Maine Senior College Network news & updates
November 2021
Happy November 2021

Many fall classes are drawing to an end across the network, but you can still catch some great talks! If you move quickly, you can join Lewiston-Auburn SC's Food for Thought on Sunday, November 7th. Learn about historical Lewiston through the eyes of local author Suzanne Roy. And, on Monday, November 8th, Belfast SC is presenting a talk by Brenda Smith about Rachel Carson as part of their series "Maine Women on the Women of Maine." Also, in this issue, you can learn about the outstanding teamwork of UMaine in Augusta SC's team of volunteers.

When you can put aside some time, prepare your popcorn, and put your feet up to watch two senior college videos! St John's Valley SC invited two international students who found their way up to Fort Kent, Maine, to talk about their countries and culture.

And, our second video is a fascinating presentation by Winslow Myers of Coastal SC. He presents "Walter Murch: "A Painter's Painter." The talk shows artwork featured in his recent book about the painter Walter Tandy Murch. Winslow is one of the book's editors, and he shares fascinating insights about the artist's life and work. (I have watched this twice, and I recommend it to you!)

Don't miss Pat Reiff's review of Maine poet and photographer Sara Carlson.

Finally, if you or a friend of yours is struggling with feelings of loneliness as we move into the winter months, please see "Resources to Fight Social Isolation" shared by Maine AARP.

Program Director
Wikimedia Image:
Women sitting in a forest by George Wolfe Plank

Augusta Senior College

There is a team working at Senior College now that did not exist before Covid.
In the Spring of 2020, shortly after registration for classes was complete, the UMA campus was closed. Some of the temporary volunteers who had signed up to help during the days of registration at the office, took on the task of unraveling the payments and authorizing refunds. As they were finishing, the office building was locked.

This group, including Pam St. Peter, the administrative specialist from the University, were all relatively new to each other. And now they could not even meet in person. They were all seniors social distancing. The word was that Senior College would be suspended indefinitely. There were no vaccines. They had responded to a call to help with registration for just one week. So none of the individual volunteers knew if any of the others felt an obligation to try to continue facilitating Senior College activities into the future.

They held a meeting on Zoom, a new experience for them, where they discovered that they were all willing to commit, agreeing that Senior College would be even more important during the national shut-in period. From that virtual group handshake, many hundreds of volunteer hours ensued.

The group became familiar with Zoom so they could train and assist instructors with their Zoom presentations, even sitting in classes when needed to handle the issues students encountered so the class and instructor would not be interrupted.

The team scheduled duty days for themselves, so anyone who called to request help with Zoom or computer use would receive it. Usually, a special private Zoom session was set up for the caller to learn to log in and use the software. This made it possible for board and committee members to meet and for students to attend classes.

In the beginning, to get things started, Mike Bell agreed to present his canceled Roosevelt class on Zoom as a test case and learning experience for everyone. The process went well, and next came summer lectures and then full fall and spring semesters. In short, the heavens opened up, a light shone through, and Senior College did not suspend its classes!

What qualified these people to succeed? Among them, they had life experience being at various times unemployed and/or on public assistance, the director of admissions for a Maine college, the art director for a regional magazine, a public school teacher, a manager for a small private company with 20 employees, an environmental specialist for a state Department of Environmental Protection, and an electrical engineer for a large international corporation.

The group, however, did not succeed because they had or had not held positions of authority, or because of particular training, or because of or in spite of their age. They were up to the task mostly because of a strong sense of purpose and a commitment to each other to share the burden.

The Office Volunteer Committee:
Kay Fiedler, Louis Fontaine, Shelly Gerstein, Gale Mettey, Robert O’Halloran, Elizabeth Reinsborough, Pam St. Peter, and Ann Sullivan

Wikimedia Image:
Michael Ancher

Lewiston Auburn Senior College
Food for Thought Zoom Presentation
November 7, 2021
3:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Free and open to all!

Food for Thought
Suzanne Roy is telling YOUR story...

The USM Lewiston-Auburn Senior College is pleased to announce our next free presentation on Zoom, by local author Suzanne R. Roy.

Suzanne R. Roy, author of the L/A-based historical novels The Enclave and The Legacy, will take the audience through an alphabetical list of some of the elements of Lewiston/Auburn’s past that were sources of inspiration to her in the writing of her books. In doing so, she hopes to pique the interest of people who are not familiar with the L/A area and stir memories in those who were born and raised here.

Suzanne, a retired independent compliance consultant, taught English at UMO from 1972-1974 and later taught writing as a member of the adjunct faculty of UMA. She wrote the bilingual children’s television series La Bonne Adventure in the mid-’70s, did research for the former Franco-American Heritage Center whose collection is now housed at USM’s L/A College, taught a local history class at St. Dom’s in 1980, and wrote several plays about Franco-Americans, two of which were produced and won awards in Australia. Suzanne is a native and resident of Lewiston and is currently working on her third historical novel.

To attend, send us an email by noon on November 6th, 2021, and we will send you an email with the Zoom link on the morning of the event. Please include your name and the presentation you want to see.
I think all will enjoy this discussion pertinent to Suzanne R. Roy’s novels and our community.

Belfast Senior College

Brenda Smith Presents Rachel Carson and Her Life and Contributions
Zoom Meeting - Monday, November 8 at 4:00 pm.
Free and open to all!

Senior College at Belfast's Instructor Brenda Smith invites you to the following talk:

Rachel Carson and Her Life and Contributions

This is part of the SC Belfast series titled.

"Maine Women on the Women of Maine."

Zoom Meeting - Monday, November 8 at 4:00 pm.

Free and open to all!

Please send an email before 1:00 pm on Monday, November 8
to Anne Cardale for the Zoom meeting link.

Wikimedia Image:
Senior College Video Recordings

St. John Valley Senior College

Different Cultures of UMFK Students

Click on the video above to launch SJVSC YouTube video
This St. John Valley Senior College video features University of Maine at Fort Kent students Nicolas Cortes from Manizales in Colombia and Vaughn Kelly from Kingston, Jamaica.

Coastal Senior College

Winslow Myers Presents
"Walter Murch: "A Painter's Painter."

Click on the video above to launch the Winslow Myers lecture on the work of painter Walter Tandy Murch.

Winslow Myers is a member of Coastal Senior College; he is also an educator, art historian, practicing artist, teacher, and writer. Visit Winslow's website to learn more about his work and a list of his publications.

Winslow's most recent publication is titled "Walter Tandy Murch: Paintings. Drawings, 1925–1967." The book includes an introduction written by George Lukas, the film director, and producer.

In the Currents of Quiet
by Sara Carlson
Pub by Meanderings Publications
Farmington, Maine
Pages 208 Price $23.70 Paperback

Reviewed by Pat Davidson Reef

This beautiful and unique book unites poetry with photography and creates a truly spiritual experience. Written by a dedicated teacher who has emerged as a master of words that create a vision of beauty and calm in our fast-paced and violent world. Sara Carlson states, ”This book represents a shift from healing to embracing health. I have discovered that finding a sense of wellness is really about accessing and feeling comfort in what is true in the moments of one’s life”.

She discovered mindfulness while taking yoga. She states, “I was taking yoga from Jeri Willson of School Street Yoga in Waterville signed to do at home. During the private lessons, Jeri asked me about mediation to release stress from teaching before going to school. She said try sitting quiet. Sitting silently for a few minutes in the morning helped me explore quiet. Since then, mindfulness has become a part of everyday life, weaving its way into my poetry and my teaching.”

Carlson further states,” While word choice is important to a poet, it is really the essence of our experiences that matters.” She hopes that the words selected in her poems resonate in you with clarity and help you find peace in quiet moments of contemplation while reading her poetry.

With over 140 poems in this book to select from the reader is offered an excellent example of her style and sensitive observations of life to enjoy; here are some examples which I enjoyed:  

Morning Peace
Mellow morning sunlight 
touches the tips
of budding trees
washes down solid trunks
to the fertile ground
Warmth invades
the coolness of the night
as our nearest star
eases its way into the day.
soft blue sky provides
a promising backdrop...
to this gentle awakening
as chickadees chirp
their springtime song.
This being breathes deeply
as sensations of rootedness,
assimilation and
expansion coexist. 
Peace unfurling —
within and without.

Poetry is a personal form of literature. Sara Carlson’s poetry touches your soul with peaceful messages in a violent world. Carlson’s poetry is mystical and invites you to drop in and listen. Here is another poem that reflects her style. A union with nature is here focus with photographs. Here is an introduction to another poem, partially finished in this review, which you can find in her book on page 143. I recommend it highly.

Winter Twilight
Crisp air, crunchy snowing light
solace looming
I rush to fit in a quick ski
after an energizing
and tiring day.
Tension slips away
as my ski glides on the grooming
The familiar fullness
that comes
in the company of trees
and sky
and self locomotion.
feels welcome.
I stop for a moment and breathe it all in.


AARP has gathered together a list of excellent resources for helping people to overcome social isolation. They have included a quiz that you can fill out for yourself or for someone else. Also, they have included resources for family caregivers.

AARP Maine writes:
Even in the best of times, social isolation is a significant problem. In Maine, over 135,000 people 50 and older live alone and are at higher risk of social isolation. If there is one thing that the COVID-19 pandemic has made clear, it's that personal connections are immensely valuable and sorely missed.

AARP Maine has gathered helpful resources that are available to Mainers who may experience loneliness this winter. Long-term social isolation can negatively impact a person’s health. Let’s work together to prevent this! We may have all scaled back our personal interactions to stay safe, but that doesn't mean we have to be alone.

Extensive resource list


The 35th Camden Conference

"EUROPE: Challenged at Home and Abroad," will be held in person and virtually the weekend of February 25 - 27, 2022.

The Maine Senior College Network is a program of the