10:00 AM-11:00 AM Courses
Guest speakers provide historical background and depth to issues in the news. Readings will be provided, and participation from the class through comments and questions encouraged. Selected talks from earlier series are aired on local cable television and YouTube.
- Sept. 9: Lynn Croft, professional health care advocate, "How to Talk to Your Doctor and Take a More Active Role in Your Health"
- Sept. 16: Jay Turner, associate professor and director, Environmental Studies Program, Wellesley College, "Climate Change and History of U.S. Environmental Politics and Policy"
- Sept. 23: Harriet Goldin, president of the Goldin Foundation for Excellence in Education, "Philanthropy: A Personal Approach"
- Oct. 7: John Dirlam, past president, Wellesley Historical Society, "History of Violence and Unrest in America"
- Oct. 21: Thomas J. Ouellette, President, Ouellette Wealth Management: "Cybersecurity and Identity Theft: What a financial planning firm is recommending its clients do, and 5 steps you can do to tighten up your own security"
- Oct. 28: Nicole Freedman, director of transportation and planning, City of Newton, "Bicycle Paths"
- Nov. 4: Joe Weisse, retired public information officer for the Mass. Commission for the Blind, "Support for the Visually Impaired: A Half-century of Technological Advance"
- Nov. 18: Steven Koo, admissions department, Boston College, "The College Admissions Landscape: Past, Present and Future".
- Nov. 25: George Hall, professor of economics, Brandeis University, "Alexander Hamilton’s Financial Plan and Its Legacy"
- Dec. 2: Alan Schechter, professor emeritus, political science, Wellesley College, "Freedom of Speech in the Era of Social Media"
N.B. Owing to circumstances beyond our control, speakers and topics are subject to change at short notice.
Course Coordinators: Ann Dolbear, Marian Stevens and Jill Strang
Bright Moments Of Jazz And Rock
This course celebrates the great bands and stars of pop, rock and jazz. We will listen to recordings, watch videos and talk about a wide variety of musicians and bands. Social, historical and musical context will be provided. Examples of the artists included are Fats Domino, Bob Dylan, Beatles, Bonnie Raitt, Miles Davis, Elvis Presley, BB King, Charlie Parker, Carole King, Adele, Sting, Tower of Power and James Brown.
Teacher: Tom Doran is a bassist/vocalist who has played locally for 48 years. He loves to talk about and play music, so if you do too, please join!
Greater Boston Cultural Institutions
Boston, a major cultural center, boasts a wealth of museums, libraries, gardens, historic destinations, art galleries, authors, etc. The following will visit WWLL this semester:
- Sept. 9: Collings Foundation, Hunter Chaney, director of marketing
- Sept. 16: "Park Street: A Mirror of Boston for Centuries," Rose A. Doherty, author and president emerita, Partnership of Historic Bostons
- Sept. 23: ArtsBoston, Catherine Peterson, executive director
- Oct. 7: "New Art, New Music," Boston Symphony Orchestra, Robert Kirzinger, associate director of program publications
- Oct. 21: Historic Boston, Inc., Kathy Kottaridis, executive director
- Oct. 28: The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, Andrew Gapinski, head of horticulture
- Nov. 4: Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site, Garrett Cloer, supervisory park ranger
- Nov. 18: The Confederate Monument in Boston Harbor, Boston African American National Historic Site, Shawn P. Quigley, national park ranger
- Nov. 25: TBA
- Dec. 2: Conservation Now: How to Rescue a Shipwrecked Mother and Child, Worcester Art Museum, Erin Corrales-Diaz, assistant curator of American Art.
Course organizers: Fran Weisse and Gloria Zalosh
Learning To Express Yourself In French
Using selections from literature to be distributed as a basis for conversation, we learn to narrate in French the action in those selections, and to describe the characters, the setting and the meaning. We will then apply our new knowledge to events in our personal lives. An intermediate level of French capability is required.
Poetry For The People, Part XIII: African-American Poets
The class will read and discuss a selection of poems that reflect the experiences, views and issues of black poets throughout the history of the United States. As with other Poetry for the People classes, contributions from class members are welcome and will enrich and enhance our understanding and appreciation of the poems we read.
Teacher: Chuck Kamar received his bachelor’s from Boston State and his master’s from Boston University. He taught English for 34 years in the Newton Public Schools, the last 20 at Newton North. In 1998, he won the Paul E. Elicker Award for Excellence in Teaching.
The Truth Behind Western Gunslingers *
Sessions 3 – 10, starts September 23
This course describes the life and times of eight gunslingers who lived in the American West in the late 19th century. All are well known in American popular culture. Four are "Good Guys" and four are "Bad Guys". They, and the American West, have been portrayed extensively in movies and other media, often to broad exaggeration, but recently by a tendency of uninformed debunking. This course will present the unvarnished truth as best as possible from historical records.
- Sept. 23: Wild Bill Hickok
- Oct. 7: Wyatt Earp
- Oct. 21: Buffalo Bill Cody
- Oct. 28: Annie Oakley
- Nov. 4: Jesse James
- Nov. 18: Billy the Kid
- Nov. 25: Belle Starr
- Dec. 2: Butch Cassidy
Teacher: Daniel Seligman is a retired engineer, having worked for high technology firms in the Route 128 complex. His real love is the history of the American West. He has read and traveled extensively and authored magazine articles.
Turning Points In American History
What if William Pitt the Elder’s colonial program had prevailed and not that of Charles Townshend? We might very well be a member of the British Commonwealth today. There are instances when an individual and/or a series of events prompt a significant change in the course of history. Elections, such as that of Rutherford B. Hayes in 1877, have altered the trajectory of our political and social history. We will examine these and eight other tipping points in America’s story that have brought us to where we are today.
Teacher: David Moore taught in the history and social sciences department at Newton North. He received his master’s from Boston College. He won the Charles Dana Meserve outstanding teacher award in 1993. His particular history interests include classical Greece, American studies and the Holocaust.
Wollen Sie Deutsch Sprechen?
An hour of conversation for students of German and for German speakers. Basic knowledge of the German language is necessary. Talents represented in the group make for a lively class.
11:30 AM-12:30 PM Courses
A History Of God *
Sessions 4 – 10, starts October 7
We continue discussion of Karen Armstrong’s book, A History of God. Topics include What can we learn from medieval philosophy? What is mysticism? What was the Enlightenment? What did Nietzsche mean by the death of God? What is the future of belief in God?
Teacher: Rabbi William E. Kaufman, Ph.D. Boston University, is rabbi emeritus of Temple Beth El in Fall River.
Climate Change And Energy Sources *
Sessions 6 – 10, starts October 23
Today’s world faces a complex dilemma: exponential increase in energy use, mainly from fossil fuels, due to rapid increase in both population and per capita energy usage. The dependence on fossil fuels poses two crucial issues: their eventual depletion, and global warming that will cause drastic climatic changes. The largest and most advanced non-carbon source of energy, nuclear power, lacks public confidence due to safety concerns. The extensive use of renewable sources such as solar, wind and tidal requires major investment and has geographic limitations. In this course we will discuss these issues in historical, technical and social contexts.
Teacher: Bob Loebelenz is a retired physician deeply concerned about the effects of the above issues on ensuing generations. He has become part of Al Gore’s Climate Reality program with access to its visual aids, and has installed pioneering photo voltaic and wind-electric systems on his own property.
This course presents a variety of historical topics.
- Sept. 9: Erasmus Darwin Leavitt, a 19th century Cambridge MA steam engineer who designed and built the world’s largest municipal water pumps, by Eric Peterson, director, Metropolitan Waterworks Museum.
- Sept. 16: New England Earthquakes from 1638 to the present, by author and Boston College professor John Ebel.
- Sept. 23: After Emily, the story of two women who brought Emily Dickenson’s poems to the world, by author and Tufts professor Julie Dobrow.
- Oct. 7: The Spanish-American War, the dawn of the American overseas empire and its geopolitical consequences, and associated effects on mail activities, by Dr. Yamil Koury of Dana Farber and president of the Postal History Society.
- Oct. 21: The sinking of the USS Indianapolis with the loss of about 900 men, the Navy’s worst ever, just two weeks before Japan’s surrender and shortly after delivering an atomic bomb to Saipan, by Bob Begin, retired paper company executive and amateur historian.
- Oct. 28: Description of the exhibit marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day, 1944, at The International Museum of World War II, Natick MA, by education director Susan Wilkins
- Nov. 4: The Hero of the Halifax Explosion: Abraham Ratshesky of Boston, led relief efforts in 1917 to care for the victims, by Stephanie Call of the Jewish Heritage Center of the New England Historical Genealogy Society.
- Nov. 18: Megan Marshall, a Pulitzer prize winning biographer of Margaret Fuller, Elizabeth Bishop and the Peabody Sisters, will discuss one of her books.
- Nov. 25: The Apollo Heat Shield: designed and built in Lowell, MA, by retired aerospace engineer Bruce Belason who participated in the program.
- Dec. 2: Ben Franklin, the Rabbi and the Freemasons: an unlikely tale of how part of Franklin’s life code was incorporated into some Eastern European Jewish sects, by Dr. Michael Shire, a Hebrew College dean.
Course organizer: Bruce Belason
Science For The Rest Of Us *
Sessions 1 – 5, starts September 9
This course explores scientific principles underlying common events experienced in everyday life, and expands the discussion to understand more complex related principles at the heart of science. Example: If we know why a baseball curves, we can understand why an airplane flies and how hurricanes form. From grandfather clocks to spaceflight, from table salt to nuclear power, from the workings of a digital camera to the mysteries of the rainbow, a different familiar topic will be explained each week. Join us as we discuss relevant science in a clear, concise manner that will be both thought-provoking and fun.
Teacher: Frank Villa has taught physics and runs his own company that designs laboratories. He is also a commercial pilot.
Stories Of Conflict As Seen Through A Narrator’s Lens, Part XI
We will discuss how narrators’ perspectives affect our appreciation of works including ‘Tis by Frank McCourt, Shakespeare’s Hamlet, and Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard.
Teacher: Helen F. Smith has taught at the Winsor School, Newton North and in Armenia, Hungary, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Georgia, Romania and Zambia. A Smith College graduate, she edits texts about writing and journalism. She is the executive director of the New England Scholastic Press Association.
The Protest Play
Originally all plays were classified as either comedy or tragedy, as represented by the masks that constituted their visual images. As time went on, sub-genres such as satire, history plays and melodrama were introduced. Concurrently, anxieties about the human condition engendered what can be defined as the protest play, an attack on the various abuses—political, religious, social—that have undermined a desire for community, consensus and freedom that still remains unfulfilled.
Four examples of protest plays dating from classical antiquity to recent times have been chosen:
- Aristophanes—Lysistrata, tr. Donald Sutherland
- Brecht—Mother Courage and Her Children, tr. Eric Bentley
- Anouilh—Antigone, tr. Louis Calantiere
- Miller—The Crucible.
We will discuss both the plays and the contexts that gave rise to them. The thespians among us will be encouraged to prepare and present crucial scenes.
Teacher: Lois Ziegelman, Ph.D., Brandeis, is a professor emerita from Framingham State College, where she taught World Literature and Drama for 31 years. A recipient of five fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, she has studied, taught and performed works from Classical Antiquity through the 20th century.
Writing Your Story (Memoir, Not Autobiography)
Our memories are an essential part of who we are. This class is a community for those with stories to tell and reasons to write them down—to recapture treasured moments, leave a record for family and understand the past. Writing is done at home, then read aloud in class; comments focus on helping the writer. For those who can stay, the class extends to 1 p.m.
Leader: Sue Edgecomb, retired from teaching for 35 years in the Wellesley schools, has participated in Amherst Writers and Artists workshops for 12 years. She is currently writing a memoir and was recently published in The Boston Globe Magazine.
Some courses meet fewer than 10 times. The fee is still $60. But, registrants in these courses may attend any other course that meets at the same time for the other weeks of the semester.