Yim, who worked his way through the University of Nevada playing and singing in a band, today plays classical and jazz guitar. He writes about his friend, Bernadine, and how the solace from the music they have played together for 32 years has carried them through difficult times, including the death of Bernadine's husband and the devastating stroke that Yim's daughter Susan survived.
Not an orthodox pediatrician
Yim said he didn't start out to write a book. Three years ago, an acquaintance had invited him to attend an "interesting meeting" of what turned out to be the Wednesday Writers, an eclectic group of mostly older people who share the memoirs and essays they have written each Wednesday in Towson. In three years, Yim wrote more than 90 pieces.
It was that group that urged him to publish his work.
Wednesday Writers leader Betty Walter touted Yim's "quirky, self-deprecating wit" and called him "our rock star," referring to the enthusiastic reception he has received when he reads from "Mae West" at local venues, including retirement homes.
Yim's son-in-law once complained to him that he would like to go out to dinner just one time when somebody didn't approach the table and tell him how wonderful a pediatrician his father-in-law was.
"You become a member of their family, sharing their childhood," Yim said. "When you perform that last exam and they are grown and leaving, there is that tug at your heart, as if your own are flying the nest. When they go on to do wondrous things … your heart sings."
But Yim was not the most orthodox of pediatricians.
He once told a mother who had been so exasperated by her teenage son that she had dissolved in tears to "take him out in the backyard, bury him up to his neck and feed him and when he's 18, dig him up and kick him out."
Years later, he received a thank-you note with a photograph of a young man in a cap and gown. "It worked!" the note said.
The most rewarding part of his practice was dealing with young mothers, Yim said.
"All women know how to have children even in the jungle or the wilderness," Yim said. "They don't need somebody in a white coat telling them what to do. They just need reassurance."
"Women are the best segment of civilization. They hold civilization together. I can't wait for a woman president."
After he closed the practice more than a dozen years ago he didn't miss it, he said.
"The next day I felt like this great yoke had been removed. There wasn't a young kid to be worried about. I picked up a medical journal and saw the same old format, the same old data and thought, 'Enough of this already. I wanted to read some smut.' "
Writing now occupies much of his life. "It's fun. It grabs me," he said. "It's like a spigot that has been turned on. I enjoy writing, Oh yes, I really do."
Yim is already 20 stories into "Sleeping with Mae West, Volume II."
"Sleeping with Mae West and Other Stories" is available at Greetings & Readings in Hunt Valley. It can also be ordered through Barnes & Noble in Towson as well as Amazon.com.