MY FIRST SGL
by Lydia Bogar
Liz David was my first SGL at BOLLI. Her warm words and easy smile welcomed me, an outsider, from west of 495.
Having studied many different cultures, Liz had worked in hospice for years and written extensively on the different stages of life. She taught us about digging deep and not being afraid to embrace words of wisdom from Rabbi Kushner, Oliver Sacks, and Dr. Seuss as we age.
“As your study group leader. I see us as partners and will take my lead from you as we get to know each other …”
I take frantic notes as many of these references are beyond the front burner in my brain. She openly discusses her physical activity including running, walking, and workouts with a trainer. I strain to hear every single word when she tells us her age. Really? OMG, you look marvelous.
“What does the sentence ‘home is where the love is’ mean to you?”
Liz has embraced Native American culture in her reading, writing, and lifestyle. A magnificent rug showing the cycles of life rests on the floor of her second-floor home office. Made for her 30 years ago, it features the phases of the moon, the owl, the eagle, and a woman.
To be invited into this place of refuge and strength silences me. And then there are the owls–hundreds, maybe more; many have even been sent home with friends and visitors. Her generosity goes beyond her teachings and her smile. She may be the most approachable teacher I have ever had.
“Have you ever felt that you were in a state of grace?”
Having raised five children in this large colonial deep in the woods of Sudbury, Liz and her husband Barry now enjoy the serenity of their flowers, trees, birdsong, and chimes. During lunch on their screened porch, we talked about BOLLI, particularly the evolution of classes and community in the ten plus years of the couple’s membership.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”
Liz has taught the art of legacy letters to friends and neighbors in her different communities, including BOLLI. Her approach is clear-eyed and joyful, a perspective that I am not ready to attempt during that first semester, from which the quotes above are taken. She tells us all that times change, and we change, that there is time to write and revise legacy letters.
“What about taking the measure of oneself? Fulfilled dreams/shattered dreams.”
I have learned so much in classes with Liz. And now, as someone she calls a friend, I am learning even more.
Our own “Renaissance Woman,” Lydia has done everything from teaching English to doing volunteer emergency service. She says she “hails from Woosta– educated at BOLLI.”