Issue No. 63
August 2015
The MSCN Newsletter

Welcome to Your August Newsletter!
Woman reading in a garden by Mary Cassatt

The Maine Senior College Network is gearing up for Fall classes! This month's newsletter presents the perfect opportunity to acknowledge the dedicated individuals who donate so much of their time and energy to the Senior College Boards. Without these hard working and creative volunteers, there would be no classes at the 17 Senior Colleges! Also, a big thank you goes to those Senior College Board Leaders who are stepping down as their terms expire. And we welcome the network's new Board Chairs and Presidents.

This month's newsletter features:

GoldLEAFGold LEAFers:  No Landlubbers here!

Audubon Society Naturalists provide excellent commentary on a boat trip to Eastern Egg Rock

Summer in Maine equals water and senior college members here in the foothills are taking full advantage of the equation. This brief report (due to the sun shining brilliantly outside) gives proof of that. In July, Gold LEAF members learned the details of the Audubon Project Puffin on Eastern Egg Rock and then hopped aboard Captain Fish's excursion boat to go out to sea and "see" them. The DVD of the project provided excellent "close-ups" in preparation for the trip. Then the boat ride itself netted some additional good looks.

One member, Doreen, sent this report on the trip: "Visibility was good as we were close to the island. Saw quite a few different birds including puffins.  They were quite numerous, on the rocks, in the water and flying overhead."  

The next water excursions involve joining the Source To The Sea paddle from the Verso Boat Launch in Canton and doing a good long stretch of the Androscoggin River.  Members have been "scoping out" the put-in site and are well prepared for this paddle in either kayaks or canoe.   The "Source to the Sea" project was established 20 years ago by the Androscoggin River Watershed Council (ARWC). The council's mission is "to continuously improve environmental quality and promote healthy and prosperous communities in the Androscoggin River Watershed."
Androscoggin River Watershed Council (website)

The project provides educational talks and presentations and makes sure that those joining the program for a day, or for many days, enjoy stretches of the river.   A shuttle service helps us land our kayaks and canoes at the end of the day, and then gets everyone quickly on their way home to recuperate (and rest those sore shoulders).

Lastly,  all the Mondays in August have been set aside for paddles on the Sandy River and local lake waters. Some of the dates are potential "rain dates" so that no one needs to miss out due to weather conditions.  Keep an eye out for Gold LEAFers afloat!

Submitted by - Eileen Kreutz, Gold LEAF Institute
"The Best Of Acadia"

"The Best Of Acadia" was offered by Acadia Senior College in collaboration with the College of The Atlantic in Bar Harbor through the Maine Senior College Network. The program was July 12 - 18, 2015. 

From afternoon check-in to our dormitory room, meeting with our host, Ted Koffman, a delicious dinner in the dining hall followed by a sunset trip up Cadillac Mountain, we knew we would have a wonderful week. 

That belief was fulfilled.

View from the top of Cadillac Mountain

There were lectures and conversations with a local historian, political scientist, monetary issues, local poet and author of books about Maine coast artists and a walking tour of a bird sanctuary. 

George Mitchell gave a talk at his reception and book signing. It was an outstanding evening. 

There were in-depth tours of the island with box lunches, boat trips with guides and a humorist and a light pollution-free evening show of the stars. Outstanding memories were a guided tour of the Seal Cove Auto Museum, the Wendell Museum of bird carving, a visit to the Abbe Museum of Native American History and a trip to the Abby Rockefeller gardens

We were transported everywhere by air-conditioned van driven by Doug Hawk who has an encyclopedic knowledge of the island. Laura Johnson made the arrangements for the week and Ted Koffman was our congenial host. 

We met Acadia and Downeast Senior College members who took part in some of the activities we enjoyed.

It was a wonderful week of discovery and friendship. When offered in the future, we hope to be among the first to sign-up. 

Submitted by David and Natalie Murray, OLLI at The University of Southern Maine

CSC Offers Class in "Our Towns"

Before we retired here in 2000, I had spent every summer of my life in a cottage on Rutherford Island in South Bristol adjacent to the mouth of the Damariscotta River. As far as I was concerned, this was "Maine." Following our retirement, I realized that there was a whole lot more to "Maine" than our coastal island get-away. The first class of "Our Towns" grew from that realization and a desire to explore more of this area. Coastal Senior College was a perfect fit for that plan. It was enlightening to learn about Commodore Samuel Tucker in a presentation by the Bremen Historical Society held at the Muscongus Community Center. At the Friendship Museum, the class heard about Friendship Sloops and a school history project connecting school kids with town elders. At the Dr. Campbell House & Museum, "Warren's Heroes" was the topic chosen by the Warren Historical Society. Another five towns followed suit with interesting and informative presentations.
Emily MacKenzie and Betty Welt

Given the success and interest in "Our Towns," I decided more exploration would be fun. What followed was a course on "Our Islands." Given the planning that was involved, including ferry schedules and historical society transportation, I decided this
kind of course was a bit too involved and time-consuming to do by myself. I was extremely grateful when Betty Welt, a long-time CSC volunteer, agreed to assist in the next classes: "Our Protected Lands' and "Our Entrepreneurs." This fall, we tried to find new towns that spanned both counties served by CSC: Knox and Lincoln. Let's say you retired here recently, or you grew up here. "Here" may mean any number of towns in Lincoln or Knox counties. But, do you really know them? Local historical societies will be presenting information about the towns of Camden-Rockport, Edgecomb, Jefferson, Rockland, Thomaston, and Waldoboro in locations within those towns. Presentations may cover the town's history, its interesting features, a local story or two. When this course was first offered 11 years ago, it proved highly popular. We are hoping that will be the case again.

Submitted by - Emily MacKenzie, Coastal Senior College
Penobscot Valley Senior College News

Penobscot Valley Senior College is anticipating another exciting fall program of classes: PVSC concluded an ambitious spring course selection with a July 13 wrap-up of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions, guided by Sol Goldman, who teaches PVSC's most popular course each spring. 

The fall course brochure is about to be printed. Membership renewal and enrollment is encouraged, and will ensure your first choice of courses, as well as other benefits, including free admission to the annual meeting and to one-day events. 

This fall's courses include: subjects ranging from DNA, paradox, Shakespeare, opera and Penobscot history, to the newly developed readers theater and embroidery classes, as well as favorite repeat offerings of watercolors, drawing and home gardening. 

Venues include: The University of Maine at Orono's Shibles Hall, Dirigo Pines Retirement Community in Orono, and Eastport Hall at the University of Maine at Augusta's Bangor campus. 

Classes are scheduled: Thursday, Sept. 24 through Friday, October 30. 

In Memoriam
In addition, Penobscot Valley Senior College, and the nutrition and academic communities throughout Maine, sadly note the recent passing, in late June, of Katherine Musgrave. Katherine's dedication to teaching nutrition spanned decades. At the age of 95, she intended to teach yet another course for PVSC this fall. She will be greatly missed. 

Penobscot Valley Senior College Annual Meeting
Finally, PVSC's annual meeting will be held September 18 at Jeff's catering in Brewer, starting at 11:30AM. The keynote speaker will be Bangor mayor and Council Chairman Nelson Durgin. 

Current and past members are encouraged to register for the event by Sept. 11. Please call the Eastern Area Agency on Aging's message phone at 992-0118, or contact

Submitted by Skip Howard, Curriculum Committee Chairman, Penobscot Valley Senior College

Between The Covers, Summer Reading

"I learned a lot of things in medical school, but mortality was not one of them." - Dr. Atul Gawande 

"I don't want to be demure or respectable. I was that way for years." - Mary Oliver 

"How do you ever know for certain you are doing the right thing?" - Anthony Doerr 

"Rainwater held onto the pine needles for dear life and Beloved could not take her eyes off Sethe." - Toni Morrison

Sometimes while perusing a book in a bookstore, you read a line and then the book is yours. The above lines are from books I have read recently and want to suggest for summer reading.

Winter has finally let go of us and in summer even with all of our company here in Maine or for those of us traveling to other places,our thoughts turn to books.

The first quote is from Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande. He is a cardiac surgeon at Brigham and Womens'Hospital in Boston. He has written a wonderful book on what he has learned since completing his training about medical care at the end of life. Now if you think this is a depressing book, my book group as well as countless others, did not find it so. He talks about his own personal journey with his elderly father, also a physician, and about what he learned from him as well as patients and colleagues. He now passes on to us his insights. This book has been on the NY Times bestseller list for over 6 months. It is a must read for anyone.

If you love poetry or if you want to sample some, try Mary Oliver. This is from her latest book, Blue Horses in which she returns to themes from her earlier works. I don't want to be demure anymore either, or maybe I never was!

Anthony Doerr is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel set in WWII, All the Light We Cannot See. And for local flavor, he is a Bowdoin College graduate. He writes about two young people, a blind French girl and a German boy, and their experiences in early WWII and their eventual connection. His writing is often lyrical and poetic, despite the heavy subject matter.

Many of us have read Toni Morrison's book, Beloved, perhaps more than once. As you can see by the quote, she too is an extraordinary writer and story teller. It is worth a re-read if you have been touched by it once. 

I would also recommend the latest book by Khaled Hosseini, And the Mountains Echoed. This had a first line that caught me. It is again a look at life in Afghanistan like The Kite Runner.

As part of a Senior College class this spring, I read  The Woman Behind the New Deal by Kirsten Downey about Francis Perkins. She was the first female cabinet member. She worked with FDR and crafted much of what we all have, Social Security, Medicare, labor laws, etc. And yet, she has been little known until recently. She spent much of her leisure time in her home in Newcastle, Maine which is now the Frances Perkins Center and has limited public tours, but many events. The course was great.

Well in case some of you missed it, we have a Presidential election coming up in 2016 and I think nearly every candidate has a book he or she wrote to introduce themselves to the electorate. At last count, I have searched and found 12 books from Carson, Clinton and Cruz to Webb and Warren. Nice to have a couple of women in the mix.

The book notes column in the Sunday NY Times often asked authors what is on their bedside table to be read. I was relieved to see that most of them, like me, have a stack to "get to". Here are some, although I have not read them ....YET I had to have ready because reviews and friends have urged me on.

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler, The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant (The Red Tent), 10% Happier by Dan Harris (of Nightline) on meditation and stress and "keeping my edge," and  The Road to Character by David Brooks.

Well, that ought to keep me busy and hopefully you will enjoy some as well. My last quote is by Cicero, "If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need"

Submitted by Joyce Bessen, Midcoast Senior College

This article written by Judy Smith, originally appeared in the June 2015 issue of the Midcoast Inquirer

Additional Resources and Information

The 2015 White House 
Conference on Aging 
The conference took place on July 13. Visit the 2015 White House Conference website for Policy Briefs and a range of blog reports.

Read a Conference on Aging summary by Adriane Berg.


Newsletter Submissions Deadline Date: 
The 26th of each month!

Please submit your articles and photographs to Anne Cardale at


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Images Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Atlantic Puffins 


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In This Issue
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

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


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