E-News April 2021

Senior College Online

Spring 2021 with Senior College

“Oh to be in England now that April’s here” wrote English poet Robert Browning in 1845 in his poem Home Thoughts from Abroad. I memorized this poem back in 8th grade and each April those words resonate with me.

Geoffrey Chaucer in his prologue to The Canterbury Tale wrote:

When April the sweet showers fall
And pierce the drought of March to the root, and all
The veins are bathed in liquor of such power
As brings about the engendering of the flower ….

It is almost like Chaucer knew what being here in Maine was like.

Yet centuries later another well known English poet had a somewhat different view of this month. T.S. Eliot wrote in The Wasteland:

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

Whatever your feelings for this fourth month of the year it does set the stage for glorious May when nature bursts forth in her most festive attire. April to me is a month of promise that winter is really over and that summer warmth will be here soon.

This April many of us celebrate not only the end of winter but the completion of our vaccinations. While we may all have had our vaccines and are anxious to return to “live” activities, the Senior College Board will be following the Covid 19 updates during the next few months. We are all anxious to return to the Hutchinson Center, gather in the lobby for coffee and cookies, and greet friends and familiar faces. But the Board wants you to know that while we are anxious we shall remain cautious and only return when we believe it will be safe!

There is a possibility that we may be able to return to face-to-face teaching this fall at the Hutchinson Center. The Curriculum Committee invites all prospective Instructors to submit proposals for the fall session.

If you are interested in teaching a class but would like to discuss the possibility before submitting a proposal don’t hesitate to contact Deirdre Good at deirdregood@mac.com or Nancy Perkins at nanella133@gmail.com.

In the meantime there are several classes still open in this Spring session. This past week I thoroughly enjoyed learning the ins and outs of growing asparagus. And now that it is April I joined the evocative class on Jane Austen’s England. I am really looking forward to the six-week course on “The Places You’ll Go” and as a proud grandmother I am excited about the segment featuring my granddaughter, Nellie LaValle, describing her Fulbright year traveling in China. Following this presentation a great lineup of fellow members will take us to Russia, Istanbul, Iceland, Galapagos, Bhutan & Nepal, Vietnam & Cambodia, and Bolivia. For tea lovers there is still room in my class on the History of Tea as well as space in the course on Monarch butterflies, both later in May. Time is running out so don’t hesitate and register for one of these interesting and educational offerings!

Finally, nearly a year’s work has come to fruition with the award of $10,000.00 to Waldo County Community Action Partners (WaldoCap). Last year the Senior College Board approved awarding surplus funds to organizations making a difference to seniors in Waldo County. A small ad hoc committee explored several options and in the end felt that through a variety of programs our dollars could best be used to support programs and services to seniors as they strive to lead meaningful and productive lives with the help and support of WaldoCap. Ron Jarvella chaired the committee as it worked with the staff from the nonprofit and is pleased to report that computer skills training will be one of the services provided.

We are still publishing the Corona Chronicles after nearly a year. In reading back over some of the issues I am honored to be part of an organization of so many talented, inspiring, and insightful individuals. We will continue to send out the Chronicle as long as we receive material from you. If you haven’t contributed please send us a book, movie, or other review, a poem, a photograph, a photo of an original piece of your art, or even a recipe you have loved to share with all. All the back issues are archived on the Senior College website under What’s Happening.

Next issue: the Merry month of May!

Nancy Perkins, President

Ad Hoc Committee on Technology

A few months ago the Board approved an Ad Hoc Committee to deal with and strategize on issues facing the organization dealing with virtual learning. The Ad Hoc Technology Committee has met twice. They have prepared detailed Zoom instruction sheets for class hosts, instructors and participants. These drafts were sent to the Curriculum Committee, which will review them at their next meeting. When finalized, these documents will be available on the Senior College website for easy access by class hosts, instructors and participants.

Elizabeth Sterner, Committee Member, Board Member

We are enjoying our senior college classes: Jack and Digital Photography. Our classes provide fabulous learning experiences that give us explanations and tools that we would not have found out on our own except with much effort and probable frustration. And they propel us to think about and build on what we already know. I discovered that Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis is the setting for much of Jack, was built by Almerin Hotchkiss. Mr Hotchkiss also designed and built The Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn NY in which I have spent many happy hours bird watching, walking around the graves, and looking out at views of Brooklyn Harbor. The Green-Wood cemetery opened in 1858 and was visited by thousands of New Yorkers since there were as yet no public parks. I am continuing to ask myself the question posed by our Senior College instructor: why Marilynne Robinson set so much of Jack in Bellefontaine Cemetery over the course of a single night, and I am proposing answers to myself that I would never have thought of without the class.

While none of this is may be useful for a newsletter it keeps me mentally and physically alive in ways I value highly.

Deirdre Good, Chair, Curriculum Committee, Board Member

Nominating Committee

I am happy to report I have selected three non-Board volunteers willing to serve on the Nominating Committee this spring and summer as the committee meets to fill positions on the 2021-2022 Board of Directors. Members-at-Large Mary Rackmales, Paul Sheridan, and Barney Lutsk have agreed to join Board officers on the Nominating Committee. The group will recruit and select individuals for board service.

Jim Owen, Chair, Nominating Committee, Board Member


The telephone scammers are out in full force. Just this week there have been numerous reports of calls purporting to be from Social Security, Medicare, and Amazon. And, of course, the constant calls from SPECTRUM, which seem never-ending.