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Saugerties Adult Learning Community
  VOLUME III: ISSUE 4    February 2017
Dear Lifespring Members,
Please excuse a little glitch we had earlier today and use THIS REVISED version of the hot-of-the-press News & Views Newsletter. Thanks for your understanding.

I’m thinking spring and I bet that you are too. As the days get longer it’s hard not to feel a bit of optimism in spite of the unsettled state of the world around us. Here in our Catskills’ world of nature and small town life, our thoughts turn to the exciting new Lifespring semester that begins April 19th.

This end-of-winter issue of News & Views features articles that will be of interest to all Lifespring members. For a look at other volunteer opportunities in which our members participate, check out Volunteer Projects of Merit with articles by Lifespring members Margaret Yelland and Colleen Greco. For the 5-Minute Interview, we feature popular presenter and Lifespring curriculum committee member, Norman Bowie, whose courses on Ethics remain a perennial favorite.

Poetry Place features submissions from Lifespring members Juliette Eisenson, Marlin Klinger, Toby Elle Lieberman, and Esther Rosenfeld. Photo Op has submissions from Harvey Greenstein, Gayle Schumacher, and Steve Zwickler, each reflecting their unique perspective.

A new sort of Mystery Photo is here to tickle your fancy, as well as an update on membership, Walks in Nature, and a story about a wonderful tribute gift to the Saugerties Public Library honoring the late Rich Phillips written by board member, Sandy Ostoyich.

Finally, there’s the Message from the President, by Susan Puretz, a thoughtful Book Review by Irene Rivera Hurst, and information about the upcoming spring semester.

Beginning with the last issue of News & Views (November 2016) and the current Lifespring Catalog: Spring 2017 Courses, you’ve surely noticed the exciting new look of these publications—both the work of graphic designer Anna Landewe. Anna is also a caretaker for the Saugerties Lighthouse with her husband Patrick, where they direct the non-profit Saugerties Lighthouse Conservancy. If you’d like to find out about volunteering opportunities at the Lighthouse, check out the website or email

Thanks for reading the newsletter, and remember that we are ALWAYS looking for interesting articles that represent our Lifespring membership. Please do submit YOUR ideas, essays, photos, poems, or stories about local topics that would be of interest to our members. This is your newsletter and we look for your contributions to help keep it lively and timely. To submit anything for the newsletter, send it along to the editor, Susan Greenstein, at

The five-minute interview
Read more below
Honoring Rich Phillips
Read more below
Reflections from our readers
Read more below
Above and/or below
Read more below
A Thousand Splendid Suns
Read more below
Hurley Rail Trail
Read more below
Making a difference
Read more below
New member additions
Read more below
As you can see, this month’s Mystery Photo is not an historical building or bridge or earthwork. You may have noticed it during the Lifespring semester or you may have missed it. In either case, scroll down for the answer.
 photo by Mary Alice Lindquist
I’m guessing that by now you’ve selected your Lifespring courses for the spring semester and, like all of us, are eagerly awaiting the beginning of spring and the start of classes.

I read a really interesting series of articles in December in the New York Times on loneliness among the elderly and that had me thinking about the importance of one of Lifespring’s goals, i.e., to establish a sense of community. When we wear our name tags and spend time in the hospitality room, we are going beyond the taking of interesting courses; we are connecting—in the best sense of the word—many of us taking pleasure from the interaction with our fellow Lifespring members. Echoing the words of a TV commercial, this opportunity for camaraderie is “priceless.” This brings up a related topic—the cost of keeping Lifespring operating as a vibrant and vital organization.

Be assured that the Board and our committee coordinators diligently work to keep Lifespring’s expenses to a minimum. It takes many volunteers many hours of their personal time doing work for Lifespring. There are fixed expenses that are integral to the success of our program, including WJC rent, refreshment costs, supplies, catalog production, and volunteer appreciation; yet despite this, and in the face of rising costs, we have managed NOT to increase our membership fee for the past 7 years.

In comparison, the other LLI’s in the area (Bard, New Paltz, and Marist) have membership fees that are more than double our fee. All of this is to say that there may come a time when we need to make a small increase. However, that’s in the future. For now, please support our hospitality table with a small donation when you pick up some breakfast treats—that’s what that handy jar on the table with all the dollar bills is about—and do lend a hand when a call goes out for assistance. We are all in this together—and isn’t that really part of the fun and satisfaction of being in a community?

The five-minute interview
This issue features Norman Bowie, who has been teaching popular Lifespring courses on Ethics for the past several semesters. In the upcoming spring semester, Norm is teaching another course on ethics, this one titled When Ethics Meets Economics.

Saco, Maine

Alma Mater (all the schools you’ve attended and degrees you’ve attained)
Bates College, Lewiston, Maine, A.B.; University of Rochester, Ph.D.

Careers you’ve had or “jobs” you’ve done and your satisfaction with any or all
I’ve spent all my life in college and university teaching. I like to say I went to school at age 6 and didn’t really leave until age 70. Actually with Lifespring I have not left yet.

Favorite kind of music to listen to (or to play if you play an instrument)

Favorite book you’ve read in the past year OR favorite book ever
Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. My goal: read at least one biography of every American President.

Favorite movie in the past year (or ever)

Favorite painting if you have one, or favorite artist
Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night especially when Don McClean’s “Vincent” is playing in the background.

A “guilty pleasure” that you have and are willing to share with the readers
I have always been a workaholic so now I like naps, the Weather Channel, and professional baseball.

One important thing you’ve learned throughout your life that you’d like to share
So much in life is serendipity or luck. Almost nothing turns out the way you expect.

Time travel destination — if you could travel either back or forward in time, where would you go and why
I would choose the year 3000. I want to see if we humans destroyed the planet and, if not, then enjoy the fruits of medical and technological advances. I also want to see if the United States is still around.


Lifespring Donation to Saugerties Public Library
Those of you who have been members of Lifespring since the early years may well remember Rich Phillips, Dr. Richard B. Phillips, that is. He was a thin, soft-spoken man, a highly knowledgeable but unassuming Ph.D., generous with his time and uncomplaining as his illnesses turned more and more serious. Rich taught political science and history at various colleges and universities in the New York City area and locally, and he also served as a college librarian at Marist, Bard, and, most recently, at SUNY Ulster. For Lifespring, Rich taught courses with titles like Democracy American Style and Unmasking the Politics of Economics, 101. He also led an early Special Interest Group devoted to reading about and discussing current issues. Last but not least, Rich Phillips’ other important contribution to us was serving on the Lifespring Board of Directors as Treasurer for many years.

Sadly, Rich passed away in March, 2016. A number of people sent contributions to Lifespring in his memory and the Lifespring Board searched for a meaningful way to commemorate this man who had meant so much to us. As with our late board member Doug Blair, we determined that a contribution that could be shared by the larger community would be most appropriate.

Consulting with Director Frank Rees of the Saugerties Public Library, an ad hoc board committee found that the library needed funds to establish a local StoryCorps oral history program. They needed only one more sizable contribution to put them over the top so that they could purchase the recording equipment and documentation to participate in this national project. The Lifespring Board gave its go ahead and, in October, the donations committee of Barbara Kaisik and Matt and Sandy Ostoyich presented the library with the donations needed to get the project underway.

For those unfamiliar with StoryCorps, it is one of the largest oral history projects on record. More than 60,000 interviews involving more than 100,000 participants have been completed since its inception in 2003. Recordings of these interviews are preserved at the American Folk Life Center of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., joining archives that include the collected interviews of ordinary citizens done in the 1930s by the WPA. Selected StoryCorps interviews are also broadcast nationwide on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition. They can be heard on WAMC FM between 8:20 and 8:30 on Friday mornings.

Perhaps the most important outcome of Lifespring’s donation is that with this new library program, copies of StoryCorps interviews recorded locally will also become part of the local history collection at the Saugerties Public Library. We hope that Rich Phillips would have been pleased to play an important role in preserving “people’s history” in Saugerties for generations to come.

This issue features returning poets, Juliette Eisenson and Marlin Klinger, both of whom we’ve written about in previous issues of News & Views. Joining Juliette and Marlin in this issue is Toby Elle Lieberman, with her first submission to Poetry Place. Finally, I’ve included one of my own.

We encourage YOU to submit your poems for publication in the coming issues of News & Views. Poetry Place needs poems for our Spring issue. Please submit poems to Now, enjoy!

ESTHER ROSENFELD, Poetry Place editor


Sense the Fleeting Snowflakes
Juliette Eisenson

Let the music of each snowflake
Shape your vision of the year.
Note that vision,
With the impermanence of life.


Marlin Klinger

It just came down
During the night
When I looked out
Everything was white.
It covers the yards
The walks and the street,
And when I walked
It covered my feet.
Where are the plows
Brought by the truck,
They can’t be lost
They may be stuck.
We need the warm air
The weather brings,
While we shovel here
And yearn for Spring.
Toby Elle Lieberman has been writing all of her life.  She remembers, as a child, taking long walks, then coming home and creating a story about it. While in college, one of her poems was published in the college’s literary journal. As an adult, she began writing her memoir that had its beginnings in a memoir writing class. Toby says it’s almost ready to be self-published. She wrote her latest poem, Winter World, prompted by reading an email requesting poems for our Lifespring Newsletter.

Winter World
Toby Elle Lieberman

Evergreens—ever green;
Leafy branches can’t be seen.
Icy paths slow us down;
Seldom venture into town.
Lots of time to look within
the heart,
   the closets,
     the drawers
       and files.
Going deep in all those piles.

Snowy days;
Softer rays;
Finding ways to amuse,
Filtering out the world news,
Maybe going on a cruise.


Esther Rosenfeld

I sit and stare down the years.
The stare is internal—
    where memory lives.
There are too many... memories,
They collide and bunch up.
There’s no easy slide show of
    how my life went.
One memory leading to another
Cries out to me.
And through all the fragments
    that memory serves,
I find Herb
Standing on the balcony,
    staring down.
Looking so solemn,
    staring like that.
What did he see,
    staring like that?
But now, it’s me who's doing the
    standing and the staring
Staring inward—what do I see?

Above and/or below
Each edition of News & Views offers Lifespring members an opportunity to participate in the Themed Photography feature. This issue’s theme is ABOVE AND/OR BELOW. Three photographers, Harvey Greenstein, Gayle Schumbacher, and Steve Zwickler, are featured in this issue. Each of them has taken the theme and interpreted it in different ways.

We encourage all of YOU to submit photos for the next issue, which will go online in late spring. The theme will be STACKS. This can be “stacks” in nature, in the home, things in layers, stacks you invent to make a picture, whatever and where ever your imagination takes you. Please submit your photos using a HORIZONTAL FORMAT only, and please be sure to get your pictures in by April 15th.

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.

Harvey Greenstein, Up a Hill

Harvey Greenstein, Vodka Martini with a Twist

Gayle SchumacherHudson River Eagle

Gayle Schumacher
, Spring Robin

Steve Zwickler
, Seeing the Other Side

Steve Zwickler
, Girl in a Shell


The Photo Op theme for the Spring 2017 issue is STACKS.
If you'd like to participate, here are the guidelines:

Starting with the spring issue, please submit photos ONLY in a horizontal format. Please submit no more than two photos to be considered. Each photo should be titled as follows: the title, your last name.jpg. 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 friendly audience.
A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khalid Housseini
The novel, A Thousand Splendid Suns, is centered on the complex social, cultural, and emotional lives of two women, Mariam and Laila, as they strive to find personal peace in a nation torn by more than thirty years of warfare.

The author, Khaled Housseini, was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, to a father in the diplomatic corps and a mother who taught Farsi at a local high school. When he was eleven, his father was transferred to a diplomatic post in Paris. Housseini’s father sought, and was granted, political asylum in the United States. It was here that the author grew up and was educated. His multiple medical missions to Afghanistan motivated him to try to bring “depth, nuance, and emotional subtext to the familiar image of the burqa-clad woman walking down a dusty street.”

The first part of the novel introduces us to Mariam, a child who lives alone with her mother in a lonely hut outside of a rural village. Mariam is the illegitimate child of a prosperous merchant. When she turns fifteen and presses for acceptance from him, her father marries her off to Rasheed, who is thirty years her senior.

The second part of A Thousand Splendid Suns, introduces us to Laila. Born in Kabul in relative comfort, Laila is an innocent young girl whose best friend and ultimate lover is a boy named Tariq. As the Soviets leave, she believes in a happy future for herself and her family. Instead, her two brothers leave home to fight for the Taliban. Her mother is killed and Laila is badly injured by a bomb that destroys her neighborhood. Orphaned, and pregnant at fourteen, the only protection for Laila is to allow the village Mullah to marry her off to Rasheed.

The relationship between Rasheed’s co-wives, Mariam and Laila, evolves in an unexpected direction as time passes. Its impact on the characters and ramifications for their lives create a story that combines pilgrimage, degradation, endurance, and courage.

The events and decisions propelling the lives of Housseini’s characters show us the heartsickness of refugees longing to return to their place of birth. This painful wish to recapture that which has been destroyed is illustrated in the poetic description of Kabul, Afghanistan; this much-injured city is described as beautiful because of “…the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls…”

Written differently, the events depicted in A Thousand Splendid Suns could decline into soap opera. However, Housseini is skilled at telling a story in which the subterranean, powerful, beautiful, illicit, and infinitely patient power of love makes events compelling and redemption believable.

Hurley Rail Trail
Located outside of the town of Hurley, adjacent to route 209, lies the Hurley Rail Trail, with several parking areas as you ride south from Old Hurley. Part of the D&H Heritage Corridor, along the former O&W Railroad, the trail has lovely berms, whose trees, shrubs, and flowers in season please the eye and provide some buffer from the ongoing cars. These berms have been constructed and are maintained by local community groups. This is a good place to walk in winter as the paved paths are plowed and usually cleared after a snow.

On well-maintained flat asphalt paths, dotted with historical markers, benches, and the afore-mentioned berms, the walker is afforded lovely views of the Esopus Creek, Hurley Mountain, and bucolic vistas. Dog walkers, baby strollers, cyclists, skaters, and walkers take advantage of this well-used local trail. Farther south, at the last of the parking areas, the paved path becomes a wide dirt trail into the woods, bordering wetlands and lush with vegetation on either side.

IF YOU GO: The trail is located on Route 209, traveling south from Kingston. Just after crossing the bridge over Esopus Creek, you will see the first of the trailhead parking lots, on the left. Continuing along Route 209, you will come to two additional parking areas.

For more information, click here to visit the website.

photo credit: Harvey Greenstein
Making a Difference in our Communities
It’s come to our attention that many Lifespring members are also involved in a broad range of volunteer activities and organizations in their communities. Starting this issue, we’ll feature the stories behind some of these volunteer projects and learn about activities, issues, and opportunities that we believe will be of interest to you, our Lifespring members.

Here, we feature two such projects—the formation of a new Settled and Serving in Place in Saugerties and a Key Club Backpack project in the Saugerties Central School District that’s helping to feed needy elementary school children.

If you’d like us to highlight a community initiative that you think may be of interest to others, please write and tell us about it, and we’ll consider it for future issues of News & Views.


Aging in Your Own Home and Helping Others To Do the Same

This article was submitted by Lifespring member, Margaret Yelland. Margaret spent thirty years in banks and related fields—some of those years in Asia. She has a home in Saugerties, and she currently serves on the Lifespring Curriculum Committee. Here, she describes the formation and activities of a special type of seniors group in Saugerties.

Settled and Serving in Place, known as SSIP, are independent local and regional groups formed around the idea of staying independent and happy in one’s own home. The focus is on members helping one another, neighbor helping neighbor, all on a volunteer basis.

Vivi Hlavsa, who started several SSIP groups in the area and who has been a popular presenter at Lifespring, was very helpful to us as we got together for our first Saugerties group meeting last April. She explained the general idea of the SSIP—a group of seniors who meet regularly and who know each other well enough that when disaster or distress strikes, whether it be illness or a tree falling on the roof, they can call on one another for assistance. Members are able to offer different services to one another, such as shopping for groceries, getting another member to a doctor’s appointment, or recommending a plumber or tree expert.

This relatively new Saugerties group has only three “officers” (in quotes because the groups are less formal than the titles): a president, a treasurer, and the list manager. Gayle Schumacher offered to act as the treasurer, and later on Janet Asiain (after writing a great piece about the group for the Saugerties Times) offered to take on the list manager role.

We meet for breakfast on Tuesdays at 9:30 am at the Saugerties Village Diner, and while the initial group from that first breakfast is largely intact, each month there are usually new people joining us.

We realized quickly that rather than being a group of older people clinging to their own homes and looking for help with that, we were mostly very active and self-reliant people. Nobody (at least right then) needed any major help. In fact, it slowly became clear that half of us left the diner to go to the gym, a Silver Sneakers class, another meeting, or yoga! More quickly, it became clear that many members were keen to do more for others and to be pro-active about finding opportunities to do so. Several members already worked with Neighbor to Neighbor, offering to take seniors to and from doctor appointments and shopping trips, while others volunteered through the Ulster County Office for the Aging.

As our first anniversary approaches, we are surveying our members to discover more about their other volunteer activities with the goal of creating a volunteer guidebook. We are also seeking a way to find “as needed” volunteer opportunities, and we’re moving toward possibly an idea for meeting for group discussions in members’ homes in addition to the weekly breakfast meetings.

It’s a good time for the Saugerties SSIP; some of us are deciding to be more active in moving forward with our ideas for helping the larger community, and others are happy to just enjoy getting to know the people who will be helping them age in place. There is room for both – and for the in-betweens as well.

For more information, contact the president, Margaret Yelland, either by phone, after March 5th, at 845-246-3285 or by email at


The Key Club Backpack Program at Saugerties High School

This article was submitted by Lifespring member, Colleen Greco, the mother of Melissa Greco, the Key Club Advisor at Saugerties High School, who was one of the two organizers of the Backpack Program in the Saugerties district. Clearly, Colleen is incredibly proud of her daughter’s success in helping to launch this worthwhile initiative. Colleen is an active volunteer in Lifespring, serving on the Board of Directors, as Coordinator of the Events Committee, and often as a class manager.

Most often when we hear the word backpack, we think about pencils, pens, rulers, paper, or crayons, but not at Saugerties High School. Each Wednesday for the last two years, backpacks have been filled, not with school supplies but with food. These backpacks then go home with elementary school students in the district, supplying needed supplemental meals for weekends and vacations.

The backpack initiative was the brainchild of Lissa Jilek, Saugerties Central School District’s Business Manager, who had seen a successful program at her previous district, Cairo-Durham. In the fall of 2014 Mrs. Jilek approached Melissa Greco, Key Club Advisor, about helping create a backpack program here in Saugerties. She thought of collaborating with Key Club because of its dedication to service both in the school and in the community.

Mrs. Jilek and Ms. Greco visited the Cairo-Durham School District in March of 2015, where a backpack program had been established to supplement weekend and vacation breakfasts and lunches for needy children. After that visit, they knew that they had to do whatever it would take to provide this program in the Saugerties district. The next step was funding, and the first generous donation came from Saugerties Savings Bank.

In the ensuing months, Key Club continued to fundraise with golf tournaments, ice skating events at the Kiwanis Arena, and collections at the Garlic Festival. The Saugerties teaching staff has donated generously twice a year since 2015, and many community organizations, churches, and businesses in Saugerties have likewise given to the program. The initiative has received private donations as well.

Now in its second year, backpacks with supplemental food are distributed to 85 children at the Cahill and Mt. Marion Elementary Schools, and plans are being made to arrange for additional funding to expand the program to the other two elementary schools in the district. According to Ms. Greco, it takes approximately $200 a week to provide the necessary food for breakfasts, lunch, and a snack.

Each Wednesday a small team of five to seven Key Club members fills the backpacks. Ms. Greco has observed that because of this service project these high school students have a new appreciation for their own good fortune and that the food on the tables in their homes is no longer taken for granted, and they have a sense of satisfaction in knowing that the generous donation of their time has helped to improve the lives of many younger children in their own district.

Ms. Greco commented, “Initially our hope was to help even more children. It feels good to be able to provide for these 85 children, but it’s heartbreaking to know there is such a need here in Saugerties.” For more information on how to help Key Club with this essential program, contact Ms. Greco at
New Additions for 2016-2017
Lifespring is pleased to welcome twenty-five new members this year. While a third of these new members come from Saugerties, eleven other communities are represented, including people coming from as far away as Rosendale, Shokan, Highland, and Kiamesha Lake in Sullivan County!

To learn more about Membership in Lifespring, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions on the Lifespring website.

If you have friends who are interested in joining Lifespring, they may send a request to the Lifespring email asking to be entered on the Lifespring Interest list. They will receive an email in early summer telling them that the catalog for Fall 2017 is available and highlighting the process they should use if they wish to apply for entry to Lifespring for 2017/2018. New members are admitted based on spaces available.

This is the whimsical Suggestion Box that was created by Lifespring member and artist, Mary Alice Lindquist. Mary Alice, who worked with Membership Coordinator Susan Davis on membership initiatives last semester, says that “Art has intrigued me my whole life.” Having grown up in Pennsylvania, she originally started working with folk art, a hint of which seems reflected in this wonderful box. Look for the Suggestion Box on the Welcome Table in the lobby at WJC once the semester begins. It’s an invitation to jot down your ideas and suggestions about anything and everything Lifespring!
A Special Interest Group 
Everywhere you turn these days, there is information regarding leading a healthy lifestyle. As members of Lifespring, we know that feeling a sense of community, keeping our minds active, eating right, and getting exercise are all elements of healthy aging.

The question remains—how can we get and keep this motivation going? The answer may be this Special Interest Group formed by Lifespring member, Susan Kahl, which meets on the first Thursday of each month for discussion and inspiration. Each meeting includes focused discussions on weight management, nutrition, and most importantly, supporting each other. This group is open to all and is listed on the Saugerties Public Library website.

Details: Meetings are held on the first Thursday of the month, in the Community Room of the Saugerties Public Library, from 1:00-2:00 pm. For more information, contact Susan Kahl at

Editor:  Susan Greenstein
Contributors:  Susan Davis, Harvey Greenstein, Irene Rivera Hurst, Susan Puretz, Esther Rosenfeld
Design:  Anna Landewe
Photo: Opus 40, Ken Konrad
© 2017 Lifespring

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

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