the six climate policy proposals currently being considered by the U.S. Congress (see chart), only two—the Safe Climate Act (H.R. 1590) and Global Warming Policy Reduction Act (S. 309)—would require reductions consistent with staying below the upper limit of our proposed U.S. cumulative emissions budget (265 GtCO2eq). Not one comes close to the lower end of the proposed budget (160 GtCO2eq). On the other hand, several of the proposals (H.R. 1590, S. 309, and S. 485, the Global Warming Reduction Act) do provide for periodic review by the National Academy of Sciences, which could maintain or strengthen U.S. targets as needed to meet the goal of preventing a 2°C temperature increase—an essential element of any robust climate policy.

Business as usual (EIA 2007)

Bingaman-Specter (S. 1766)

Lieberman-McCain (S. 280)

Olver-Gilchrest (H.R. 620)

Lieberman-Warner (discussion draft)

Kerry-Snowe (S. 485)


Sanders-Boxer (S. 309)


Waxman (H.R. 1590)

Cumulative emissions 2000-2050 (GtCO2eq)

under Federal Proposals

Only two current climate policy proposals (H.R. 1590 and S. 309) would stay within the emissions budget of 160 to 265 GtCO2eq defined by our analysis, and even these proposals would result in emissions well above the low end of the range. For S. 1766, the potential range of cumulative emissions is provided (the lower portion of the bar represents the best-case scenario assuming all contingencies in the bill occur; the color gradient in the upper portion of the bar represents additional emissions that could occur under other scenarios).

Other proposals provide for review but fail to specify the 2°C goal or allow the targets to be strengthened. It is clear that the United States must quickly overcome its current impasse on climate policy and actively pursue the many solutions for reducing heat-trapping emissions that are already available to us (e.g., greater energy efficiency, increased use of renewable energy, reductions in deforestation). These changes can be encouraged by a wide range of market-based and complementary policies including cap-and-trade programs, renewable electricity standards, efficiency standards for electricity and vehicles, and incentives for cleaner technologies and international cooperation on emissions reductions. For the United States to be fully engaged in the fight against global warming, however, Congress must support legislation that requires the deep emissions reductions needed to stay within the budget described here and protect future generations from the risks of dangerous climate change. Amy Lynd Luers ’84, who was manager of the Union of Concerned Scientists California climate program, has moved to Google.org to work on a new initiative to predict and prevent emerging threats including climate risk and infectious disease. She lives in Albany, California, with her husband Leonard, a geomorphologist (studies rivers), and their son Cedar. This article first appeared in Catalyst, the magazine of the Union of Concerned Scientists, and is reprinted with permission. Taft Bulletin Spring 2008


This Is My H

ousing of choice or housing of last resort? Manufactured housing is both. Importantly, it is home for millions of Americans. Working with the nonprofit Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina, Adam, a former photojournalist, created a book of photos and personal stories from across the country that illustrate the problems that confront people who live in these communities.

Governments and nonprofits make assumptions about suitable, affordable housing. Yet,” says Adam, “people, voting with their feet, flock to manufactured homes. This Is My Home attempts to respond to this paradox in housing policy. Giving residents more control over the land where they live will give them more say over their destiny as homeowners and citizens.” His book has been called an asset in combating our nation's affordable housing crisis.

28 Taft Bulletin Spring 2008


The Challenges and Opportunities of Manufactured Housing Story and photos by Adam Rust ’87


were scared that we were not going to live. When I heard the wind, I leaned over to lock the door. I never made it. I tried to protect my wife and kids. The refrigerator fell on my wife. She got a bad bruise. I do not want to live in a mobile home anymore. I want a house. I want to live in a safe place.” On the day after rain and heavy winds flipped his home in Leggett, North Carolina, upside down, truck driver Atilano Villeda, shown with Faviola, his daughter, still could not believe he lost his home of nine years.

Bobbie Mozart, a retired telephone operator, needed an access ramp for her mobile home in Durham, North Carolina. Local officials declined, citing rules against using community development block grants for repairs to personal property. “She said,” tells Bobbie, “‘You don’t live in a home. You live in a trailer.’ That is what really upset me. This is my home. She said, ‘It’s not considered a house.’” In the end, she got her ramp built through a local nonprofit.

Taft Bulletin Spring 2008


Calvin Johnson owns a singlewide with his partner, Angela Simple. Although an older home, built before the improved HUD-code standards in 1976, they have done their best to maintain it. It may not be what some call beautiful, but to Calvin and Angela, it has always been home. At least until they received the devastating news that their land-lease park in Fayetteville, North Carolina, was closing. As the notice period ends and winter approaches, Calvin remains stumped. He cannot afford to move his home. The park owner did not sell the land, although the water and power were turned off. Calvin and Angela remained on site, feeling like squatters in their own home. They bought water and powered a few lights on batteries. Even so, other necessities were not so easily replaced. Once the park closed, the post office stopped delivering mail, and without a land line, Angela’s cell phone served as their only means of communication. They washed in bathrooms at gasoline stations in town. Even the most basic things ceased to be easy.

Evan Ross draws electricity from his car battery to power a hot plate. He rests in the doorway of his singlewide and looks out at a park full of abandoned homes. A line worker at a chicken processing plant, he remains in his home although the park has no water. He laughs at how a little problem like no electricity or water made so many people leave their homes. “When I was growing up, we didn’t have electric light. We had lamplight. That’s why this doesn’t bother me too much. My wife left. She wasn’t staying here anymore. She stays with her mom.” Abandonment hurts land-lease residents like Evan in much the same way that condemned buildings can bring problems to those who live nearby in urban areas.

30 Taft Bulletin Spring 2008

Javier Gallardo’s family bought a new doublewide with a forgivable loan. The two parents and eight children had been living in a one-room singlewide. He says the loan program changed his life. Riverside County, California, realized that systematic change was needed for manufactured housing to keep providing shelter to much of the region’s workforce. They decided to launch a program that works with residents and park owners, in which residents can receive loans to purchase their homes. Daughter Liduvina, right, stays cool in the back yard of her new home in Thermal, where temperatures exceed 100 degrees more than 100 days per year. The situation is not perfect. The park still has dirt roads and is far from luxurious, but new manufactured housing has made a difference in the family’s life.

Javier finishes a day of working

in the fields with his son Alex. By accommodating the desire among farm workers to live in wide open spaces, the Riverside County plan honors cultural preferences. “Last time we went back (to our old home) we were like, ‘How were we living in these conditions?’” says Alex. “We didn’t have air conditioning. We had a cooler, ice. It was hot, like 120 and 125, sometimes it goes up to 130. We had no door. We had some times when it was windy—a sandstorm—and a lot of sand would come in the house because the windows were broken…. Now we are okay.”

Taft Bulletin Spring 2008



After the IRS seized

Lockwood Mobile Home Park in Lockwood, Nevada, park resident Charlie Cheramie helped organize efforts for resident ownership. He feared that Lockwood would either close, or that a new owner would increase rents. Instead residents worked with the Rural Community Assistance Corporation to buy the community themselves. “It all started when my wife wrote a notice of a meeting at the firehouse. I was very blunt with them, ‘You are going to lose your home. Who is interested in forming a co-op so that we can buy the park?’ I got a lot of responses. We are all low-income here…. If you want to go somewhere else, well, if you realize that moving [a singlewide or doublewide] is going to cost more money than you’ve got,…then you have to abandon it. You just have to leave it. Then you are going to lose your home.”

32 Taft Bulletin Spring 2008

can’t buy anything around here for under $200,000.

You just can’t do it,” explains Jessica Sawyer, a homemaker in Milton, Vermont. “If you need a loan for a trailer, good luck! The bank will tell you it is too risky. They don’t do that. They don’t deal with manufactured homes. The credit union said, ‘Come on in.’ It is a great place for people with little or no income to get started. They will help you get started. “We went through and redid the floors. We have hardwood floors and slate tiles, wainscoting. My son’s room is getting redone. We redid the backyard. If you want a house, this is the perfect stepping stone. I have a plan. In about three years, I will have enough money to build a house. This is my down payment.”

Jeffery Harris

holds his daughter, Angel, while frying some bologna for dinner. Harris, a parttime welder, struggles to make ends meet. When Woodbridge Mobile Home Park in Murfreesboro, North Carolina, was sold, the new owner raised lot rents from $100 to $165 per month.


Adam Rust '87 is research director of the Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina and an awardwinning photojournalist. He earned a master’s in journalism from the University of MissouriColumbia and a master’s in regional planning from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. This article is excerpted from his book, This Is My Home, published by Carolina Academic Press. For more information, turn to page 7.

are not ‘trailer trash,’” says retiree Edna Cudworth, also a Lockwood resident. “There are

intelligent people over here, people that want to work. People that want a better place. Most are older folks, retired, handicapped. Very, very low income. We were victims of crime. It was tax fraud. And we were going to lose our homes. Some people would have become indigent. They would not have had any place to go. ‘These are widows,’ I said [to the IRS agent]. ‘Would you get rid of your widowed aunt? Would you get rid of your grandfather?’ You should have seen his face! He apologized. He said, ‘I am in the business of getting rid of property…. I did not know until I saw.’ Well, he became an advocate after he saw.”

Taft Bulletin Spring 2008


F r o m th e A r ch i v e s

Twenty-one years ago, Curt Buttenheim ’36 came across, “in an ancient file” of his, a clipping from The that had been published shortly after his graduation from Taft—which also happened to be Horace Taft’s last as headmaster. Without the exact publication date, acquiring permission to reprint the anecdote in the Bulletin proved too difficult until now. The ’s searchable online archive helped us find

New Yorker

Photo: Leslie D. Manning Archives

New Yorker

the date, and every issue of the magazine prior to 2006 is now available on DVD in The Complete New Yorker. (That said, in the interim my sister has joined the English Department at Worcester Academy and our publication of this piece has nothing to do with sibling rivalry.) Thank you, Curt, for sharing the story, and thanks for your patience! —Editor

The Talk of the Town By Lawrence L. Winship and Russell Maloney July 25, 1936

Dear Horace, Horace D. Taft, who is a brother of the ex-President, resigned a few weeks ago as headmaster of Taft School. Shortly after this he received a letter from Worcester Academy, where somebody had presumably read a whittled-down newspaper item saying that Horace Taft had left Taft School. The letter was addressed “Dear Horace,” and went on to say that they had heard Horace was leaving school, and would he perhaps be interested in enrolling at Worcester. Before Mr. Taft could get around to answering this, another “Dear Horace” letter appeared, asking if Horace wouldn’t tell them what subjects interested him. There was a little questionnaire, including such questions as “How old are you?” and “Do you like to read?” This time Mr. Taft answered the letter. He filled in the questionnaire, saying that he liked very much to read, and that he was seventy-four years old. Since then there has been a cessation of correspondence from Worcester, perhaps temporary, perhaps permanent. Copyright © 1936 The New Yorker Magazine Inc. All rights reserved. Originally published in the July 25, 1936, issue of The New Yorker. Reprinted by permission of Condé Nast Publications.

34 Taft Bulletin Spring 2008


Spring Breaks 2008 b Dominican Republic, Orphanage Outreach March 8 to 16

Amanda Turner ’10 and Diana Szakál ’09 volunteer at a very small private school called Ciudad de Luz while in the Dominican Republic. This is the fourth year students have worked there. Enyi-Abal Koene

b Collegium Musicum Spring Tour March 5 to 15

Devant le pont d’Avignon: Collegium Musicum gave concerts in Paris and Aixen-Provence, France, and Barcelona, Spain, during its annual spring tour. Peter Frew ’75

Jazz Band Trip to Memphis c March 6 to 10

The Jazz Band took advantage of an open evening to play at Wally’s Café, a renown jazz club in Boston, before flying to Memphis to play on Beale Street over spring break.

For more information on any of these trips, please visit TaftSchool.org

b South Africa March 4 to 15

Taft’s South Africa delegation with Zenani Mandela (the former president’s daughter). Other highlights of the trip included visits to Alexandra, Soweto and Langa Townships, Ithuteng Trust, and the Constitutional Court.

continued from page 2— basketball or wrestling in the winter; and baseball, track, tennis or golf in the spring. The better players, of course, played on the varsity while everyone else played intramurals as an Alpha, Beta or Gamma. Breakfast was at 7:00 a.m. and in that hour before class we ate, cleaned our rooms and did our assigned jobs. The jobs were performed by underclassmen and seniors inspected them to be certain they were done properly. As a monitor, I was head job inspector my senior year, and

perhaps why I remember all this so well. The jobs pertained, mostly, to cleaning a classroom, hallway, etc. The exception to this was waiting on tables in the Dining Hall. This was the worst job of all. The trays were heavy, the time involved much greater; three meals a day for 14 straight days. Lowermids and mids did most of the waiting—uppermids only once or twice, seniors never. The whole school assembled in Bingham daily after the last class and just before lunch for Job Assembly. On the stage, three monitors at a

table facing the audience. The two on the ends read whatever announcements there were that day. The one in the middle spoke last, reading from the “soak” book—soak meaning demerit. The offender’s name was read aloud, he then stood at his seat and was advised of his offense. Typically, there were two or three boys so called out. —Bill Lammers ’49 PS. Our class was the first to enjoy the Wade House (photo, page 68 of the winter issue).

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