Issue No. 85
The MSCN Newsletter
Welcome to Your June 2017 Newsletter!

Leon Kroll - Summer Days, Camden Maine (1916)

This month I want to thank Bob Stephan of Coastal Senior College for inviting me to talk about the Senior College Network to the Newcastle-Damariscotta Rotary Club. Bob is also a board member of Coastal Senior College and arranged for me to meet some of his fellow board members. I came away very impressed by the volunteer work of both the Rotary Club and Coastal Senior College. Thank you for the opportunity to visit!

Now, I have some great events to share so without further ado here they are!  
Thank you to everyone for sending in your information! Please note that the July and August newsletters will be special shortened issues for the summer. New deadline for the newsletter is the 20th of each month!

Program Director
Midcoast Senior College


Location: The Morrell Room of the Curtis Memorial Library, Brunswick 

Dates: Wednesday evenings at 7:30 p.m., June 7, 14, 21, 28 

Free and Open to the Public

Barrier Canyon Spirits #4 -  P hotographed by Gary Orona

During World War II in the Pacific Theater, in order to prevent the Japanese from successfully intercepting Allied communications, a novel plan was adopted, using Native Americans speaking in code using their own respective languages. More than 400 Navaho Indians and scores of other Native Americans served as "code talkers" during the War. Because of the secret nature of their role, code talkers were forbidden to discuss their service until decades after the end of the war: and even today their crucial service remains largely unknown. 

JAN WILK is a graduate of Wittenberg University with a degree in history and the University of Maine. She taught at Mt. Ararat School, and has been President of the boards of the Curtis Library, Pejepscot Historical Society, and Maine State Music Theater, as well as serving on the board of Midcoast-Parkview Health. She has also been a docent at the Chamberlain Museum and a volunteer for Habitat For Humanity and the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust. She was named Brunswick Citizen of the Year in 1998.

Reverse of the  1933 Double Eagle .
United States coin image from the United States Mint.

JUNE 14  
The basic values and structure of how Americans obtain and pay for health care is being challenged by the newly-elected President and the current Congress. The future of Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance is at stake. The changes produced by the Affordable Health Care Act may be totally eliminated and replaced with a radically different approach. There is substantial uncertainty and disagreement in the U.S. on the direction of health care that is complex and will potentially affect every U.S. citizen. This lecture will present an overview of the issues and attempt to unravel the complexity.  

STEPHEN F. LOEBS, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus of Health Policy and Management, College of Public Health, at Ohio State University. A graduate of Bowdoin College, he also holds three graduate degrees from the University of Michigan in health management, political science and health care organization and finance. He has been a Distinguished Lecturer at Bowdoin College and has been on the faculty of the University of Maine. His research and writing have focused on the structure and issues in the U.S. health care system

James Cagney in "The Public Enemy"

JUNE 21  
This talk considers how Hollywood movies in the 1930s depicted the American criminal justice system-specifically in scenes that show the criminal "heroes" walking down the last, long mile to the electric chair. How did James Cagney, Spencer Tracy and Clark Gable bring their star power to movies about career criminals with no time left in their lives, and what lessons did 1930s audiences want from these movies? 

TRICIA WELSCH is Professor of Cinema Studies at Bowdoin College. She earned her undergraduate degree at Fordham University and holds an M.A. and PhD in English from the University of Virginia. Her work has appeared in numerous film journals and in anthologies on the history of film. She is the author of Ready for Close-up: The Life of Gloria Swanson.

Coat of Arms of Moscow

JUNE 28 
The Russians have had official representation in Washington, D. C. from four distinct governments: Imperial Russian, 1917 Provisional Government, the Soviet Union and now the new Russia of Vladimir Putin. Russia has sent us spies and seducers, moles and maestros, artists and ambassadors, rogues and royals. This tour of the current Russian presence will include the Russian embassy, Marjorie Post's Hillwood estate, the State Department at Foggy Bottom, the CIA, K Street lobbyists, Capitol Hill and the new Trump White House. The Russian presence in our nation's capitol is longstanding, but never so blatant. 

ROBERT C. WILLIAMS is Vail Professor of History and Dean of Faculty Emeritus at Davidson College in North Carolina. He has taught Russian history at Bates, Davidson and Williams Colleges as well as Washington University in St. Louis. He is the author of fifteen books and worked in Washington, D.C. in 1976-7 as one of the first fellows at the George F. Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and is the current editor of the MSC newsletter, The Inquirer.

Submitted by Bianca Chambers and Donna Marshall,  Midcoast Senior College

Coastal Senior College
Annual Luncheon with Featured Guest Sumner McKane

June 12th at 11:30 am

Location:  Water's Edge Restaurant, Route 1 Edgecomb. 

Open to both members and the public

Coastal Senior College (CSC) will hold its annual luncheon, open to both members and the public, on June 12th at Water's Edge Restaurant, Route 1 Edgecomb. The event opens at 11:30 a.m. with a cash bar and hors d'oeuvres. The buffet luncheon begins at noon and includes a sirloin carving station, full salad bar, and buffet with vegetables, pasta, pork, and chicken. The performance follows at 1 p.m. The featured guest is Sumner McKane.

Only eighty tickets are available for this year's luncheon, and the cost is $25. To purchase tickets, have your credit card number ready and call University College at Rockland (URock) at 207-596-6906. Your receipt for payment will serve as your event ticket, so please bring it with you to the luncheon. A limited number of tickets may also be available for purchase at the door.

McKane's performance at the luncheon is titled The Maine Frontier: Through the Lens of Isaac Walton Simpson. Simpson was a photographer, blacksmith, barber, musician, woodsman, mechanic, husband and father of 13, whose rarely seen glass plate photographs reveal a social history of Maine around the turn of the century. As he traveled to farms and logging camps and the far reaches of Aroostook County, Simpson captured the culture of the region by illuminating the characters and lifestyles of the people in his photographs. The Maine Frontier is an authentic illustration that transports the audience back to the region's pioneering frontier culture. Isaac Simpson, his photographic subjects, his wife Effie, their friends, family, and work mates exemplify the character and conditions prevalent in Northern Maine in that era. 

Sumner McKane is a collector of images. A composer with a photographer's mind, McKane's mental snapshots of trails traveled and times past inevitably find their way in to musical interpretations of these scenes. The vivid nature of the resulting soundscapes reveal musical and emotional themes that inexplicably straddle the line between fresh and familiar, all with fantastic facility.

Sumner creates and produces docu-exhibits based in his educational experience as a historian and photographer, and from his career as a professional performing musician. McKane studied photography at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography, and at the University of Montana. He studied history at the University of Montana and at the University of Southern Maine, and graduated from USM with high honors in history, and as a member of Phi Alpha Theta- the National Historians Honors Society. For more information on Sumner and his accomplishments and creations visit his website

Submitted by  Paula Schuessler, Coastal Senior College
Senior College Summer Programs


"The Best of Acadia: Back to College" July 10-14, 2017. -  Acadia Senior College and College of the Atlantic Summer Programs are planning a third annual summer collaboration! 


Volunteerism is alive and well at the  Gold LEAF Institute in the western foothills and it never ceases to amaze either the office staff (of one) or the wide body of members who make up our senior college.

Gold LEAF Institute Website Photo

One of the most recent examples is the brand new look that the Gold LEAF website has taken on of late. Of course, it would be remiss to not first mention that the prior site which served us well for so many years had also been created and maintained by the generous volunteer efforts and skill of Myrna Vallette, who currently serves as Chair of Strategic Planning on the Board.
Gold LEAF Institute Website Photo

However, new energy popped up earlier this year and the website now sports a sharp new look for spring. Our member Phil Poirier took on the task of organizing the various headings, which in addition to the regular contact information page, includes separate categories of membership, a current interactive calendar, and the most recent newsletter. All very user-friendly, and a sample favorite page offers links to useful area resources, such as legal support organizations for seniors.
Gold LEAF Institute Website Photo

The new look starts at the top of the Home page with a revolving "slide show" which gives a visual take on the types of events and offerings held over the past years. Better than a "list" of past courses, this photo display allows one to feel part of the action, and undoubtedly has new prospective members scanning the pictures to see who they might recognize there. Once one spots a friend or acquaintance, the idea of joining Gold LEAF becomes all the more welcoming. And then there are folks like me who just get stuck watching the photos revolve and spin by, simply because they are so much fun and such great memories.
Gold LEAF Institute Website Photo

Submitted by Eileen Kreutz, The Gold LEAF Institute
Find Out More! 
The Foster Grandparent Program in Maine

Foster Grandparents are income-eligible volunteers aged 55 and over who work 15 to 40 hours a week with disabled, disadvantaged and developmentally delayed children in one-on-one and small group settings.

Foster Grandparents are placed in sites such as schools, hospitals and Head Start centers. Benefits include a stipend for hours worked, paid holidays, earned time and assistance with transportation and meals. The stipend will not affect benefits such as LIHEAP, food stamps, and rent. It does provide opportunities to socialize and work with youth.

Invite Speakers
If you would like to hear more about the Foster Grandparents program at your Senior College consider inviting members of the team to come and speak.

Foster Grandparents and Opportunity Alliance
Foster Grandparents serves most counties in Maine. It does not serve Cumberland and York County but it does include Brunswick. 
Opportunity Alliance provides the same program in Cumberland and York.

Contact Information
Mary-Anne Saxl 
262 Harlow St, Bangor, ME 04401 
Art and Land Conservation Symposium 

Exploring the role of artists in American land conservation

August 3-4, 2017 
Colby College, Waterville, Maine. 

A two-day symposium exploring the critical role that 19th and 20th century visual artists played in the 
American conservation movement, and considering how their work can inform land conservationists, outdoor enthusiasts, art lovers, and policymakers in addressing contemporary pressures on the American landscape. Organized by the National Park Service and Appalachian Trail Conservancy. 

Learn from experts on Adams, Bierstadt, Church, Cole, Hartley, O'Keeffe, Olmsted, Watkins and others how artists created landscape images for Americans who had never and might never experience them directly. Nationally-recognized scholars in art, history, American studies and law will relate how artists helped policy-makers embrace a land protection ethic based on the aesthetic values of nature that played an essential role in the creation of our national and state parks. Presentations on contemporary artists in Maine and national parks with a thematic focus on the arts will also be included. 

The symposium will precede "Views from the Maine Woods", the Appalachian Trail Conservancy's biennial conference. This week-long event includes over 240 hikes, numerous workshops, and excursions, some of which will relate to aesthetics, art and photography. 

For more information: 

Sun Journal Article 

Seniors share their stories through online creative writing class
by Amy Wight Chapman, Staff Writer Lewiston-Auburn. Saturday, April 22, 2017

Photo: Rosabelle Tifft and Bonnie Pooley discuss their memoir class, Senior Story Share, which is sponsored by the Maine Senior College Network and taught in an online format to seniors throughout Maine by Elizabeth Peavey of Portland.

BETHEL - Seniors Bonnie Pooley and Rosabelle Tifft have participated in a memoir-writing group for several years that began as an offshoot of a Western Mountains Senior College creative writing class.

This spring, both are enrolled in an online memoir class through the Maine Senior College Network.  

Using Zoom video conferencing software to connect with each other, the group of 10 participants from around the state and instructor Elizabeth Peavey meet online every two weeks.

Each class member is assigned to one of three smaller critique groups, which meet online during the alternate weeks to read their work aloud. Each of the smaller groups then selects one essay to be read to the full class the following week.

By the end of the class, all members will have written four essays for their critique groups and read a revised version of at least one of them to the full class.

Peavey, of Portland, is an award-winning writer, performer and educator. She has taught public speaking at the University of Southern Maine for over 20 years, is a regular contributor to Down East magazine, and has performed her one-woman show, "My Mother's Clothes Are Not My Mother," to sold-out audiences since 2011.

Through a series of grants, she launched a memoir-writing program for seniors in 2015, offering it at five locations in southern Maine, with a culminating celebration and reading at the Portland Public Library.

The following year, Peavey was asked by Anne Cardale, program coordinator for the Maine Senior College Network, which is headquartered at the University of Southern Maine, to develop an online version of her memoir workshop.

"I had all sorts of reservations," she said in an email, "mostly thinking that the technology would be too complicated for our intended audience (as well as the instructor) and that we wouldn't be able to form the community I'd achieved with my in-person workshops.

"I was completely wrong on both counts," she said. "My seniors cleaned my clock on the tech aspect. The Zoom program is simple to use, and Anne is an amazing coach and troubleshooter" who helped to make sure all of the class members were able to get online before the first class.

The bonding was almost instantaneous

Tifft said she needed to purchase and install a camera for her computer before taking the class, and found she was able to do so on her own, as well as get the Zoom software up and running, with no problems.

The concern that using an online format for the class would mean sacrificing the sense of community she had experienced with her in-person classes quickly faded, Peavey said.

What was really striking is how quickly the technology aspect disappeared," she said. "I felt no greater distance in our 'classroom' than if the participants were sitting across the table from me. We can all see each other and chat freely. The bonding was almost (instantaneous)."

Pooley and Tifft said they have enjoyed getting to know their critiquing partners through their small-group sessions.

Pooley was assigned to a group that includes Ellie, a minister in the Portland area, and Durrall, a retired engineer from Bangor.

Tifft's partners are Nancy, from Presque Isle, and Pat, "a widow from Millinocket who is a real outdoorswoman," she said.

"Nancy is 86, but she runs a business and uses Zoom for that," Tifft said. "She has also invited me to join her writing group, with members from the Presque Isle area who meet on Zoom once a month." 

In the kitchen

At the start of the course, Peavey provided guidelines for critiquing one another's work, emphasizing the need to be constructive, courteous and objective, and to offer solutions to problems they identify when listening to an essay.

She gives class members a series of writing prompts to kick-start their memories, and asks them to focus on several important aspects of their writing, including voice.

"She told us to use our own voices," Tifft said. "We were supposed to imagine ourselves sitting down to have a cup of tea with a friend, and write the way we would if we were just talking." For their first assignment, Peavey asked her students to compose a 750-word essay using the writing prompt, "in the kitchen."

Tifft's essay begins by describing the sights, scents and sounds of a typical family evening at home. As the oldest child in her large family, she is asked to help her mother, who is kneading biscuit dough, while her father and the younger children are playing in the other room.

Then the tranquil evening takes a sudden turn. As the family gathers in the kitchen, her father searches the radio dial for Glenn Miller's show, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt's voice cuts through the static:

"The Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor. We are at war."

Meeting online with the two other members of her critique group, Tifft read her essay aloud, and the group selected it to be read to the full class at the next online meeting.

In response to Peavey's suggestions, Tifft said, she added many more sensory details to the essay.

She was surprised to find that adding just a few words or phrases could provide so much more detail about the characters and events in her writing.

For example, describing her mother's "nimble piano hands" as she kneaded the dough told readers that her mother was a musician, as well as a housewife and mother.

"She asked me things like 'What tune was your mother singing? What game were your father and the other children playing?'" Tifft said, adding, "This course is really helping me."

She said her memory of that evening in her family's kitchen has always been vivid, but through advice from Peavey and the members of her critique group, she discovered how to draw on the specific sensory details that bring it to life for readers.

Pooley agreed.  

"She slows you down," she said of Peavey's instruction. "She tells us, 'Give us details. Take your time.'" 

 'The stories are amazing'

"I design the course to be self-perpetuating," Peavey said. "The fall 2016 group is continuing on its own, as I hope this group will."

She also hopes to continue to offer the online Senior Story Share course to new groups of participants.

 "Funding for the program comes from USM, aside from the small stipend each participant is asked to pay, so it will be up to the powers-that-be to decide if we continue," Peavey said. "Anne and I have been exploring other ways to offer this programming, so stay tuned."

 "The stories are amazing, and I can't wait for each essay I get to review," she said. "I love this teaching opportunity."  

This article originally appeared in the The Bethel Citizen and the Sun Journal. Reproduced here with permission from the Sun Media Group.

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 20th of each month!

Please submit your articles and photographs to Anne Cardale at

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


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