Issue No. 79
The MSCN Newsletter
Welcome to Your December 2016 Newsletter!

Memoir writing is a popular activity amongst Maine's Senior College members. This month I bring you " Picking Up the Pen" featuring the Gold LEAF Institute's recent "Writing Your Family History" class with Dick Matthews. Our pilot online class in memoir writing class received a mention in the recent Bangor Daily News article " Wasn't She Something: Mainers Explore the Legacy of Memoir." Journalist Meg Haskell joined our online class! Meg's focus was on memoir writing in general but we enjoyed her virtual visit, and she spotlights the work of some Senior College participants. 

This newsletter also brings you " What's in a Word?" written by Charlie Cameron for "The Jabberwocky" (Sunrise SC's newsletter). This article takes a quick look at the story of place names.  I also have information on the latest Concerts at Jewett and Food for Thought offerings plus a list of Winter Classes available around the state. 

Finally, I am featuring the Maine Senior College author Jack Lynch and his intriguing " I Am Not a Machine" book series. Jack is an autodidact with a background in electrical engineering who has taken a deep dive into the fields of cognitive science, psychology, and the philosophy of mind.


Charlie Cameron (Sunrise Senior College) likes words. He likes researching what they mean, where they come from. Some places in Maine and other places in this world have interesting names, and the sources of these names are equally interesting. For example:
State Capitol, Augusta, Maine

Augusta - Roman Emperor Constantine changed the name of London, England to Augusta at some time during the first third of the fourth century. It didn't last. Augusta, Maine was originally named Cushnoc, an Indian name, and was later changed to Harrington by the Massachusetts General Court - Maine was then a part of Massachusetts. Soon after, its name was changed to Augusta, Henry Dearborn's daughter's name. Dearborn was active in both military and political events.

Main & Church Streets. Bethel, ME - 1913

Bethel - means House of God (Beth El) in Hebrew.

Welshpool, Campobello, 1910

Campobello Island - before there was a New Brunswick (founded in 1794), the island was part of Nova Scotia. In 1770, the governor of Nova Scotia, William Campbell, granted the island to Captain William Owen. Captain Owen named the island after the governor, and for unknown reasons changed the spelling of Governor Campbell's name slightly by inserting two o's, one after the 'p' and another after the second 'l'. The divided name -campo bello - means beautiful field in Spanish and Italian.

Deblois - was named after the president of the Bank of Portland.

Wesley - was named for John Wesley, an Anglican cleric, one of the founders of Methodism.

Speed boating on Long Lake at Naples, Maine between circa 1930 and circa 1945

Naples - In centuries before the Current Era, present-day Greece and Italy had city states. Each of these independent city states was comprised of one major city and the surrounding area, and people were enticed to become members of the city state. Athens, Sparta, and Corinth are examples of Greek city states. The city states in Greece were called polis. When a Greek city state became too crowded and could not provide for all of its citizens, it would organize a group of its citizens, at times up to 200, and have them move elsewhere, usually to places along the coasts of the Mediterranean and Black Sea. At other times, new city states were created to serve as trade centers. These new Greek city states were often named Apollonia or Nea Polis. Nea Polis is Greek for new city state. One city state named Nea Polis was established on the west coast of the peninsular that became Italy. Unlike many new city states, its leaders did not change its name from Nea Polis to something entirely different. Its name became Napoli. We call it Naples.

This article was originally published in Sunrise Senior College Jabberwocky, Volume 20, Issue 2 Page 6
Picking Up the Pen at the Gold LEAF Institute

As the month of November draws to a close, so does the last of a series of writing classes offered by author, editor, and Gold LEAF member Dick Matthews.  This was the second time the class "Writing Your Family History" has been offered and it proved, once again, that Gold LEAF harbors some excellent writers. The class is typically conducted in such a way that members share the pieces they've written, yielding impressive results. 

In recapping what happened with his writing workshop members through the process, Dick has related that "Some, in their poignancy, have brought us close to tears, while others have made us laugh with their accounts of various madcap adventures.  It had the effect of reminding us of our own happy recklessness as kids."

Another outcome of the class has been how the participants say they've felt about the adventure of writing itself.  Class members saw how quickly what began as a simple narrative led writers into memories they didn't know they had. In that sense, writing has become, for some of them, a journey into self-discovery. For the presenter, he puts it this way:  "It's fun to watch happen; it's fun to be a part of." 

One participant was happy to share:  "Whenever I see 'Writing Your Family History' listed in the catalog of offerings, I rush to submit the course registration form, not wanting to be left out of the wide-ranging content and quality of stories participants share.  I have left each session with yet another spark for my own writing, or possible suggestions for revisions to make the writing of my family stories stronger.  What A GIFT!"

Such a gift indeed.  Our senior college is so fortunate to have members with skills and energy like this, and the whole program benefits from their generosity.

Written by Eileen Kreutz,  The Gold LEAF Institute
University of Maine at Augusta Senior College Presents "Concerts at Jewett"

Christmas Concert:  Downeast Brass with Jay Zoller, Organist, South Parish Congregational Church, Augusta. 

Sunday,  December 18, 2016, 2PM

The "Concerts at Jewett" Series sponsored by University of Maine at Augusta College of Arts and Sciences and UMA Senior College will present "A Christmas Concert: Downeast Brass with Jay Zoller, Organist" on Sunday, December 18, 2016, 2PM at the South Parish Congregational Church, 9 Church Street, Augusta.

For years South Parish Congregational Church and its fine organist, Jay Zoller, have shared their magnificent organ with the public in a special holiday concert featuring the Downeast Brass Quintet. For the past few years, Concerts at Jewett has been happy to join them in co-sponsoring this event. A ticket to this festive concert would make a wonderful Christmas gift!

Mr. Zoller plays the historic 1866 E. & G. G. Hook Organ for services and concerts.  He comes to South Parish with long experience in church music and recital playing.

The Downeast Brass has performed in many New England settings.  Audiences have enjoyed these fine Maine performers on the concert stage, at weddings, festivals, and on parade.  Their wide range of musical styles makes them the preferred musical choice for many occasions.

Veterans admitted free.
Tickets are $10 for all other adults, students $5, 12 & under free.
Tickets are available at Pat's Pizza in Augusta, Dave's Appliance in Winthrop and at the door.
Call 621-3551, or email for more information or for mail order tickets. 

The next concert is Sunday, January 8, 2017, 2PM - Dave Rowe and The Squid Jiggers.  (Snow date: January 15th)

Media contact: Irene Forster 445-5227 

Submitted by Bev Ludden,  University of Maine at Augusta Senior College (UMASC)
Food for Thought at USM's 
Lewiston-Auburn Senior College Presents: 

"How 1-01-0 and 2020 Lead to Maine 2.0" with David Cheever
Friday, December 9, 2016

David Cheever, who is currently serving his second term as Maine's State Archivist is the presenter for the Friday, December 9, 2016, USM Lewiston-Auburn Senior College "Food for Thought" luncheon. The title of his session is "How 1-01-0 and 2020 Lead to Maine 2.0". Dave will share the challenges facing records managers and modern archivists in the digital age. He will also discuss how his department is preparing for "Maine's 2020 Bicentennial of Statehood". As Archivist, Cheever has helped in the transition from a paper-dominant environment to the born-digital technology that brings unique demands to the world of preservation of documents and the need to have those documents available to the public.
Maine State Archives

Dave Cheever is a graduate of Bangor High School and Colby College and is currently an Augusta resident.  He has had a varied career in education, government, and the media.  He is a former teacher, reporter, columnist, producer, and editor, and is an award-winning broadcaster in radio and television. Cheever was a television sports anchor and director in Bangor, and a radio news director for Stephen King's station. As a reporter and columnist for the Bangor Daily News, he caught the attention of then Governor Joseph Brennan and joined his administration as Press Secretary in 1981. When Brennan was elected to Congress, Cheever was hired by then Attorney General Jim Tierney as public information liaison, where he served for three years before returning to the private sector.  He rejoined the media as a reporter and columnist for the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel and eventually became the Editorial Page Editor. He returned to State employment with the Maine State Library and was nominated from there to the State Archivist position in 2007.  

Along the way, Cheever spent 25 years as a high school ice hockey official, is currently in his 12th year as a high school field hockey official, and he looks forward to being courtside again for the 25th year in a row in presenting high school tournament basketball on Maine Public Media. He also remains active in the presentation of Maine's Civil War history to schools throughout the state.

Senior College, now in its 19th year, presents this monthly luncheon program that is open to the public in Function Room 170 at USM LAC.  Doors open at 11:30 a.m. and the program will begin promptly at noon.  The cost, which includes lunch, is $7 with an advance reservation or $8 at the door. To make your advance reservation, call Senior College at 753-6510 by noon on Wednesday, December 7. Reservation calls received after this date/time will be considered "at the door".

Winter-ClassesWinter Classes

Acadia Senior College Winter 2017 Classes Brochure

SC-AuthorSenior College Author

Jack Lynch - "I am Not A Machine"

Thinking Without Words (I Am Not a Machine, Book 1)
Jack Lynch has S.B. and S.M. degrees from MIT and a Ph.D. from Stanford University, all in electrical engineering, and has worked for twenty years doing research in signal processing at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory. He has independently studied psychology and cognitive science for several decades and has applied his knowledge of signal processing to exploring how the mind works.

I am an autodidact, at least in the fields of cognitive science, psychology, and the philosophy of mind. That means that I am not formally schooled in those fields and have learned whatever it is I know mostly by reading books, although I have occasionally attended lectures and courses. Consequently, I may know a lot about many aspects of the field yet know virtually nothing about other aspects that everybody else in the discipline knows very well because they followed a standard curriculum.

It's hard to learn new concepts when you are older. Perhaps that's because your brain cells work more slowly. but it may be because you have so many other ideas that could get in the way. If you were raised on Bach, the Beatles may sound weird to you and you may never become a great rock and roll musician. On the other hand, if you were raised on Senegalese drumming and you were exposed to 1910 minstrel and popular music, your attempts to play it may at first be strange, but in time you might be playing something entirely new and exciting. That, by the way, is a highly condensed version of how jazz was born. Sometimes coming into a new field with an entrenched background brings that new field into sharper focus.

I Am Not A Machine - Book II: Thinking With Words
My  edu cation and
earch experience in electrical engi neering doesn't wholly explain my voyaging into another comple x scientific discipline. Part of the puzzle is just my personality. Even in grade school I was interested in how things worked. I in fact gave a "lecture" to my eighth grade class on the way batteries function. A few years after I got my Ph.D. and was doing research in electrical engineering, I became interested in psychology and cognition-how the mind works. A couple of things got me started.

After I finished my Ph.D., I had, for the first time in my life, time to reflect on some emotional concerns. In college, we (engineers) just couldn't understand the young women we dated who seemed to spend much of their time discussing personal feelings an
d relationships. I am embarrassed to say that at the time we saw that as a weakness; internal matters were simply of less significance than the practical and scientific subjects that occupied our attentions. My reflections later on led me to re-evaluate that appraisal of the validity of examining the emotional aspect of the mind, to talk to a variety of people, read some books, and take some interpersonal psychology courses at the Harvard Extension. I later stumbled onto a course on adult development at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where I learned how Piaget had changed the way people thought about the development of children. I also did all the "recommended" (i.e. not "required") readings for the course and was thereby exposed to some important ideas in moral development and the philosophy of science.

I Am Not a Machine Book III: Rethinking Cognitive Psychology
I found learning about the development 
o f children fascinating because of some strange aspects of my own intellectual skills. I couldn't read or write very well, and I was an atrocious speller. I was even poor in high school algebra. On the other hand, I was phenomenal in high school geometry and physics. Doing great in two courses and mediocre in eighteen courses isn't a very good batting average, however; I guess I got into MIT based on high SAT scores in my two good subjects. Not surprisingly, my weaknesses were a real problem in my freshman year at MIT where I almost flunked out, despite working very hard. It took me three entire semesters to get going, but after that I did pretty well. I'm still not sure what the problem was, but I think it was partly not having worked very hard in high school (doing school work, I mean-I worked long hours earning money for college, and I was in every extracurricular club and dramatic play I could fit in). I think I was also partly dyslexic. I still can't spell, and my arithmetic is still full of errors. I'm also a terrible computer programmer, but I'm spectacular at abstract ideas, especially ones that have a spatial component. These idiosyncrasies in my cognitive functioning made me very curious about the idiosyncrasies of other people's cognitive functioning. My interest in how the minds of children work expanded into trying to understand how the minds of adults worked. Consequently, my readings in cognitive development soon expanded to cognitive science. 

When I started reading about psychology, cognitive development, and cognitive science, I found that I had to stop and reflect on each page. I wrote extensively in the margins of books. I started keeping a notebook and wrote down fragments of ideas. I started "talking" directly to Socrates, Descartes, or Piaget. Regardless of who they were, I "told" them what I thought of their ideas. I realize that you might find this a bit arrogant. Many people believe we should worship the intellectual greats in human culture. I say, honor and respect them, absolutely, but blindly believe them, never! In fact, all the great thinkers loved thinking and discussing their ideas. Who likes hitting a tennis ball against a wall by oneself when hitting with a partner is much more fun? I can think of some other activities where doing it with a partner is a much richer experience than doing it alone. The great thinkers believed in their ideas and didn't want blind obedience. They were not dictators. At any rate that's my rationalization for doing what I do. Occasionally someone will say to me that they admire my discipline in reading and writing so consistently on this subject. I always say thank you, but then add, " You've have to be kidding. You wouldn't admire my discipline in eating a chocolate brownie for lunch every day." But that's how reading and writing about the mind is for me. It's just fun. It's what I feel like doing most of the time.


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Images Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The NorDar Journal - December 2013. Cover.

TheNorDar ( « NOR» - new, « dar» - age, generation - Arm.) - The first and only international media project about art and culture, which has been published since 2011 in Ukraine, Kiev. Publisher and editor - Lilit Sargsyan.  

(The Google browser will translate the journal's website from Russian to English.)


Maine State Archives - Photo by Jennifer Alford

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In This Issue
Don't forget to go to the Maine Senior College Network website to find out what is happening around the state!

Maine Senior College Network

Acadia Senior College

Augusta Senior College
Coastal Senior College

Downeast Senior College

Gold LEAF Institute

South Coast Senior College

Midcoast Senior College

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Penobscot Valley Senior College


Senior College at Belfast

St. John Valley Senior College

Sunrise Senior College 
Western Mountains Senior College

York County Senior College
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Contact Information
Maine Senior College Network 
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Portland, Maine 04104-9300 
(207) 228-4128


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