Virtual Zoom Classes

Dear Senior College friends,

While Senior College still hopes to offer “in person” classes in September, we realize this might not be possible or prudent. In this case, we will offer a variety of online classes through Zoom. If you are new to Zoom please be assured it is easy to use and will give us the opportunity to connect with one another in a new way.

In order to prepare for a possible “Online Fall” we have scheduled several online classes in the next few months using Zoom, including a Zoom training course on June 2.

We’re sorry, but all current Zoom courses are full. However, it is possible to put your name on a waiting list. To put your name on a waiting list, fill out the registration form and let us know in the comments section what class you are interested in.

Check out the virtual Zoom classes.

E-News May 2020

All Senior College summer “bricks and mortar” classes are cancelled this year. Please look for several online classes on the website in the near future. We hope to start “Zooming.”

The Senior College Board is meeting, and social distancing, using “Zoom,” a videoconferencing app. This was taken at the April, 2020 board meeting.

On the Job!

Members of the Senior College board at their April meeting, using “Zoom,” a video conferencing tool.

Dear Member:

Sometimes one writes a Newsletter to stay in touch; sometimes one writes a Newsletter to just say Hi; sometimes one writes a Newsletter to announce new opportunities; sometimes one writes a Newsletter to announce a tweak in how things are done – and sometimes a Newsletter does all those things. This is one of those Newsletters.

In the past few weeks your Board of Trustees has met many times to discuss and plan how our Senior College could best serve our members during this historic, stressful and opportunity filled time. We discussed – what do our members need, what should we do and what can we do. Many topics and paths were explored and are still being explored, but in the end it comes down to working within the confines of our mission and our resources. Fortunately, we do have many resources to draw on. Most notably our vibrant membership and a raft of dedicated and talented instructors.

There have been many questions raised about cancellations. Here’s the status so far:


Note: We really had no choice with these decisions as the Hutchinson Center has closed.

We should say here that all our decisions (to cancel or not) will be made with the utmost concern for the health and welfare of our members. Senior College will continue to thrive, and to expand, and to enrich our lives long after a few cancellations.

Above, I mentioned that despite the stress of this time, it is also an opportunity filled time. Your board has set a course whereby Senior College will continue to offer courses, but in a different format. We’re going to save you some gas money! As you read this, Senior College instructors are being trained to teach courses via Zoom Technology broadcast directly to your home. We are more than pleased to tell you that we have worked with the University of Maine and the Hutchinson Center to provide training and support for us to deliver our courses.

Soon you will receive an announcement of online courses to be offered later this Spring. There will be a learning curve, and we will start with low numbers of attendees so any kinks can be worked out, but this will work. In another part of this Newsletter Nancy Perkins, our Chair of Curriculum, will have more details for you. Nancy has put in many, many hours to get this project running and her dedication is paying off.

What Senior College online courses can provide is interaction between you, the teacher and your fellow classmates. Talk to each other, meet new friends – ask “How are you doing?” Get the instructor off topic like you used to do in school! It can be fun! Try it once and you’ll be hooked! Further along these lines are discussions which recognize this new method of delivering courses will help us bring our courses to people that may not be able to come to the Hutch – those in nursing homes, assisted living centers, etc.

In closing I have to thank our Board of Trustees, staff and everyone associated with the college who are contributing and serving in these troubled times. Without wonderful, dedicated people we would not have a Senior College. In the meantime – wash your hands, stay safe and take care.

Peter Reilly

The first Zoom meeting of the Curriculum Committee since the obligatory shut down was well attended. After an initial discussion we determined that the Committee will move forward with two major objectives for the Fall Session: Creating a curriculum based on a return to regularly held classes at the Hutchinson Center, and considering the possibility that we must plan for online classes in case we cannot hold “brick and mortar” classes. (Note: Nine our Spring Session Instructors indicated that they could teach the announced Spring Course at the Hutchinson Center in the Fall).

We are recommending that we begin as soon as possible to offer online classes using Zoom and that we attempt to schedule training for Instructors. Our first foray into online instruction should be gratis and open to all Senior College members in the state with a limited number of class registrations. However, it was recommended that future classes should have a fee attached to be determined by the Finance Committee. It was also a recommendation that courses offered during the summer be abbreviated ones not lasting more than an hour or two at the most.

Following the approval of the Board of Directors that we move forward with this initiative, a Zoom training session was scheduled with Staff of the Hutchinson Center. Twenty-five potential Instructors registered for the course. Short training films were emailed to participants and these can be found on our website. I highly recommend you take a look at them before joining a Zoom class. They are short, to the point, extremely helpful, and demonstrate how easily one can learn to use Zoom.

In addition, look for several online classes on the website in the near future so we can all start “Zooming.” But remember you will have to bring your own cookie and drink!

Nancy Perkins, Chair

April 2020 Board Meeting via Zoom

The Senior College Board is meeting, and social distancing, using “Zoom,” a videoconferencing app. This was taken at the April, 2020 board meeting.

Corona Chronicles: May 30, 2020

Until life returns to some semblance of normal, from time to time we will send out the Corona Chronicles. This publication will provide commentary, brief stories, poetry, book and movie suggestions, and ways to make our time at home meaningful and fulfilling. If you have ideas to submit, please contact Nancy Perkins at

There is a part of me that has found the past few months to be a period of reflection and a time to organize not only closets, photographs, and books but my thoughts and perceptions about the life I have led. I have spent many hours remembering childhood playmates, high school and college friends, the great group of neighbors we had with growing children, and now the new friends I have made since relocating to Belfast. I am so very gratified that Senior College has provided me with a feeling of fellowship and community and nowhere is this more evident than in the articles, essays, poems, reviews, and ideas generated in this newsletter. Please keep sharing for we are all finding pleasure in one another’s thoughts and writings. We will send issues as we gather content. In the meantime, I hope in the words of the Canadian Prime Minister sent to me by member Tyrone Townsend, “Be Calm. Be Kind. Be Safe!”

Nancy Perkins

Painting by Kristen Frangoulis

Penobscot Shores COVID-19 Response

There are 72 residents living at Penobscot Shores, all of whom fall into the age group considered most vulnerable. As the state toll of victims grew, the management, as early as March 16th, imposed several restrictions. Our main building, the Ocean House, with 28 apartments, was declared “off limits” and the outside doors kept locked at all times with admission of staff and any emergency workers only after screening. Residents who were away were required to quarantine for 14 days upon their return and everyone was required to wear a mask while outside their dwellings and to observe social distancing rules. All group activities were cancelled and any visitors, including family members were prohibited from visiting. Within a few weeks, our beautiful dining room was closed and all meals ordered after that date have been delivered to apartments and cottages by the wait staff.

Those forbidden entrance to the Ocean House included those of us who live in cottages as well as the mailman, who was required to leave his mail bag in the foyer to be picked up and distributed to individual mailboxes by the management. All in-house mail for cottages, then off limits, was delivered by a resident volunteer. Since our well-stocked library was then off-limits to cottage dwellers, we were required to make appointments to enter by the outside door after inside doors from the hall were locked. In addition, a person was hired to shop for groceries for those without a community member who could do it for them. Our shopper spends an 8-hour day two days a week providing that service.

As statewide numbers of victims has receded, some restrictions have been modified. The Ocean House is now open to all residents admitted by using a key and with strict requirements to wear masks, observe social distancing with no more than 10 residents allowed to congregate in one area. We recently had our first resident meetings face-to-face in masks in six separate meetings limited to 10 residents spaced 6-feet apart. We are still advised against being in the community to shop. Careful adherence to these rules has kept us safe so far. Rules are reviewed on a regular basis to reflect state guidelines and adjust our own community and age-specific guidelines.

What do we do for fun? Some of us do get out to purchase a take-out lunch and drive to one of the many scenic areas of mid-coast Maine to enjoy an in-car picnic. Walking the grounds and conversing with other walkers while masked and respecting the 6-foot rule allows us to get some exercise and keep in touch with our neighbors.

Other activities aided by warming weather include taking advantage of our raised-bed garden area to plant flowers or vegetables, masked even if no one else is in the area. Another on-campus activity is enjoyed by a small group of beekeepers who will serve our four hives from now until fall at which time we will all benefit from the honey they produce. As members of our larger community, about a dozen residents participated in the Belfast clean up campaign picking up trash along our frontage with Route 1.

Like everyone else, we look forward to being able to get back to life as it was before this devastating pandemic. However, we are all committed to taking the needed precautions to keep our community safe.

Ron Jarvella

Painting by Kristen Frangoulis

Monkey Brain
2:37 am. March 2020

The virus has come to Maine,
who is infected, contagious,
but not sick?
Am I infected, but not sick?
Tests are in short supply…
Will my wife get sick?
Will my family and friends get sick?
No way to know.

I wash my hands religiously
Is it enough?
The main point of masks,
also in short supply,
for folks not treating people…
don’t touch your face,
don’t spread the disease,

They say
I am in a high risk group,
73 years old.
I practice PT and yoga,
I ride a bike,
I walk outside,
six feet apart,
with old friends,
will exercise save us?

How long will we need
to “shelter in place?”
Is food shopping safe?
How long can local stores,
businesses and schools stay closed?
What about people laid off?
What about people who lack health insurance?
Paid sick leave?
If parents get sick,
who takes care of the children?

How can doctors, nurses and EMTs cope,
missing the tools they need?
How many in town will need hospital care?
Will there be enough beds?
Will there be a bed if I need one?
Should I update my “In the Event of Death” binder?

In the morning,
I will take a deep breath,
I will connect with family and friends,
I will look for opportunities to laugh,
I will listen to music,
I will persist.

Jim Owen
Belfast, Maine

From the kitchen of Lila Nation

Pommes es dauphinoise: pour six personnes. Voici ma recette pour les pommes dauphinoise, très simple, mais délicieuse. (C’est une combinaison de recettes de Julia Child, de Patrice Dord, et de moi.)

Recette française: Pour ceux qui aiment cuire et lire en français: Choisessez des pommes de terre de variété Belle de Fontenay (Yukon Gold marcheraient très bien aussi)

Préchauffer le four à 210 C.

Faites fondre le beurre dans une petite casserole

Pelez les pommes et émincez-les très finement en rondelles tranchées

Cuissez-les 15 mn à l’eau bouillante salée et puis sechez-les

Graissez le plat de cuisson avec une gousse d’ail et une cuillère à soupe de beurre

(un poêle de neuf pouces de longeur et de deux pouces de profondement)

Faites soigeusement se chevaucher la moitié de tranches pour qu’il n’y a pas d’espace entre elles

Couvrez les pommes avec la moitié de fromage

Ajoutez la deuzième moitié de pommes et puis courvez-les avec un quart de fromage

Mélangez la crème, le reste d’ail et de beurre, le sel le poivre, et le noix de muscade et verser tout ça sur les pommes et le fromage

Couvrez cette mélange avec le reste de fromage et mettez au four pour une heure jusqu’elle est pétillante et dorée.

Attendez cinq minutes avant de les servir.

Les ingredients

  • 1kg de pommes
  • 1 pince de noix de muscade
  • 25 g de fromage gruyère
  • 300 ml de crème légère
  • 3 gousses d’ail
  • 1 cuillère à café de sel
  • 1 pince de poivre

Corona Chronicles: May 22, 2020

Until life returns to some semblance of normal, from time to time we will send out the Corona Chronicles. This publication will provide commentary, brief stories, poetry, book and movie suggestions, and ways to make our time at home meaningful and fulfilling. If you have ideas to submit, please contact Nancy Perkins at

Finally, Spring has arrived and the long days of sheltering in place are brightened by the return of the green world.

When we sent out the first Corona Chronicles we were pleased with the feedback from many of you saying that you enjoyed receiving it, and hoped we would continue compiling pieces from Senior College members. We are happy to forward the second edition with poems and articles about your life in this strange and unique period. We welcome your observations, suggestions and reviews of books, movies, special online sites, interesting recipes, and ways you have kept busy.

Now sit back and enjoy the contributions of fellow members!

Nancy Perkins

Book Review

For those of us who find a good novel the best antidote to news about a lethal virus and the incompetent efforts of politicians, what better than a 20st century version of a fairy tale to keep us company as we socially distance?

Ann Patchett’s “The Dutch House,” published in late 2019, certainly has most of the elements—the children, Maeve and Danny, essentially being brought up by kindly servants; an indifferent, taciturn father whose sudden post-war wealth spurred him to buy an unusual, beautiful house (The Dutch House) in a wealthy suburb of Philadelphia; a mother for whom the house purchase was representative of a lifestyle she found increasingly antithetical, who abandoned the family as a result; and a cruel stepmother who comes replete with the requisite stepsisters for Danny and Maeve.

Danny narrates this multi-generational tale of family love and anguish; the effects of parental neglect, indifference and abandonment, not to mention greed and cruelty, played out on many levels. But compassion and empathy can be nurtured by most unlikely sources, and love is generative, as Maeve and Danny demonstrate as the tale proceeds through years of their careers, his marriage and a new generation, often comparing notes while sharing a cigarette parked in front of the magnificent house that has not been their home since they were teenagers.

In the end “The Dutch House” is not a fairy tale; the stepsisters are victims, too; everyone does not live happily ever after. But Ann Patchett gives us a beautifully written, intricately constructed novel, and an unforgettable portrait of children as silent, seemingly resilient observers of an unfathomable adult world, and how love, dependable and hands-on, experienced from an early age, makes all the difference.

Mary Rackmale

Book Recommendation

For an outstanding and timely read, try Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks, 2002. It is an historical fiction about the real-life events of the village of Eyam, England, that sacrificed itself to save the nation during the plague of 1666. Available on Kindle.

Lila nation

In appreciation of Frank Bruni

As a fan of Frank Bruni’s articles in the New York Times I recently enjoyed his column in which he stated that boredom is the least of peoples’ worries now – that it is a privilege. Since I rarely suffer from boredom, but live with others who do, I conclude that “being bored” is a privilege with the added behavioral symptoms of frustration, whining, and the occasional outburst due to that frustration.

How not to be bored? Well, if you were a kid, and I know you were, and you grew up in the country or a small village, you learned how to handle those times when others would say “there is nothing to do.” You can work outside in your garden or sit and watch what goes on in your bit of the world. If you live in town, the front porch used to be part of community life, where you called out to passers-by and chatted. The front porch is a nice place to people watch and also to view yards and gardens of neighbors or your own, and you can social distance quite easily from there.

You can take walks and not meet another person but if you do, keep your mask handy. Look at the clouds and see those amazing animals and creations that you did as a kid. Feel the breeze on your skin and smell the freshness of the air around you. Note the grasses growing and the wild flowers blooming. Are trees beginning to leaf out? Observe the small lives around you that are unencumbered by boredom and busy with their daily routines. Recently, I’ve seen turtles crossing the road, turkeys in the fields, or even flying across the road like ancient winged dinosaurs. Frogs abound in the bog on Waning Road and muskrats ply their way through those waters as well. Ducks are spending time on the bog, and even on our pond. None of your activity has to have any profound reasoning behind it, just exist in that moment as other animals do.

Now that it is spring there are bumble bees, butterflies, and insects of various sorts, happily buzzing and flying about their business, lighting here and there. The water bugs make small waves as they skitter on the water of our pond. We think excitedly that they may be pollywogs. But no, they are still just water bugs. In the evening we listen to the tree and wood frogs singing in the trees. The night sky has had some beautiful clouds against a lovely deep, dark blue background with their hazy veils drifting over the moon.

When you want to be inside, you can read the books you’ve always planned to read; sketch; paint; sew; scrapbook; knit; bake; watch interesting television; play cards, board games, Scrabble or Boggle; do jigsaw puzzles; talk to friends and family on the phone, zoom or skype; write notes to friends; organize and scan your photos and albums; take free college courses online; play pool; go out in the yard and throw a ball around with your partner or shoot hoops by yourself; put up the badminton net or set out the croquet wickets; enjoy the life you have now.

It is actually a relief to not feel compelled to go places and do things via automobile. As a creature of the natural world, it is a pleasure to be quiet within it. Bored? Not at all in my world.

Sydney Taber

Here’s a Hug

Sue Shaw

We’re all staying in our homes…
We use computers and our phones,
To ‘Face-time’, email, send a text,
As we wonder what is coming next!

We care for plants and clean the house,
Take long walks with pets or spouse,
Wash the cars and rake the yard…
Staying busy isn’t hard!

But it’s not the list of things to do
That makes us discontent or blue…
It’s just that when the job list ends
We need connection with our friends!

‘Social distance’ tops the rules
Of our behavior! All the schools,
The restaurants, stores and every gym…
Are closed—it’s NOT on just a whim—

There’s no art class or pickleball
No birding field trips…none at all!
No movies, lectures, eating out…
No card games, nothing…there’s no doubt

That we must distance to survive…
To keep our loved ones safe, alive!
So hunker down for a longer while…
But here’s a hug to make you smile!

Corona Chronicles: May 4, 2020

Until life returns to some semblance of normal, from time to time we will send out the Corona Chronicles. This publication will provide commentary, brief stories, poetry, book and movie suggestions, and ways to make our time at home meaningful and fulfilling. If you have ideas to submit, please contact Nancy Perkins at

Waiting, Waiting, Waiting for . . . ?

Arlin Larson
Waiting, waiting, waiting – but for what? That is how I have been feeling recently. Senior College starting up was one of the things I was ready for. For the past year I had been re-educating myself about the Mayflower, Pilgrims, and English settlement of North America. It was going to be really fun to teach a class marking the 400th anniversary this year. Then came the pandemic. Maybe we could have a spring session anyway. No. It will have to wait – but until when?

Another expectation was getting back out on the golf course. OK for that to be delayed – the weather isn’t even all that good. Then there was a trip to see our son and family. Same for a trip overseas. When will it be safe? Life is in suspended animation. We might not mind waiting a while for any one thing, but it feels different now that it is everything.

Then beyond waiting, there is worrying. Waiting AND worrying, waiting AND worrying, waiting AND worrying . . . but worrying about what? That feels pretty global too. Getting sick – how sick? Vulnerable friends and family (one member living in a nursing home and another working in one). Where is it safe to go? What precautions? What chances to take? Are family visits OK? People you know well? Businesses and jobs? Financial security? Worries that the waiting only makes worse.

I’m not sure it is a good idea, but I am keeping a mental list of the strikes that are called against me – old, male, conditions similar enough to the ones they call “underlying.” That makes three, and I’m not yet out, but have just learned of a fourth – growing up in a highly polluted city – Los Angeles!

They say this pandemic is not so bad as many in the past – e.g., smallpox, bubonic plague, measles, yellow fever – because it is “mostly taking older people.” Do you find that thought comforting? Society will slowly revive just because a large portion get mildly ill and are done with it. But what about us seniors for whom infection may be much more dangerous? Is society going to move on with our demographic on indefinite lockdown?

Just when the corona virus hit, I happened to be reading William McNeil’s Plagues and Peoples as background for the Mayflower class. The Pilgrims arrived on the heals of several pandemics that had devastated both North and South America. The Wampanoags of Cape Cod had lost 80% or 90%. It wasn’t much better for the Pilgrims. Half died the first winter, and bubonic plague had recently taken 25% of London and would again in a few years. Those people truly “walked through the valley of the shadow of death.” Natives and English alike took the horror as punishment from the gods.

At that time, they found their hope in the possibility of mending their ways and restoring harmony with the gods. Knowing now about virus, bacteria, and vectors of transmission, we don’t expect that any amount of moral uplift would stem the tide. However, I suspect that some of that old dread is still with us, especially among us vulnerable seniors, that the gods, or God, or the universe might really not be on our side.

The founder of Maine senior colleges, Rabbi Harry Sky, believed that senior colleges would meet a spiritual as well as intellectual and social need for Maine seniors. What he saw is that seniors just as much as anyone else are looking for meaning and significance in their lives. Senior colleges would encourage that by being senior led, taught, and run and by providing classroom opportunities for seniors to reflect on their lives while exploring new topics.

Teaching at Senior College has been especially gratifying for exactly those reasons. Students and fellow faculty mature and experienced with life create a rich environment for gaining perspective as well as for learning. Perhaps this time of uncertainty and enforced isolation can prompt us to deeper reflection on who we are, where we have been, and where we are headed. Then being back together will be even richer. . . endowed with patience gained from the waiting and newly discovered insights from the worrying.

The Rev. Dr. Arlin T. Larson has taught courses at Senior College at Belfast since 2006. He has served on the Board of Trustees for eight years, three of them as president. He retired to Belfast in 2011 after serving as minister of First Congregational Church of Searsport.

Nancy Perkins
I was recently asked by a friend how I had spent the past few months since my sequestering began after my back surgery in mid-January. Needless to say it has seemed like a very long time since I was out and about but I have found some activities I enjoy during this stay home period.

I have been engaged in a host of activities. Books, books, and more books have been read, the best of which was Ann Patchett’s lovely The Dutch House. I rediscovered the joy of baking bread only to find that it was just too good not to eat! I have enjoyed some excellent movies and a number of great European series on both Netflix and Amazon Prime. (If you have Netflix do not miss Herrens Veje, an exquisitely acted and produced Danish series about a present day family of ministers).

Zoom has become a very useful application in our household for church services, family chats, friendly gatherings, and Senior College. I particularly enjoyed a Zoom Class with the Lewiston Auburn Senior College on “Israel Today.” Thanks to modern day technology I have enjoyed delightful visits to a number of museums, gardens, and historic sites around the world which were not crowded at all. Plus no foot or back pain after an online tour. One outstanding tour site is the National Park Service which offers excellent online tours of five National Parks, only one of which I have ever visited. They include Kenai Fjords in Alaska; Hawaii Volcanoes; Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico; Bryce Canyon, Utah; and Dry Tortugas, Florida. I chose the Dry Tortugas because warmth and sunshine beckoned. I was not disappointed and lost track of time in the warm waters of this fascinating site.

I also enjoyed a virtual tour offered by the National Park Service which many of you would find interesting, a visit to Alexander Hamilton’s Grange Mansion in upper Manhattan. This tour is with a Park Service Ranger and Jordan Fisher a member of the original Broadway cast of Hamilton. I highly recommend this excellent look into the final home of Mr. Hamilton. To visit either of the above sites, click on the link or copy it into your browser:

How have you been spending time while staying at home? Have you read a book you would recommend, seen a movie you particularly enjoyed, or visited an online site offering a unique experience? Share your experiences with us by emailing me at

Nancy Perkins

Book Review

Erik Larson’s recently published book The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family and Defiance During the Blitz presents a very intimate account of Winston Churchill’s first year as Prime Minister starting in May 1940, just as Dunkirk was being evacuated, through the blitz bombing of London and many other British cities. Using many different diary entries from those who were closest to Churchill…..government ministers, staff people, family members and also the general public living through this perilous time before the United States finally entered the war to fight with the British to prevent a Nazi takeover of Europe, Larson presents a fascinating picture of Churchill’s inspiring leadership during that first year.

I found this to be a very engaging story of the crucial year when Britain stood alone in the fight against Hitler’s Nazi war machine, fortunately led by a man with a fascinating personality who led his country with tremendous energy and conviction and instilled in the British People the courage needed to prevail through such a dangerous, frightening time.

Reading this book of what the British people endured so stoically as we now face a world-wide pandemic reminded me of other equally perilous times in history and the crucial importance of honest, courageous and compassionate leadership.

Reviewed by Robin Kruger

Spring Semester Cancelled

March 12, 2020

Dear Belfast Senior College Member,

It is with great disappointment that we must write to inform you of the cancellation of our Spring Semester. The Covid-19 virus is an extremely serious situation and our membership and faculty consist of an at-risk population. Consequently, we are taking this preemptive step to minimize the potential impact of this virus.

The college will be issuing refunds to everyone who has signed up for a course this Spring. You will soon receive an email or letter explaining how the refunds are to be processed. We ask for your patience and understanding as it is our first time (and hopefully last time!!) issuing refunds on this scale.

This Spring Cancellation is a solution for a very unusual situation. Meanwhile we are in the planning stages of a very active series of summer programs and are already accepting course proposals for the fall. The Board of Directors will be monitoring the situation to find the earliest possible time to reopen classes. As students we are all disappointed, but a special recognition must go to all our instructors. Our instructors put in much time and effort in preparing their courses, and we are working on ways that will allow them to proceed in the near future.

On a related note, we will also have to postpone our UMO Planetarium trip. Stay tuned for when the trip is rescheduled.

We will be keeping you informed as the situation develops. Rest assured your Senior College is still here and will continue to present courses and programs.

Thank you and stay healthy,
Belfast Senior College Board of Directors

Covid-19 Update

Senior College has cancelled its spring and summer terms over Covid-19 concerns. We will keep you informed as the situation develops. Rest assured your Senior College is still here, working behind the scenes, and will present courses and programs as soon as safely possible.

18th Annual Festival Of Art Call For Artists

Glen Cove Tide by Featured Artist Anne Spencer

CALL TO ARTISTS for the annual Senior College Festival of Art (June 4 – 7). Open to Maine artists 50 years of age and up. Registration period is March 1 – 31.

For information sheet for artists (IMPORTANT!): Click here

For registration form (rich text or pdf): Download rich text or Download pdf

This is a non-juried multi-media exhibit for amateurs and professionals, and shows the work of 140-50 artists each year.

Planetarium Trip 2020 is Cancelled

The trip has been cancelled to to COVID-19, and all checks will be returned on Friday.

Bus trip to the Planetarium on the University of Maine campus in Orono Tuesday, April 28, including a show at the Planetarium entitled, “Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe”. The presentation is a visual tour, seemingly flying into space and seeing planets; other events are planned as well.

The bus leaves the Hutchinson Center at 8:30 am and returns about 2:30 pm. Bring a brown bag lunch. Cost: $20 per person, plus an optional $3 per person to tour a lunar habitat module. Registration deadline is April 6. If we do not have enough participants by that date, the trip will be cancelled. If you would like to attend, but can’t afford it, contact Martha Laitin, Special Events Chairperson, 323-2368  

For printable registration forms: click here

For further information: click here

Paper registration forms are available in the Senior College office.

Snow Cancellation Thursday, January 16

Senior College classes were cancelled January 16 on account of weather. The new schedule is as follows:

  • January 23 – Thursday
  • January 30 – Thursday
  • February 4 – Tuesday
  • February 6 – Thursday

Winterim 2020 Dates

Winterim 2020
Four Thursdays: Jan 16 – Feb 6, 2020
Watch for new course listings here, on this website, on or about December 1, 2019, and in the December E-news!

Behind the scenes in Belfast

Senior College Special Event Committee is presenting a new series of tours dubbed “Behind the Scenes in Belfast” designed to explore the unique institutions and interesting sites that make our town of Belfast a star!

The Series kicks off on October 22​ ​at 10 a.m. with Law and Order: Belfast a tour of both the new Courthouse and Belfast Town Hall. The morning begins at the Waldo County Courthouse, located at Church, Market, and Anderson Streets, which opened in March of this year. Following a tour of this impressive building the tour will continue across the street at Belfast Town Hall where participants will see beyond the front desk of the town offices into the workings of local government. Following the tour there will be a discussion with a representative of Restorative Justice on the topic of their Court Diversion Program.

Additional tours throughout the year may include An Inside Look at Historic Houses of Worship, Upstairs/Downtown featuring unique second story businesses in downtown Belfast, and other topics dealing with Belfast institutions, history, and activities.

For more information on the upcoming tour contact: Karen Gleeson Sign up sheets will be available in the Senior College Office at Hutchinson Center beginning September 5th. Completed forms should be left in the specially marked file on the door to the Office. This tour is limited to 20 individuals.

Download registration form

Spring Classes 2019

The Spring Course Catalog is published and registration will officially open on February 28. We have courses on politics, gardening, Internet technology, music, French, drawing, religion, meditation, literature, and more. Please join us for another challenging and rewarding semester.

Check out the spring class offerings.

17th Annual Festival Of Art Call For Artists

Greetings Maine Artists!

Attached to this post you will find registration materials for the 17th Annual Festival of Art, a special event of Senior College at Belfast. The 2019 Festival of Art Exhibit will be on display for public viewing at the Hutchinson Center in Belfast from May 30 – June 2, 2019.

The attached Information Sheet for Artists provides a detailed overview of Festival requirements, logistics, and events. Please note that the maximum dimensions for hanging work are 40” h x 50” w; maximum weight, 40 pounds. Hanging artwork must have a wire on the back that does not extend above the frame. No saw-tooth hangers!

The Festival is organized and produced by volunteers. All labor is donated. Senior College at Belfast generously covers all outreach and publicity costs. To cover the rental cost of the festival venue, participating artists pay a $15 registration fee.

You may download the attached Registration Form in rich text or PDF format, type or hand write your info in one of those documents, and send your completed form to us by return email or USPS letter mail. If mailing your registration, please enclose a $15 check payable to Senior College Festival of Art for the registration fee. The mailing address appears at the bottom of the Registration Form.

Application deadline: MARCH 31, 2019

Submit by email to:

Or by USPS mail to: Senior College at Belfast Festival of Art
UMaine Hutchinson Center 80 Belmont Ave., Belfast, ME 04915

If you are registering for the Festival electronically you may pay your $15 entry fee when you deliver your artwork to the Hutchinson Center on May 29th.

If you have questions after reading the attached Information Sheet for Artists, please email or call the Senior College at Belfast office and leave a message for the Festival organizers.

We look forward to your participation in the 2019 Festival!

Med or Meds? Mediterranean Cooking For Your Health

Special Events Committee presents:
Med or Meds? Mediterranean Cooking For Your Health

Please register and join us on Friday, April 5 at The Good Table, 68 Main Street, Belfast, for a cooking demonstration of the Mediterranean style of cooking, which features foods like olive oil, vegetables, whole grains, fish and beans.

Husband/wife team of retired chefs Sally Lewis-Lamonica and Charlie Lamonica will demonstrate and students will share the foods prepared. Recipes will be provided.

Enrollment is limited to 20. Sign up in Senior College office, download registration form on website & return to SC office, or email

The event is free.

Download registration form

Special Event Committee Presents The Lady in the Van

Special Event Committee
The Lady in the Van
Starring Dame Maggie Smith
With Jim Broadbent and Alex Jennings

Thursday, March 7th at 2:00 p.m.
Abbott Room, Belfast Free Library

Join us for a special viewing of Alan Bennett’s true story of Miss Shepherd, an eccentric, homeless woman of uncertain origins, who “temporarily” parked her van in Bennett’s London driveway and proceeded to live there for 15 years.
104 minutes. Rated PG-13. In English, with subtitles.
This free event is open to the public as well.

Bites and Beverages

Senior College Students, Faculty, and Staff are invited to enjoy “Bites and Beverages”

Tuesday, October 9th 2018
133 Miller Street
4:30 to 6:30 pm

Bring your favorite finger food and/or a bottle of your favorite beverage!
Please let us know if you plan on coming and what you will be bringing!
Email: or call Nancy Perkins at 207-1369

E-News June 2019

Click here to register for summer classes or to get more information

Curriculum Committee

It was with a great deal of trepidation that I agreed to serve as Chair of the Curriculum Committee, but with the concerted help of a number of current members I am beginning to feel comfortable in my new role. Year in and year out this Committee offers a variety of courses with excellent instructors, which assures the success of our senior college and helps make it one of the most vital and successful in the state.

Nancy Perkins, Chair

E-News February 2020


Spring semester, March 26 – April 30.
Watch for course listings in the E-news and on the website.

Hi Everyone –

Well we got through our first snow day and let’s hope that’s it – BUT!… We do live in Maine! Our procedure on snow days is to post the closing on our website (usually by 6:30 a.m. the day of closing) and then to send an email to all members. If you did not get an email this time, first check your spam or promotions folders to be sure it’s not going there. Then be sure we have your correct email address. Our Winterim semester has been one of our best attended ever and we still have our one day courses coming up. They are as follows:

February 12th, Wednesday The Sequoia – a Guest Celebrity – Learn about this historic Presidential yacht that has come to Belfast for a refit. Its past, present and future – Peter Reilly and Todd French, Sequoia Project Manager and owner of French and Webb.

February 14th, Friday, Be Your Own Personal Knitting Designer – Learn to make your own knitting pattern and to use the pattern for your own design. Class limit 18 – Jane Liebler.

February 20th, Thursday, The Fundamentals of Civic Discourse – A class for those who want to contribute to restoring civility in our public and private discourse – Rev. John Nieman.

Our one day courses run from 9:30am to 3pm, coffee and cookies are supplied and the fee is $20. These all look like fun and informative days, so treat yourself and sign up.

We are again looking for instructors. This spring we could still use a few more classes, so if you have something in mind and can get it together by this spring, let us know. Also, if you have taught before and would like to repeat a past course – let’s do it! Our website has a Tab where you can find a Course Proposal form, which can easily be submitted online.

Thank you for completing our survey this semester. The results, which we will share with you, will help your Board of Directors focus on what you feel is important whether it’s the courses, the activities, the social, or whatever. If you missed the survey, you may stop into the office and pick up one if you like.

Again, thanks for coming this semester. Your Curriculum Committee is busy putting together our spring schedule and will be announcing the courses sometime in the next few weeks. The Semester starts March 26th.


Peter F. Reilly

Winterim is well underway and if the number of enrollees is any indication it has been a most successful session with enthusiastic and talented instructors offering a variety of educational and fun courses.

The Curriculum Committee is nearing completion of the course selection for the Spring Session and once again it appears we will have an exciting schedule of classes with something for everyone. The biggest problem I foresee is selecting which courses in which to enroll. Courses on art, literature, history, science, government, as well as offerings on practical knowledge, are all part of the curriculum for Spring. Check the website in a few weeks to review the list. Sign-up information also will be posted.

While it is early to be thinking “summer” we are fortunate to have a wonderful Summer Session in the works. You won’t want to miss summer courses at Senior College in 2020!

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that we are fortunate to have so many talented and generous individuals so willing to share their knowledge teaching at Senior College! Thank you all for what you do.

Nancy Perkins, Chair

E-News April 2020

Dear Member:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”

Anyone want to go back and read Dickens?

I thought I’d start out with that famous quote from A Tale of Two Cities, which might be the most read novel of all time, because it might just remind us that we’ve seen a lot in our life time and remind us that life’s trials do pass. This might be a challenge like we haven’t seen, but things will change for the better and life will go on. Younger generations may not know that – we have to pass on our strength, our message and our hope.

We were all extremely saddened and disappointed that we had to cancel our Spring Semester. Going forward, while the timing may be a little uncertain, the ending is absolutely certain. The college will be reopening and it will open stronger than ever, because now we know what it’s like not to have it. The learning, the community and the socializing will be more appreciated than ever.

In the meantime, your Board of Directors continues to meet (online of course), committees plan and ideas for the future are being born. So at the present, we’re mostly in a holding pattern – working with budgets, notifying suppliers and a lot of behind the scenes “stuff” that must go on. We will of course keep you posted as our situation develops.

Thank you for being a member.

“This too shall pass” is a Persian adage translated and used in multiple languages. It reflects on the temporary nature, or ephemerality, of the human condition. The general sentiment is often expressed in wisdom literature throughout history and across cultures, although the specific phrase seems to have originated in the writings of the medieval Persian Sufi poets such as Rumi.

Peter Reilly

Senior College Festival of Art cancelled

After consideration of all that is happening with the coronavirus threat, and the many attempts that are being made to protect people from contamination, we have decided that this is not the time to consider bringing a large number of people together. The many uncertainties make it impossible to plan the event and our priority is the same as the Hutchinson Center; the safety of our neighbors and friends. We will look forward to next year’s Festival and hope you will continue to participate, attend, and support our event. Thank you all.

Cathy Bradbury, Chair
Festival of Art Committee

Call for nominations to your Senior College Board of Trustees

Senior College needs to elect two (2) new trustees to serve a three-year term. Please consider nominating a fellow member of Senior College (or yourself!) using the nominating form on the website under “Trustees”:

This brief form lists the duties expected of a trustee and asks for evidence of commitment to Senior College by the nominee as well as some information on the person’s background. (Board meetings are once a month, meeting usually 10 times per year.)

Current board members are: officers Peter Reilly, Martha Laitin, Brenda Smith, and David Boyer, along with Rebecca Jessup, Elisabeth Pollock, Nancy Perkins, Sydney Taber, Arlin Larson, David Greeley, John Economy, Jim Owen, Dick Topping, Jim Taber, Ron Jarvella. Members of the Nominating Committee are composed of the four officers of the board and: Cathy Bradbury, Maggie Reilly, and Fran Torreson.

Each year at our annual meeting we elect five (5) members of Senior College to the Board of Trustees. At this coming annual meeting, our 20th!, three board members eligible for election have volunteered to continue, so we need to elect two (2) new trustees to serve a three-year term.

20-20 Vision for Maine Senior Colleges

The statewide senior college conference at Hutchinson Center has been rescheduled for Saturday October 31. Details will follow as they become available.

E-News March 2020

Click here to register for spring classes beginning Thursday, February 27th.

To get registration forms and info:

U. Maine Planetarium
Tuesday, April 28
8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Bus trip to the Planetarium on the University of Maine campus in Orono Tuesday, April 28, including a show at the Planetarium entitled, Hitchhikers Guide to the Universe. The presentation is a visual tour, seemingly flying into space and seeing planets; other events are planned as well.

The bus leaves the Hutchinson Center at 8:30 am and returns about 2:30 pm. Bring a brown bag lunch. Cost: $20 per person, plus an optional $3 per person to tour a lunar habitat module. Register early! Registration deadline is April 6. If we do not have enough participants by that date, the trip will be cancelled. If you would like to attend, but can’t afford it, contact Martha Laitin, Special Events Chairperson, 323-2368.

Registration forms are available to be downloaded and printed from the Senior College website. Paper registration forms are available in the Senior College office.

20-20 Vision for Maine Senior Colleges

Saturday, May 2, 2020
Hutchinson Center, Belfast

Sponsored by Senior College at Belfast, the University of Maine, and the Maine Senior College Network
Cost: $25 includes lunch
For further information and to register online click here.

Do you have digital or printed photos from the early days of Senior College? If so, the Archives Committee would like to have them, or copy them. Please bring your photos to the office or contact Arlin Larson at

Thank you!
Arlin Larson, Chair

E-News January 2020

Please note that Karen Gleeson will be teaching The Six Wives of Henry VIII. Nancy Perkins is unable to teach this Winterim.

Register for classes on the Senior College website.

Winterim classes will soon be underway and if you haven’t registered do so today! There are some great choices as well as three outstanding 1-day courses available this session. We hope to see many familiar as well as new faces on January 16. Remember, it is both fun and exciting meeting new people, learning new topics, and gathering weekly at the Hutchinson Center. In addition, coffee, tea, and yummy cookies are served!

The Committee will focus on Spring proposals beginning this month and if you have a course you would like to offer please submit your proposal as soon as possible. If you have questions regarding a potential proposal please give one of the Curriculum Committee members a call or send an email. We would love to discuss your ideas and offer assistance in any way possible. Good, interesting courses assure that Senior College remains vital and viable.

Nancy Perkins, Chair

Dear Members:

As I am writing to you, plans are being made to convene a meeting of all the Senior Colleges in Maine at the Hutchinson Center in May of 2020. There has always been a formal network of the colleges, but it has not been effectively active in recent years. For too long the various colleges have not met to exchange ideas, thoughts and problems. Just as life is sometimes too complicated for one person to think of everything, the same holds true for an organization. We look forward to sharing our successes and challenges with other colleges while at the same time learning new ways of doing things. The effort to get this convention together has been initiated and guided by members of our college and the staff of the Hutchinson Center. The meeting will be held in the Hutchinson Center and that is a good thing. Most of the seventeen other Senior Colleges in the state do not have a facility that matches the Hutchinson Center. Imagine, as at many senior colleges in the state, if we had to hold classes in different facilities and at different times throughout the community. There would be no social breaks where the morning and afternoon students meet to discuss classes, catch up with each other or to make new friends. The advanced technology in our classrooms, which is used by so many members of our faculty, might not be available to us. As the year progresses we will keep you posted on the latest news from gathering the Senior Colleges throughout the state for a meeting.

By now I hope you have registered for a course this Winterim Semester. Registrations are coming in quite strongly, but we still have a challenge for you. We’ve known for quite a while that our best advertising is by “word of mouth” – friends telling friends. Could you please talk up the college and let’s see if we each can bring in one new member in 2020. On a regular basis we are constantly bringing new members in, but we can always have more. It feeds on itself. The more members we have, the more potential instructors and the more stable our finances – the Hutchinson Center is not cheap to rent! So let’s all try to bring in a new member this year.

I look forward to seeing everyone during classes this Winterim. In the mean time, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, I’d like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year!


Peter F. Reilly

Special Events Committee

Special Events Committee presents a warm British comedy for a cold winter day. Sunday, January 19, 2:00 to 4:00 pm a free film, Dad’s Army (2016) will be shown in the Abbott Room of the Belfast Free Library. Introduced by Paul Sheridan, Senior College film instructor, the film is set at the end of World War II involving a Home Guard platoon, a female journalist, and a German spy.

January 30, 11:45-12:45
Meg Reilly
Decorative Ropework

For centuries, sailing ships were the primary means of transport of goods and people. Sailors often had considerable spare time on long passages. To alleviate boredom, sailors developed the intricate art of decorative ropework. Traditional maritime ropework has a practical function such as serving as a mat, heaving line, or stopper knot. Meg Reilly will teach students about the rope work practiced by sailors, the tools used, and will tie simple decorative knots such as the monkey’s fist and turk’s head. Materials will be provided by Meg.

Since there is a class size limit, this one hour free class will be offered to the first ten students who sign up with Barbara Klie, either by calling 338-5316 (if leaving a message, be sure to leave a return phone number) or by emailing her at

Meg learned her first knots as a girl sailing with her parents and siblings on Frenchman’s Bay. She currently resides in Belfast where she ties full time.

Archives Committee

The Archives Committee needs two or three volunteers for the following activities:

Photos: Identify and catalogue digital photos.

Digital records: Consolidate and make hard copy of some.

Paper records: Make digital copies of critical documents.

Detective work: Search for missing records.

If you or anyone you know may be interested in helping out, please contact Arlin Larson, chair, at

E-News December 2019

Register for classes on the Senior College website.
Registration opens December 12.

The Committee is pleased with the offerings for the Winter session and believes that there are wonderful choices for all interests.

Once again, if there is anyone interested in teaching a course or has an idea for a course please do not hesitate to let us know. We are well underway soliciting courses for the Spring session and have several one-day courses already lined up for Summer 2020.

Best wishes to all for the holiday season and a most Happy Senior College New Year!

Nancy Perkins, Chair

Dear Members:

We’re probably all sounding like broken records, but I might as well say it for all of us – It’s hard to believe that 2019 is coming to an end. There it’s done! I’m reminded of Walter Cronkite when he hosted the TV show “You Are There.” He ended by asking what kind of day was it – “ A day like all days, filled with those events that alter and illuminate our times. And you were there.” That might be a little dramatic to describe a day at Senior College, but we were there … and that’s very, very good!

As you can see we have an extremely good selection of courses to be offered this Winterim Semester. Again, I am in absolute awe at the work of our volunteers. Our Curriculum Committee puts in so many, many hours and the results show it. Sometimes we do get lucky and instructors and courses come to us, but that is not always the case. The committee members are always soliciting college members, community members, friends and acquaintances and anyone else who crosses their path who might teach. Think of it. Three times a year, each semester we usually offer 16 new courses plus a few one day courses. For almost 20 years this has been happening! Fortunately, we live in a part of Maine rich in talented people and that helps tremendously. Now, having said all that, we continually need new instructors. If you have been sitting on the sidelines, or know of someone who could be teaching, please contact any member of the Curriculum Committee and talk it over. Two courses which for sure we should teach this year are: Maine’s Bicentennial (200yrs ), and Women’s Suffrage (100yrs). Any takers?

Sometime after the first of the year, we are going to ask all members to fill out a survey in order to learn what we as a college can do better and to assess our progress in delivering our mission – ”… to provide intellectual stimulation, practical knowledge, social interaction and fun for persons 50 years of age or older.” We need your feedback, so please help us with the survey when it comes.

I must mention that our Registrar, Sue Garrett, has left the Registrar position to work on our Festival of Arts event coming next year. Sue is a truly dedicated volunteer and provides insights that help us in so many ways. A warm Thank You to Sue.

Lastly, all of us on the Board of Senior College, wish all of you a very happy and joyous Holiday Season! Be safe and enjoy!

Peter F. Reilly