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 LIFESPRING: Saugerties Adult Learning Community
VOLUME III: ISSUE 3    November 2016
It’s the harvest time of year when the sun is lower in the sky and the October light sheds its golden glow over the landscape. Who can resist these crisp, sunny days and cool nights, which hardly hint at the season that will follow (we won’t even mention its name for fear that it might arrive too soon).

This issue is chock full of interesting features, not unlike the autumn season itself. Lifespring has transitioned successfully thanks to so many of you who stepped up to take on a variety of different volunteer jobs that opened up with the stepping down of Arzi McKeown, Fran Jacobson, and Barbara Kahl. Kudos to those three mega-volunteers and the incredible work they did to support our organization.

As always, the newsletter is a work in progress, and this issue is no exception. Our goal is to continue to provide stories about things and people that are interesting to you. In this issue you’ll find regular features, including the President’s Message, the Library Corner, a Mystery Photo, a recap of the Annual Meeting, another suggestion for Easy Walks, the selection of wonderful photos and poetry submitted by Lifespring members, and a reprise from the Let’s-Get-A-Move-On team about exercise resources in our communities. One of our favorite features, Meet the Presenters: the Five-minute Interview, highlights the inimitable Vivi Hlavsa.

New this issue is a Book Review, a note about our upcoming Winter Presentations, and an announcement about the formation of special interest groups.

Finally, we encourage all of you to submit an article for publication in the newsletter on a topic that you find of interest and would like to share with all the members. It can be about a special place you’ve visited, your philosophical musings, or even a very short story. Remember, too, that each issue we invite the poets and photographers among you to submit your work for upcoming issues, and we thank those of you who have already done just that.

Enjoy! And let us know what you think about the newsletter or share with us any comments you may have for future issues. Send any and all correspondence to me at

The five-minute interview
Read more below
Dancing through change
Read more below
Reflections from our readers
Read more below
Brief encounters
Read more below
My Name is Lucy Barton
Read more below
Poet's Walk
Read more below
Friends of Historic Saugerties
Read more below
Nourishing our bodies
Read more below
MYSTERY PHOTO: What and where is this featured mystery artwork?
 photo by Michael Sullivan Smith
Find out below
Our 2016-2017 academic year has begun, and I thank you all, on behalf of the Lifespring Board of Directors, for the assistance you provided this past year. The transition these past few months from an organization where a few people did a tremendous amount of work to a more egalitarian volunteer model was successfully accomplished because you were willing to step forward and take on a multitude of assignments. THANK you ever so much!

As we move forward with this new model, we will be busy tweaking it. To help in this endeavor, an Ad Hoc Strategic Planning Committee with many tasks to work on has been created under the direction of Vice-President Marv Beach. Do not be surprised to find in your email next spring a new set of Lifespring By-Laws incorporating the work of this Committee. Your approval will be sought at that time!

In the meantime, I hope you are as happy as I am that our 2016 fall term is in full swing. I look forward to continuing to see all of you in the classrooms, the newly designated hospitality room, and in your most appreciated and valuable volunteer roles.

The five-minute interview
This issue features Vivi Hlavsa, one of our most-admired presenters, who this semester is teaching a course on the writings of William Faulkner. A poet, English professor, and an active volunteer, Vivi’s accomplishments and interests are as far-ranging as her insights and humor.

Doylestown, Pennsylvania, the county seat of Buck County

Alma Mater(s)
I did not graduate from high school, but I got a BA, an MA, and a Ph.D. in English Literature, all from Queens College in New York City. (After I left high school, I looked for a college that would accept me without a degree.)

Careers you’ve had or have or jobs you’ve done
I’ve had a lot of careers. I write poetry and have had three books of poetry published. I taught English at Queens College. I tutor learning disabled young people and adults. Also, I’ve been a very active Quaker, and I’m now organizing and running day trips for the American Association of University Women (AAUW). I have a very active volunteer life, and I feel privileged to do things that I like and to work in areas that I enjoy.

Favorite kind of music
I listen to classical music, but everyday my son emails me some kind of rock or blues or folk music; I love getting these each day and I love hearing the range of his interests in music.

Favorite book read in the last year (or ever
I just reread The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, which is certainly one of my favorite books.

Favorite movie
All the films of the Dardenne Brothers from Belgium
Editor’s note: Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne may be considered Belgium’s greatest living cultural export and some of the world’s finest film makers. Born in the industrial town of Seraing, close to Liege, they have been directing films and documentaries since the mid-‘70s. Moving on to fiction films in the late ‘80s, they are widely appreciated for a signature neo-realist style, handheld shots, in media res openings, and stories of industrial urban plight whose influence on European cinema sparked countless imitators.

Favorite painting or artist

A guilty pleasure that you are willing to share with the readers

One important thing you’ve learned throughout your life that you’d like to share
In my marriage the important thing we worked out was “no blame,” no matter what happens.

Time travel destination — if you could travel either back or forward in time, where would you go and why
I am very happy now! So I would choose the current time, but with a 25-year-old body.



In 2015, News & Views contributor Esther Rosenfeld interviewed Vivi for a short article on her Faulkner course. Here is an excerpt from that interview:

Vivi Hlavsa, a remarkable woman, has lived in the Hudson Valley for the past 30 years. Like so many of us, she began as a weekender, but soon she and her husband were caught by the beauty and cultural offerings in and around Stone Ridge, and they moved up from Queens, New York.

In the classroom, Vivi is deeply committed to fostering an environment rich in class participation. She asks her students to make note of certain passages, and then those become the basis for class discussion. Student responsiveness is critical to the class, and Vivi notes that even the shyest student speaks up and that “people come alive in the class.”

A full report
The Annual Meeting, held on June 8, 2016, was a bittersweet event for me. It marked the end of an era — the founding of Lifespring — by recognizing the “retirement” of several very active members of the Board of Directors. Their roles in curriculum development, Arzi McKeown; audio-visual expansion and enhancement, Fran Jacobson; secretarial/historical tasks, Barbara Kaisik; and membership development, Susan Kahl, will be sorely missed. And while some of those people will remain active and involved with Lifespring, others plan to go on to different ventures. At the Annual Meeting we recognized all of their involvement with special Certificates of Appreciation.

The rest of the Business meeting section of the event had our treasurer, Peg Nau, present our current financial condition (it is healthy), and we held elections for four open positions on the Board. In addition to Matt Ostoyich, who was re-elected as a Member-at-Large, former Secretary, Barbara Kaisik, who happily for Lifespring decided to stay on the Board, was elected as the second Member-at-Large. The election was completed with Eileen Shumbris taking on the Secretarial position, and my re-election as President.

The highlight of the meeting was a brilliant and inspiring lecture-demonstration by Brenda Buffalino, tap dancer extraordinaire. Brenda, who remains completely active in the art, presented the history and current state of tap dancing by using stories, movie clips, and live tap demonstrations. She had us “dancing in our seats” as we watched and listened to this tap dance icon strut her stuff.

I believe that everyone who attended the meeting left with a very positive view of the organization, in which we all play a part. What a day and meeting! Wonderful!

Below you will find three poems for your enjoyment. The poets are: Joyce Lissandrello, a new-to-Poetry-Place poet; and Juliette Eisenson and Marlin Klinger, both of whose poems have graced these pages in previous issues.


Marlin Klinger says that he was talking with his neighbor about religion, and he began to reflect on what is going on in the Middle East, and if there is a God, how might He feel about all of that. He writes, “This poem just came to me in sections and I was lucky enough to be able to put it into rhyme.”

Marlin Klinger

I didn’t think it would be like this
When I put it all together
I thought that folks would live in bliss
As friends now and forever.

Forest mountains tall and valleys low
With plants and trees all green
And buds in spring to help them grow
And strong limbs in between.

Then streams, lakes, seas, and rivers
I put upon the earth
With everything that they deliver
To increase its total worth.

Then people next I did create
To use this wealth and know
The wonders of this earth
So great on them I did bestow.
But now they think they are in charge
And want to rule each other
Creating armies small and large
To intimidate their brother.

So pray for me for what you need
To succeed at what you do
But know that as I take the lead
My force is love for all of you.
Joyce T. Lissandrello has been writing poetry all of her life, and she recalls that her first poem was written when she learned to print. She finds quiet — the stillness of the forest, or observing Hunter Mountain from her home, or sitting by a stream — evokes poetry, and a line will emerge. She lives in a hamlet in Green County called Kiskatom, which means “land of the thin shelled hickory nuts;” a line of poetry in itself. Joyce says that she wrote this poem in college, where she was new to dating, and it remains one of her favorites.

Already Gone
Joyce T. Lissandrello

Memories of kisses often fade away
Like silent nighttime shadows
   in the light of day
Funny, how our feelings seem to change When the misty moonlit midnight
   softly turns to rain.


Juliette Eisenson writes that she was “playing around with the word always and wondered if something could really be always?” She writes, “some words perplex me with their dictionary meanings…is there an oxymoron lurking?” Read and find out.

The Equation of Counterpoint
Juliette Eisenson


Too hot
Too cold
Too high
Too low
Too much
Too little

What be your position?
Though in opposition
Words of no time
With diction clever.


We encourage all of you to submit your poems for publication in the coming issues of News & Views. If you haven’t submitted your poems as yet, it’s not too late to do so. Poetry Place needs poems for our January and May issues. Please submit poems to me at
Happy reading!

ESTHER ROSENFELD, Poetry Place editor
Brief encounters
Each edition of News & Views offers Lifespring members an opportunity to participate in the Themed Photography feature. This issue’s theme is Brief Encounters. The submissions we received on this topic, from four photographers, are all interesting takes on the theme, and interestingly each feature the natural world. Thanks to Juliette Eisenson, Harvey Greenstein, Mary Nevins, and Steve Zwickler for their submissions.

We encourage all of our readers to submit photos for the next issue, which will go online in mid-January 2017. The theme will be Above and/or Below. Please make sure to get your pictures in by November 30th. 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.

Juliette Eisenson, Keeping Life in Balance

Harvey Greenstein, April Sighs

Mary NevinsTrinity

Steve Zwickler
, Nature — Red in beak and talon


The theme for the January 2017 issue is Above and/or Below.
If you'd like to participate, here are the guidelines:

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.

My Name is Lucy Barton, by Elizabeth Strout
In the novel, My Name is Lucy Barton, Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout has written a powerful exploration of the often problematic relationship between mothers and daughters and the search for identity which proceeds throughout our lives.

The novel is narrated by Lucy from the vantage point of the future. It includes in its narration the benefit of hindsight and the unreliability of memory as the heroine tries to make sense of her life in spite of the power of denial and the ability of those closest to her to shroud her emotional needs in misunderstandings and repression.

Lucy Barton has been in the hospital for three weeks with an undiagnosed complication after having her appendix removed. She is away from her husband and two daughters, aged five and six, whom she misses desperately. Unexpectedly, her mother, from whom she has been estranged for years, arrives at her bedside. Lucy is now a successful writer, but her mother’s presence brings back memories of her childhood which was filled with poverty, abuse, and social exclusion.

Over a period of five nights, Lucy, who hopes for an emotional reunion with her mother, listens to tales of people she once knew — friends, neighbors, relations, acquaintances — whose failed marriages and emotional breakdowns are recounted by her mother as if they were fairy tales. While Lucy longs for an expression of love, she is poignantly satisfied with taking solace from her mother’s story-telling: “I was so happy. Oh I was so happy speaking with my mother this way.”

Absent from the evening tales are the descriptions of Lucy’s formative years which the novel provides for us in language that is visceral and heartbreaking. With the lack of sentimentality first shown in her Pulitzer Prize winner, Olive Kitteridge, Strout leads us through Lucy’s childhood. It is a life steeped not only in financial hardship, but in cultural and emotional deprivation. This is an existence devoid of books, magazines, TV, and neighbors. “We were oddities, our family, even in that tiny rural town of Amgash, Illinois.”

The sense of youthful isolation is powerful: “Loneliness was the first flavor I had tasted in my life, and it was always there, hidden in the crevices of my mouth, reminding me.” It is this loneliness, Lucy confides to the reader, which prompted her to be a writer. “Books brought me things,” she explains. “They made me feel less alone… And I thought: I will write and people will not feel so alone.”

It is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy that knits this story together. Her past, her present, her successes, and her longings are all on the page for us to experience and understand. The light of the Chrysler Building outside her hospital window reminds us that there is always light large and small in the most difficult of lives. The love of her children and friends support Lucy, the adult, and help her to navigate the gap between her childhood and adulthood.

Finally, after her mother leaves without ever expressing her love, Strout uses the character, Sara Payne, to remind us of her powerful intent. “This is a story about a mother who loves her daughter: imperfectly, because we all love imperfectly.” In a keenly observant and deeply human voice, the author shows us the Gordian knot of family, binding together happiness and sadness, solace and love.

My Name is Lucy Barton is a wonderful read and a wise text from an author who is in magnificent command of her art.

Poet’s Walk / Dutchess County
Continuing this new series highlighting easy walks in nature, Poet’s Walk, located a few minutes over the Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge and just north up River Road, is a bucolic Hudson Valley park that was originally developed in 1849, when members of the Astor and Delano families, who lived on adjacent estates, commissioned German-born landscape architect Hans Jacob Ehlers to make “improvements” on these grounds.

The name Poet’s Walk was in honor of Washington Irving and other literary figures who reputedly walked these grounds as guests. Today, thanks to the preservation efforts of Scenic Hudson, which owns and administers the park, we are all able to stroll through the meadows and forest paths and enjoy the iconic views of the Catskill Mountains across the river.

The park paths and parking lot have been recently updated and some of the paths have been replaced with sandy surfaces that are more comfortable. I found walking was pretty soft underfoot, reducing pain in my knees and lower back. At intervals, wooden beams have been inserted in the trail to prevent erosion during rain storms. The trails are dotted with rustic benches, situated in the shade, which were ideal to give this walker some respite from the hot sun, time to sip water, and to gaze at the unfolding scenery of wildflowers and cloud formations.

Around a bend on a grassy knoll, a rustic Gazebo made of wood and twigs (as are the benches) comes into view. Once inside the Gazebo, and sitting on the benches that grace the interior, I could see the Hudson River and the Catskill mountains beyond. There is a water fountain outside, perfect for filling your water bottle.

The trails curve around wooded areas and meadows. On the main path, there are no big hills to negotiate; rather the paths and the open vistas allow the stroller to enjoy the scenery and to greet other walkers. For those who prefer a more vigorous experience, there are additional and more challenging side trails as well.

I enjoyed the leisurely pace of the walk affording me time to think and time to soak in the beauty of this Hudson Valley gem.

IF YOU GO: Bring hat, camera, and water bottle. It’s best to wear closed shoes for walking on the sandy paths. You can spend as little as one hour or more time if you choose to linger and walk the entire trail. For more information about the park check out

Friends of Historic Saugerties
The Friends of Historic Saugerties (FHS), a Program of the Saugerties Public Library, is a community group whose mission is to make local history accessible to the community through a series of presentations that are free and open to everyone.

Normally held on the first Saturday of each month, these talks explore aspects of local history in the comfortable setting of the Community Room at the Saugerties Public Library. FHS talks have been going on since February of 2015; the very first one was given by Susan Puretz on Stone Houses. Since then we have covered a great variety of topics with a range of wonderfully engaging speakers. You can access a list of past and current presenters on the Friends of Historic Saugerties Facebook page. Interestingly, some members of the FHS Steering Committee are also members of Lifespring or have been past presenters, and there are often Lifespring members in attendance at these events.

If you would like to receive information on upcoming FHS presentations, please email Susan Davis ( to be added to the confidential mailing list. Programs begin at 2:00 pm and generally conclude by 4:00 pm. There is no fee and no membership required — just an interest in learning more about history!

The Saugerties Public Library also has a Local History Room with many resources to explore your personal history and/or that of our community. It is located on the Main floor just to the side of the Circulation desk. Audrey Klinkenberg, who is the Town of Saugerties Historian and a past Lifespring presenter, is sometimes on hand to answer questions or assist people with their research. Check with Audrey or the Library for specific hours or programs being offered.

Opportunity fact sheet
I know I have said this before, but allow me to say it again —

Just as we use Lifespring to stimulate our minds, we need to hang on to and nourish our bodies by building movement into our daily routine. The bottom line is that as we age, if we don’t “get a move on” as much as we can, we may face severe limitations on our movement abilities.

To assist you, I share again a movement resource created by the former Let’s-Get-A-Move-On committee.

Here are some really simple things that YOU can do, with just a little bit of effort, which will make an excellent start on creating additional movement in your life.

Lunchtime activity — during the lunch hour and after you have eaten, ask a friend to take a walk around the building or down the driveway with you. It’s a great way to burn a few calories and get some fresh air. Once the semester is finished, perhaps continue the process in your own neighborhood. It really feels good to walk a bit after a meal!

Early morning activity — Robert Fox is leading a Tai chi class at 8:15 am. It’s a drop-in class, which means you don’t have to register. Just try it one time; you may like it!

Outside of Lifespring there are many resources in our area for getting a move on locally.

Sponsored by the Office of the Aging, 9:45 am every Tuesday at the Hudson Valley Mall (meet at the Food Court). You get to choose your pace because there are two groups – Slow and Fast. You may do as many laps as you want and then go do your shopping. Very convenient and free!

Many are in the Kingston, Woodstock, and Saugerties area. For example, both IXL in Saugerties and MacFitness in Kingston accept Silver Sneakers if that’s a part of your health coverage policy. Silver Sneakers provides free gym membership; otherwise there are membership fees to join. Swimming opportunities are a little more limited. The Y in Kingston and facilities at Bard both have pools (and lap swimming) that are open to the public. Both have fees for participation.

A very good gentle yoga class is available on Wednesdays from 10:00 am to 11:00 am at the Saugerties Senior Center (Fee: $5.00 per class or $15.00 for the month). There are similar yoga classes offered at the Woodstock Community Center as well.

Offered at the Saugerties Senior Center on Mondays, 11:30 am to 12:30 pm. The fee is $5.00 per class or $15.00 for the month. The instructor is Gary Mercurio.

Exercise at the Saugerties Library with Connie Sciutto. These classes are free and offered as follows: Mondays: 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm (Fitness Class), Thursdays 3:30 pm to 4:00 pm (Step Class) and 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm (Fitness Class).

EXERCISE CLASS at Woodstock Physical Therapy, Mondays from 9:00 am to 10:00 am, free!

The Rip Van Winkle Hikers have three hiking levels from Ramblers (that do just that) to Advanced. Check out the Rips schedule at

This is not at all a complete list, but it does offer a place to begin. Please check each venue directly to make sure that times and fees, if any, are correct. If you know of any other exercise opportunities in our area, please let us know by email at

The Great Knot, which is most visible in winter and can be seen from Route 212 going west outside of Saugerties, is both “kinetic” and “picturesque,” according to conceptual artist Michael Sullivan Smith, who began this work 15 years ago. Designed to turn the topology of a rubble pile into the form of a three-crossing knot, this earthwork was one of the sites featured on the recent Saugerties Artists Tour.

Michael Sullivan Smith, who many of you may know as an avid Saugerties historian, sees The Great Knot as a statement on collaboration among the material itself, the setting, and the forces of nature, including floods and geology. These same factors guided the stoneworkers of our area quarries, a century and a half ago, and inspired Harvey Fite of Opus 40 fame as
well. Michael notes that “although Opus 40 is a large quarry and The Great Knot is small — seven acres compared to one acre — this small quarry space still contains hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of stone, block, and slab-sized rubble pieces that have been retrieved and gathered up in order to create the broad ramps and curves of the knot form. This would never have been possible without the knowledge that it had been done before with Opus 40.”

The Great Knot is far from finished; Michael has plans, at the minimum, for two sections of wall and a geometric sculpture on a monumental scale. Plans for The Great Knot pop up periodically on Michael’s Facebook page and on his website at and he welcomes visitors to either the actual or virtual sites.

SAVE THE DATE!   Warm yourself through the winter months with the camaraderie and stimulation of the Lifespring community and join us at the Winter Presentations. Held in the Community Room at the Saugerties Public Library, 91 Washington Ave., each program begins promptly at 11:00 am and will conclude by 12:30 pm. We look forward to seeing you there. Mark the dates on your 2017 calendar!

Email announcements for each Winter Presentation will be sent out several weeks before the scheduled date, at which time you’ll have an opportunity to reserve your seats.
January 4, 2017
Michael Nelson, Photographer and Saugerties resident, will discuss his trip to Cuba and share images from his recently published book.
February 1, 2017
Ronald G. Knapp, a SUNY Distinguished Professor Emeritus, will focus on the Shawangunk Mountains and their evolution through time.
March 1, 2017
Paul O’Neill, Ulster County Commissioner of Jurors, will provide an insider’s look at the Ulster County Courthouse and the New York State Constitution.
Some of our Lifespring members have expressed interest in starting Special Interest Groups (SIGs), i.e., groups that meet regularly to explore a common interest, perhaps book discussions, game playing, health issues, or other topics of interest, outside the parameters of the Lifespring curriculum. To facilitate the formation of such groups, the Curriculum Committee will, upon request, 
review them for approval and, if approved, send out an announcement via email to Lifespring members and also post a notice in News & Views, the Lifespring newsletter. If you or someone you know is interested in forming a Special Interest Group, you may send a brief description of the SIG along with your contact information to either of the Curriculum Committee co-chairs: Jouette Bassler at or Annette Zwickler at Please note that once the announcements have been publicized, the Curriculum Committee will not be able to play any further role in organizing, facilitating, contacting, or otherwise sponsoring the Special Interest Group.
Editor:  Susan Greenstein

Contributors:  Susan Puretz, Susan Davis, Esther Rosenfeld, Irene Rivera Hurst

Design:  Anna Landewe
845 246 2800 x 452
Town Hall, 4 High Street Saugerties, NY 12477
Lifespring, an adult learning community, offers a broad range of noncredit educational activities for retired, semi-retired, and other adult participants.
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Lifespring: Saugerties Adult Learning Community · Town Hall · 4 High Street · Saugerties, NY 12477 · USA

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