10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Courses

  • African Memoirs

    Sessions 2-10. Starts September 18 Perhaps the best way of finding out about Africa, a place many of us really know little about, is by reading what Africans themselves say in their memoirs. These tales all come out of the authors' lives in East, West and South Africa, authentic lives which are connected directly to forces in their countries and in their cultures. We can see what kind of commonalities emerge. These authors are all living and prolific and have used their writing to help define who they think they are (As I used to tell my high school students, “You don't know who you are until you start to tell your story.”).

    All of these books were written in the 21st century. Please read The Devil That Danced On the Water by the first session. Having done that, the reading will be around 50 pages per week and will be informative and engaging. I recommend using a 4”x 6” card as a bookmark and page citation device. The class will operate in a seminar format, and I look forward to your questions and comments.

    The Devil That Danced On the Water relates Aminatta Forna's biracial parentage, growing up in both Sierra Leone and Scotland, learning about her father's political life and ultimate execution, and her ongoing accommodation to such a fraught heritage.

    Helene Cooper's book is similarly fraught and an extraordinary tale involving US history.

    If you don't love Trevor Noah's story of growing up in Soweto, South Africa, I'll eat my hat.

    While there are echoes of the racial problems in the USA, these books are uniquely African. Bear in mind Nigerian author extraordinaire Chimamanda Adichie's statement, “I didn't know I was black until I came to the United States.”

    • The Devil That Danced On the Water by Aminatta Forna
    • The House on Sugar Beach by Helene Cooper
    • Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

    Teacher: Brooks Goddard taught three years of secondary school English in independent Kenya in the 1960s before earning his MA at Teachers College and starting his 30-year career at Wellesley High School. There he was heavily involved with the METCO and ABC programs. In his adult education avatar he has taught several courses in African history and African literature as well as the history of the Silk Road and Central Asia. Last semester he taught The 1619 Project book.

  • Lectures on Diverse Topics

    WWLL is fortunate to have access to distinguished people who volunteer their time and expertise to give lectures on an eclectic array of topics.

    Course Organizers: This course was organized by Ann Dolbear, Stephen Engler, Barbara Mason, and Bruce Belason.

    Below is a summary of dates, lecture titles, and speakers. For the entire lecture description and speaker bio, click on the “+” symbol to the right of the course title. To hide the information accessed, click again on either the lecture title or the “+” sign to the right of the title.

    • September 11

      Yellowstone celebrated its 150th birthday as the oldest national park in the world in 2022. Many of us think of Yellowstone merely for its natural beauty, wildlife, and as a place for recreation. Yet it has its own unique history. Early white visitors to the area left descriptions of what would become Yellowstone National Park decades before it became one of America's most visited scenic places. During the fur trade era it was visited often by mountaineers as they worked to make a living as trappers. A few of those men left written records of what they saw and experienced there, giving us our first word portraits of Yellowstone.

      Mountain Men Daniel Potts, Warren Ferris, and Osborne Russell ventured into Yellowstone during the rendezvous era (1825-1840) and wrote letters, kept diaries, and drew maps of their experiences. Their writings piqued the interest of eager readers with their harrowing accounts of the life of a trapper, their encounters with Native Americans, and their vivid descriptions of both Eden-like and Infernal regions in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Their descriptions played a role in future governmental exploration that resulted in the creation of the world's first national park in 1872. Documents that Buckley will highlight include the letters of Potts, journal and map of Ferris, and diary of Russell, along with the Yellowstone and Ferris/Lovejoy collections in the Harold B. Lee Library's L. Tom Perry Special Collections at BYU.

      Speaker: Jay H. Buckley grew up on ranches in Bridger Valley, Wyoming, and the Uinta Mountains. He received an MA in history at BYU before earning his PhD at the University of Nebraska. Buckley is an Associate Professor of History at Brigham Young University, where he teaches United States, American West, and American Indian history courses and coordinates the American Indian Studies minor. He is the director of BYU's Charles Redd Center for Western Studies and is president of the Utah Valley Historical Society.

      Buckley is the author of the award-winning By His Own Hand?: The Mysterious Death of Meriwether Lewis.

      He is the co-author of 8 other books, including:

      • William Clark: Indian Diplomat
      • Zebulon Pike, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West
      • Great Plains Forts (to be released in the fall of 2023)

      Buckley served as President of the national Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation (2011-12), which provides leadership on scholarship, education, and conservation pertaining to the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. His article upon which this presentation is based was published in the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Journal in 2022.

    • September 18

      Today's tropical rain forests, some of the most pristine, wildlife-rich places left on earth, are facing serious environmental challenges. In this talk, photographer Mark Hopkins documents why these forests are of such importance to the planet's health and explores how deforestation and other human-induced threats are challenging their very existence. He records how, as an Earthwatch volunteer, he assisted biologists working in the Amazon region to assess the health of Peru's forest and rivers, and to teach the indigenous people how to sustain an equilibrium that can keep the forest healthy for generations to come. He also explains in non-technical terms the Atmospheric Oxygen Cycle that is the basis for all life and the reason why the health of tropical rain forests is so vital to the planet. His discussion covers both the worldwide damage that environmental exploitation has caused and the future outlook for these critically important forests.

      Speaker: Mark Hopkins is retired from a career as an advertising agency executive and freelance business writer. After retirement, he acquired his first digital camera and has since had his award-winning art photography featured in many exhibitions and juried competitions. Widely traveled and a frequent speaker in the New England area, he has published several books of his photography, nature cartoons, and poetry. Mark is a graduate of Brown University.

    • October 2

      The nineteenth century witnessed a transformation in the practice of medicine from poorly educated physicians practicing traditional but unproven treatments to one based on science practiced by educated physicians. But when are discoveries accepted and who decides? A president died while in the care of physicians whose prestige was based on outdated approaches and an assassin was hung as a result of a death that the doctors may have caused.

      Speakers: Dale Magee, MD is a retired Obstetrician-Gynecologist with an interest in medical history. His interest started with a used book that his wife bought for him during his residency. He began collecting antique medical books and instruments, reading on the topic, organizing medical history trips, a book club and gives an occasional talk. He is curator of the Worcester District Medical Society.

      In addition to practicing for over 35 years, he has functioned as president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, the Worcester District Medical Society, Medical Director of an independent physicians' group and Commissioner of Public Health for the City of Worcester. He also worked on an infant mortality task for Worcester for over 15 years, reviewing all infant deaths and stillbirths and providing reports and perspective. He was elected to 4 terms on the Shrewsbury School Committee retiring from that in 2022.

    • October 16

      This richly illustrated talk by Margie Yamamoto tells the story of the Japanese incarceration during World War II as seen through the eyes of a Japanese American family. It follows their passage from immigration in the 1890s through imprisonment during the war years and documents how they rebuilt their lives. Beyond describing the incarceration experience of a single family, the talk focuses on the plight of the 120,000 Japanese - two-thirds of them American citizens - who were imprisoned by a Presidential order deemed by many to be in violation of the US Constitution

      Speaker: Margie Yamamoto, a Concord resident, is a member of the family featured and was incarcerated at the age of two months. She is the past co-president of the New England Chapter of the Japanese American Citizens League and is retired after 40+ years in communications and public relations, most recently at GBH.

    • October 23

      Why are Central America's subsistence farmers leaving everything behind to seek asylum in America? This talk, illustrated with the speaker's photography, takes the audience to a mountain village in Honduras where American volunteers are helping its residents overcome the ravages of extreme poverty. The narrative describes the challenges they face—lack of education, poor health, polluted water sources, and a corrupt government—and follows the villagers' progress as they work with American volunteers to better their life. Along with documenting their many successes, it also introduces a dismaying new problem—climate change—that is causing drought and raising the prospect of emigration for the village's farmers. Finally, the talk explores the rigors that today's migrants face when they attempt to seek asylum at the U.S. Border.

      Speaker: Mark Hopkins is retired from a career as an advertising agency executive and freelance business writer. After retirement, he acquired his first digital camera and has since had his award-winning art photography featured in many exhibitions and juried competitions. Widely traveled and a frequent speaker in the New England area, he has published several books of his photography, nature cartoons, and poetry. Mark is a graduate of Brown University.

    • October 30

      Note: This course will start at 9:30 instead of the usual time of 10:00.

      Throughout the early part of the 20th century, Norumbega Park in Newton was the ultimate destination for thrill-seekers and fun-lovers. For 66 years, the park by the Charles River hosted canoeing, amusement rides, and explorations through its zoo and gardens. The Totem Pole Ballroom, at one time called ”America's most romantic ballroom,“ presented nationally renowned bands led by musicians including Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman, and Artie Shaw. Many couples went on their first dates there. From its Grand Opening in 1897 to when the gates closed forever on Labor Day, 1963, the legendary park drew thousands of people from all over New England. Follow the journey of Norumbega from its start as a ”trolley park“ at the end of a streetcar line to its heyday as an escape for young people to explore independence and love.

      Speakers: Clara Silverstein is the Community Engagement Manager at Historic Newton. A former journalist, she is also the author of a memoir, an historical novel, and three cookbooks. Her work has been published in the Boston Globe, Runner's World, and many literary magazines. She raised her family in Auburndale near the former Norumbega Park site.

      Joe Hunter is owner and producer at Remember Productions, an award-winning video production company. He is also president of the Newton News Foundation, publisher of The Newton Beacon, a nonprofit digital news site. A veteran of more than 20 years in the field of educational communications, Hunter's prior posts include senior communication management positions at Boston University, Boston College and Curry College. Most recently, he was vice president of communication for Olin College, where he provided overall strategic communication direction for an innovative undergraduate engineering college. He began his career as a public radio reporter, and currently, as owner of Remember Productions, is active as a producer of documentaries and public affairs programming.

      Sara Leavitt Goldberg is the Archivist/Curator of Manuscripts and Photographs at Historic Newton. In this role, she has written for Historic Newton News, the New England Archivists newsletter, and curated exhibits at Historic Newton, the Newton Free Library, and Newton City Hall. Sara is currently working with Joe Hunter on another documentary about progressive educator Nathaniel T. Allen, due out in October 2023.

    • November 6

      < class="course-desc"p>Breaktime's mission is to break the cycle of homelessness by equipping young adults with the job and financial security they need to establish housing security. Breaktime's program (Launchpad, Liftoff, and Stable Orbit) is a three-part Supported Transitional Employment program that utilizes community partnerships to empower young adults aged 18-25 experiencing/at risk of housing insecurity. Associates engage in 3 weeks of work readiness training and financial education in Launchpad, 3 months of paid job placement with our employer partnerships in Liftoff, and 3 years of continued wraparound support via Breaktime's Young Adult Services team in Stable Orbit. The Breaktime model is uniquely and intentionally designed around the 6 Essentials of Success (6ES) to support young adults in accessing job opportunities at a livable wage while equipping them with the skills, financial knowledge, and support necessary for them to acquire long-term stable housing.

      Speaker: Connor Schoen is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Breaktime—a rapidly-growing, Massachusetts-based nonprofit that is working to break the cycle of young adult homelessness. Recognized as Forbes 30 Under 30 for Social Impact and Boston Inno's 25 Under 25, Connor is a young, emerging leader in the nonprofit world with a deep, infectious passion for empowering young people with the opportunities and support they need to reach their full potential. With an honors degree in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Harvard University, Connor brings a data-informed, quantitative approach to program design and evaluation. Connor's work has been featured nationally by CBS, In the Know, and Classy, and Connor was recently elected to the Board of the National Youth Employment Coalition, where he advocates for federal funding of youth employment programs. Previously, Connor served as a Cheng Social Innovation Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School, and he was a finalist in the American Heart Association's 2021 Business Accelerator and a lead innovator at the Social Innovation Forum.

      While growing up in Westborough, MA, Connor was drawn into a life of public service as an eighth grader serving as his town's Ambassador for Project 351, a statewide youth service initiative inspired by then-Governor Deval Patrick. Through this experience, Connor was drawn into the Boston nonprofit world and gained the life-changing mentorship of people like Carolyn Casey, Michael Brown, and Charlie Rose. This experience led Connor to launch his own Service Learning Initiative in Westborough, empowering 3,000 elementary school students to lead their own service projects in his hometown. Connor's time with Project 351 also inspired him to chair the Governor's Statewide Youth Council, advocating for legislation and initiatives aimed at preventing opioid addiction, supporting sexual assault survivors, and bridging the educational achievement gap. By the time Connor got to Harvard, he knew he wanted to start his own nonprofit like Michael Brown and Alan Khazei had done. While working at the Y2Y Harvard Square shelter for young adults experiencing homelessness, Connor learned that 40% of young adults experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ+. At the same time, Connor was in his own process of coming out, and he gained so much inspiration and motivation from the brave, resilient residents of that shelter. Galvanized into action by this experience, Connor and his Co-Founder, Tony Shu, launched Breaktime in early 2018, and they have scaled it to a highly impactful nonprofit with a multi-million dollar operating budget and the catalytic support of the City of Boston, Liberty Mutual Foundation, and hundreds of other supporters. Currently, Connor lives in Dorchester, and he loves to run, bike, and garden.

    • November 13

      John L. Sullivan lived large. He had a large ego, large appetites for women and booze, and a larger-than-life personality that captivated Gilded Age America. The ”Boston Strong Boy“ was the last of the bare-knuckle boxing champions and the first Irish-American idol—a mighty symbol of ascendant Celtic power a generation after the potato famine. Grab a ringside seat to the colorful tale of the hard-hitting, hard-drinking boxer who became America's first sports superstar. Travel back in time to the birth of American celebrity culture and learn how Sullivan's decade-long reign launched America's modern sporting obsession.

      Speaker: Christopher Klein is the author of four books, including Strong Boy: The Life and Times of John L. Sullivan, America's First Sports Hero and When the Irish Invaded Canada: The Incredible True Story of the Civil War Veterans Who Fought for Ireland's Freedom. A frequent contributor to History.com, the website of the History Channel, he has also written for The Boston Globe, The New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, Harvard Magazine, Smithsonian.com, and AmericanHeritage.com. You can subscribe to Christopher's free e-mail newsletter filled with amazing tales of history at www.christopherklein.com/newsletter.

    • November 20

      In April of 2022, Jim Klumpp of Newton, MA traveled to the New Mexican bootheel with the intention of walking 2,700 miles north to Canada. While his primary goal was to hike the length of the Continental Divide Trail, he was also aiming to complete the Triple Crown of Long-Distance Hiking, having hiked the Appalachian and Pacific Crest Trails in 2014 and 2018, respectively. The CDT was by far the most challenging of the three, with scorching heat in the New Mexican deserts, soaring peaks, treacherous snow traverses, and afternoon lightning storms in Colorado, and plenty of wildlife along the trail's entire length. He wrote in his trail journal when he reached the Canadian border in Glacier National Park on September 2nd, ”Hiking the CDT was the single hardest thing I've done in my life.“

      Jim will lead you on his four-and-a-half-month journey with many spectacular pictures he took along the way.

      Speaker: im Klumpp was born with a thirst for adventure. A day after his Wayland High School graduation in 1976, he and three friends hopped on their bicycles for a seven-week ride from Boston to San Francisco. By his early 20s, he had hiked all 48 4000-foot peaks in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, at which point he began climbing them in the winter, often tenting on the snow in frigid conditions. In 2014, he left his job as a software engineer to hike the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine, and in 2018 he did it again, this time from Mexico to Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail. In 2021, he retired to prepare for the Continental Divide Trail, the third and most difficult leg of the Triple Crown of long-distance hiking. His 2022 thru-hike of the CDT nearly did him in, as he limped the final 1000 miles through Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana before having a hip replacement upon his return.

      Jim and his wife, Victoria, live in Newton, MA, where they raised their three children, all now in their late 20s.

    • November 27

      Influenced by the views of our own John Adams, members at the 1787 Constitutional Convention created a tripartite form of government with a Legislature, an Executive, and a Judicial Branch consisting of the Supreme Court of the United States and such Inferior Courts as Congress might create. Judges were to be appointed, not elected; to ensure independence, judges would hold office during Good Behavior and enjoy fixed salaries that could not be reduced. During the ratification debates, the judiciary was described as the Least Dangerous Branch of government because it had neither the power of the purse nor the power to wage war.

      But as Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall wrote in 1803, ”It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.“ The exercise of that power can have enormous impact on our country, and has on occasion thrust the Supreme Court into the midst of heated public and political controversy. Recent Supreme Court decisions have precipitated a new round of widespread debate over the legitimacy of the Court's role in our current society. One hears the phrase, ”the rule of law,“ freely bandied about in vague terms and the phrase ”court packing“ has been resurrected from New Deal days.

      What is meant by the term Rule of Law?“ Do we live under ”a government of laws and not of men“? How ”dangerous“ is the Supreme Court?

      Speaker: Attorney Thomas J. Carey, Jr. was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar in 1965 and is a member of the Supreme Court Bar. He holds an AB in Government from Boston College, a Juris Doctor degree from Boston College Law School, and an LLM from Harvard Law School. His career includes government service, private practice, and Law teaching, including courses in Constitutional Law and Federal Courts. He resides in Hingham where he has been active in civic affairs.

  • Poetry for the People XX: Pulitzer Prize Poets, Part 2

    Sessions 2-10. Starts September 18 Students in the Pulitzer Prize Part 2 course will read selections by the Pulitzer Prize winners, starting with the 2023 winner, Carl Phillips, and concluding with Franz Wright, the 2004 Pulitzer Prize winner.

    We will read and discuss the work of individuals who have earned perhaps the most prestigious single award given for the creation of poetry. We'll explore the techniques and use of language that led to their selection for this ultimate form of recognition, as well as consider what biographical events may have influenced and shaped their work.

    More important, students are encouraged to offer their views, opinions and reactions to their reading experiences, which benefits everyone and enriches the class.

    Teacher: Chuck Kamar has a bachelor's from Boston State and his master's from Boston University. He has taught English at all secondary grade levels, the last 20 at Newton North High School. In 1998 he won the Paul E. Elicker Award for Excellence in Teaching.

  • Wollen Sie Deutsch Sprechen?

    An hour of conversation for students of German and for German speakers. Basic knowledge of the German language is necessary. We read stories, newspaper/magazine articles and poems. Participants write short essays, which we correct in class and use as a basis to review or teach grammar points. Talents represented in the group make for a lively class.

    Teacher: Renate Olsen, B.A., M.A. New York State University at Albany, has taught English and German in high school. She had a Fulbright scholarship in Germany.

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM Courses

  • Bright Moments of Jazz & 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 Aretha Franklin, Michael McDonald, Elvis, James Brown, Fats Domino, the Temptations, Stan Getz, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald and B.B. King. You will expand your jazz and rock music appreciation and have fun doing it. Come and share your bright moments.

    Teacher: Tom Doran is a bassist/vocalist who plays soul, funk, blues, jazz and rock. In retirement he loves to play music and make abstract art. He loves to talk about music, so if you do too, please join!

  • Moore–to–Say with David

    A wide ranging discussion and analysis of the week's news stories including the domestic political landscape, foreign affairs, and the economy. Each Friday an email will be sent out with links to stories I have found particularly pertinent to that week's news. Given Trump's indictment, the '24 election landscape, the war in Ukraine, and Chinese-US relations we should have plenty to talk about.

    Teacher: David Moore received his master's degree in American Studies from Boston College in 1966. He taught in the History Department at Newton North High School receiving the Charles Dana Meserve outstanding teacher award in 1993. His particular historical interests include classical Greece, American Studies, fin de si├Ęcle Europe, and the Holocaust.

  • Sacred Song: Poetry and Song of/about Five World Religions

    Sessions 2-10. Starts September 18 All world religions have used poetry and song as a way of worship and expression of beliefs. We will look at works from Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam, from the Psalms of David to the lyrics of Leonard Cohen. Using an anthology* compiled by the teacher, there will be intros to each religion and suggested points for discussion, with the class being predominantly discussion.

    *This 160-page anthology will be provided free in digital format to all registrants. If you want a hardcopy and can't make one at home, WWLL will provide one for $27 (in addition to the registration fee of $25) if we receive your order by Sept. 11th.

    To order a hardcopy, the procedure is:

    • Register for the course via the REGISTRATION page of the website.
    • Send a $27 check (made out to WWLL) to: WWLL, P.O. Box 484, Weston, MA 02493. Include a note asking for the hardcopy. Be sure to include your postal address, phone number, and email address.
    • The hardcopy will be postal mailed to you. Due to the logistics, we cannot guarantee receipt by Sept. 18.
    • Checks received for orders not fulfilled will be returned to you.

    Important Note: As with all WWLL Zoom courses, so that the teacher (who lives in the U.K.) can focus on teaching, this course requires that at least one registrant (preferably two or more) volunteer to be the Zoom host. WWLL will provide any training necessary. To volunteer, check the “Willing to be the Zoom host” box on the Registration form. For more information on the responsibilities of a Zoom host, send an email to zoomsupport@wwllcourses.org.

    Teacher: Carol Shedd has degrees in English literature, library science, and religion. For 12 years she was director of outreach at Harvard's Center for Middle Eastern Studies and has led courses at several lifetime learning programs.

  • Science in the News

    Sessions 1-5. Starts September 11 Discoveries and exploits in science fill the news. They enthrall the imagination, but can lead to bewildering questions about how they work and what they mean for our future. We'll tackle a variety of topics of current interest, from genetic engineering to the effects of a strong El Nino on changing weather patterns, and the challenges of AI. We'll shed light on issues of science and technology important to our understanding of the modern world. Join us as we discuss the most up-to-date science in a clear, concise manner that is both thought-provoking and fun.

    Note: Since this course only lasts the first 5 sessions (i.e. weeks), at the end of Session #5 you will be given the opportunity to join another class (on a space-available basis) for the remainder of the semester at no additional fee.

    Teacher: Frank Villa taught physics and ran his own company that designed laboratories. He has lectured on a range of scientific topics for many years.

  • Stories of Conflict as Seen Through a Narrator's Lens, Part XVI

    We will discuss how narrators' perspectives affect our appreciation of works including selected sonnets by Shakespeare. Our emphasis will be on DARK TIDE The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 by Stephen Puleo and Shakespeare's King Lear.

    Teacher: Helen 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 president of the New England Scholastic Press Association.

  • Writing Your Story: (Memoir, NOT autobiography)

    Maximum Enrollment: 20 If you enjoy writing and sharing stories of your life with a community of writers that will give you constructive feedback, this class may be for you. If you are writing a memoir or simply want to share your stories with your children and grandchildren, most writers find being part of the group inspires them to write more regularly. The best way to learn about memoir writing is to listen to other writers' stories. Everything shared is confidential. Writing is done at home and shared in class. 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. Her memoir, Clearing in the West: Navigating the Journey Through Loss, Grief and Healing, was published in July 2021.