Maine Senior College Network news & updates

February 2024

Welcome to the February 2024 issue of the MSCN newsletter.

Welcome to the February issue of the Maine Senior College Network news. This month, we have some intriguing events for you, including "Food: The Secret Sauce of History" with Sandy Garson; this Zoom class is available through a collaboration between South Coast and York County Senior Colleges.

Acadia Senior College has two excellent talks: "Climate Change: Serious Progress or Apocalypse Soon?" with Johanna Blackman and Scott Miller. They also have an intriguing talk by David Gapp Titled "The Story of a Whiskey Bottle."

For those willing to travel, OLLI at USM invites you to its One Book, One Community event, where guest Maine author Gigi Georges will discuss her book Downeast: Five Maine Girls and the Unseen Story of Rural America.

Many senior colleges look forward to opening more in-person classes this spring. And they have not forgotten their online members! So for those of you looking for Zoom and hybrid courses, there are still plenty of great offerings. Read on to find news about more classes and talks available statewide through Maine's senior colleges.  

Anne Cardale

Program Director

Maine Senior College Network

Wikimedia Image:

'Man Reading' by John Singer Sargent

Newsletter Menu

Please scroll down the page to see each article!

South Coast SC & York County SC

Food: The Secret Sauce of History

with Sandy Garson

Acadia Senior College

Climate Change: Serious Progress or Apocalypse Soon?


The Story of a Whiskey Bottle


MSCN Spring Classes

(More to come!)


York County Senior College

Gary Sullivan Lecture Series for February & March


The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute

One Book, One Community

(In-Person Event)


Midcoast Senior College

SpringTerm 2024 Courses


Fraud Alert

AARP Information for MSCN Members


Book Review by Pat Davidson Reef: Murder at the Gardner by Jane Langton

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South Coast Senior College and York County Senior College


Food: The Secret Sauce of History

with Sandy Garson

Feb 28, 2024, at 10 am, runs for six weeks.

Zoom Class $27

Because human beings must eat to survive, securing food has been our major preoccupation and, thus, the root of all you read in history books. Britain sabotaged China with the Opium Wars to get tea; Maine was “discovered” because southern European Catholics needed to eat fish; Rome conquered Spain to get olive oil just as Hitler invaded Ukraine to get wheat, and Americans' obsession with that yellow fruit made troubled banana republics. We’ll look at the seemingly ordinary items in the pantry—salt, potatoes, black pepper, pasta—and discover how they actually changed the world. 

Instructor: Sandy Garson 

With her popular catering business, Sandy Garson helped start the local food movement in Maine. She wrote the first-ever book to support farmers’ markets, which had a second updated edition. She joined the initial exploratory course in Food History at Radcliffe College and went on to publish articles and a second cookbook. She taught food history for the USM OLLI Senior College and ran its food discussions and workshops. She also spoke on The Indian Kitchen for the 2024 Camden Conference.  

Registration $27 - Register for the same class at either college!

South Coast Senior College


York County Senior College

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The Chef

Acadia Senior College Present:

Two Hybrid Talks

Talk 1

Climate Change: Serious Progress or Apocalypse Soon?

February 9, 2024

8:30 - 10:00 am

This is a Hybrid Event

As the science deepens, humanity accepts the reality of climate change as a human-driven challenge. But there is debate about the pace of our progress to meet this challenge.

The “Apocalypse Soon!” Camp believes most governments and major actors have failed to meet the essential timelines they have set for emissions reduction and thus set us on a path to truly apocalyptic consequences before 2100.

The “Serious Progress” Camp believes that governments, corporations, and other major actors have responded seriously to the challenge and that, with continuing diligence, humankind can manage climate change without catastrophe.

Johanna Blackman and Scott Miller will debate these views.


Johannah Blackman is a founding member and Executive Director of

A Climate to Thrive (ACTT).

Scott Miller is a former investment banker who moved from London (England) to Blue Hill upon retirement.

Click here for more information

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Wood Gaylor Abstract Figure 1915

Talk 2

The Story of a Whiskey Bottle and its Ties to Bangor Maine, Hamilton College, The Pure Food and Drug Act, and Hollywood

February 23, 2024

11:30 am - 1:00 pm

This is a Hybrid Event

David Gapp will tell the fascinating story of a brown bottle he found with a raised glass label reading “The Duffy Malt Whiskey Company, Rochester, N.Y. U.S.A.” In researching this bottle, Dave uncovered ties to Bangor ME, Hamilton College, The Pure Food and Drug Act, and Hollywood.


David Gapp has a BS and MA in Biology from the College of William and Mary, received his PhD from Boston University, and conducted postdoctoral research at the Jackson Laboratory. David was a Biology Professor at Hamilton College where he taught Biology of Reproduction, Food for Thought, Vertebrate Physiology, General Endocrinology, and Integrative Animal Biology courses for 40 years. David has taught several courses through the Acadia Senior College.

Click here for more information

Acadia Senior College

Maine Senior College Network

Spring Classes

The Spring Class list of links below is based on information available at the time of publishing this month's newsletter.

Special opportunity for the members of the Maine Senior College Network.

  1. MSCN membership provides the opportunity to take courses at other senior colleges.
  2. MSCN Members can access available seats in courses and presentations by paying course fees.
  3. Please note! Priority is initially given to the members of the college hosting the event; available seats are then opened to members of sister senior colleges.

Check the individual college's website for registration information

  • Most colleges will ask you to email or call them with the course title, your name, mailing address, email address, phone number, and the name of your Senior College.

Acadia SC 

Spring 2024 Semester

15 Classes: 1 Zoom, 3 Hybrid

Augusta SC 

The spring semester will begin the week of March 18th. Information on the spring classes will be available in mid-February

Gold LEAF Institute 

2024 Spring Classes

21 Offerings

3 Zoom:

Views on the News

Conversation, Coffee, Crafts

Book Discussion

Midcoast SC 

SpringTerm I - 2024 Courses

(A second Spring Term will begin the week of April 8)

9 Classes: 4 Zoom

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI)

2024 Spring Classes

40 Classes: 9 Zoom, 4 Hybrid

24 Workshops: 9 Zoom


Spring 2024

4 Classes - 2 Zoom

The History of Astronomy - Zoom - Free

Getting Ready for the April 8, 2024, Total Eclipse - Zoom - Free

Southcoast SC

Spring 2024 Classes

​Food: The Secret Sauce of History - Zoom

(Feb 28 - Apr 3rd. $27)

Sunrise SC 

Spring 2024 Semester

9 Classes - 8 Hybrid

York County Senior College 

Gary Sullivan Lecture Series

All lectures on Zoom

Wikimedia Image

Winslow Homer - Blue Spring, Florida

York County Senior College

presents the

Gary Sullivan Lecture Series

February & March 2024

Above: Heraldic butterfly with four blue open wings, an AI-generated image. Find out more with Benjamin Goldsmith's lecture "Artificial Intelligence – "What is it & Why does it matter?" (February 28th.)

The registration fee is $25 for the entire series!

All lectures on Zoom


February 7, 2024, at 4:00 PM 

Music Memories from the Past - with Lorraine Dutile Masure, a former educator who has led numerous senior college courses across four academic venues     


February 28, 2024, at 7:00 PM

Artificial Intelligence – "What is it & Why does it matter?" - with Benjamin Goldsmith, an expert in technology and national security.    

March 13, 2024, at 4:00 PM 

Elections in Maine - with the Honorable Shenna Lee Bellows, Maine's 50th Secretary of State and the first woman to serve in this capacity

March 20, 2024, at 4:00 PM     

The Maine Prison Education Program - with Peter J Servidio, Acting Educational Programs Coordinator for the Maine Correctional; Center, and Dan Philbrick, Director of the University of Maine Augusta/Saco Center.


Plus, one In-Person Presentation

March 27, 2024, at 2:00 PM 

Elder Abuse, Domestic Violence, & Financial Scam Awareness - - with Candace Simeone, Kennebunk Police Officer & Administrative Supervisor. *This program is being held in person at the Saco Community Center, 75 Franklin Street, Saco*  

For more details and registration, please see our online CourseStorm catalog.

Download a PDF of the Series

York County Senior College

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute presents:

One Book, One Community

(In-Person Event)

Save The Date!

One Book, One Community Returns!

In-person at the University of Southern Maine, Wishcamper Center, Room 102

March 6, 8:30 - 2:30,

The Book: Downeast: Five Maine Girls and the Unseen Story of Rural America by Gigi Georges, PhD. Harper Collins, 2021. Also available in paperback and through your public library.

The Community: USM OLLI & MSCN Members

Dr. Georges, who has a home in Downeast Maine, spent four years from 2016 to 2020 interviewing and getting to know five teenage girls living in three coastal towns in Washington County. Downeast reports on the challenges facing those coastal communities and the choices

the girls make between honoring the traditions of Downeast Maine while navigating their own paths. 

Dr. Georges will join us at Wishcamper to discuss the book and introduce one of the girls we meet in the book, now a mature young woman. Participants will attend an opening lecture by Dr. Georges, followed by facilitated breakout discussion groups and lunch. The event will conclude with a panel discussion.

If you are not a member of OLLI, please contact OLLI at USM for more information on registration. Phone: 207-780-4406 or send OLLI an email


Participants must register for the event and are responsible for obtaining the book. There will be a $50 charge.

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI)

Midcoast Senior College

SpringTerm 2024 Courses

Learn more about Medieval Imagery in Breda White's spring class

For more information on the following presentations, please visit

Midcoast SC's SpringTerm - 2024 Courses

Twenty-one Sonnets with John Haile (ZOOM)

Revisiting Childhood with Ann Kimmage

Medieval Imagery–Devotion, Didacticism, and Delight? with Breda White (ZOOM)

 ASL Handshapes and Simple Sentences with Martin Samelson

Being Female, Part 2: The Human with Barbara Snapp

Offered twice on the same day. The afternoon session is via ZOOM.

Tales of the Jazz Age  with Paul Kalkstein

Midcoast Senior College's Spring Term begins the week of February 5, 2024. A second Spring Term will begin the week of April 8, 2024. 

Membership fees must be up to date to register for a course. Membership requirement is waived for current members of other Maine Senior Colleges. (Please note that class seats are initially offered to our own members and then we open up to the members of our sister senior colleges.)

For more information, email Midcoast Senior College or call 207-725-4900.

Midcoast Senior College

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Women activities in middle ages

AARP Information for Maine Senior College Network Members

AARP Maine scam alerts for the month of February, 2024.

Registration is open for the next Fraud Watch with Volunteers Phil Chin and Pam Partridge, our monthly 30-minute scam awareness program over Zoom.


This month, Phil and Pam will cover:

Romance Scams

Tax Scams


Stop into our next Zoom call on Thursday, February 8th at 10 a.m.

Click here to Register! (and please feel free to share this opportunity)!

Do you want a scam prevention speaker for your senior college?

We have trained volunteers who can deliver presentations on topics such as cyber security, identity theft, Romance Scams, imposter scams, and more. We also have free handouts available. Simply fill out our speaker request form to get started.  

Download the AARP flyer

AARP Maine

Murder at the Gardner

by Jane Langton

Published by St. Martins Press $17.95

pages 458 (Large Print available, Falmouth Memorial Library) 

Reviewed by Pat Davidson Reef

While browsing the Falmouth Memorial Public Library on a cold winter day, I found a fictional mystery titled "Murder at the Gardner" by Jane Langton. This book is a humorous satire on museum life at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, Massachusetts. The characters and events in it are all imaginary, including the humorous names of the director, staff, and the board of trustees. The book was written before the famous 1990 heist at the Gardner Museum of 13 works now valued at 500 million dollars, which were not insured and never found. Therefore, this book has nothing to do with the famous heist. It is a pure creative fantasy.


However, the imaginary characters described in the book take you from room to room in the actual Museum, mentioning the famous works of art that are hung on its walls that define each room's name.


The story opens with Titus Moon, director of the Gardner Museum, hiring a detective, Homer Kelly, to investigate a series of strange events that have been happening at the beautiful Museum. Detective Kelly says (right away) he knows nothing about art but is glad to investigate issues that are bothering the museum director. What are the issues? 


A stipulation in Gardner's will states that everything must remain the same in every room, or the place must be sold, with funds going to the Harvard faculty. Apparently, someone is moving work around from room to room in the Museum, which makes the museum director nervous. He wants Detective Kelly to find out who is doing this. The guards and staff have been trained not to move works in the Museum.


Detective Homer Kelly is a stock figure in this mystery series. He is in the background, but he is the person who ties together the mystery in each story. "Murder At the Gardner" is the seventh out of 18 books written by Jane Langton. Each book has a different historical location, while its characters are entirely made up.


As the story moves on, Director Moon leaves Detective Kelly to browse around the Museum on his own and rushes off to his office to run interviews for potential assistants to write and edit a catalog of the Museum. Titus is planning to create a major catalog that will include all the Museum's paintings, Greek and Roman Sculptures, Turkish bowls, Medieval wall reliefs, Japanese screens, Venetian windows, French and Italian fireplaces, rare books, saved letters, and tapestries. Three thousand items in all will be included.


Titus hires two assistants to work on the catalog: Polly Swallow, an overly enthusiastic, awkward but very intelligent person, and Aurora O'Doyle, an efficient, sneaky social climber and niece of the Boston Mayor. Polly falls in love with Titus and hates Aurora, who competes for his attention.


As the story progresses, Catherine Rule, a conservator of fine tapestries, is working to repair old works in the Museum, and is described as a 70-year-old virgin. She befriends Polly Swallow, one of the two new assistants hired on staff…Polly visits Catherine Rule in the tapestry room one day and admires her sewing ability, watching her nimble hands as she repairs a tapestry. Aurora drops into the room and thinks the whole scene is boring but announces she has invited Titus to dinner at her apartment on Beacon Street. Then she flutters out and leaves her sweater. Polly gets up to return the sweater, and Catherine says she will do it later. Don't worry about her sweater.


Aurora, at dinner, makes steak for Titus before sitting on the couch with him to enjoy wine and cheese. Then she opens his tie and shirt, takes off his shoes, and says I will be right back, leaving to put on a sexy negligee. Meanwhile, Titus hears the doorbell and opens the door in bare feet, an open shirt, and a loose tie to find that Catherine Rule has arrived to return Arorora's sweater. Aurora's romance effectively shortcircuits at this point. However, Aurora (who has changed her name from Phoebe because it sounds better) is out to catch Titus. 


Yet the story moves on to more serious things like the mysterious shifting of certain paintings from room to room, a card game of solitaire changing cards on a table by itself, a bomb scare, where the painting of "The Rape of Europa" is missing for a while, and last but not least the murder of Mrs. Madeline Hepplewhite, a trustee. She is found dead on the third floor by a nine-year-old child on a student tour. (The guard for that room called in sick that day). So Titus Moon had his hands full as the director of this imaginary version of the Gardner Museum.


Detective Homer Kelly trudges through it all, searching for the culprit responsible for all these strange activities in the Museum. If you want to find out who killed Madeline Hepplewhite, you must read the book. It brings a laugh on every page.


This book is a satire about life in a museum, depicting an imagined version of the dignified Gardner Museum before the heist of 1990. For those who have loved the Gardner Museum over the years, I recommend authentic documentary books like "Mrs. Jack" by Louise Hall Thorp and "Stealing Rembrandt" by Anthony Amore and Tom Mashberg.


If this review inspires you to visit THE GARDNER 

CALL 1-617-566-1401 to make reservations.

Open Hours : 

Monday | 11 am–5 pm

Tuesday | Closed

Wednesday | 11 am–5 pm

Thursday | 11am–9pm

Friday | 11 am–5 pm

Saturday | 10 am–5 pm

Sunday | 10 am–5 pm

Price: Adults $20.

Seniors $18.

College students with I.D. $13.

Children under 12 are free.

Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum (website)

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