Tony Kahn Classmate Interviews
Our classmate Tony Kahn ’66 has been a producer for PBS and NPR for 40 years and a weekly panelist on Says You, the National Public Radio comedy quiz show. Over the past several years he's been recording the voices of HR66 classmates and editing them into 3-5 minute vignettes.
He shares some of them with us below.
More to come.
2021 new tracks: Roger Howe, Ginio Morris, Wendy Philbrick, David Andelman, Sherman Abe, John McCluskey, Dave Dinoon, Polly Howells and Charles Degelman
2022: Tony Kahn (his own words), Ben Portnoy, Steve Bergman
Steve Bergman– It's like you think something's bad and it turns out to be the best thing that ever happened
and something's good and it's the worst thing. You never know.
Ben Portnoy– The most important part of your life isn't achievement or your station in life, but how your relate to your
fellow human beings and part of that is how you meet new ones and how you say goodbye to old ones. The hello and goodbye.
Tony Kahn– I came across some interviews done with me a few years back and edited them together for a self-portrait of my own.
Charles Degelman – I had taken a year off. My father was very despondent, he had been struggling so hard to get work.
He committed suicide. My mother called and said, "your father killed himself in his lab."
Polly Howells – I'll never forget sitting around a Cabot Hall table...saying, "What the fuck? What is this all about?
Why are we here? The courses are terrible, we're much smarter than all the men. This is like a shocking disappointment."
Dave Denoon – I went thinking I was going to be a chemistry major...but in the Fall of our freshman year
I didn't find it as intresting as the Cuban missle crisis, the closest we've ever come to nuclear war.
John McCluskey —For me it was a time to experiment, to look around corners, to size the place up,
to be hungry, just gorge yourself on a different place, and a different context...you won't see that kind of freedom again.
Wendy Philbrick — What really, really grounded me was having my children and grandchildren. That’s my heart.
Hearing where another person is really coming from and telling them where I am really coming from. That [is] a sacred moment.
David Andelman — I saw a recruiting notice for WHRB, so I wandered into their studio in the basement of Holyoke Center — and it changed my life.
Sherman Abe — I was born in an enemy, Japanese detention center. We returned to California when I was an infant to a Chicano neighborhood
at the edge of the Mojave desert [where] there were no relatives, no friends, no teachers ever connected to Harvard, even the East Coast.
I mean Harvard was so far away!
Roger Howe — We moved around a lot. So, from the 8th grade to Harvard, I went to a different school every year. In some sense I was
an odd man out...When I was teaching at Yale, I never went to the Harvard-Yale game, because who would I cheer for, right?
Virginia Morris — Who I was, was an emotional person! Acting allowed me to express myself.
Ellen Leopold — Harvard really wasn’t interested in women at that time — it just seemed that we were all pretty much overlooked.
John Roemer — I graduated summa cum laude, but I had a tenacious feeling of being only mediocre. I was not going to be a
world class mathematician. That was I think the most difficult thing for me at Harvard, coming to grips with that understanding.
Lynn Visson — I would have these feelings walking through Harvard Yard, “Boy I’m lucky. How did I get here? Isn’t this wonderful,”
and feeling a part of an intellectual community, preserving culture and tradition, which has always
been very important for me. I had moments like that every term. Even yesterday.
Michal Goldman — It was my first experience of being overwhelmed, of the kind of loneliness so intense it makes you scared. All these people!
Nancy Uhlar — We all lived in little rooms, with a communal bathroom and lots of dramas, dramas from our own behavior,
when I broke up with the person I thought was the love of my life, and dramas from the outside world, someone shrieking through the hall,
“The President’s been shot, the President’s been shot!"
Rusty Sachs — At the end of my sophomore year the Adams House Senior Tutor suggested gently and with utmost courtesy that
maybe I should take some time off. And I was in the Marine Corps for seven years. By God, I got even with them. I came back.
Michael Epstein — It’s just the strangest thing, just two days ago, someone said, “so where did you go to college?" And I said Harvard.
And it’s like their pupils dilate. It’s like the best brand in the world.
John Leshy — The county I grew up in was the poorest county in the state of Ohio. When I was a senior in high school two families had a
Hattfield-McCoy feud and one of them walked into the local restaurant and gunned down the other one. At least for somebody like me,
Harvard just opened up a lot of doors, intellectually and in other ways.
Dan Fendel — How awful it was, that people were always trying to be cool, not revealing too much of [themselves]. . . I regret it.
Neal Kominsky — I worked in the dining room halls in houses, watching Harvard go by, an astonishingly wide variety of people,
some of whom were very easy to like, and some of whom just thought I was part of the furniture.
Alice Abarbanel — Over the years I’d hear about being at Wellesley: the Women professors, the small classes,
[where] most women talked and I thought, “Oh, my God, I hardly ever talked in [my] sections.”
In Wellesley I would have felt more confident instead of lost in the shuffle of all these guys.