Although I am sure you did not intend it, there is an implicit “let them eat cake” quality to your Jan. 12 article “Endowment falls 25 percent,” which discusses the reduction of Yale’s endowment from $22.9 billion to $17 billion. Yes, that’s billion, not million.

I grew up in a white-picket-fence neighborhood in Mt. Carmel, but my grandmother lived on a third-floor walk-up with no hot water two blocks from Yale at State and Elm streets.

When I would visit her as a tot, she would walk me across the New Haven Green, hand in hand, and as we neared Old Campus, I would ask her in my childhood naivete, “Who lives in those castles?”

The juxtaposition of Yale’s majestic architecture with New Haven’s ghetto that encroaches several of its boundaries is as inexplicable to me today as it was back then.

Why do some people have so much wealth and others so little? To put it another way, why does Yale’s ivy itch like poison on the skin of New Haven’s poor?

Seventeen billion dollars?

My mother taught me it is always rude to eat in front of others without offering them a portion.

Paul D. Keane

Jan. 14

The writer graduated with a master’s of divinity from the Divinity School in 1980.