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

This issue invites you to meet some of the network's talented instructors. Thanks to Zoom and our growing comfort with online meetings, we have videos to share. Megan Saul (OLLI), Nancy Perkins (SC Belfast), and Donna Marshall (Midcoast SC) have created some excellent Zoom recordings with their instructors. This newsletter also features some educational videos plus a reminder to look at MSCN Online Classes. Though the network is summer vacation mood, there are some excellent summer offerings available!

You have the opportunity to gain perspective on the pandemic with the help of Bill VanderWolk (Midcoast SC) and interviewer Donna Marshall. Watch their video conversations on Albert Camus’ The Plague. Then, to raise your spirits and celebrate the lifting of the mask mandate, we have two videos showing you how to play the spoons courtesy of St John Valley SC instructor Roger Damboise.

Pat Davidson Reef, the MSCN newsletter's book reviewer, has found two excellent books for your summer reading pleasure.

Last but most importantly, please study the advocacy alert from the Maine Council on Aging for bill LD 1573. Maine is facing a crisis as "thousands of Mainers are finding it nearly impossible to find support at home or to gain access to assisted living facilities or nursing homes because of the state's shortage of essential support workers." - MaineBiz

Program Director
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Video Interviews with OLLI at USM Summer Instructors

OLLI's Megan Saul (right) has been interviewing summer instructors. Some of you may have probably already seen Steve Piker, Eileen, and Wheaton Griffin, and Dr. Richard Fortier talking about their upcoming classes on our "What's Happening" web page? But, if you missed them, follow the blue links below, these will take you over to the MSCN website where you will see more information. The following three classes still have open seats!

How to Be an Antiracist
June 23 - July 28: Wednesday Afternoons 12:45-2:45 (6 sessions)
Instructor: Steve Piker
Racism: Why Is It Such a Big Deal — Why Should I Care?
June 23 - July 29: Thursday Afternoons 12:45 - 2:45 (6 Sessions)
Instructors: Eileen Griffin and Wheaton Griffin

June 22 - July 27: Tuesday Afternoons 12:45 - 2:45 (6 sessions)
Instructor: Richard Fortier
Megan's interviews help you get to know the instructors, hear a little of their life stories and learn about their classes. Megan will be posting more interviews over the coming days, so stay tuned!

Alternatively, you can go straight over to the OLLI YouTube page and watch all 14 interview sessions!

Want to Register for these OLLI classes?
Please complete the OLLI Registration Form and email it to OLLI.
Don't forget to mention that you are a member of a Maine Senior College.

There are openings in other OLLI courses. So act quickly and sign up now!
Note: The tuition cost is $50 per course. 
Workshops vary depending on their length; please see the prices listed with the descriptions in the summer catalog.

Email Megan at OLLI if you have any questions.

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Video Interviews with Senior College at Belfast Instructors

Spring Term, 2021
Senior College Belfast released a series of interviews in March 2021 introducing their spring instructors. Board President Nancy Perkins explains that SC Belfast was seeking new marketing avenues for running online classes using Zoom due to the pandemic.

Nancy says that "the videos resulted from our excellent webmaster’s suggestion to try a bit of a class preview with an interview of instructors."  Al Arthur, the SC Belfast webmaster, set up the recordings and posted them on the website plus our YouTube channel.

Nancy and another board member, Dr. Deirdre J. Good, conducted the interviews. "We had a few basic questions to ask the instructors, but we found many interesting topics that emerged."

Nancy hoped the interviews would spur some interest in their Zoom classes. "We had a very successful Winterim Session, so I suppose we could say the videos were quite useful!

Above: President Nancy Perkins chatting with Curriculum Chair Dr. Deirdre J. Good about the spring 2021 term at Senior College at Belfast. Follow this link over to YouTube to watch this video.

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Join your friends at Midcoast Senior College for a
Zoom Talk and Discussion
June 16:
Continuity And Change In The Contemporary Arctic
Susan A. Kaplan

June 23:
Past, Present, And Future Of The Old Navy Base In Brunswick
Steven Levesque

The series is free but you must register for each event. Thanks go to Midcoast SC's generous sponsors Sunnybrook Senior Living Community. Once you've registered, you will receive a link on the morning of the talk.

Contact Midcoast SC by email with any questions or visit our website.
We look forward to seeing you!

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Educational Summer Videos for Self-Directed Learners!
Midcoast Senior College Presents:
Albert Camus’ The Plague: Conversations with Bill VanderWolk

Donna Marshall of Midcoast Senior College (right) made this digital study course possible. Donna recorded a series of conversations with a former professor of French at Bowdoin College and teacher of 19th and 20th Century French Literature, Bill VanderWolk.

Albert Camus (1913-1960) is known as a French existentialist, but he might be described more accurately as a French/Algerian chronicler of revolt. The Plague (1947), Camus’s first novel after The Stranger, describes a modern-day plague in the Algerian city of Oran. The characters’ reactions to the epidemic reveal the myriad ways people respond to injustice and tyranny. The novel was written during the German occupation of France and in the decade preceding Algeria’s war of independence from France. 

Visit the Midcoast Senior College website for more information and watch the five videos.

You can then watch the following videos.

  • Introduction
  • Part One – Themes
  • Part Two – Themes
  • Part Three – Themes
  • Characters

Learn to play spoons with instructor Roger Damboise of St John Valley Senior College

Spoons have been a popular musical instrument all over the world. The French and the Acadian ancestors in the St. John Valley used these to accompany fiddle tunes. In this two-part YouTube Video Class, Roger Damboise (left) teaches you how to play spoons. First, get all the tips you need, find out which spoons are best for different tunes. Then, learn the inside secrets on how to hold your spoons and create different sounds. As this is a YouTube video, you can pause to practice or play alongside Roger!

Now you can teach yourself to play the spoons this summer! The following links take you to two instructional videos.

Summer Pop-Ups!
Keep an eye on MSCN's "What's Happening?" web page!

Zoom makes it easy for the network to post spontaneous "pop-up" classes, lectures, and events!

Join the website and receive instant upcoming Pop-Up notifications in your email!

Two great books to read this summer

Reviewed by Pat Davidson Reef

“Stronger” by Cindy McCain
Crown Forum / Random House (2021)
Pages 254 Price$28.00

“Through the Woods and Waters” by Laurie Apgar Chandler
Maine Authors Publishing (2020)
Pages 215 Price $18.95
Two great books to read this summer include Stronger” by Cindy McCain and “Through Woods and Waters” by Laurie Apgar Chandler.

If you like a love story go for the Cindy McCain book. If you are interested in nature and the Katahdin Monument, go for “Through Woods and Waters.” Both books reveal strong women who set goals and independently meet them.

Cindy McCain married Senator John McCain at 25 when he was 43. There had to be an adjustment both personal and social for those who’d known his first wife. Washington D.C. was not friendly to a young second wife but Cindy McCain was a survivor. Beautiful, brainy, and very much in love, she was an asset to her husband. After three children with McCain, as well as a stroke and a knee operation, she continued to campaign for him. At the end of his life, she called the insurance company for his chemotherapy and they told her they did not know whether they could cover chemotherapy. She responded, “In addition to being Mrs. John McCain, I own the Hemsley Company with 1600 employees and if your company does not cover chemotherapy, I am pulling my company out of your corporation.” The insurance company covered her husband’s chemotherapy immediately and she picked up the medicine at the Mayo clinic’s pharmacy in less than an hour. Cindy McCain also stood independently as a Republican and endorsed President Biden. Cindy McCain is a woman of valor to have on your side.

Another independent woman of valor, who lives and writes in Maine, is Laurie Apgar Chandler. In her book, “Through the Woods and Waters,” Chandler expresses her love of nature with outstanding prose, almost bordering on poetry. Her passion for climbing Mount Katahdin to the National Monument alone as a solo achievement, carrying her own canoe and supplies on land, and going mostly by water is utterly amazing.

Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is a U.S. National Monument spanning a tract of land that covers 87,563 acres of mountains and forestland in northern Penobscot County, Maine, including a section of the eastern border of Maine’s Baxter State Park. For those of you who love nature and the Maine wilderness, this book is for you. Beautiful quotes from famous naturalists, writers, poets, and political supporters dedicated to preserving the environment start each chapter. Photographs in color by Chandler are in the center of the book and they are breathtaking.

Chandler did take a cell phone in case of an emergency but in many places reception wasn’t available. She started out at Pittston Farm at the end of Schoomook Lake. Her journey touched upon the Allagash Wilderness Waterway, Baxter State Park, and the Thoreau Wabanaki Trail. Her last overnight stay was on Brown Island, seven miles away from her destination. A photograph of her journey’s end just above Grindstone Falls at the Grindstone Gaging station shows Chandler with her arms raised high in triumph. celebrating meeting her goal. She had conquered the mountain by herself and reached the Katahdin Monument.

Chandler’s and McCain’s books are about women who have conquered great obstacles. They have stood alone and fought for what they believed in. Both women are independent and travel in different worlds. But both women show us all that once we make up our minds to do something, we are strong, resilient, and major achievers in the 21st century.


Support the Essential Care Workforce
#RaisetheRates - Support LD 1573.

This is a bill that begins to solve Maine's severe essential support worker crisis. Maine Council on Aging explains that "People all over Maine are going without the support they need, and providers cannot hire any more workers at the wages they’re able to pay. We want people to know they are not alone, and this is not their problem to solve. Unfortunately, this situation is growing worse by the day, and we must act now."

For additional information, please see the following:
Portland Press Herald Ad (pdf for download)

Call your legislators and the Governor!
Leave a message for your Senator by calling (800) 423-6900
Leave a message for your Representative by calling (800) 423-2900
Or (best) find the contact for your legislator by town by clicking here
Information provided by the Maine Council on Aging

The Maine Senior College Network is a program of the