ANDOVER, Mass. – C. Yardley Chittick sneaked off school grounds with Humphrey Bogart and other schoolmates, but Phillips Academy on Saturday let its oldest living graduate off the hook.
Attending his 90th high school reunion, the 107-year-old grinned from his golf cart at the head of the Andover school's alumni parade.
A 1918 graduate, Chittick, of Concord, N.H., also received a pardon from the school for some long-ago schoolboy mischief.
At a ceremony in the school chapel, Barbara Chase, the school's head, read a resolution from Phillips Academy's trustees that paid tribute to Chittick's life and service to the school.
It also noted that Chittick wrote in a 1918 diary entry that he'd sneaked off campus during a spring night with friends, including Bogart, to watch a fire in North Wilmington. The group didn't return until 3 a.m.
"Now therefore, be it resolved that the trustees of Phillips Academy do hereby cancel all punishments long overdue for that escapade," the resolution read.
Chittick received a standing ovation from the chapel crowd, and called the attention "a special honor" from "a special place."
"I didn't plan this at all," he said. "I feel lucky and I feel fortunate."
Family members say Chittick still makes his own breakfast and lunch and attends daily tea at 2:30 p.m. with a suit on.
Chittick attributes his longevity to "just some ordinary living. I never used alcohol or anything in excess. I like the ladies."
His uncle, a graduate of the Andover class of 1886, sent him to Andover a year after he flunked French at his Newark, N.J., high school. Chittick went on to graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and make a career in patent law. At one point, he refused a job offer from Thomas Edison, taking a job in the golf club industry instead because it sounded more fun.
Chittick has taken part in alumni exercises at Andover for several years, said Michael Ebner, the school's director of alumni relations.
His longevity is "mind-blowing," not just to current students, but to alumni who've left school four and five decades ago, Ebner said. He said that Chittick's stories of student life — rushing to class and playing sports — remind people many things at Andover haven't changed.
"(His visit) is a living is embodiment of the history of the school," Ebner said. "It makes everyone see things change, and see they remain the same."