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Saugerties Adult Learning Community
  VOLUME IV: ISSUE 3    October 2017
6b0c2607-30c8-43ce-9466-d43151030915.jpgDear Lifespring Members,
Summer is a memory, autumn is colorful, bright, and brisk, and intimations of winter haven’t yet begun. As always seems true, we’re all invigorated to be getting back together with friends, old and new, for the fall 2017 Lifespring semester.

This fall issue of News & Views highlights some new events, focuses on favorite features, and provides food for thought and perusal as well.

In the Message from the President, Susan Puretz takes us behind-the-scenes of the registration process to show the intricacies of it all, and she follows up in a separate article interviewing Lifespring Registrar Bob Saturn, who tells all about the challenges he faces each semester.

We meet one of Lifespring’s presenters, Bill Tuel, in the 5-Minute Interview, and the Library Corner brings us an update from Susan Davis about how our Lifespring donation in honor of Rich Phillips has enabled the Stories of Saugerties program to move forward as part of an oral history venture at the Saugerties Public Library.

Our book reviewer, Irene Rivera Hurst, describes and explores the six novellas of Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson, and Member News updates us on the new book by Toby Elle, as well as welcoming the 36 new members to our Lifespring community.

Both the Photo Op and Poetry Place features are bursting with creative and outstanding submissions from our members. Photo Op submissions on the theme of REFLECTIONS come from Susan Davis, Rebecca Daniels, Juliette Eisenson, Harvey Greenstein, Susan Greenstein, Mary Nevins, and Gayle Schumacher. Poetry Place submissions with an autumn-leaning theme are from Rebecca Daniels, Marlin Klinger, Joyce Lissandrello, and Ernst Schoen-René.

There’s also an Easy Walks in Nature to the Saugerties Lighthouse, and last but not least is a look ahead from Susan Davis, working with Jacki Moriarty and Natalee Rosenstein, at some Save the Dates for Winter Presentations.

Enjoy this issue and remember that we welcome your input, your feedback, and your submissions—if you have an idea for a column or an article then don’t be shy, just send an email to

With all best thoughts and hopes for the months ahead, and until next time!

The five-minute interview
Read more below
Registrar Bob Saturn
Read more below
Stories of Saugerties
Read more below
Read more below
Changing seasons
Read more below
Fortune Smiles
Read more below
Saugerties Lighthouse
Read more below
A hearty welcome, and more
Read more below
I write this at the beginning of August as Bob Saturn, our Registrar, and his team start the complicated process of class assignments and holding lotteries for courses where enrollment exceeds the limits we set (due to the nature of the course, presenter requests, or physical space in the classrooms at the WJC).

This semester, in addition to the usual registration problems, we also had to deal with the cancellation of two well-subscribed courses because of last minute and unavoidable scheduling problems on the part of the presenters.

The Curriculum Committee (co-chaired by Jouette Bassler and Annette Zwickler) sprang into action to try to find replacements for the courses, reaching out to numerous professionals, but it was too last minute to find replacements. The result was that the large number of registrants for two classes had to be reassigned to their second choice (the importance of having a second choice cannot be stressed more). On paper the solution was relatively simple and straight-forward: cancel the courses and reassign those who had put in second choices. In order to accomplish this however, it took a large amount of energy, time, and effort from the volunteers of the Curriculum and Registration Committees. Their hard work was in addition to their usual duties. They have our profound thanks.

It is those acts of going above and beyond what we have volunteered for in Lifespring that makes our lifelong learning community exceptionally successful. So, when you read this in October, at the beginning of our 9th year, I hope you will join me in issuing a silent but big THANK YOU to these people, and at the same time consider volunteering yourself for one of the many committees that contribute to our grand Lifespring organization.

And as an update for your information, I welcome the new and returning Lifespring Board members elected at our June Annual Meeting: Vice President (Marv Beach), Treasurer (Peg Nau), and Members-at-Large (Norm Bowie and Natalee Rosenstein), as well as Laura Phillips, Coordinator of the new bylaws-created Program Support committee. Additionally, a welcome is extended to Dorothy Burns, the newly appointed Secretary, who is filling the unexpired term of Eileen Shumbris.

The five-minute interview
This issue features Bill Tuel, PhD, who this semester is teaching a course on the history of biology for Lifespring. He retired from IBM in 2008 after a long career in computer research and science, and he now has more time to pursue his interest in the history of science.

That’s always a short question with a long answer. My dad worked for an industrial company that transferred him several times. I was born in Indianapolis, went to grade school in the Buffalo area, junior high school in Charleston, WV, and high school in Ohio and northern New Jersey. As I graduated from high school, my parents moved back to the Buffalo area, and I began to attend RPI.

Alma Maters (schools you’ve attended and degrees you’ve attained)
I spent all of my college career at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, earning bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering, with a focus on automatic control systems.

Career (“jobs” you’ve done and your satisfaction with any or all)
I had a long and generally satisfying career with IBM, starting with co-op assignments during my RPI attendance. When I left RPI, it was to IBM in California, where I worked for 27 years before being transferred to the IBM Kingston plant in 1992, three years before it was shut down. I then moved to IBM’s supercomputer development lab in Poughkeepsie, and I was proud to be part of the team that produced the fastest computer in the world at that time. During my IBM career, I took many opportunities to develop presentations and courses for customers and fellow employees.

Favorite kind of music to listen to or play
I’m a long-term classical music aficionado, stemming from background music in The Lone Ranger. But I also enjoy symphonic and military band music, and I play trombone and euphonium in the SUNY Ulster Community Band. I also play piano for the Unitarian-Universalist congregation in Kingston once a month.

Favorite book you’ve read in the past year (or ever)
For this course, I’ve read some interesting biology books; one I particularly liked was Genome: The Autography of a Species in 23 Chapters. On the fiction side, I’ve read all of local author Steve Hamilton’s books, and am looking forward to the next one.

Favorite Broadway show or TV show in the past year (or ever)
This has to be The Music Man. I cry every time I see it when the kid’s band marches on stage!

Favorite painting or artist
My favorite painting is The Great Wave off Kanagawa by the Japanese artist Hokusai. The curve of the wave was used to illustrate the electrical relationships in the Esaki diode when Dr. Esaki made presentations about it. I eventually got book plates with that painting.

A “guilty pleasure” you are willing to share with the readers
I play Free Cell and Sudoku on my iPad when I’m supposed to be doing something useful.

One important thing you’ve learned throughout your life
Always offer to help. You get “points” even if your offer isn’t accepted.

Time travel: if you could travel either back or forward in time, where would you go and why?
I’d go back about 15,000 years to watch the formation of the Hudson River from the breach and drainage of Glacial Lake Albany. Scientists think it took only 3 months!

Meet Lifespring Registrar Bob Saturn in a Conversation with Susan Puretz
Bob Saturn has been Lifespring’s one and only Registrar, and it seemed timely to sit down with him to explore the many facets of his position and to uncover what it is that makes the Registrar role both rewarding and challenging. Following is the edited version of our conversation.

What do you do when the registrations come in?
Being the registrar is like being a seasonal CEO. When I became the first Registrar for Lifespring’s inaugural year, 2009–2010, I had the task of creating a registration system to handle our first members (90) and our 4 course offerings. Over the years, this procedure has become more elaborate as we added new members and many new courses.

The modus operandi that I established starts around July 1st when the fall course catalog is officially on-line. It then follows an assembly line-like procedure where we process the registration choices as they come in. All this information gets placed on what I call a Total Class Preference List which is merely reflective of what the member’s registration forms indicate as their 1st and 2nd course choices.

The most recent version of the Excel spreadsheet has 31 columns that provide ample space for all types of information besides members’ course preferences for each time slot, such as addresses, emails, phone numbers, check received, etc.

Once the registration postal deadline passes, our work really begins. Depending upon the membership cap that the Lifespring Board has established, and based upon the number of members not returning and the number of new applicants, a lottery is held to determine the new members. The next step is to conduct another set of lotteries that are determined by whether a course's enrollment exceeds the “limited enrollment” set by the instructor and/or the room size limitation (45 students can not fit in a classroom that can only hold 35!).

As a result of the various lotteries a Placement List is generated that reflects all members and their course placements. From this particular spread sheet, many other necessary spread sheets are generated giving rise, for example, to the class lists for the instructors and class managers and confirmation letters (which we try to have sent out by the third week in August).

Members have one additional opportunity to change the courses they have registered for, and that is at “Add /Drop” during the first 2 weeks of classes, and those changes must also be captured and recorded. Although I created these procedures, the practical application of it is done not only by me; I am ably assisted now by Peg Nau and Cheryl Sasso.

What challenges and problems arise and how do they get solved?
The major challenge I face is achieving 100 percent accuracy! The problems that come up arise usually from the registration forms themselves. Many members do NOT fill out the forms correctly, or they are illegible, or they are incomplete. I can’t tell you the number of times I have had to call members to check on what they have written on their forms. This makes the process needlessly more time consuming and labor intensive for us.

An additional step in the process is incorporating the changes that result from Add/Drop. For example: new total placement lists as well as new individual class lists are generated after the Add/Drop changes, and of course that involves additional computer time and double checking to make sure that everything is accurately reflected in the revised spreadsheets.

The lotteries are both a challenge and a problem. We end up carrying out a minimum of two lotteries, and most times more. Besides the possible lottery for new members, in the recent past we have had to carry out lotteries for the announced limited enrollment classes and then, while not a limited enrollment issue, some classes are oversubscribed exceeding the physical classroom space that we have—thus requiring another lottery.

How do you feel about registration and how it works?
Actually I am very pleased with the whole process and it feels very good when everything correctly comes together. Especially when I receive NO complaints! Personally it is rewarding to keep active and to keep my mind challenged so that I come up with new ways of doing different parts of Registration. As I mentioned, I started the process in 2009, and we have “come a long way, baby.”

Stories Of Saugerties: Oral History at the Saugerties Public Library
You may recall an article in the February 2017 issue of News & Views that reported on the donation that Lifespring had made to the Saugerties Public Library to honor our longtime treasurer Rich Phillips, an accomplished teacher of history and political science, who passed away in March 2016.

The donation was earmarked for the exciting new oral history program at the Library, in connection with the national StoryCorps project. In August, the Library kicked off the program, Stories of Saugerties, with workshops to train volunteers in interviewing and recording techniques. Oral historian and new Saugerties resident, Lisa Polay, is working with StoryCorps, using the Stories of Saugerties program as a test community for StoryCorps’ new Digital Toolkit, an initiative to guide libraries across America to undertake their own community oral history projects. In addition to Lisa’s extensive academic and practical background in oral history, she teaches technology to older adults, does transcriptions for StoryCorps, and is a field interviewer for the New York Public Library community oral history program. 

Interviews with people in the Saugerties community will be posted online on the StoryCorps website in the Communities section and will be available for access starting this October at Stories of Saugerties community page.

There will also be a public workshop training session at the library on Tuesday, October 17th, 6:00–8:30 pm, in the community room, if you’re interested in learning more and participating in the Stories of Saugerties program.

If you’re interested in receiving a monthly Newsletter from the Saugerties Public Library to learn more about their roster of projects and initiatives, go to the Library homepage, click on Newsletter, and follow the prompts.

Each edition of News & Views offers Lifespring members an opportunity to participate in the Themed Photography feature. This issue’s theme is Reflections .

Seven photographers are represented with Reflections images: Susan Davis, Rebecca Daniels, Juliette Eisenson, Harvey Greenstein, Susan Greenstein, Mary Nevins, and Gayle Schumacher. You'll see that each of them has taken the theme in interesting directions and interpreted it in creative ways.

We encourage all of our members to submit photos for the next issue, which will go online this winter. For the next issue's theme and guidelines, scoll down beneath the photos.

Rebecca Daniels
Rebecca Daniels, Broadview Fall

Susan Davis
Susan Davis, Maine

Juliette Eisenson
Juliette EisensonReflections of a Twilight Kiss

Harvey Greenstein
Harvey Greenstein, Monet's Garden, Giverny

Susan Greenstein
Susan Greenstein, Clark Museum Landscape

Mary Nevins
Mary Nevins, Reflective Prayer

Gayle Schumacher
Gayle Schumacher, New York City Clouds


The theme for the Winter 2018 issue is TWISTED. Think about inanimate objects, animals and plants, people and places, expressions, and whatever seems to fit the twisted category (no politics please). Allow your imagination to guide you, and remember, almost anything goes.

Please make sure to get your pictures in by December 1st.

Whether you consider yourself “a photographer” or not, we’re all taking pictures on our cell phones as well as our cameras, and it’s a lot of fun and a stimulating brain exercise to go out and look for good images with a theme in mind.

All photos MUST be in a HORIZONTAL format to be considered.
Please submit no more than 2 photos to be considered.
Each photo should be titled as follows: the title, your last name.jpg
(This means that you should RENAME your photo, changing it from the number designation.)
The photos may be black and white or color.
Please send all submissions to Susan Greenstein, Editor, at

Don’t be shy; this is a great opportunity to get your photos “published” to a receptive and appreciative audience.
This issue is bursting with poets and their poems! How exciting to know that so many Lifespring members not only love poetry but write it themselves. In fact, we’ve received so many poetry submissions for this issue that for the first time we’ve had to select and not include every one. We’ll be saving those we don’t publish this time for our next issue.

The returning poets featured below are Marlin Klinger, Ernst Schoen-René, and Joyce Lissandrello, each of whom we’ve written about in previous issues. New to Poetry Place is Rebecca Daniels, who spent summers in the Catskills as a child and moved from Manhattan to Woodstock in 1974. The peace and beauty of the local landscape has been an ongoing source of inspiration for both her poetry and visual art. Often, on daily walks she writes haiku or develops ideas for longer poems or paintings. 

Each of the poems that follow is as different from each other as are snowflakes. Take your time with each, read them aloud (as poetry is best served when spoken), and join the poets in their vision of the world as presented in these pages.



Late Summer
Rebecca Daniels

Cool nights creep in
earlier than expected,
linger under blankets of fog
long past sunrise.

Following their leader,
geese squawk goodbyes
and forge their v-shaped way
toward warmer weather.

Still blossoming,
tomato plants eagerly reach
scrawny stalks with browning leaves
towards the dwindling sun.

A hint of color brushes distant foliage
on an occasional tree.
After a long summer’s dark green shade,
the brightness startles.

Soon, the woods will blaze
with brilliant leaves.
In their wake, embers turn to ash
against a barren sky.


Marlin Klinger

In springtime we are very glad
To see the sunshine peak.
The plants and grass and trees and shrubs
Emerge and grow each week.

The world is really waking up
And plants are growing buds…
The trees are leafing everywhere
Like putting on their duds.

They spread their limbs and fill them out
And shade the yards below.
We welcome all the cooling breeze
Their limbs and leaves bestow.

But now it’s Fall, the shade is thin
The leaves are turning color.
They’re beautiful and bright to see
With vistas like no other.
And then they fall just like the rain
To cover walks and grass.
Now we are left to rake them up
The total bunch en-mass.

Once again the trees are bare
The leaves are on the ground.
Piled up and waiting there
For us to move around.

So now we’re glad the trees are bare
We put the rake away.
But in the morning leaves are there
That weren’t there yesterday.

Why was I glad to see the leaves
Arrive in full last Spring?
‘Cause now they bring me to my knees
With all this @%#* (endless) raking.
Sanctuary is Gone
Joyce T. Lissandrello

On the other side of darkness
Lies a valley lush and green
Where the lambs are kept
    from being slaughtered
By the napalm and our screams.
Where the waters of forgetfulness
Flow just out of their reach
And their family, friends and pets
Work hard to fill the breach.
But the solemn shepherd watching
Walks silent in despair
For the sounds and smell of war
    are rising
Into the garden hidden there.


My Own Nightingale
Ernst Schoen-René

Next to the half-illuminated
    pseudo-suns over my left shoulder
—Days Inns, Comfort Inns, La Quinta Inns,
    Sleep Inns—
Is a larger, brighter one, sinking
As a darker blue begins to rise
    gently from the south-east
And the air grows richer with the
    textures of grain,
Water spray, dust, hogs, rural perfume.
The message is clear:
Get off the freeway, whose gash here
    looks no different
Than any other such wound
    throughout the country,
And onto old U.S. 6.
Which plays the soft hills like
    a topographical line
And rides close to the barns,
    the last-century houses,
The corn so near you can read
    the DeKalb numbers,
And through the dying towns
    and their ghostly auto shops
Feed stores, barely open cafes
    (all gone to pizza),
As the air grows misty-fragrant dark
And the bugs pile up on the windshield
And you roll down your window
    and lean your elbow on the sill.
Somewhere out there is truth,
Caught as surely as it is in the space
Between Keats and his Nightingale.
Who could want more?


Poetry Place needs poems for our next issue. Please submit poems to
Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson
As we craft our existence in a universe of love and loss, natural disasters, rapid technological change, and twenty-four hour news showing us how the political shapes the personal, we are invited to contemplate our own morals and ethics. In the 2015 winner of the National Book Award, Fortune Smiles author Adam Johnson has crafted six novellas which take us into the lives of people who are thrust into contemplating their present, their past, and their futures. Johnson’s tales reflect the sensitivity, insight, empathy and humor that won him the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for his novel, The Orphan Master’s Son.

In George Orwell Was a Friend of Mine, we meet the former warden of the infamous East German prison: Hohenschonhausen, after the wall has fallen and Germany is united. This former organizer of human torture walks his dog, eats his sausage and thinks about days gone by. He tries to deny the past until pieces of it are delivered to his home. A tour of the prison, led by a former inmate, results in unexpected and profound results.

Nirvana portrays a computer programmer whose wife is bed-ridden with an incurable disease. He takes solace in talking to a hologram. It is a digital simulation of a recently assassinated President of the United States. His wife, meanwhile, is obsessed with the music group, Nirvana.

Hurricanes Anonymous takes us to post-Katrina and Rita, Louisiana. There, a well-meaning but essentially weak UPS man searches for the mother of the toddler in his care. The two sleep in the Brown truck and live a life peopled by survivors of catastrophic loss.

In Mr. Roses, we are asked to feel compassion for a man with pedophilic tendencies who steps in to take care of two little girls who live down the street. They have been starved and neglected by their single mother.

In the title story, Fortune Smiles, two defectors from North Korea try to adapt to life in Seoul and to forget those left behind. As they renegotiate their lives and their friendship, a revelatory decision is made in a story that could have been taken directly from real headlines.

My advice is not to read this collection as a single unit. It is better savored, like fine wine, with each story taken out and allowed to breathe in the mind of the reader. Adam Johnson is a virtuoso, writing with a black comedic sense expressed in poetic use of language. He gives us characters that are surprising, fascinating, unusual, and real. In Dark Meadow, the soldier on a bomb squad says that “you can defuse a bomb in the real world, but the bomb in your head, that’s forever.” Each of the stories in Fortune Smiles is a small explosion of complexity in the reader’s mind. Take the stories out one at a time, enter the world of the characters, and have a wonderful time being bemused, surprised, and invited to examine your own beliefs and judgments.

The Saugerties Lighthouse Trail
Saugerties Lighthouse
On a brisk autumn day, what could be better than a leisurely walk to the Saugerties Lighthouse.

A gentle, half-mile nature trail travels among stands of willow and maple trees, along tidal pools, and through patches of wildflowers, eventually opening onto a view of the Hudson River. There are appealing public decks at which to rest when you arrive, as well as a forked trail to a beachside picnic area. At this time of year, with the leaves showing their autumn colors and remnants of asters and goldenrod along the way, this is an especially lovely setting. There’s also an opportunity to spy interesting birdlife, including bald eagles, great blue herons, ducks, geese, and more.

The clearly-marked trail begins at the Lighthouse parking lot, located just beyond the Coast Guard station on Lighthouse Drive. Remember that parts of the trail experience tidal flooding on a twice-daily basis, so come prepared, plan accordingly, and consult the tide table for more details. Additional information is available at the Lighthouse website at

A hearty welcome
This feature highlights news about membership and/or exciting news or events that involve our members. If you have some news that you’d like to share with your fellow Lifespringers for a future issue, send an email about it to

In the June 2017 issue of News & Views, we wrote about the new biography of Harold Lieberman, The Love Call of Harold J. Lieberman, by his wife Toby Elle. Harold and Toby will be having several book signings in our area, which are sure to be lively events. The dates are Tuesday, November 7, 6:00 p.m., at the West Hurley Library; and Saturday, November 18, 5:00 p.m., at the Woodstock Library. The book is now available at Amazon and at Barnes and Noble. You can see images and information from the book at a new website,

On our own Lifespring front, we welcome all our 36 new members who have joined us this fall semester for the first time. If you’re interested in submitting articles for the newsletter, please be in touch—as you’ll see reading through this issue, there are many ways to participate, from poetry, to photography, to submission of news and articles on any topic that may be of interest to you and others. Send any questions or submissions to

Again, a hearty Lifespring welcome to our new members!
Save the date!
Although seemingly far away, we encourage you to save the following dates for winter presentations, which offer an opportunity for getting back together with Lifespring friends for stimulating mornings of lectures plus Q & A, 11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m., held in the Community Room of the Saugerties Public Library.

The first program on December 6th features Valerie Balint, Program Manager for Historic Artists’ & Studio Program at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Mark your calendars now and remember that guests are welcome too.

Wednesdays: Dec. 6, 2017; Jan. 3, 2018; Feb. 7, 2018; and Mar. 7, 2018

Susan Greenstein, Editor
Susan Davis, Harvey Greenstein,
Irene Rivera Hurst, Fran Jacobson,
Susan Puretz, Esther Rosenfeld
Anna Landewe, Designer
Additional photos by Harvey Greenstein
and Anna Landewe
© 2017 Lifespring

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Lifespring: Saugerties Adult Learning Community · Town Hall · 4 High Street · Saugerties, NY 12477 · USA

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