Corona Chronicles: June 5, 2020

We began the Corona Chronicles to keep the membership of Senior College connected and it has been gratifying to discover that it has connected us during this period of physical and social distancing. The Chronicles is brought to you by SC member Janet Williams, who for years has published the monthly Senior College newsletter. Janet dubbed this addenda to the newsletter the Corona Chronicles and prepares and distributes it. Thank you Janet Williams!

We continue to receive interesting comments and stories from so many members. Pam Chase wrote: I met up with a friend to walk down by the boathouse recently, maintaining social distancing between ourselves and others. As we parted I said “Let’s do what I do when I talk with a grandchild on the phone. Put your right hand on your left shoulder. Put your left hand on your right shoulder. Now squeeze. That is a hug from me to you.” We were smiling at that. We have to do what we’re able to stay connected.

Suzie Williams has enjoyed a number of movies while physically and socially distancing, including Harriet, Ford vs Ferrari, A Dog’s Journey, Blinded by the Light, Rocketman, Bohemian Rhapsody, and many others.

Patricia Keogh writes: An author that I did not read in my lifetime was Anthony Trollope. One year ago I read my first novel by this author. I fell in love! So I decided to do a little project while being isolated and away from my friends and family. I learned about this guy and his life. I got a list of novels that he wrote and started to go down the list to read them. Right now I am on The Warden (1855), one of his earliest novels. I have The Duke’s Children waiting in my queue. I love this English period from the early 1800’s up to the end of Queen Victoria’s reign in 1901. The inequities in society, the unjust and unfair life experience of the poor contrasted with the rich and the landed gentry plus those to the manor born creates a tension that makes his books so interesting. Anthony Trollope is my Covid 19 buddy and I am delighted to have made his acquaintance!

From poetry, paintings, essays, and just brief jottings we have managed to reach out and touch one another during this continued period of isolation. If you have something to share please email me at

Nancy Perkins

Jim Owen

Family papers
left behind by my dad,
a trap, a pitcher plant,
sticky with duty,
ambivalence, ephemera,
a burden avoided
many years
until COVID-!9.
Sheltering in place
opening the box,
sad at first,
then digging,
a surprise,
a loving letter to parents,
beautiful calligraphy,
written in 1799;
a daughter, Polly
says how grateful
she is for her upbringing,
asks after their health,
says how she looks forward to
their next letter.

In the box,
there is another letter,
written in 1800,
her brother,
gives thanks
for being told
of Polly’s untimely illness and death.
He worries about his mother
he allows he endures,
his faith intact,
written in calligraphy
as beautiful as his sister’s.

Jim Owen is inspired by the poetry of Billy Collins, Maya Angelou, Richard Blanco, E.B. White, Japanese Haiku and many others. A member of The Wheelbarrow School of Poetry in Belfast, Jim’s poems have been published in the Foreign Service Journal, several online journals, the Maine Island Trail Association’s Tales of the Trail blog, and a booklet published by The Wheelbarrow School of Poetry. One of his pandemic poems is on the front door of the Belfast Free Library. A member of the Board of Directors of Senior College Belfast, Jim was regional manager and counselor for an Employee Assistance Program based in Maine.

Audrey Deveny

Audrey Deveny has spent a lifetime creating. Her love of art is evidenced in her work and she received her BA from Notre Dame College. Since settling in Belfast she has enjoyed painting and photography at her own studio. She has received numerous awards and honors and her work hangs in galleries and organizations all over the country.

Art and Corona

When the Spring classes were canceled, I was full speed ahead with my planned art course to share my excitement about the gifts of painting thru art history. Poof! This possibility of teaching I had looked forward to for the second time at Senior College was over. I felt as if I was floating mid air. Caught on a still slide, as were my images of l9th and 20th century paintings I was about to show. This feeling was a bit of a “high.”

The reality of the corona virus soon began taking effect as I floated down to terra firma. Good…but, it somehow had a different feel. Beginning to move again I wandered over to my patio window from which I view the world of nature out back, which reveals the wonder of seasonal changes. It was still there and so was I.

So often in moments like this my mind thinks of painting. Being a plein air painter I love painting outside, sitting on a rock, or in the car somewhere, depending on the weather and the location, with my materials and tools beside me. At this moment, I am happy. I draw and I paint and eventually the experience yields forth a new being.

The day I learned of the corona cancellations I painted from my window which I had done many times before. Sometimes I have even painted the window. I thought of the joy of looking at a scene of color to paint, not necessarily as it appears but from the vision it gives. To talk to it in paint, to compliment it in a respectful image from the stimulus it beckons. The communing with the subject is glorious, forgiving, and precious to the artist who wants to experience and share a conversation with it about painting with watercolor. During the winter and spring many subjects came to my window, subjects which appeared on the sketch pad in line and color in the days and seasons.

Since the news of March 2020 I have gone back to my preparations to give the students who might have signed up for my course a glance at “modern art” as it broke out of the formal academic restrictions required of painting in the l8th century to the gradual freeing of the artists to paint their own visions and interpretations in their own ways, exploring, sensing, expressing, and exhibiting their paintings in the fierce new centuries of change, the l9th and 20th centuries.

Thus artists began to paint their subjects, locations, ideas and effects of social phenomena using new techniques and styles as enhanced by increased personal freedom to express their reality of experiences of myriad changes such as the pain of wars and poverty, industrial invention and speed, psychological effects, innovation and travel enhancing communication and cultural awareness and exchange growing among many countries during the next l50 years. Artists, musicians, poets, dancers and writers showed us these new centuries in new ways. As changes happened and they needed to express the social effects and indeed to share them as they and others witnessed them. Their expressed views in art provided us a history of these times.

My solace during this period of adjustment to the closures and limitations of the corona days of wonder, change and adjustment has resulted from many paintings from my window as the spring colors have gradually followed winter and we are, even after surprising new snows, into the glory of spring and summer even without our classes. My days continue thru reading from histories of world civilizations, exchanges, and influences on the world of now as we glean and review meaning from the past to enrich and assist us in the present.

I hope the summer sessions go well with the new experience of ZOOM as we all strive to adapt through learning and creating.

Thank you to Belfast Senior College for the incredible opportunities that have been given to all who have enjoyed your gifts for so many years.

DVDs available from the Maine Master’s Project, Richard Kane, Director,, 207-326-8459,

Lois Dodd: “I am painting my life as I live it day by day.” (painter)

Imber’s Left Hand: An Artist’s Heroic Battle with ALS, (painter), husband of painter Jill Hoy, filmed in MA and Stonington, ME

Cabot Lyford: Filed in his studio in New Harbor, Maine (sculptor)

Dahlov Ipcar: “From the beginning, art seemed a natural part of life” (painter), daughter of William and Marguerite Zorach, Georgetown, ME

Alan Magee: (painter), Cushing, ME

Joseph Fiore: (painter), Maine

Rockwell Kent, (painter, builder), Monhegan, ME,

James Fitzgerald, (painter), Monhegan, ME,

Chaim Soutine: (painter),

M.C. Richards: (potter), The Fire Within, Creativity: Clay, Color, and Word,


Anne Spencer, May 27, 2020

Anne Spencer grew up in Westfield, NJ and graduated from Wilson College in Pennsylvania with a BA in Fine Arts. She attended the University of Pennsylvania and became a licensed Occupational Therapist. Following a year in France, she received a MA in Liberal Studies focusing on art, education, and human development. Her creative life has been full of the joys of art, music and human endeavor.

Shelter at Home
Sue Shaw

All the birding events have been canceled,
But…it’s spring and migration weather…
And we can still go and still see the show,
While chasing down warblers together!

We’ve got e-mail and Facebook and Princess,
We’ve got Lucky and sessions on ZOOM.
We’ve got TP and Lysol and Clorox
And hand gel is in every room.

We’re washing our hands and wearing our masks,
We’re armed with our wipes and our sprays.
We’re cautious and careful and trying for ‘safe’,
But we’re never bored with our days!

We have projects to do and pictures to paint
Bird feeders to watch endlessly.
But the best things we’ve got in this unholy mess?
I’ve got you…and you? You’ve got me!

And if we have to be “socially distanced”
From all that we used to do…
If the rule is “shelter in place at home”,
Then I’m glad that I’m sheltered with you!

😊 💑 S
(note: Princess and Lucky are our cats)

Sue Shaw has lived in Penobscot with her husband and cats since 1974. She taught Physical Education and Health for 37 years, retiring from Ellsworth High School in 2002. Sue enjoys the creative process in many forms, dabbling in watercolor, pen and ink, pottery, wood carving in the form of birds and decoys, writing poetry and various crafts. In addition to art, she enjoys birding, kayaking, biking, and playing outside in general with her group of close friends.

Audrey Deveny

Sue Shaw

Toilet paper, cans of soup…
Supplies laid in here in the coop
Of staying home…life’s in a tizzy…
Starting projects, staying busy.
Making quilts…spring cleaning starting…
Time is used for knitting, ‘arting’.
We’re taking walks and watching birds,
We keep journals—play with words.

As Mom would say, ‘fore I was grown…
It’s a great life skill to ‘play alone’!

Bored? Never!
Sue Shaw

I can’t imagine being bored…
And when I try, why I’m just floored
There is so very much to do…
More than enough for a list or two!
What’s difficult is finding room
For everything…including ZOOM!
It seems the days and hours fly
If someone’s bored, I must ask, ‘why’?
Do a project…write a book….
There’s lots to do if you just look!