The MSCN Newsletter

 Welcome to Your August 2020 Issue!
A Summer Day by Fanny Wallace Tewksbury 

The Maine Senior College Network (MSCN) extends a warm welcome to Maine Education Association Retired members who recently joined us!  Read more about this wonderful enrichment initiative of awarding 70 memberships in MSCN.  

Also, in this month's issue, we have news about how we are spreading the word about open seats in classes and lectures across the network. Please see the MSCN Website Update information listed below.

Plus, we have tip sheets to help you get more out of our online classes!

MEARetiredThe Maine Senior College Network (MSCN) Welcomes Maine Education Association Retired Members! 

~ Promoting the economic, professional and social welfare of retired educators

The Maine Senior College Network (MSCN) extends a warm welcome to Maine Education Association Retired members! 

Kay Grindall, President of MEA-Retired Explains How This Project Came To Be

This enrichment initiative of awarding 70 memberships in MSCN was inspired by MEA-Retired's Carl Bucciantini of Greene and made possible with grant funds from the National Retired Teachers Association (NRTA), a subsidiary of AARP.  Carl is the AARP liaison to MEA-Retired and chairperson of the NRTA Grant Committee that spearheaded the project. 

The project was launched in conjunction with the several goals of the grant, one of which is to also help MEA-Retired's members stay informed and explore some activities designed to remain connected in this time of "Stay Safer at Home." To that end these registrations will enable members to attend virtual classes regardless from which of the 17 MSCN sites the classes originate.

While living in Skowhegan, Dot Keller of Georgia took many MSCN classes and remembers: "I took a lot of classes at the Senior College. Out of their many varied offerings three stand out for me. One was a series of literature classes on William Faulkner taught by Lincoln Ladd. These were fascinating in part because of his personal stories about Faulkner and his extensive knowledge of his works and background. We certainly got more out of these classes than how to pronounce Yoknapatawpha County!

"Another favorite was a series of classes regarding legal issues for seniors. These ranged from financial to last wishes decisions we all have to make. Lawyers and experts were brought in, and they were very open to taking questions from the class.

"Finally, I thoroughly enjoyed the four Friday morning film series classes I took. The films were chosen by the class members who then had to introduce them. It was fascinating to watch fellow classmates favorites share a lot of background about the film and why it meant so much to them. I chose to present Bringing Up Baby featuring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant."

Carl has been the driving force and has spent countless hours organizing this project and communicating with members. He says, "I am so excited to see the overwhelming interest in the MSCN project. I couldn't believe it when we had our first 40 registrants in fewer than 24 hours! Then, when we expanded to add another 30 signups, they registered in record time! We learned that our members continue to be lifelong learners and need interactions and connections with others. This has been so rewarding."

Joining Carl on the NRTA Grant Committee are Ben Paradis, Fort Kent; Kay Grindall, Oakland; and Crystal Ward and Roger Fuller, both of Lewiston.

Submitted By Kay Grindall. MEA-Retired President

Sunrise Senior College

Bordering on Madness
SSC Fall Course
"Borders, like the human beings that create them, are fickle affairs."

Lighthouse On Campobello Island, Looking North Toward Shipping Channel

Borders, like the humans that create them, are fickle affairs. Nowhere is that more evident than right here in Maine. Why do the U.S. and Canada still quarrel over Machias Seal Island and the rich lobster fishery that surrounds it? Why is Campobello Island considered part of Canada when the only bridge out of the place goes to the U.S.? Why did Maine and New Brunswick lumberjacks almost come to blows in what is sometimes called the Aroostook War?

Beginning on September 14 from 11-12 noon and continuing at the same time on the 21st and 28th, Sunrise Senior College is offering a Zoom-based course entitled "Bordering on Madness" that shows how the convoluted, often random and extremely inexact process by which borders are drawn make such misunderstandings inevitable. Primitive technology, human fallibility and robust nationalism all led to errors and overreach in the building of the U.S. border that still haunt us today. Our local examples of Machias Seal Island, Campobello Island, and the Aroostook War serve as case studies to illustrate the many ways border-making can go wrong.

This is a timely discussion. Many Americans today regard our national boundaries as sacrosanct. But their histories, as the course shows, are unholy at best. The course will involve active participation by registrants and a give-and-take about the role of borders today given the erratic way they were put together.

Instructor Stephen R. Kelly is a former journalist, U.S. diplomat and academic who has long spent his summers with his wife Jane in Jonesport. He was the U.S. Consul General in Quebec City when Quebeckers voted to secede from Canada in 1995. He served in the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa as Deputy Chief of Mission from 2000-2004, as Canada and the U.S. worked to create a "smart border" in the wake of 9/11. He then went to Mexico City, where he helped shape U.S. border policy with Mexico at a time of growing concerns over cross-border drug trafficking and undocumented immigration. Kelly translated his experience into classes on border issues at Duke University, where he became a full-time faculty member in 2011 after retiring from the Foreign Service. He also helps conduct training classes in diplomatic affairs for special forces units based at Fort Bragg, N.C.

Zoom Format
The Zoom format means that interested learners throughout Maine can register and attend without leaving their homes, provided they have a decent internet connection and a laptop, tablet, or mobile phone (Android, Apple, or PC). A Zoom account is not necessary.

Online Registration
Sunrise now offers digital course registration, either through their website or through their Facebook page. With a credit card, you can enroll in just a few clicks and have your seat confirmed!

Already a member of another Senior College? No problem!
One final benefit is that any MSCN member in good standing can register for this course and only pay the course fee of $15. 

When you enroll in a course via our website, you will be asked, " Are you a current member of Sunrise Senior College?" You have three options yes, no, another senior college. Answer "another senior college" and go forward and register for our classes!

UMASCUniversity of Maine in Augusta Senior College

 Announces Three Lectures with Open Seats!
(These seats are open to members of other senior colleges in the network!)

Anonymous - Album Containing Twelve Paintings of Insects - Metropolitan Museum of Art

Click on the lecture titles below for more information and to register.

Instructor: Jerry Nault
Maine Seniors may have fond or even vivid memories of their elementary and high school experiences. For many, that's seventy or more years ago, and today's student is experiencing a vastly different education world. We'll review major changes over that time span and highlight important events that have influenced how Maine students take instruction in the 21st century.
Tuesday, August 15, 1-2:30 pm

Instructor: Mike Bell 
A quiet, dogged leader for many years, Walter Mondale would rise from a stunning electoral defeat to answer his country's call to public service once again.
Thursday, August 27. 10-11:30 am

Instructor: Frank Drummond
While it might not seem like it as you are being bitten by mosquitoes while trying to weed the garden, insect populations are declining globally. Frank Drummond will explain what is happening and the impact it will have on us.
Tuesday, September 1, 1-2:30 pm

Fall 2020 Classes
More classes are on the way!
Fall Plowing by Grant Wood

Visit the 
for the latest updates on classes
and lectures
Acadia SC
Augusta SC 

SC Belfast

Lewiston-Auburn SC 

Midcoast SC 

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) 

Penobscot Valley Senior College 

Sunrise SC 

Visit MSCN "What's Happening?" web page for breaking news about online classroom spaces opening up for all senior college members.
SCBelastWaitingSenior College Belfast

Corona Chronicles in Belfast

In April when we realized that in order to stay safe we would have to adapt to a  quarantined existence before our lives could return to some semblance of normalcy. We discussed ways to keep our community close as we explored ideas to fulfill our mission. We decided that from time to time we would compile a collection of members' commentary such as essays, poetry, stories, recipes, book and video reviews to share. Hence was born  the Corona Chronicles which has gone out to our mailing list approximately every two weeks. It has elicited comments, responses, and additional material to continue printing every two weeks. Hard copies of the publication are regularly mailed to those members without access to computers. To say it has been successful is an understatement and topics have included everything from kayaking to meditations on the pandemic. It has been suggested that we "publish" this effort as a document on how we lived during this pandemic.

To read all the issues please visit the Corona Chronicles on the Senior College Belfast website.  

Submitted by Nancy Perkins Senior College Belfast

OLLIbookCORNERThe Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

The Book Corner
by Pat Davidson Reef

On Harbor's Edge by Kate Hotchkiss 
Published by Maine Authors Publishing 
Pages 289 - Price $18.95 paperback

"Living on a small island is like making a marriage vow. Island people take care of their own for better or worse," said the author, Kate Hotchkiss, in her new exciting book "On Harbor's Edge." It is 1912 and for better or worse Mildred May Combs has married Thaddeus Gayle who navigates her across choppy waters off the coast of Maine to the nearby Popplestone Island in a small dingy boat directly after their wedding. Popplestone is an imaginary island but its way of life could be a picture of any small island on the Maine sea coast.

The island is isolated but beautiful. Mildred tries gallantly to adjust in a day and age when women did not complain about hardships or expect equal rights. However, she understood the beauty of the location and says, "I moved to the window, the night sky looking so close, felt like I could hand pick one of those giant sparkling stars out for my very own."

The couple begin married life the night they land on the island. All is bliss until the very next morning, the author shows the fierce every day competition there is on the sea for lobster traps and water territory boundaries.The couple wake up to find out someone is stealing Thaddeus's traps and he flies into a rage. Thaddeus discovers that it is a sixteen year old boy and is ready to kill him. However, Mildred tries to calm him down and says, "He is only a boy".Thaddeus retorts in anger "Sixteen ain't a boy on Popplestone." He continues, "Keep your head on the home and school, Mildred," he barks at his new wife.

Kate Hotchkiss by Jessica Duckert
The author shows that small island life off the cost of Maine in 1912-1913 was rough, tough,and the men ran the show. However over time there were compromises as characters mature which make the book exciting as the plot unfolds.

One of the strengths of the book is the author's use of dialogue. It reflects Down East stoicism with short, curt, direct, dialogue. (No wasted words are said between characters.)Short sentences are uttered and sometimes half sentences but the meaning is clear. The author's use of description is also a strength as she describes the power of the sea and the isolation of the island in prose but with poetic sensitivity.

Thaddeus and Mildred have two children and many upheavals over the years,including an investigation of a murder on the island.

Throughout the intricate woven plot there is a special dignity involving privacy that the island expects of its hard working people. They follow an unwritten tradition of silence to outsiders. The island functions as a closed society like many islands off the coast of Maine in the past and even in the present.

Many generations after generation are born on the island where Thaddeus brings his knew wife and wants his children to be born. Life goes on as it reflects island life. This is the first book in a series which the author is writing and I look forward to reading the next book to see how the characters are developed and how their children continue on the island or decide to leave.

Although the life on the island takes place between 1912 -1913, there is a sense of humanity seen in each character that creates a bond with the present in bringing up children, and establishing boundaries , never giving up, and maintaining values. Parts of the book can compare with the style of writing of Ruth Moore's great classic,"The Weir" because it is about everyday life of the culture of a fishing community on an island off the cost of Maine. However, I liked it better because of the passion revealed in the characters in the book "On Harbor's Edge." I recommend the book highly to all people who love a good Down East story reflecting literature that is realistic in dialogue, with a touch of poetry in its prose.

The Maine Senior College Network 
Website Updates

Note blue text is a live link to the website!

Take a look at the Maine Senior College Network's website. There are new pages designed to help you find out where we have open seats in online classes around the network. 

This is our system
Each senior college offers its online classes to its members first. Then, after a few days, senior colleges open up those classes with open seats to the members of other senior colleges in the network.

Log into our website at and look for online classes. You will see a list of senior colleges with links to their websites. Simply follow the link to learn more about each senior college.

But, you want to know what is available now? 
To help you find online learning opportunities Senior colleges with open seats are posting their information on the MSCN's "What's Happening?" web page.

This is helpful because Senior colleges launch class registration at different times. So, we are posting on "What's Happening?" when a senior college has openings in its classes..

For example, at the time of sending out this newsletter we know that there are open seats in the following offerings: 

You can sign up to become a member of our website!

MSCN Zoom Tip Sheets

"The New Moon, or, 'I've lost My Boat, You shan't have Your Hoop'
JMW Turner 

Need Help With Zoom?

The updated Maine Senior College Network website now has a Zoom Tip Sheets page.  

This page is designed to help new senior college class participants, instructors, and meeting hosts to find their way around Zoom.

A tip for trainers
If you are training new users, how to use Zoom. Open up this web page then share your screen. The pdf tip sheets can be opened up and used as a simplified PowerPoint. This way, you can show people where those buttons are hiding!

Do you have a tip to share?
Found a good web site with clear, uncluttered directions? 
Send me the link! (I will post it to the Zoom Tip Sheets page.)

Image Credits

Images Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Don't miss this!

Senior College at Belfast was recently featured in the Maine Seniors Magazine.

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 
Submit your articles and photographs to Anne Cardale at
Like MSCN on Facebook

Facebook logo Now you can "like" Maine Senior College Network on Facebook. We've created an MSCN page on Facebook, so please visit it to share experiences, ideas, photos, and information about upcoming Maine Senior College happenings. We'll also post links to articles about lifelong learning and other topics relevant to senior college members.


The Maine Senior College Network is a program of the  

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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Featured Article
What action, if any, do you want your members to take? Add a "Find out more" link to additional information that you may have hosted on your website.
Maine Senior Guide is a comprehensive web resource about all things senior that provides "one stop shopping" for Maine's seniors at the link below: 

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


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