NEW MSCN HEADER (With border)
Issue No. 21
November 2011
The MSCN Newsletter

Welcome to your November newsletter!


Illustration of scarecrow in autumn fieldIt's inspiring  to learn of the variety of classes, field trips and events at Maine's Senior Colleges. This month's newsletter features articles and photos from Western Maine Senior College, Lewiston-Auburn Senior College, Gold LEAF Institute, York County Senior College, OLLI at USM, Belfast Senior College, and Sunrise Senior College.  From books being published, to presentations on diverse topics such as the Civil War and the Arab Spring and healthy aging, there's no doubt that Maine Senior College are happening places!

We've included a link to a NY Times article by David Brooks, requesting "Life Reports" from people age 70+ that he will use in a column later in November, and we encourage you to submit yours.

For those of you planning excursions, please take note of the information below  from the Amtrak Downeaster about discounts for seniors and groups.

November marks the start of the holiday season -- we wish you a bountiful and happy Thanksgiving. 



Kali Lightfoot

Executive Director

Maine Senior College Network   

80 is The New 60 at WMSC

The Western Mountains Senior College (WMSC) "To Your Health" series recently presented an exciting program, 80 is the new 60.  A panel of six octogenarians discussed how a "can-do attitude," or optimism, can be essential to successful aging.  
80 is the new 60 panel members from Western Mtn Sr College
Local octogenarians offered tips on aging gracefully
 and included: Virginia Gamble, Mary Haberman, Amy Davis, Jim McLean and Jan Stowell.
Moderator Bonnie Marien is shown far right
Panelist Walter Hatch is absent from photo.
Among their many tips offered to age gracefully with vigor was the use of physical activity as a strategy to prevent frailty. This could include walking, biking and swimming. Doing weight-bearing exercise, strength training, and stretching would help prevent falls. They stressed the importance of not smoking, eating a balanced heart-healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, active social networks, and exercising one's mind.

The panel also showed that one can't take life too seriously as they delighted the standing-room only audience with their keen senses of humor. Written evaluations following the program were glowing, with comments such as "fabulous beyond belief, so inspirational," "serious comments made in the background of pure fun" and "laughter is the best medicine."  However, the value of the panelists as spirited mentors was summed up by one evaluator who wrote:  "I want to live to be over 80 if I can be like these folks."

"To Your Health" has presented health information programs of concern to the community for the past seven years.  The committee was prompted to present the "80 is the new 60" program after observing how a number of WMSC members in their 80s and beyond were actively involved in WMSC and the community and could serve as energetic mentors.

-  Submitted by Rosabelle Tifft for Western Mountains Senior College

L-A Senior College Will Present
Civil War Program

Charles Plummer in Civil War Union Army uniform
Charles Plummer as
General Joshua Chamberlain
Well-known historian Charles W. Plummer, garbed in the uniform of Civil War Union General Joshua L. Chamberlain, and taking on his persona, will be the presenter at the USM Lewiston-Auburn Senior College "Food for Thought" noon luncheon on Friday, November 18.

In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the American Civil War, Plummer will deliver a historical overview of the war portraying
Maine's famous Civil War General Joshua L. Chamberlain.

The war began on April 12, 1861 when Confederate artillery fired on Union Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, and the first battle of the war was fought at Manassas, Virginia, on July 21, 1861. After four years of bloody warfare and the deaths of 620,000 Union and Confederate soldiers, the war came to an end on April 12, 1865 in Appomattox, Virginia, with the formal surrender of General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia. General Ulysses S. Grant selected Chamberlain to be the presiding Union officer.

Plummer, a Civil War historian who is widely-known for his living history presentations, will also talk about the important role that the volunteers from Maine and Androscoggin County played in winning the war and preserving the Union. He will also discuss the support that citizens at home gave to the Union's war effort.

Plummer is a long-time L.A. Senior College instructor who has taught several Civil War Courses and holds a B.S. degree in Education, an M.Ed. degree in Administration and Supervision, and a Ph.D. in Religious Studies and Metaphysics.

Lewiston-Auburn Senior College, now in its 13th year, presents the monthly 11:30 a.m. luncheon program in Function Room 170 at the University of Southern Maine's Lewiston-Auburn Campus. The cost, which includes lunch, is $7 with advance reservation or $8 at the door. Reservations must be made by noon on November 17 by calling 753-6510. Any late callers will be considered "at the door."

- Submitted by Rachel Morin for Lewiston-Auburn Senior College

Intersecting With History
at Gold LEAF Institute

Sketch of Lt William DieboldIt began when one of the Gold LEAF students in my freelance marketing class handed me a dog-eared, hand-typed manuscript. Written by her father shortly after World War II, it had languished in the attic for nearly 60 years.

"He wanted to publish it as a book," she said, "but it never happened. And when he died in 1965, it came to me."

She asked me to read it and, if I thought it had merit, to suggest a way it might be published.

Now as a writer and teacher of writing, I occasionally get handed manuscripts. They're sometimes interesting, they vary in quality, and with some I can offer helpful advice, but sometimes I simply read and return them.

This was different. From the first page I was caught up in Lt. Bill Diebold's story, an account of his adventures in World War II parachuting out of airplanes into the jungles and mountains of Burma to rescue airmen whose planes went down over The Hump. Though I knew the history, his story was unlike anything I'd ever seen before.

But I was a history buff and knew my biases. My wife, on the other hand, cared little about World War II stories, so I gave it to her and asked her opinion. She, too, found it an exciting, hard-to-put-down tale. "This story deserves to be told," she said.

That was two years ago. Yesterday (October 19) Lt. Diebold's daughter Anna and I stood up at Gold LEAF's Fall/Winter class kickoff to launch Hell is So Green, released by Globe Pequot Press just the day before.  

I won't recount the research, the editing, the re-writing, the letters to agents, etc., that were part of finding a publisher, but find one I did. And that day at Gold LEAF was a good moment for us both.

But this isn't just about digging a story of heroism out of a dusty attic, it's about yet another of the many rewarding experiences Gold LEAF offers -- the networking, the connections people make simply by being part of a group that, collectively, has lived so long and done so much. If the Senior College Network does nothing more than make such serendipitous intersections possible, it has many times earned its worth. 

Copies of Hell is So Green that have been signed by the authors are for sale, with proceeds benefiting Gold LEAF Institute. The list price of the book is $22.95, but the signed copies are available for $20, including postage. To order, call 207-778-7063 or send an email to, and mail a check to:

Gold LEAF Institute Senior College
University of Maine Farmington
186 High Street, Room 318
Farmington, ME 04938

- Submitted by Richard Matthews for Gold LEAF Institute

York County Senior College Group Visits UNE

YCSC members at Bush Library, UNE
In October, York County Senior College members were treated to a tour of the University of New England Marine Science Center in Biddeford. Following a lecture about the facility, they were able to visit UNE's George and Barbara Bush Library. The library highlights the Bushes' New England heritage and special love affair with Maine, and features memorabilia on loan from the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library at Texas A & M University. Pictured are YCSC members Ted Hargrove (left) and Elmer Brown (right).

- Submitted by Fern Brown for York County Senior College


OLLI at USM Hosts Arab Spring Presentation

On October 3, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at University of Southern Maine, together with the World Affairs Council of Maine, sponsored a presentation by Dr. Mary-Jane Deeb, Chief of the African and Middle Eastern Division at the Library of Congress, and a frequent media commentator. Her topic, "The Arab Spring," drew a large, enthusiastic, and responsive audience. An OLLI at USM instructor, Kathleen Sutherland, invited Dr. Deeb to speak in Maine, the two having met many years ago at the American University in Cairo.

Dr. Deeb has worked with the Library of Congress Office of Scholarly Programs, fostering Islamic studies, including a series of symposia on "Globalization and Muslim Societies," and organizing numerous conferences on the Muslim world. In 2003 she led a Library of Congress team to Baghdad to assist in the reconstruction of the National Library and Archives there. Dr. Deeb completed a Ph.D. in International Relations from the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, and Bachelor's and Master's degrees at American University in Cairo.

Dr. Deeb described the historical context of the Arab Spring movement, explaining how the revolutions came about, broadly defining who the "rebels" are, and what they are seeking. She concluded by sharing some projections of likely future outcomes from the revolutions.

Throughout her talk, Dr. Deeb cited specific examples from various Middle Eastern and North African nations, in particular Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, and Sudan. She masterfully wove an optimistic sense about the future, within the context of some harsh realities.

She described the contrast between an earlier socialist and Arab Nationalist paradigm, with an Islamist, religion-based paradigm, followed most recently by an apparently steady shift towards more secular democratic values. Internet communication is a factor in this development. The rebellious faction is not limited to youth, but includes military conscripts, laborers, and civil servants, such as lawyers and teachers. That the Arab Spring encompasses such a broad spectrum of participants is an indication of its lasting influence. Demands of the protesters include higher pay, better working conditions, job creation, an end to corruption, an independent judiciary, and an emphasis upon human dignity and the rights of citizens.

- Submitted by Joan Aldrich for OLLI at the University of Southern Maine.


Belfast Senior College Introduces Permanent Name Tags/IDs

Belfast Senior College found that producing and distributing new name tags for each student every term had become cumbersome. The Board had discussed providing membership ID cards, and it seemed a good idea to combine the name tag and ID. By providing permanent name tags the senior college does not have to produce them again every term, and the name tag also serves as proof of membership. 

Each new member receives a name tag, and when the permanent tags were introduced, current remembers received theirs upon membership renewal. The inserted name card bears a sticker with the expiration date of the membership. The sticker can be replaced, thus renewed.

BelfastSrCollegeIDTagNew members have a small colored sticker to so indicate. Board members and committee chairs have a different colored sticker on their name tags to indicate that they can be of help.

The inserts are printed on both sides because the plastic holder does flip over sometimes.  Belfast Senior College purchased sturdy plastic holders attached to lanyards with the Belfast Senior College logo printed on them. The lanyards release if they get caught on anything, and the length can be adjusted. They are also removable, and the name tag may be clipped to a pocket or lapel if preferred. 

If a member loses their tag, they fill out a form to request a replacement, and there is a $3 charge for obtaining a new tag/lanyard. Members are urged to wear their name tags when attending any Belfast Senior College function.  

- Submitted by Judy Beebe for Belfast Senior College, at the U Maine Hutchinson Center


All's Well That Ends Well
Barbara R from LA Senior CollegeBarbara Randall. a popular instructor at Lewiston/Auburn Senior College, was in a car accident on October 9, on Route 4 in Jay, when a driver failed to yield and hit her broadside, which sent her into a line of traffic and she was hit again, completely totaling her SUV. She was brought to Franklin Memorial Hospital for examination via ambulance. Her sole injury was a minor cut on her left wrist!

Nothing holds our Barbara back and she was teaching her English Literature class at  L/A Senior College four days later despite overall soreness and lameness! She was also at our Food for Thought lecture and luncheon soon after. She looked so hale and hearty and full of spirit and energy, captured in this photo so everyone can see how well she is doing. We have all reflected on how fortunate and blessed Barbara was to survive an accident that could have had a tragic ending.

-Submitted for Lewiston-Auburn Senior College by Rachel Morin.

A Great Deal Adds Members at Sunrise Senior College

Illustration of two people and the number 10Sunrise Senior College had the best fall semester ever. What made it so great? Our classes were as inspiring as ever. Our instructors were superb as usual. As always our volunteers worked hard to produce a wonderful program. But the thing that really made a difference? We lowered our prices for our tenth anniversary celebration. We call it "Ten for the Tenth." This fall was the start of our tenth year as a senior college.  

In honor of this momentous occasion, we decided to lower our membership fee from $25 to $10. For that membership fee the first fall semester course was free! All other courses for the semester were $10. Our courses are usually $25 for the first course and $15 for each additional course each semester. We had a one day Saturday course for $5.  

People know a great deal when they see it. This can be said especially about seniors. We increased our membership and saw our class sizes grow even beyond the numbers the scheduled rooms could accommodate. This meant many last minute room changes and additional books to be ordered, but we did it with the help of our wonderful volunteers.

This was a great experience. We are now working hard to determine whether we can keep our prices low to allow more of our Washington County residents to participate. After all, the purpose of our program is to keep our minds healthy, our hearts happy, and reach as many people as possible to provide a quality program that is fun and affordable.  

- Submitted by Gail Peters for Sunrise Senior College


NY Times Columnist Seeks
Seniors' Life Reports

In his October 27 column, New York Times columnist David Brooks published a request for "life reports" from  people age 70+.

His request reads, "If you are over 70, I'd like to ask for a gift. I'd like you to write a brief report on your life so far, an evaluation of what you did well, of what you did not so well and what you learned along the way. You can write this as a brief essay or divide your life into categories - career, family, faith, community, and self-knowledge - and give yourself a grade in each area."

Brooks plans to write a few articles about the life reports at Thanksgiving, and will post many online. It would be wonderful to see life reports from Maine Senior College members in the NY Times! Life reports may be emailed to David Brooks:

David Brooks' full article can be found here.

Amtrak Downeaster Discount for Seniors

Amtrak Downeaster logoThere's nothing like a field trip to bring a curriculum to life. With the Amtrak Downeaster service between Boston and Portland,it's easy and affordable to bring students from a Maine Senior College to Boston.

The Downeaster provides train transportation at a 50% discount to seniors and groups.  Plus, ANY Maine student/ resident is admitted to the Museum of Art in Boston free of charge, at any time, thanks to a $2 million endowment by the Lunder Foundation of Portland.

Please call Natalie Allen at the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority (NNEPRA)  at  207-780-1000,  x108  or send an email to her at for additional information or assistance booking a trip.

The Poet's Corner

If you would like to submit a poem for possible inclusion in The Poet's Corner, please email it to Kyle Allen,, or mail it to her:

Kyle Allen
Maine Senior College Network
University of Southern Maine
PO Box 9300
Portland, ME 04104


In This Issue
80 Is The New 60 at WMSC
L-A Senior College Presents Civil War Program
Intersecting with History at Gold LEAF
York County SC Visits UNE
Belfast SC Introduces Permanent Name Tags/IDs
All's Well That Ends Well
A Great Deal Adds Members At Sunrise
NY TImes Columnist Requests Seniors' Life Reports
Amtrak Downeaster Discount For Seniors/Groups
Don't forget to go to the Maine Senior College Network website to find out what is happening around the state!

Maine Senior College Network 
Maine Senior College Network

Acadia Senior College

Augusta Senior College
Bridgton Senior College

Coastal Senior College

Downeast Senior College

Gold LEAF Institute


Lewiston-Auburn Senior College

Midcoast Senior College

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

Penobscot Valley Senior College


Senior College UMaine Hutchinson Center

St. John Valley Senior College

Sunrise Senior College 
Western Mountains Senior College

York County Senior College
The Maine Senior College Network Display Boards are available to any senior college that would like to borrow them. For more information, check out the link below.

About Us
Maine Senior College Network
P.O. Box 9300
Portland, Maine 04104-9300
(207)780-4317 (fax)
Kali Lightfoot
Executive Director
Anne Cardale
Director of Communication 
Director of Conferences

Kyle Allen
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Please submit your articles and photographs to Kyle Allen at

Deadline:  Third week of each month for the following month's edition