Issue No. 93
The MSCN Newsletter
Welcome to Your January 2018 Newsletter!

A Lady in a Fur Wrap by El Greco (circa 1557)

Happy New Year to everyone. I hope you are all keeping warm in these freezing Maine temperatures! This newsletter is packed with information about Senior College activities. I have divided the items into two sections. The first covers activity reports and the second is a rich list of lecture listings.

Maine Senior College Activity Reports:
Senior College Lecture Event Listings
A quick round-up of information about Winter and Spring classes plus lecture events taking place across the state. This list is by no means comprehensive it is based on information available at the time of writing.

Maine Senior College Activity Reports
The Idea of America
by Rev. Dr. Duncan Newcomer
Belfast Senior College members roleplaying as part of their "The Idea of America" course.

We believe that the fabric of our national life can be strengthened. Belfast Senior College will be offering "The Idea of America" course again this Spring. Using history, along with factual information and an awakened imagination, we hope to help reshape our future. 

In a small but seasoned program in Belfast we have already engaged high school students during after school in "Coming of Age in America,"a way of learning history "by being history", designed by the Game Loft, a youth serving program in Waldo County.

The Rev Duncan Newcomer and participants in the "Coming of Age in America" workshop.

Last year we took this dramatic role-play method of narrating American life from the high school level to the senior college level. The experiment succeeded in showing that a new way of learning the values and the legacy of our democracy would engage seniors as it had young people.

The curriculum for "The Idea of America" course is part of a national project created by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and The Idea of America Network. It aims to deepen the quality of civic dialogue and engagement in America. The course and curriculum have been approved to be listed in the Osher Life Long Learning Institute resources guide based at Northwestern University.

The course uses the vocabulary of values, such as Equality and Unity, with the legacy of our past leaders, such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Martin Luther King, Jr., to strengthen our participation in the future of our country and world. 

Belfast Senior College members discussing "The Idea of America"

Along with readings, lecture and discussion, our home-grown (Game Loft/Coming of Age in America) method of dramatic enactment is used to deepen and enliven our role in the common good and the development of our best selves.

The goal is to see whether people on opposite sides of issues can find practical ground in commonly held values rooted in our history. We are eager to share this method and material with other Senior Colleges in Maine as it is being shared around the country through The Idea of America Network.

Contact information
If you would like to learn more about this course you are invited to email  Rev. Dr. Duncan Newcomer.
He can also be reached by phone at 240-595-1717 Mailing address: P.O.Box 515 Belfast, Maine 04915

You can also email  Ray Estabrook Founding co-Director of  The Game Loft. Phone  322-3229

Submitted by Rev. Duncan Newcomer - The Idea of America

University of Southern Maine Lewiston-Auburn Senior College

Senior College Board Considers ZOOMing!

Install ZOOM 101:
Go to ZOOM website & click on blue "Sign Up, Its Free" button!

On November 16th,  Anne Cardale from the Maine Senior College Network visited the USM LAC Senior College Board at their monthly meeting.   Using her laptop, she gave a demonstration of the online conferencing program, ZOOM.

Last year, Senior College members from all over Maine participated in the first online course offered by the Maine Senior College Network. Taught by Maine author Elizabeth Peavy, participants 'met' face to face, online. Stories were written, opinions shared, assignments given and friendships formed. All this happened without leaving the comfort of their homes. The course was a success and was offered again in the Spring. Participants are now meeting monthly on their own to further their writing skills.

During her demonstration, Anne 'ZOOMed' with Nancy Roe from her home in Presque Isle.  Nancy answered questions about her experience with the program and shared many ideas about how ZOOM could benefit Senior Colleges all over the state.  This simple technology holds great potential for bringing classes to members who are unable to physically attend.  Board members immediately saw its usefulness for meeting when travel is impossible.  Sharing ideas with the other Senior College Boards about policies, programs, speakers and more is made easy.

"Hollywood Squares!"
This picture shows the memoir writing class meeting online

Downloading the ZOOM software is simple and free!  Each member gets a unique number similar to a telephone number.   Any member can call a meeting emailing the date and time to other members.  At the appointed time they dial the member who is hosting the meeting, they appear on the screen of each participant (think 'Hollywood Squares') and the conversation begins.  At the end of 30 minutes, if they wish to continue, they must all log off, wait a minute or two, then redial the host's number for another 30 minutes of free talk.

If you want to present a longer session without the annoyance of logging on-off-on, someone must purchase a full membership, currently $147 a year.  This provides unlimited access to anyone who dials that number, though the host for that number must be present each time the number is used.    (For example, Nancy Roe is currently the $147 host for the ZOOM Memoir Writing Group.  We dial her number at 10 a.m. one Monday a month, meeting continuously for 1 ½-2 hours.)  It is also possible to archive ZOOM sessions so people who have a conflict can view the proceedings at another time.

Travel, illness, weather need not disrupt your ability to attend if you wish. One memoir writer used her smart phone to ZOOM. "Sick last winter, writing relieved the boredom of being ill and ZOOM gave me companionship without leaving my home or passing my germs on to someone else."  

An online course developed by a Senior College Board could reach out to former members no longer able to travel to class. Someone who is housebound might welcome being the $147 host for a variety of meetings. Anne left instructions for ZOOM with each of the Board members. She plans to visit other Senior College Boards to give them a demonstration of the program. 

Resolution for the New Year: Go ZOOMing in 2018!

Submitted by Mary Jane Beardsley, USM Lewiston Auburn Senior College 
BrainFitnessThe Gold LEAF Institute

A Different Take on Fitness
Diagram of the brain - circa 1300
This past fall, Gold LEAF members took on an exercise class for a body part not usually mentioned at the gym:  the brain.

The class titled "Optimizing Brain Fitness" addressed brain exercises designed to strengthen our working memory. Important take-aways included recognizing the importance of getting proper nutrition and sleep.
Using a Great Courses series of lectures and lead by course organizer  Myrna Vallette, the class took on the task of "Optimizing Brain Fitness" as a group. We followed a series of twelve half-hour lectures, covering three in each gathering over a total of four sessions. 

First came an understanding of the brain itself: how it functions and what happens physically as a person learns new things.  Building on these concepts, it was possible to see how to best reinforce learning, and to see what parts of the brain are involved in that.  

"The gyri of the thinker's brain as a maze of choices in biom" 
by Bill Sanderson, 1997.

One presentation focused on dispelling the myth of multi-tasking, pointing out that there really is no such thing.  The reason for this is that even though the brain seems to be handling two things at one time, it is actually just going back and forth, and thus is really only doing one task at any moment.  This leads to the understanding of why, when driving, it is not a good idea to speak on the phone at the same time.  The part of the brain that would be in use for driving would be the same as that used for the phone call, and the brain can't do both at once, not with full attention.

In addition to the explanations of how things work inside one's head, specific "brain-strengthening" exercises were offered.  One of the more challenging of these was the task of coming up with a random string of numbers and memorizing them.  Participants worked on figuring out ways of making the task easier (or even possible, you might say).  The method of "chunking" the numbers into sets of two or three and then memorizing those sets was one of the helpful ideas explored.

After each lecture, there was an opportunity for discussion -- some attendees would talk about what they found to be useful from the previous lecture.  They would share how surprised they were about certain things they had not realized before. 

Screenshot of action-adventure video game "Aquaria."

Contrary to popular opinion, there was the pronouncement that "Technology" is actually good for us.  Within limits, of course.  Playing video games can be a good "brain workout" but time needs to be held to a reasonable amount.  Also, it was recommended that new types of games be tried out, rather than always sticking with the same type.  Try a number game as a switch from crosswords, for instance, or vice versa.  Or learn to cook a new recipe.   Finally, one needs to remember to use other senses, such as smell, for olfactory sense stimulates the parts of the brain that have to do with memory.  

So, no exercise bike or treadmill is needed, not for this very critical exercise, at least.  Good luck pumping those brain cells!

Written by Eileen Kreutz, The Gold LEAF Institute
University of Southern Maine Lewiston-Auburn Senior College

Outdoor Adventure Club participates in National Wreaths Across America Day

Group Photo L to R, Cindy Boyd, Rachel Morin, Les Bosworth, Charlotte Bosworth, Claire Bruno, Chris Leavitt, Patricia Vampatella, Joan Leavitt, Grace Trainor, Adriann Tucker and Sue Tymoczko Absent, Ellen Della Torre and Lucille Clement. (Photo by Togus Volunteer) 

The Outdoor Adventure Club at USM's Lewiston Auburn Senior College, led by co-chairs Patricia Vampatella and Cindy Boyd, participated in the National Wreaths Across America Day held Saturday, December 16, coordinating with Veterans' Cemeteries across the country and those in overseas locations and synchronizing with the noontime ceremony held at Arlington National Cemetery.

The group was part of a hundred volunteers who gathered at Togus National Cemetery and placed the fresh evergreen Remembrance Wreaths with bright red ribbon bows on the graves of over 5,000 Veterans.

When completed, volunteers looking at the Veterans' white headstones, row upon row, covered with the fresh evergreen wreaths and red bows against the snowy fields made a heartwarming scene and filled their hearts with gratitude for what Veterans have done over and over throughout the years.

The Worcester Wreath Company of Harrington in Washington County is now in its 26th year of providing wreaths for headstones of Veteran servicemen and servicewomen's headstones in Arlington. Years ago, the Company expanded its wreath operations and the program became a national movement and a tradition, Wreaths Across America.

Evergreen Wreaths with red ribbon bows graced the Veterans' white headstones, row upon row, at Togus National Cemetery made for a heart-warming scene. (Photo by Rachel Morin) 

Here in Maine, the Worcester Wreath Company provides wreaths for the three major Veterans' cemeteries, Togus National Cemetery and the two Maine Veteran Memorial Cemeteries in Augusta.

The noontime ceremony was held at the Togus Cemetery flagpole and synchronized with the ceremony at Arlington and Veteran cemeteries across the nation and those on foreign soil. Kaye Bouchard, Togus Representative, led the Veterans, families and friends assembled, in the Pledge of Allegiance followed by a moment of silence remembering the fallen Veterans.

Representatives from branches of the U.S. Services laid a Remembrance Wreath at the base of the flagpole. A Three Gun Salute was fired followed by a member of the Honor Guard playing "Taps" which concluded the ceremony.

Senior College members were honored and deeply moved to participate in Wreaths Across America and found the experience gratifying to be part of the nationwide event. It was their fourth year participating and it is now a locked-in event on their calendar.

Submitted by Rachel Morin, USM Lewiston Auburn Senior College 
 Senior College Event Listings

York County Senior College's Winter 2018 Gary Sullivan Memorial Lecture Series commences in January with a look at Maine experiences on land and sea, with the February lecture looking at Maine through the Franco-American experience and a lens of kindness, winding up in March with an eclectic blend of helping military members transition to Maine and songs of yesteryear.

Lectures will take place in the morning and afternoons of January 17, February 21 and March 21.

Wood Island Lighthouse

January 17 Lectures: 
Wood Island Lighthouse & The Fires of 1947
Brad Coupe
The January 17 morning lecture features Brad Coupe and George Bruns, both Board members of the Wood Island Lighthouse and tour docents, talking about the Lighthouse. They will share their experiences in trying to restore and preserve the Wood Island 
George Bruns
Lighthouse and its natural island habitat, to document its historic significance and  honor the men and women who served as its caretakers and to foster community involvement and appreciation for the the Lighthouse through public access and education.

Arundel Maine. October 1947

Steve Spofford
In the afternoon, Steve Spofford, a trustee of the Brick Store Museum, will share his research into the "The Fires of 1947," giving some of the details of the time when fires burned from Bar Harbor to the Southern Maine beach resorts, spreading over 200,000 acres. He will show slides of what the area looked like before and after the fires, and will provide time for questions and for those who experienced the fires to share their memoirs.

February 21 Lectures
In February, a shift is made from the land and sea of Maine to its people. James Mayall will present an overview of Maine's rich snowshoeing history within the Franco-American community. That afternoon, Michael Chase will inspire attendees with a message of hope in "Survival of the Kindest."

March 21 Lectures
The series concludes in March with Col. Jen Fullmer, head of "Boots2Roots" inspiring listeners with her work from serving as a command pilot to assisting military members make the shift from active duty to Maine in the morning, and Monica Grabin "Singing Songs of the 40's, 50's and 60's in the afternoon.

Lecture Times
Morning lectures take place from 9:30-11:30, followed by lunch and a second lecture, given from 12:30 - 2:30 p.m.

All winter lectures will be given at Denis Hall on the campus of the Brothers of Christian Instruction, 133 Shaker Hill Road, Alfred (off Route 202).  

Fee (lunch included!)
The fee for each day's program is $20 for York County Senior College members, $25 for non-members, payable at the door by cash or check made payable to the York County Shelter Program, and includes lunch, as well as coffee breaks. 

Should classes be cancelled on account of weather, notice will be given on local TV stations and may be heard on the YCSC answering machine (207-282-4030).  

Call 207-282-4030 for reservations by the Monday before each lecture.
Submitted by Fern Brown, York County Senior College


Winter Wisdom 2018

Morrell Room of the Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick

Wednesdays, 12:15 - 1:45 pm 
Free and Open to the Public  

Pietro Testa - The Allegorical Figures of Reason and Wisdom. 1629

January Talks
  • January 10 -The United States and the Persian Gulf: What Has Changed and What Hasn't? 
  • January 17 - Solar Eclipses, Past, Present and Future (2024) January 24 - The Art of Acadia 
  • January 31 - Venice - Where Did the Stones Come From? February 7 - IONA: The Sacred Isle of Scotland 

                                     February Talk
  • February 14 - Longfellow Days: The Charm of Reading & Rereading

The Winter Wisdom lecture series is sponsored by: 

For more detailed information please visit:

Submitted by Donna Marshall, Midcoast Senior College

Brown Bag Lunch Dates

"Sunday Lunch" by József Rippl-Rónai - 1903

The Brown Bag Series is a program of the UMA Senior College that encourages people to attend weekly presentations in January and February at the UMA campus. The series begins on the first week of January and runs for 8 weeks.  

UMASC members and guests are invited to bring their lunch to each session at 12 noon on Tuesdays, to see and hear a different presentation each week. Topics will be of various subjects and content. The length of shows should be 60-90 minutes duration. Lectures are held at the Michael Klahr Center which is connected to UMA's Katz Library. 

Tuesday Lectures Noon - 1:30 pm 
UMA Klahr Center 
There is no admission fee.  

January Talks
  • January 9 Tom Feagin We Shall Overcome (history of racist ideas in U.S.) 
  • January 16 Bob Woodbury My Life in the Media - a Conversation 
  • January 23 Peter Rosenberg A History of Card Games 
  • January 30 Mike Bell Bigfoot: Yes, He's Out There

                              February Talks
  • February 6 Art Ray Clyde Jackie & #42 (Major League Baseball) 
  • February 13 Elizabeth Reinsborough Patagonia: Wild and Wonderful 
  • February 20 Patrick Paradis JFK at 100: Why His Presidency Still Matters 
  • February 27 Dick Duncan Speech: A Magical Extension of the Arms 

 Network Round-Up
A quick look at who is doing what!
QuickRoundUpClasses, and Lecture Events around the Network as of January 4, 2018. 

A Quick Round-Up!

Acadia Senior College: 

The MSCN newsletter is sent to each Senior College board. The boards then forward the newsletter to their membership. However, if you are not a member of a Senior College or perhaps you are, and you simply want the news "hot off the press" subscribe here! 
Newsletter Submissions Deadline Date:
The 26th of each month!

Please submit your articles and photographs to Anne Cardale at

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Contact Information
Maine Senior College Network 
P.O. Box 9300 
Portland, Maine 04104-9300 
(207) 228-4128


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