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Three Days at Yale

Three Days at Yale
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So there I was on College Street in New Haven, staring at a huge display of posters in red and white, all announcing a performance of Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony. It had taken place two weeks earlier, at the Yale Commencement Concert at Battell Chapel. It wasn’t the first time tears filled my eyes during my weekend at Yale, nor was it the last.

That weekend was everything I could have imagined, and nothing I could have imagined. It was as if my vision of the experience had been on a little black and white TV, and the reality was in Technicolor, beamed onto a movie screen. My first sight of Yale was the gothic stone of Branford College, gorgeous buildings on their own but that day festooned with royal blue and white banners welcoming various classes to their reunions. Welcoming me. When I left three days later, the last thing I saw was the broad smile of the undergraduate who directed our group to the shuttle van that would take us to our cars. I smiled back, wondering if she saw in us a glimpse of her future. Then I said goodbye to Yale, taking with me a part of my husband’s past.

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4 Responses to Three Days at Yale

  1. Robert Freedman September 23, 2008 at 4:52 pm #

    I didn’t know my classmate, Joe Jaffer, and I didn’t actually meet Susan Jaffer at the 55th reunion of the Class of ’52. I was the moderator of the discussion group on singing she mentions, so we did meet after a fashion.

    I am grateful to her for writing her memoir of the week-end. There were widows of friends there whom I did meet and I was glad that they came to join with the class.

    My wife died months after our 30th, and that loss makes me especially appreciative of the wonderful women who have made our lives after Yale rich and full.

  2. nancy johnson September 25, 2008 at 1:29 pm #

    I’ve read Susie’s post with tears and a warm heart. I knew Joe Jaffer and I know how genuinely happy he would/will be by what his Widow Susie wrote. I’ve been touched by her courage to attend the Reunion alone and so happy to hear about the warmth that was there for her. Thank you for your rich memoir, Susie.

  3. lisa scahill September 25, 2008 at 3:46 pm #

    Beautifully written memoir. Susan’s experience touches me because her love for her husband is so evident in every word about him. Watching such a brilliant mind falter slowly, painfully in front of your eyes is a torture especially when it is your beloved spouse. I enjoyed Susan’s spin on her adventure, captured with deep color, warmth,and humor. It is clear that Susan’s heart was cheered and soothed by those who brought Joe back to her for a moment in time.

  4. Nancy Jaffer January 20, 2010 at 3:55 pm #

    Oh, Susie, you know I’m an avid fan of everything you write and I loved this, too. I know my father would have been (IS) proud to have been represented by you and your absorbing account of your experiences there. I don’t know how I missed this when it was first published but I’m so glad it was here for me to read for the first time today.
    I’ll continue this praisefest in private but thank you for this glimpse of my father’s beloved Yale.

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