Sunday, October 30, 2016

Our Thanks for "One Today"

(Thanks to Beth and Walter Brough for allowing us to reprint the following letter from October 27th's Bethel Citizen.)

We have just returned from one of the most inspirational, uplifting, hopeful afternoons of our octogenarian years.

Take the words of our remarkably gifted inaugural poet, Richard Blanco, and his poem "One Today;" take the incredible musical creativity and determination of our own Tom Davis; take the generosity of the Gem Theater owners, and the other donors and sponsors and contributors of all kinds (thanks Congo Craftsmen); and take the amazingly talented singers and musicians from our own community - and what you get is WOW!

It was an afternoon of tears and tissues and tremendous gratitude and pride in this wonderful community, where we live "life the way it should be." At a time that is so contentious, unsettling and disturbing, we are given back hope for one ground, one sky, one country, one people all pulling together to make this one better world. It was a performance that should be heard across the country.

Our thanks to each and every one of you for giving acclamation to the power of poetry and music.

Beth and Walter Brough

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Senior College Players Rehearsing Anniversary Play

by Rosabelle Tifft

It’s the tenth anniversary of the Senior College Players and something special and unique has been planned.

There will be only one play, but it will be interwoven with vignettes from a number of plays over the years. Players selected these plays from some of their favorite roles and are enjoying rehearsals as they recall these fun scripts.

Ross and Carole Timberlake in “Postcards from Sicily.”

Ross Timberlake, well known to Western Mountains Senior College members for his acting, directing and play writing, has written and is directing a special script to honor the work of the past ten years.

“Postcards from Sicily” by Jules Tasca is one of the comedy vignettes. It features Ross and Carole Timberlake as a husband and wife traveling through Sicily. You’ll enjoy their hilarious antics as they both show very different opinions about their wild adventures.

Carol Campbell in her role as a mime.  Photos by Norman Milliard.
 Another vignette features Carol Campbell re-playing her popular role as a mime in “The Essence of Mature Sensuality” by Patricia Puckett and Douglas Hill.

Watch the blog for more clues about this upcoming fun-filled anniversary play, and plan to join one of our performances scheduled for 7:00 pm on November 18 and 19 at Gould Academy’s McLaughlin Auditorium.

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Monday, October 24, 2016

A Follow-up to the Brown Bag Lunch Discussion on Clean Elections

by Nancy Davis

The recent Brown Bag Lunch discussion centered around public financing of election campaigns, a.k.a “clean elections.” After much thoughtful discussion of the topic, facilitator Brendon Bass introduced an equally compelling discussion on the topic of rank choice voting, which is referendum question # 5 on November 8. Brendon has suggested the following internet links on these 2 topics: Ranked Choice Voting:; Maine Citizens for Clean Elections (MCCE):

If you’d like to dig deeper on this critical election, you may read unbiased information on many national and state candidates by consulting Project Vote Smart ( In addition to critical presidential and legislative decisions, there are some important referendum questions on the ballot. For more on these six issues:

Participants in the Brown Bag Lunch were inspired to continue the discussion. Whether or not that happens, the next Brown Bag discussion will be on Wednesday, November 16, on the topic of “American Political Society.” What hope is there for our American society? How can we be agents of change in the civil discourse that surrounds our political environment? The discussion will be strictly non-partisan and will reference the frustration many of us feel at the tenor of dialogue and resulting dysfunction of our political system. But only briefly, as the main focus will be on moving into positive action each of us can take. More information to follow. As always, please contact Nancy Davis if you plan to attend (now is not too early), so we have enough seating (; 381-1110). Please remember to RSVP; it is very helpful to us!

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Monday, October 10, 2016

Dementia Conversations: Breaking the Ice with Empathy and Finesse

by Mary Haberman
On October 7, 2016, Western Mountains Senior College’s To Your Health offered the third in its series on dementia.  Open to the public and held at the West Parish Congregational Church, the program’s presenter was Mark Pechenik, Director of Community Outreach and Engagement for the Maine Alzheimer’s Association.

Sensitive Issues addressed:
  1. When is it time to stop driving? (Everyone’s fear)
  2. The need to see a physician for a firm diagnosis.
  3. Reviewing and perhaps relinquishing control of financial and legal matters.

Strategies and Approaches:
Pechenik focused his presentation on methods used to overcome the most common hurdles faced by caregivers.  He prefaced these suggestions with the caution that, first and foremost, planning - detailed planning - should be worked on sooner rather than later.  “Don’t wait for a crisis. Have the conversation early and involve family whenever possible.  Be specific, honest, and patient.”

Listen closely and respond:
Remember that loss of independence, isolation, and not wanting to burden family are early-stage worries.  Appeal to the patient’s sense of responsibility to family and community when suggesting the need for often drastic changes.

Don’t become an adversary.  Go with the flow.  Keep notes and be specific. Reach out to family, friends, community and utilize the many dementia-related resources available.

Pechenik ended his presentation with a description of many initiatives taking place in Maine, and his Association’s hope for a cure by 2025.  He added that Alzheimer's and all dementias must be “brought out of the shadows.

The Western Mountain Senior College To Your Health presentations are a community service offered in collaboration with the Bethel Family Health Center, MSAD#44/Continuing Education and the Maine Alzheimer’s Association.

Sandra Seaver, Carlie Casey, Charleen Chase, Mark Pechenik, speaker, Carol Bailey, Andrea Bennett.  photo: Judy Whitman

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Painting With Words

Western Mountains Senior College's own Ruth Bebko is a newly-published author! Painting With Words is a lovely collection of poetic pieces about nature, travel, dogs and home; some are limericks, some serious, many are poignant. If you'd like to check out Ruth's book there's a copy in the Bethel Library. Meanwhile, here's a taste!

Captain Sicily’s Britches 

Bulletproof and olive green,
finest wool I ever have seen.
“Army Issue” sewn inside.
Worn with valor and great pride
            by a Captain Sicily,
native son of Italy.

Why don’t they show signs of blood or tear
(signatures of combat wear)?
Perhaps they’d been cast
             as battle lines passed - 
by the bed of some maid
on whose bosom he laid.
Or could they’ve been new? 
Or just dropped in the loo?

They sure showed up strange
in the Clothing Exchange.
How’d they make it to Bethel?
There’s no way to tell –
             but they’ve ended up snug
             in my new braided rug.

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at

From Dump to High Tech - a Tour of the Lewiston Recycling Facility

A group from Western Mountains Senior College - Peter Gartner, Mary-Ellen Gartner, Jim Rector, Kay Larson, RoseMary McLean and Jim McLean - toured the Lewiston Recycling Facility on September 19. It was an informative, interesting trip -- the facility can process 22 tons of waste per hour. For those who could not make the trip because of the date change, stay tuned.  There may be a repeat open house in the near future.

For more information about Western Mountains Senior College visit our website at