Maine Senior College Network news & updates

July 2023

Welcome to the July issue of the Maine Senior College Network newsletter. Do you have time for summer reading? Are you interested in mysteries? Then look at Coastal SC's Mystery Monday's list of stories featuring women investigators.

Sunrise SC is presenting a hybrid class titled "Three Centuries of New England Gardens." Class instructor Professor Valencia Libby recommends two books on this topic.

And, following June's Gay Pride month, book reviewer Pat Reiff shares her sensitive review of "Worthy; A Memoir of an Ex-Mormon Lesbian" by Maine author Chris Davis.

Finally, we have a video of a Maine history lecture presented by St. Johns Valley SC. In this talk, Professor Paul Buck of UMaine at Fort Kent examines the history of Maine's northern border and its impact on local people.

Anne Cardale

Program Director

Maine Senior College Network

Wikimedia Image:

Monhegan Houses, Maine, by Edward Hopper, 1916-1919


Newsletter Menu

Please scroll down the page to see each article!

Sunrise SC

"Three Centuries of New England Gardens"


Looking for a Good Mystery?

Check out Coastal SC's Murder Mystery Book List


Penobscot Valley SC - Zoom Class

“Use By, Sell by. Are you Wasting Food?”


OLLI Popups for July!


St John's Valley SC

Video Lecture 

"Webster-Ashburton Treaty & Maine Border"


JOIN AARP MAINE for "Fraud Watch with Phil and Pam" 


Worthy; A Memoir of an Ex-Mormon Lesbian by Chris Davis

Book Review

by Pat Davidson Reef:

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Sunrise SC

"Three Centuries of New England Gardens"

with  Valencia Libby

Three Centuries of New England Gardens

with Valencia Libby

(Hybrid Class) $15

This class will investigate the changing forms of gardens for food & ornament in northern New England with a focus on Maine. Many of the sites we will talk about have been preserved for the public’s benefit. The ideas, economics, and fashions that shaped gardens will be considered.

Recommended reading for this class:

"So Fine a Prospect: Historic New England Gardens," by Alan Emmet    

ISBN 978-0874517491

"Designing the Maine Landscape," by MATTOR & TEEGARDEN, 2009 Downeast Books

Presenter:  Valencia Libby is an Associate Professor of Landscape History & Public Horticulture, Temple University, retired; a Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Landscape History, Portugal, 2004; and is a frequent teacher for Acadia Sr. College

Class Information: This is a hybrid class - held in person in UM@M’s room SCI 102 and via Zoom. 

Click on the blue button below to register.

Register soon! The class is almost full!

Three Centuries of New England Gardens

Sunrise Senior College

Wikimedia Image:

New England Gardens C (or American Gardens), Scenic

Looking for a Good Mystery?

Check out Coastal SC's Murder Mystery Book Group


"Mystery Mondays" is a well-established Coastal Senior College reading group that meets on the first Monday of the month from September through June via Zoom to discuss a new murder mystery case.

Below you will see The Mystery of the Month list compiled from suggestions by the CSC members for the year 2022–23. The chosen theme for the year was Female Investigators.

CSC's Mystery Mondays Book List (2022-23)

"Women Investigate"

Anthony Horowitz Magpie Murders

Nevada Barr - A Superior Death

Patricia Cornwell - Cause of Death

Peter Tremayne - Absolution by Murder

Susan Witting Albert - Rosemary Remembered

Faith Martin - Murder of the Bride

Barbara Neely - Blanche Among the Talent Tenth

Kathy Reichs - The Bone Code

Katherine Page - The Body in the Lighthouse

Jacqueline Winspear - Maisie Dobbs

Coastal Senior College

Image rendered using Dall-E

Penobscot Valley SC Zoom Class

“Use By, Sell by. Are you Wasting Food?” 

with Mary LaVanway

Tuesday, August 1st, 10:00-12:00

Are you confused by the terms on food packages, “use by, or sell by?” Are these expiration dates? Is the food safe to eat beyond the date? Are you throwing out food that may be ok? Let’s look at the definition of these terms and their practical application. 

Presenter: Mary LaVanway, LD, CEDRD 

Mary is a Dietitian with Hannaford. Mary works out of the Airport Mall and Broadway stores. Her role with Hannaford is to support shoppers, customers, and associates in finding foods and promoting education about foods that are in line with the person’s health needs. 

Our series presentations and field trips will be on Tuesday mornings from 10:00-12:00 unless otherwise noted.

Click here for more PVSC Summer Extravaganza information!

Penobscot Valley Senior College

Wikimedia Image:

"The New Fred Meyer on Interstate on Lombard"

OLLI Popups for July

Free to OLLI and members of the Maine Senior College Network!

OLLI invites members of MSCN to join them for the following fun June events.

The Zoom Pop-ups and Social Activities are FREE for OLLI and MSCN members for the month of June. You must register online under the "Special Events/Pop-Ups" section in the online registration system.

Please register no later than 2 days in advance of the event you plan to attend. This gives hosts time to get the e-mail addresses and send everyone a Zoom link.

July Social Events/Pop-Ups

Trivia Game Night (Online)

Monday, July 10 | 7:00 p.m.

Monday, July 24 | 7:00 p.m.

With Star Pelsue and Elizabeth Housewright

Use those fun facts you have stored in your gray matter. Join us for some laughs and interesting questions that will have your brain scanning your mental files for what some may call trivial information. You provide your own snacks and beverages. We provide the questions! You are one click away from an evening of good company and laughter. Make sure to mark your calendars and register for this fun time.

Location: Zoom

Pictionary Game "Night" (Online)

Thursday, July 13 | 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 25 | 3:30 p.m.

With Star Pelsue

Are you the Picasso of stick figures? Maybe your bear looks more like a mouse. You don't need to be an artist to play this drawing game. Be prepared to laugh and enjoy yourself for the hour. This game not only entertains, but it also teaches you to use the Zoom Whiteboard feature.  

Location: Zoom

Art Exploration

Tuesday, July 18 | 10:00 a.m.

With Tan Larrabee

Sneak peek into viewing art with Tan Larrabee’s fall course: Introduction to Viewing Art of Museum Exhibitions. Explore and observe art pieces using discussion, zoomed-in views, and historical context. 

Location: Zoom

Podcast Chat: Do The Golden Arches Bend Towards Justice?

Thursday, July 20 | 7:00 p.m.

With Star Pelsue

Calls for racial justice are met with many different proposals, but one of the loudest and most enduring is investing in Black businesses. But can "buying Black" actually do anything to mitigate racism? To find out, they taking a look at the surprising link between Black capitalism and McDonald's.

Location: Zoom

How to register for the free OLLI Popups(PDF)

OLLI at the University of Southern Maine

Wikimedia Image

Images rendered using Dall-E

St John's Valley SC

Video of SJVSC lecture

"Webster-Ashburton Treaty & Maine Border"

The SJVSC "Webster-Ashburton Treaty & Maine Border" lecture was recorded in the Fall of 2021.

The presenter is Paul Buck, Associate Professor of History and Education at The University of Maine Fort Kent. The talk addresses the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842 which established the boundary between parts of the US, including Maine, and British North America. In the St. John River Valley in northern Maine, the boundary separated families that had settled on both sides of the river. The class looks at the social, economic, and cultural changes brought on by the boundary settlement.

Watch the video by clicking on the picture or link above.

St Johns Valley Senior College

JOIN AARP MAINE for "Fraud Watch with Phil and Pam" each month for an insightful discussion on fighting scams and fraud in Maine.

July 13, 2023.

In AARP'S continuing effort to protect the most vulnerable among us from becoming victims to the onslaught of scams, AARP Maine Fraud Watch volunteers Phil Chin and Pam Partridge invite you to participate in a virtual scam and fraud watch series. Scammers are using innocent older Mainers as inadvertent accessories to their crimes to both steal money and insulate themselves from being discovered by the authorities.

These discussions are free and open to all. You do not need to be an AARP member to join the conversation. Registration is now open!

During Phil and Pam's 30-minute interactive Zoom meetings, we talk with other Mainers, colleagues, and community leaders to discuss these important issues. Each Fraud Watch program meets the second Thursday of the month at 10AM.

At our next meeting on July 13, 2023.

We will cover:

  • General Scam Safety Tips
  • Hear stories from volunteers

Registration for July's event is now open! Click THE BUTTON BELOW TO Register!

Wikimedia Image

Fig 25. Gentleman with two telephones. 1880


Worthy; A Memoir of an Ex-Mormon Lesbian

by Chris Davis

Published by PYP Hartford Conn. 2023

Pages 188 Price 29.99 hardcover

Reviewed by Pat Davidson Reef

As LGBTQ rights are under attack across America, Maine is breaking through its historical and conventional views to honor diversity in gender identification, not without bumps, but certainly with more and more respect.

A new book titled "Worthy; The Memoir of an Ex-Mormon Lesbian" by Chris Davis reveals the struggle to stand alone in our society and the lack of respect for differences in gender identification. Davis describes with humor and pathos her personal experiences in leaving her marriage after her children were adults and pursuing her own life.

Her struggles are not so different from women in the straight world as she searches for acceptance, dignity, job opportunities and providing for herself.

This intimate memoir reveals that the author's stepfather sexually abused her as a child, and her mother and the Mormon church looked the other way. In addition, at a young age, the author felt attracted to the same sex. These traumatic events were kept a secret throughout her marriage and after having two children. In maturity, after a divorce and after her children became adults, she wrote this book to help others stand alone and find meaning in their lives. The author states in the book, "My sincere hope is that my story will ring true with others who have lost their faith and in doing so will help them find hope and a life worth living."

Reading this book offers insight into another world from a personal point of view and develops understanding for people searching for an identity beyond conventional ideas. It reduces prejudice and fear of the unknown with humor and intelligence.

I read this book with interest and respect for all people from all walks of life. I enjoyed reading about a creative person's growth into maturity in an imperfect world that rewards conformity as a goal. In Maine, the cities of Portland, Unity. Brunswick and Bath supported Pride Parades in their communities in June 2023. (June has been named "Pride Month.”) Finally, conventional communities are opening up about the subject that has always been taboo. But there are still many obstacles along the way.

Accepting and respecting differences in our society is a goal of the LGBTQ community. Maine has been gently trying to develop more respect for the community, but it has not been smooth sailing. Read this book for a personal account of the struggle to remain true to oneself and receive respect from the extended community. It will give you another view from an insider of the importance of respect for all people who walk a different path than a conventional one.

I was moved as a writer in the arts and a book reviewer by the author's insight, humor, and clear writing talent. No matter your lifestyle, this book is worth reading because it builds respect for individual differences and compassion for all humanity. I recommend this book highly by Maine author Chris Davis.

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