Saving Grace

Burl Salmon builds a new home in the Church.

This is Lexington, a small town only an hour outside of Atlanta. But in this land of boiled peanuts and dairy farms, I feel worlds away. I’m in the Georgian countryside, at the home of Burl Salmon, my former high school English teacher and a graduate of Yale Divinity School. His neighbor is the photographer for the magazine Gun and Garden, the self-proclaimed “Soul of the South.” I’ve been here a few times to visit Burl on trips back from college, and the area has. . . Read more
Ashley Dalton
Stearner Stuff

The biggest figure in modern evolutionary history finds his work and ideas taking on new life in his students.

“Stearns, this is bad philosophy and it’s bad science. Defend yourself.” It’s the early 1970s, in a small classroom at the University of British Columbia. Halfway around the world, the Vietnam War rages on. In our quiet corner of Canada, however, there’s nothing but the sound of agitated footsteps as Stephen Stearns ’67 paces, waiting to know whether his outrageous Ph.D. proposal will be accepted. The topic is the main problem: Essentially, what Stearns has written proposes the formalization of a completely new area of. . . Read more
Bijan Stephen
Feed a Fever

A public health official dances to “infect” New Haven with good health.

On a Saturday evening in late June, a man dressed in fluorescent tie-dye presses his thumbs together and curls over his fingers to form a flying heart. The Carolina Chocolate Drops are playing “Cornbread and Butterbeans” to sunburned picnickers who skip and swing feverishly on the New Haven Green. Eric Triffin, with his tightly sprung coils, a receded hairline, and full white beard, dances alone to the left of the stage. He wears a tie-dye T-shirt featuring a giant pink heart that cushions the rainbow. . . Read more
Katy Osborn
Not Hungry

Goldie Stands Over Bull ’13 fasted for twenty days to get closer to God.

Goldie Stands Over Bull with her bible. Goldie Stands Over Bull does not like doughnuts. There were no Dunkin’ Donuts on the Crow Reservation where she grew up near Billings, Montana, and her move to New Haven didn’t instill in her any new cravings. “They’re dry. I just don’t go for them,” she said. And yet for one hour on January 13, she could not get them out of her head. “I don’t even eat doughnuts!” she said. “It was my central thought for like. . . Read more
Ben Mueller
Playing Hardball

At 13, Jericho Scott is happy to be a has-been national baseball sensation.

Jericho Scott, pictured here in 2008, on the mound. Three years later, the remnants of Jericho Scott’s brush with youth baseball superstardom reign neatly over his small bedroom. A signed shirt from television personality Jimmy Kimmel hangs on the wall next to Jericho’s own FatHead, a brand of oversized wall sticker usually emblazoned with the likenesses of major league all-stars, not scrawny nine-year-olds pitching for pizza parlor-sponsored youth teams. His limbs flailing and his face scrunched into a ball of childish effort, the Jericho whom the sticker. . . Read more
Ben Mueller
Small Things and Big Things

Mathematics professor Michael Frame’s world is built of self-similar patterns.

Michael Frame with fractal models in his Dunham Laboratory office. When the mathematician Michael Frame was growing up in St. Albans, West Virginia, he and his little brother Steven decided to make a hot air balloon. They didn’t have the money to buy a ready-made set, so Michael crafted a little bowl out of some tin foil and Steven found a bottle of rubbing alcohol to use as fuel. Together, they coated the inside of the bowl with sawdust so the alcohol wouldn’t slip out. . . Read more
Austin Bernhardt
The House That Alice Built

Before women could vote, Alice Washburn was building the most beautiful houses in New Haven and Hamden.

Blueprints of Washburn's houses. Images courtesy the Eli Whitney Museum The houses of Hamden’s Swarthmore Street possess delicate bones. Place them atop poles and each home would look like the finest handmade birdhouse. These colonials and their siblings, over one hundred and ten houses in total, have presided over streets in Hamden, New Haven, and Cheshire since the 1920s, when they were designed and built by Alice Washburn. Washburn began her career as a landscape architect in 1919 at age 49. She had no formal. . . Read more
Juliana Hanle
Where Less is More

Six decades of haircutting and storytelling in Placido Mastroianni’s Whalley Avenue barbershop.

Placido Mastroianni and Mike Maraucci laugh in their Whalley Ave. barbershop. Placido Mastroianni cuts hair in a barbershop he calls a salon. “Salone means ‘you receive the people,’” he says. He takes a little off the top from any man who comes in. Men who don’t have much hair on their heads still have a lot on their minds.  In the weeks before November 2, 2010, their minds were on the mid-term elections. And Mastroianni, like any good barber, was ready to comb out the. . . Read more
Andrew McCreary
The Critic

Scenes with David Koskoff, Yale undergraduate theater’s biggest fan.

Before I met David Koskoff ’61 LAW ’64 and his wife Charlotte Koskoff, I sat behind them during an undergraduate performance of Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead this October. Mr. Koskoff was the one leaning over and explaining a joke to his wife, loud enough for me to hear, too. I had seen the pair in many Yale audiences, but they were no one’s parents or professors that I knew. When I found them after the play, Mr. Koskoff confirmed proudly that he. . . Read more
Jacqueline Feldman
Umbrella Man

Paul Hammer, New Haven’s bicycle activist.

We’re pulling onto the main road. My driver carefully looks over his right shoulder to check for traffic. A minivan passes, and the middle-aged, portly driver visibly snaps his neck around, craning to get a better look at us. The next driver does the same. When the street is finally clear, we slip into the traffic headed down Orange Street, and we’re off. I wish we were moving a little faster, because at this pace it’s hard to escape the stares of pedestrians and drivers. . . Read more
Sanjena Sathian