Issue No. 66
The MSCN Newsletter

Welcome to Your November Newsletter!

Art nouveau poster for the literary magazine The Chap-Book showing two women holding trays of food.

October has been a great month for meeting members of the Maine Senior College Network. I met members from both Western Mountains and Lewiston-Auburn Senior Colleges at the "Aging Well, Living Well" Expo in Sunday River at the beginning of the month. Then, at the end of the month I had the pleasure of visiting Midcoast Senior College. I met board members, and both the current President, Tony Belmont, and recent Midcoast SC President Richard Neiman. We had a very enjoyable conversation and there was much to discuss!

This month's news from the network brings you some fascinating articles: 

Lewiston-Auburn's upcoming (November 13th) "Food for Thought" lunchtime lecture will share information and insights into the lives of women veterans. 

I found an inspiring article about the Senior College in Belfast's recent contributions to its local community.  (This article originally appeared in SC in Belfast's newsletter.)

Lewiston-Auburn sent in a photo acknowledging their own volunteer heroes!

Two events are taking place at the end of this week for those in Belfast and Brunswick, a lecture by Seth Singleton at the Senior College in Belfast and Midcoast's Daponte String Quartet recital.

Finally, do you have a gently worn coat looking for a good home? Visit Maine Area Agencies on Aging (M4A) for information about their "Coats for Seniors" program. The website provides a list of coat drop-off locations around the state.

SAGE at UM-Presque Isle Hosts "Timekeeping the Amish Way"

Face of an old clock
Aroostook County is home to a thriving Amish community, with many Amish farmers, artisans, and others contributing to the local economy. One of the founding members of the community, Noah Yoder, recently spoke in a two hour SAGE course about repairing very old clocks and watches. This was the first time we know of that someone from the Amish community has spoken to such a group, and what an interesting talk it was! While explaining the inner workings of the old timepieces, Yoder passed around various items from his collections and demonstrated how he balances clock weights and pendulums to ensure accurate time- keeping. 

Yoder has been collecting watches for over 25 years, but began his repair business within the last three years. Already he gets watches and clocks not only from throughout Maine but also from other parts of the country, based on the reputation he has built for painstaking attention to detail and his ability to create replacement parts that are now unavailable from the original manufacturers, perhaps long out of business. 
Old gold watch

Noah's shop runs without electricity, of course, so he and his friends make many of his own hand-operated tools and he creates special lighting to better see the minute pieces with which he often deals. Even the machine he uses to wash all the tiny pieces from a watch is operated by hand. 

Specializing in the repair of century-old railroad watches, those approved by the railroad companies and worn by employees during the heyday of railroading in this country, Yoder explained what to look for in the real antiques. An engineer's watch typically have five stars engraved on the inside workings of the watch. Regular timekeeping being essential to the safe operating of the trains, such watches were required to run with such precision that they could lose just 6 SECONDS per month. That required both skilled watchmakers and frequent monitoring and calibrating by railroad timekeepers. 
Railroad watch

Yoder cautioned that a watch case with an engraved train engine and car is most likely NOT a railroad watch. He noted that the last official railroad watches were produced in 1969 and suggested that many of the old watches are still available in antique stores and even pawn shops. 

Having amassed a shop full of German, Swiss, American, and other manufactured parts, Yoder can clean, restore and repair most of the watches and clocks left in his care at his Fort Fairfield farm. Ironically, he said he really only needs to know the time when going to church on Sunday, but his passionate interest in timepieces has grown well beyond a hobby and his skill in repairing them is now in great demand. 

USM Lewiston-Auburn Senior College Presents: LaRhonda Harris RN, BSN, Manager of the Women Veterans Program

Four female pilots leaving their ship, Pistol Packin' Mama (WW2)
LaRhonda Harris RN, BSN, Manager of the Women Veterans Program, will be the guest presenter at USM's Lewiston-Auburn Senior College at the November 13 Food for Thought Luncheon at 11:30. Her topic will highlight the enormous contributions that women veterans have made to our nation. The public is cordially invited. 
Two members of a US Marine Corps Female Engagement Team patrolling a town in Afghanistan during 2010

"Women at War," a 24 minute video will illustrate the changing roles that our women veterans have made during the course of three wars from 1942 to the present. A brief presentation will follow the video, outlining the changes that these evolving roles have made in the Veterans Administration and the care for our veterans. There will be time for a question and answer period.

LaRhonda Harris 
LaRhonda graduated from St. Joseph's College in North Windham in 1985 and worked a short time at Maine Medical Center, Portland, on the Cardiac Step Down Unit. Shortly thereafter, she received a commission as a Second Lieutenant in the US Air Force and was stationed at Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Illinois where she worked in the Medical-Surgical and Emergency/Trauma Departments. 

Upon completion of her three years in the USAF, LaRhonda worked in various hospitals in and around St. Louis, Missouri, specializing in Critical Care and Emergency Medicine. She returned to Maine in 1994 and worked on the Special Care Unit at the VA Maine Health Care System, working at various departments there including Endoscopy and Primary Care-Women Health. LaRhonda assumed the Managerial position of the Women Veterans Program in 2010 where she is today.

LaRhonda, her husband and their two sons are very involved in outdoor activities, boating, kayaking, hiking, fishing and spending time at the ocean. LaRhonda, herself, did the Trek across Maine, Autumn Escape in Massachusetts and completed her first 5K run this summer. Actually, she and her family are happiest in anything that involves outside recreation.

Food for Thought luncheon details:
Friday, November 13 at 11:30. 
Location: The Function Room - 170 USM LAC Campus, 51 Westminster St., Lewiston. 
The public is cordially invited to attend.

The cost, which includes lunch, is $7 with advance reservation or $8 at the door. 

Reservations must be made by noon on Tuesday, Nov. 10, (due to Veterans' Day, Nov. 11) by calling 753-6510. Any late callers will be considered "at the door."

Submitted by - Rachel Morin, USM Lewiston-Auburn Senior College 
Senior College at Belfast Community Service Committee
October is a busy month for the Community Service Committee at the Senior College in Belfast. Senior College members assist Waldo Community Action Partners confirming eligibility and information for households in Waldo County who need assistance with food for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas. Area agencies cooperate so that only one entity distributes these baskets. Over 1,200 households need assistance. Over 340 households have a senior as head of household. It is these households with seniors that get a phone call from Senior College members. 
A big 'thank you' to more than 20 Senior College members who sat at their phones during October to get through to over 340 households. At times, this was challenging but also rewarding as the potential recipients are generally very appreciative of this phone call. 

Our next scheduled project in March is Read Across America. For this project, about 14 volunteers spend part of a day at Captain Albert Stevens Elementary School in Belfast reading to primary aged children.  

The goal of the Community Service Committee this year is to develop a clearinghouse on our website for various Waldo County (and beyond) agencies where volunteers are needed for charitable causes. We want to create a list of agencies with their contact information and details of their needs for volunteers. Senior College members who have time and expertise to give will be able to browse this resource and find matches for their time and talent. 

Article adapted from Senior College at Belfast Newsletter

Farm Trip for Acadia Senior College members

What a great day Acadia Senior College members had on October 2nd. About 30 of us carpooled to Cape Rosier to explore the roots - and fruits - of organic farming here on the Maine coast.

After passing through Blue Hill and on through the Holbrook Wildlife Sanctuary, we came to the remote area of Harborside. It was here, in 1952, that Scott and Helen Nearing bought 140 acres of coastal forest. Here they hoped to create a self-sufficient homestead where they could live away from what they saw as the evils of modern industrial America.
Eliot Coleman of Four Season Farm

Our first stop was the Four Season Farm. Here Eliot Coleman came with his young family in the late 1960s, carving out their own farm from land they bought from the Nearings. Eliot and his wife Barbara Damrosch are masters of organic farming and gardening and have been lecturing and writing on the subject for decades.

Eliot was there on this chilly, steel-gray October morning, greeting the ASC folks in front of trees so laden with apples their branches swept the ground. He then led us around his land, giving us  fascinating insights into the history, philosophy and techniques of growing food in an efficient, safe, and sustainable way.

Some of us asked questions, some jotted intently in notebooks, others just gazed around at the abundance of leeks and butternut squashes spread out before us, imagining Thanksgiving dinner. We learned that, through decades of work, the soil has grown healthy and rich enough to sustain vegetables but not pests. We were intrigued by the portable greenhouses, which are moved around as various crops are harvested, creating space for the next. And we heard how frost-proof taps and snowblowers are employed to keep vegetables growing throughout the harsh Maine winter.

In fact, Eliot and Barbara are changing their farm from a four season enterprise to a "reverse farm." Instead of bringing vegetables to market May to October as most local growers do, they will be harvesting from October to May. These organic farming pioneers have learned over years of trial and error how to grow winter crops, so they will focus on that and let the other farms and gardens do what they do best in the warmer seasons. So if you are looking for fresh organic vegetables this winter, head

Happy, hungry and rather chilled to the bone, we drove
the couple of miles over to the place where it all started - the Nearing's Forest Farm and Good Life Center. The docents there invited us to eat our brown-bag lunches in the house, where they had a wood fire roaring and a teakettle on the stove.

Scott Nearing was an economist who was forced to leave academia after espousing socialist ideals and opposing the First World War. In the early years of the Depression, he and his wife Helen moved to Vermont where they sought a simpler, healthier life, less tainted by American consumerism, greed and pollution. After working in maple syrup production and vegetable gardening for twenty years, they moved to Maine when Stratton Mountain was developed as a ski resort in their quiet valley.

Here in Harborside Scott and Helen sought to live the Good Life, and many young people came to work with them and learn from them over the decades that followed. According to Scott, the ideal balance can be attained by dividing one's active time as follows: one-third for manual labor, one-third for study, and one-third working for social good.
The Good Life Center

We ASC members watched a short documentary about the Nearings and their work, then went outside to explore the garden area and the surrounding buildings and yurt. In a small greenhouse, basil still grew shoulder-high. And we learned that the large stone walls of the garden not only kept out deer and their ilk but created a heat sink that allowed for a longer growing season. The Good Life Center, which continues to host talks and lectures throughout the year, is a resource for the community as well as a fascinating historic site.

The ASC folks who went on this exciting field trip all gave it high marks, and are appreciative of the efforts by Susan Lerner and the Events Committee for organizing this special day.

Written by Ann Caswell & Photos by Jude Lamb, Acadia Senior College
Historical Nuggets from the Midcoast Past

Everyone knows that Joshua Chamberlain of Brunswick was the hero of Little Round Top at the Battle of Gettysburg. Chamberlain, a former Bowdoin faculty member, accepted Confederate surrender at Appomattox and went on to become Governor of Maine. But how many have heard of Holman Melcher (1842-1905), the first officer down the hill for the 20th Maine on July 3, 1863, when the fate of the nation seemed to hang in the balance?
The Twentieth Maine Reunion at Gettysburg in 1889.

Melcher was from Topsham, not Brunswick, and attended Bates, not Bowdoin. Chamberlain gave the order to charge downhill without ammunition, but Melcher actually carried the order out. The president of the 20th Maine Regimental Association was not Chamberlain, but Melcher, who went on to become Mayor of Portland.

The two heroes argued for the rest of their lives about who did what on one of the most fateful days in American history. But Chamberlain of Brunswick won the Congressional Medal of Honor, and Melcher of Topsham dropped into the memory hole. They are two Midcoast heroes, one remembered, the other forgotten, from opposite sides of the Androscoggin. We celebrate them both. 
Written by Robert Williams, Midcoast Senior College
"Honor the Instructors" 
Dinner held at Lewiston-Auburn SC

Included among the Instructors who were honored at the annual "Honor the Instructors" Dinner on October 1 at USM Lewiston Auburn Senior College were 
Row 1, Hugh Keene, Robert Bowyer, Leonard Sharon, Anita Poulin,Leelaine Picker, Pauline Fortier; 
Row 2, Ethelind Wright, Alene Staley, Karen Bernier, Patricia Vampatella, Jean Roy, Joanne Lebel, June Spear; 
Row 3, Crystal Ward, David Bernier, Dorothy Rupert, Barbara Oliver, Alan Elze. 

Photo by Rachel Morin,  USM Lewiston-Auburn Senior College  
Senior College at Belfast Presents:

The Daponte String Quartet

USM-LibrariesTwo Exhibitions at USM - Portland Campus

Opening Reception:
Thursday, November 19 at 5:30 pm

Featured speakers:
Glenn Cummings, President of USM. Dr. Mathew Ednet, Osher Professor in the History of Cartography at USM, and Monica Wood author of "When We Were the Kennedys: A Memoir from Mexico, Maine".

Visualizing Uncle Tom through the Decades: a Story Told in Illustration 

Resource Links

UMaine Aging Research Emerging Area Update UMaine Center on Aging (October 2015)

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

Please submit your articles and photographs to Anne Cardale at


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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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