MEET MEMBER ANITA GLICKMAN: AND HER BLOOMING ART

Anita Glickman
BOLLI Member Anita Glickman

Works of art come in many forms–and for Anita Glickman, that form is botanical.

In 2005, Anita joined the Beth Shalom Garden Club in Needham.  At the time, her husband was ill, and she thought this activity would be creative and relaxing, which it did indeed prove to be.

A few years later, she joined the club’s board and held various offices.   In 2011, she served as the group’s co-president and then became president in 2012.  At the time, the club had 85 members, and it has grown since that point.

The group’s  main activity is doing the floral arrangements for the Temple’s religious services, but  their contributions to the entire Needham community are quite significant.  They enhance the Needham’s Vietnam Memorial, run a “Garden Therapy” program for special needs groups, and produce a popular annual antique show fundraiser.  The proceeds from this show help provide special floral programs at the Walker School, the Charles River ARC Center, and the Needham Public Library.  But the group’s most ambitious endeavor is its annual Needham Art in Bloom weekend event.

For this event, modeled after the annual springtime exhibit presented by the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, members of the Beth Shalom group create arrangements inspired by art work created by students at Needham High School.  The botanical and visual artists end up meeting each other during the exhibit, and the club honors the students’ work at the weekend’s close.  “The students are outstanding and so enthusiastic,” says Anita, who has exhibited for the past 8 years.  “It is such a pleasure to interact with them.”

Anita's Arrangement with Paula's Art
One of Anita’s Arrangements with its Counterpart

Last year, Needham Art in Bloom featured 59 pieces of art and corresponding arrangements, drawing over 2800 visitors to the exhibit.  Plans are already well underway for the 2017 event coming up this spring.

Anita joined BOLLI shortly after she retired from teaching in 2000. “It’s a wonderful program and very stimulating,” she says  “Over the years, I have met so many fascinating people and made so many new friends.”

To find out more about the Needham Art in Bloom project, go to:  http://needhamartinbloom.com    Lots of photos of the exhibits can be found at:  http://www.facebook.com/NeedhamsArtinBloom2013

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Be sure to leave a comment for Anita in the box below–your response is so welcome!

 

LEAVE IT TO LYDIA: The Pan Mass Challenge

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Photo by Lydia on Academy Drive, the town road leading up to Mass Maritime Academy.

On Friday afternoon, the riders and their bikes have suited up. They have their shirts and IDs, their water bottles, and their luggage. Their bikes are tagged and in the rack.  Every family member has a camera in hand. Water bottles fill the parking lot and backpacks. It is time for the Pan Mass Challenge.

The crowd is festive at Babson College, in a lovely tree shaded lot at the back of the Wellesley campus. Hugs are frequent as riders see their fellow riders for the first time in 364 days. Food has been donated and prepared by volunteers. Fruit, salads, pizza, burgers, cookies. Buckets of ice are filled with water, soda and Gatorade. Serious riders talk to the tech people, and everyone looks at the shirts and hats. Volunteers in blue shirts accept thanks from the riders and their families.

You could call it a party but for the seriousness of the mission–fund the care and research at Dana Farber until a cure is found for cancer.

Registration goes smoothly, thanks to the amazing, focused interns who have finely tuned the organization’s huge database. At the desk, cow bells ring to celebrate first-time riders, applauding their courage and commitment.

I have never ridden in the PMC, but, for the third year in a row, I am here to volunteer my time and cheer on the riders and their supporters. A work colleague rode in memory of my daughter two weeks after her death in 2013. Volunteering that year was painful and yet hopeful. It was something that I could do while still numb. I have been hooked ever since.

On Saturday afternoon and evening, at the Mass Maritime Academy in Bourne, signs, photographs of patients, and cowbells are everywhere. Four-wheeled vehicles crawl along, behind or beside the bicyclists, cheering the riders as they pedal this leg of the route. We volunteers make the two-mile walk from the parking area to the check-in site, and then, it’s on to the Big Tent.

The breeze from the Canal feels good.  Under the tent is enough food for the entire Yankee Division if they are here. And some may be–a number of veterans are riding, some with prostheses.  Baked potatoes with an assortment of toppings, pizza, veggie burgers, salad, brownies, beer, ice cream, Dunkin Donuts, burgers and dogs, and did I say beer?

The name of the game is carb intake. It has been a hot and humid day, and, despite the dark, threatening clouds gathering over the Canal, everyone is happy. Smiles abound. Riders head for the trailers for showers and dry clothes, and then it’s time for food. Some unpack their tents and grab a nap first.  The noise is.joyful–greetings, laughter, cell phones ringing, and rousing music from the bands who take turns on the stage.

As a retired Girl Scout cookie mother, I am working Site Beautification (aka clean-up detail).  And it is fabulous. I could do it with my eyes closed, but the friendship and joy that pervade here must be seen to be believed. Gloved hands bag every scrap of food, empty water bottle, and paper plate. To watch 5,000 people eat and celebrate their day’s work is a stunning privilege.

The riders thank us.  And I think about what they have done themselves.  They just pedaled up to 111 miles if they started in Sturbridge. They want to cure a dozen different forms of cancer, so that little boys don’t lose their mommies when they are four years old.

It is 6 p.m. and time for one of the highlights of the day. It’s called Living Proof. I am proud to stand with other cancer survivors, in our orange shirts, for a group photo and a glass of champagne. For some reason, it hits me, and the tears fall.  My daughter should be here, but she is not, so I volunteer and sweat in her stead, praying for other patients and their families.  This is a community of love.

FEATURE PHOTO CREDIT:  The Boston Globe, Sunrise in Sturbridge

BOLLI Matters Copy Editor and Writer, Lydia Bogar
BOLLI Matters Writer, Lydia Bogar

Former English teacher and health care professional Lydia Bogar joined BOLLI in the spring of 2016 after returning home from a stint in South Carolina where she dipped into another OLLI program.  “It’s good to be here!” she exclaims.  (And it’s good to have her.) 

AUGUST’S SENIOR MOMENT: On Eighty…

This month, both Eleanor and Liz share their thoughts on turning eighty.  

AT EIGHTY

By Eleanor Jaffe

 MOLDS

At first, you are placed into a mold: baby girl,                                          Then, you fit yourself into the mold; it’s good.                                  Puzzled, you find the mold changes as your body changes                And you begin to become a woman. The changes are not easy.

Later, you grow to become wife and mother, lover, nurturer.          Then another mold: the professional.                                                                   It sits on top of all the others – somehow.                                                  Time passes; you begin to break out of that complexity.                           It no longer fits; the children have left.                                                         Parts feel empty, meaning gone.                                                               Confused, like being a lost teenager again.

Later, you move toward new roles within a fluid mold:                    Trying them on: writer, artist, leader, teacher, risk taker.                      You become more confident.                                                                                This direction seems right, good.

In older age, there’s a refitting of some earlier molds,                            The roles of nurturer, giving and receiving love—                Grandmother, daughter/caretaker for an aged mother,                  Critical thinker, teacher, writer,                                                                Protector, comforter to the grieving.

I know myself.

I’m stepping up to become a wiser older woman                       Sometimes too outspoken, but what the hell!                                       Grateful for my loving family, husband, and friends.                                 For my still strong body.                                                                                     Blessed.

But no more molds.

Liz, when considering 80, chose to do so in a spiritual way, drawing upon her own religious tradition in the process.  No matter what our personal religious backgrounds might be, we can all certainly relate.

She says that…

To paraphrase Henry David Thoreau, when it comes time for me to die, I do not want to discover that I have not lived.

DAYENU

By Liz David

So, Hineni, here I am God,

Approaching eighty, amazed–awestruck, full of your Presence–

Still here, striving to live my life with the wonderment of childhood and the wisdom of age,

Still here, striving to live an ordinary life in an extraordinary way,

Because you, God, were there when I was born,

And I’m still striving to fulfill the promise of all those years ago when the seed that was me, Elisheva, was planted–

Elisheva, Oath of God.

Hineni, have I lived up to my name?

Approaching eighty, I look back and remember that there have been times when I thought, if I die now, it would be enough–toda raba, I am grateful for the full life You have given me

I still believe that, even as time passes and I have much less time ahead than behind.  And yet, I ask, is there ever enough? Is it ever Dayenu?

The words “we are led where we choose to go” speak to me, or was it You speaking to me, Holy One of Being, all along?

Was it You pulling the strings of my cosmos, pushing, pulling, cajoling as I made the life choices that brought me to this moment?

Hineni, God, here I am, still here, waiting for the next tug, and the one after that, and the one after that until You sever the thread that binds me to this earth

And set my soul free to join eternity with You—awestruck.

Dayenu–and that will be enough!

Eleanor and Liz
“Senior Moment” Feature Writers, Eleanor Jaffe and Liz David

 

 

 

TECH TALK WITH JOHN RUDY: Passwords

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We are pleased to inaugurate our new monthly technology feature!  On the first Friday of each month, John Rudy will provide us with good, solid, practical, hands-on (and off) information and advice about our computer use.  Be sure to respond with questions and topics you’d like to have John address in future articles.

Today’s subject is PASSWORDS.

Almost everywhere you go in the computer world, you are asked for passwords, but there have been enough articles recently to convince everyone that, despite this mandate, many files are not secure. So let’s hit the basics.

  • To be secure, a password must be long and complex. Using “123456” or “johnrudy” will be cracked almost instantaneously. That is why you want a minimum of 8 characters and should use upper and lower case, numerals, and special characters. That gives about 75 options for each position.
  • Do not use the same password for all your accounts. If you do, when it is cracked, you are open totally.
  • Not everything has to be protected in the same way. Worry about money. So bank accounts, brokerage firms, and any site that has your credit card should be protected most carefully–and each must be different. (Using “123456” for your high school will probably result in little damage.)
  • Passwords must be written down. That does NOT mean having a file titled PASSWORD.doc on your computer or a written list in your desk top drawer. This is really the subject of a subsequent article, but if you store them in a file, the file must be encrypted with a password; and if you write them down, store them in a non-obvious place, like with your cheesecake recipes. There are a number of good, automated programs that can address this issue. Another solution is to place this file on a thumb-drive.
  • Give your password file to your heir. This is not a joke. Someone you trust needs to be able to step in when memory issues, incapacitation, fatal illness occur.

And finally, when you dispose of your computer, remember that merely deleting a file does NOT, in fact, remove it from your system. Best Buy and other places claim that they fully wipe your drive when you give them an old computer. Here is a good article on the subject from a reputable source.

http://pcsupport.about.com/od/toolsofthetrade/tp/erase-hard-drive.htm

John Rudy
BOLLI Member and Tech Wizard John Rudy

John, a longtime computer expert and guide, provides this helpful hints in this monthly feature in BOLLI Matters.  In the comment box below, provide questions on passwords or any other computer/tech topic that you’d like to know more about in future Tech Talk articles.

john.rudy@alum.mit.edu (781-861-0402)

 

 

JULY BOOK NOOK: Three Books about Immigration

Book Nook reviewer Abby Pinard is back–this time, with three books about immigration.

A REPLACEMENT LIFE

by Boris Fishman, 2014

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Slava Gelman is a junior staffer at a magazine that isn’t but might as well be The New Yorker, where his assignment is to ferret out and crack wise about absurd news items in small-town newspapers. Slava lives on the Upper East Side, which isn’t but might as well be on the other side of the world from “Soviet Brooklyn” where he landed as a child on arrival from Minsk (as did Fishman), where his grandparents still live, and which his parents fled for suburban New Jersey. When Slava’s grandmother dies, he treks via subway to Brooklyn and before long is trekking regularly, roped by his scheming grandfather into crafting (he’s a writer, isn’t he?) a fictitious claim to the German government for a slice of the reparations pie earmarked for Holocaust survivors. So what if Grandfather didn’t suffer precisely as required to be eligible? Didn’t the Germans make sure to kill those who did? So begins Boris Fishman’s darkly comic and very impressive debut novel.

Fishman pulls off a difficult feat in a first novel, even one so closely grounded in his own experience. He has written a book that is both funny and genuinely moving. The Jews of Brighton Beach, who survived the Nazis and the Soviets through cunning, luck and sheer force of will, are a brilliantly drawn tough lot, re-inventing themselves once again in a place where you can “afford to be decent.” Slava wants to free himself from “the swamp broth of Soviet Brooklyn” and earn a byline by writing elegant prose but in borrowing true elements of his dead grandmother’s life to fashion false narratives for his grandfather and his grandfather’s friends, he is drawn more deeply into the past and into the community he has longed to escape.

Poor, confused Slava, torn between past and present, loyalty and honor, skinny uptown Arianna and luscious childhood playmate Vera… Is he being followed? Will his fraud be uncovered? At what cost? Will he do the right thing? I loved this book. Fishman tells a good story, one with moral ambiguity and conflicting loyalties, and his prose crackles with irony and wit. If you were in any danger of thinking that the immigrant experience has been exhaustively mined in fiction, think again. Boris Fishman is a welcome voice and A Replacement Life is a wholly original and worthy contribution.

 

PANIC IN A SUITCASE

by Yelena Akhtiorskaya, 2014

second book

“The morning was ideal, a crime to waste it cooped up. They were off to the shore. That means you too, Pasha — you need some color, a dunk would do you good, so would a stroll. Aren’t you curious to see Coney Island? Freud had been. Don’t deliberate till it’s too late. Strokes are known to make surprise appearances in the family. Who knows how long…? Now, get up off that couch!

 “Pasha had just flown in last night and didn’t feel well…fourteen hours strapped into an aisle seat near the gurgling lavatory of a dented, gasoline-reeking airplane, two layovers…would have been tough on any constitution and Pasha didn’t have just any constitution but that of a poet…If he’d been smart, he would have been born a half-century earlier into a noble family and spent his adult life hopping between tiny Swiss Alp towns and lakeside sanitoria, soaking in bathhouses and natural springs, rubbing thighs with steamy neurotics, taking aimless strolls with the assistance of a branch, corrupting tubercular maidens…

“Instead Pasha was born in 1956 to a family whose nobility was strictly of spirit.”

Meet the Nasmertovs in 1991, all but Pasha planted in Brighton Beach two years ago but pining for Odessa. Scraping by in circumstances significantly reduced in status and income (both grandparents had been physicians), three generations live under one roof in a neighborhood that replicates home, even in its proximity to the sea. Gently, hilariously and mostly brilliantly, Yelena Akhtiorskaya, herself born in Odessa and raised in Brighton Beach, captures the struggle between striving for assimilation and yearning for home. Despite their urging Pasha to emigrate and join them in Brooklyn (where he won’t have to do anything but sit on the couch so they can look at him), he is their connection to Odessa, keeper of the apartment in a prime location and the beloved dacha. Fifteen years later, Frida, the youngest Nasmertov, now in her twenties and at loose ends, visits Odessa and despite finding life there no rosier feels drawn to a place she barely remembers and that her parents and grandparents fled.

Akhtiorskaya has said that her next book might be fantasy or sci-fi. Thankfully, she wrote this one before forswearing further fiction based on her family. She is a talented writer and it will be interesting to see how she applies her talent in other realms following this fine debut.

 

I PITY THE POOR IMMIGRANT

by Zachary Lazar, 2014

third book

This is a book about identity.  Its characters — some fictional, some historical — are actual or metaphorical immigrants, products of the turbulence of Jewish history. Meyer Lansky flees pogroms in Eastern Europe, becomes a notorious American gangster and, denied citizenship by Israel, returns to the U.S. to face charges. Gila Konig, concentration camp survivor and Lansky’s mistress, never at home in Israel, emigrates to New York but always feels herself a refugee. Hannah Groff, a journalist who travels to Israel to investigate the death of an Israeli writer, unearths her own family’s history as she pursues her story and wrestles with her own feelings of rootlessness.

Underlying the displacement felt by the characters is an examination of the moral underpinnings of the state of Israel and its place in the world today. Was the writer murdered because he depicted King David as the forebear of the Jewish gangster and because he compared the founding of Israel to the vision Lansky and Bugsy Siegel had of building a shimmering city in the desert of Nevada? As a plot device, that’s an easy question to answer. As a moral/political question, it’s a heavy burden for a novel to bear and it’s not always easy for the reader to stay afloat.

Lazar skillfully weaves together multiple narrative threads across oceans and decades. When I finished the book, I was thinking that all those narrative threads were confusing and the angst suffocating. On second thought, I became more comfortable with the author’s ambition. The reflection in modern Israel of the brutality and existential threat suffered by Jews over centuries makes this more than a complex story about characters looking for a home. The novel is difficult but fascinating and ultimately satisfying.

Abby Pinard is a lifelong book nut who retired from a forty-year computer software career in 2007 and ticked an item off her bucket list by going to work in a bookstore. She is a native New Yorker who moved to Boston recently to be among her people:  family and Red Sox fans. She is a music lover, crossword puzzler, baseball fan, and political junkie who flunked Halloween costumes but can debug her daughter’s wifi.

Comments are most welcome–just jot your thoughts in the box below!

CAST-ing Our Lines! Another New BOLLI Special Interest Group

Dropping by the BOLLI Gathering Space at 60 Turner Street on a Tuesday afternoon, you might find some unusual activity underway as CAST members work to discover, develop, and refine their performance skills in the dramatic arts.

An outgrowth of BOLLI’s long-standing “Scene-iors” Acting Troupe (an annual springtime course offering in which participants work on and present a staged reading of a play for the BOLLI community-wide audience), CAST provides interested members with opportunities to engage in a variety of creative drama/theatre exercises and basic acting work.

During each CAST session, the group does some warm-up pantomime followed by improvisation, concentration, and observation exercises. The techniques explored are then applied to short scenes from short stories, novels and plays as well as poetry.

Recently, after a rousing session of pantomimed catch and jump rope, the group was split into two sections who were each charged with the task of creating tableaux highlighting “the key moment” in its well-known fairy tale. Of course, at BOLLI, this meant first spending several minutes in highly animated intellectual discussion and debate about which moments in these tales are truly seminal. (In “Red Riding Hood,” for example, is it when the wolf gobbles up Red? Or is it when the Woodsman arrives on the scene? In “Cinderella,” is it when Cindy loses her slipper or when the Prince arrives to try it on the Ugly Stepsisters?) The intensity and commitment to the work were palpable.

Later in that session, various “misunderstood” fairy tale characters appeared on an improvised Dr. Phil-like television talk show to air their woes. Here, Snow White’s Queen (Judy Blatt) and Cinderella’s Stepmother (Sandy Clifford) share their frustrations with their television audience.

MALIGNED MOMS Snow White's Queen (Judy Blatt) and Cinderella's Stepmother (Sandy Clifford)
MALIGNED MOMS Snow White’s Queen (Judy Blatt) and Cinderella’s Stepmother (Sandy Clifford)

During another session, we delved into the importance of “focus” in setting any scene and applied what was learned about the use of the eye to scenes offering particular “focal” challenges. Becki Norman, Monique Frank, and Eileen Mitchell (below) take some planning time to determine how to approach George’s Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl, a story in which young George’s Grandmother downs a dose of quite a nasty concoction which gives her such a jolt of energy that she shoots up to the ceiling where she is suspended for some time.

GEORGE 1
SETTING THEIR SCENE Becki Norman, Monique Frank, and Eileen Mitchell

 

GEORGE
George (Monique) is stunned to see Grandma (Becki) in robust, rising movement.

Another group—consisting of Irwin Garfinkle, Judy Blatt, and Bunny Cohen—took on the challenge provided by The Fruit at the Bottom of the Bowl, a short story by Ray Bradbury in which a man who has just committed a murder becomes completely obsessed with removing his fingerprints from every inch of the man’s home.

FRUIT
OBSESSION TAKES HOLD Irwin Garfinkle, Judy Blatt, Bunny Cohen

FRUIT 2

After the two groups viewed each other’s work, Bunny broke into a huge smile. “This is so much fun!” she said to the rest of the CAST. Then she grinned.  “Remember when we used to just stand there and read?”

The group will continue to meet on Tuesdays throughout August and then, when the new term begins, will switch to a Friday time. Watch the weekly Bulletin for meeting announcements—any interested BOLLI member is welcome to CAST a line at any point!

MEET MEMBER DICK HANELIN: “WELL-GROUNDED” PRINTMAKER

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BOLLI Member Dick Hanelin shares linoleum prints based on his photography with the Camera Club.

At a meeting of the Camera Club during the spring term, relatively new BOLLI member Dick Hanelin shared linoleum prints he has made from photos he has taken.  The amount of detail and intricacy in his work are quite stunning.  Here’s what Dick has to say about his art.

I was an elementary school teacher for 37 years and taught in New York City and Newton, MA.   As a teacher,  I integrated the visual and performing arts into all curriculum areas.  After retirement, I took a variety of art courses and found I was most smitten by creating sculptures and linoleum prints.  Through Arthur Sharenow’s course at BOLLI,  my interest in photography was rekindled, and I have used some of my photos as a springboard for creating some of my linoleum prints.

I was drawn to linoleum prints because of the bold and graphic images that can be created through the use of contrasts.  In seeking out subjects for my prints, I am always thinking about shape, texture, line, and value. These elements of design are my driving force. That is why, for example, I find construction sites and basements (not your typical subjects) as fertile ground for my prints. I try to create a tension and movement in my pieces by using both realistic and imaginative elements in my compositions.

The printmaking process begins with making a drawing and then transferring it onto a block of linoleum.  I then carve into the linoleum with a variety of tools that create marks of different thicknesses. After this, ink is rolled onto the block of linoleum. (For my prints, it’s black ink.)  Where I have cut out the linoleum, white lines, shapes, and textures will appear, while the rest of the print will be black or gradations of grey.  This process takes much time, but I find it very enjoyable.

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Hanelin_004_web copy

Dick and his wife Isobel, both career educators,  are now active BOLLI members who serve on the Study Group Support Committee. We are all benefitting from the wealth of their experience!

 

 

 

 

 

 

JULY’S SENIOR MOMENT: The Bright Side

Eleanor and Liz
Senior Moment Bloggers, Eleanor Jaffe (left) and Liz David (right)

LOOKING AT THE BRIGHT SIDE

by Liz David

The tune came up on my iPod during my morning “constitutional.”

Always Look at the Bright Side of Life.

I love the tune.

I step in time to the music, and I sing along as I walk.

But, how is it possible to always look at the bright side…

When my sister-in-law Miriam, whom I’ve known since I was nine, died a few weeks ago after ten years in a nursing home?

When my friends are facing life-threatening obstacles?

When the world is so topsy-turvy?

When terrorists kill and maim the innocent almost every day?

When children, old folks, and thousands in between don’t have enough food?

When our presidential candidates have higher disapproval than approval ratings?

When, worst of all, the Red Sox lose to the L.A. Angels by a score of 21-2? I mean, really!

The saying “when you save a life, you save the world” is true.

So, as elders, we need to connect our heads and our hearts,

To encourage ourselves and others to do what we can when we can,

To reach out to the people around us,

To make a difference by modeling what it is to really live, every day, until we die,

To, hopefully, save the world.

OUR TURNER STREET GALLERY: Helen Abrams’ Photography

 

AT THE TURNER STREET GALLERY:  HELEN ABRAMS

BOLLI Member and Photographer Helen Abrams
BOLLI Member and Photographer Helen Abrams

Currently, a host of Helen’s photographs are on display at 60 Turner Street.  Beginning at the stair landing where two pieces hang, viewers can proceed to the Purple Room to find an additional set of framed works which showcase her lovely work.

This is not the first show of Helen’s work.   She has had pieces in both group and solo shows at the Holyoke Center Art Gallery in Cambridge, the Arsenal Center for the Arts in Watertown, and at both the Arlington and Watertown Public Libraries.

Helen says that “Photography has inspired me to find new ways of expressing the way I see and experience the world. I find beauty in the smallest details; in the fleeting shadows and light; in the juxtaposition of lines, texture, colors and shapes. Whether traveling or observing nature, I use my camera to capture an image (of plants and trees especially) that might not be a traditional view. My goal is to bring back a glimpse of what I’ve experienced in a way that makes you stop for a moment to enjoy and reflect.”

A virtual tour of Helen’s current show at Turner Street includes:

Yellow Wood Tree
Yellow Wood Tree

“This photograph of a yellow wood tree was taken several years ago at Mt. Auburn Cemetery.  Sadly, it is no more–it was struck by lightning and taken down last year.  So, this image is a treasured memory.”

Great Brewster Line
Great Brewster Line

“I took this one last summer when we were visiting Great Brewster Island and lighthouse.  The shoes, held together with clothespins, were sitting on the lighthouse base drying in the sun.”

Helen Abrams Photography
The Stewartias
“The stewartias, my favorites, are two trees located in the Consecration Dell at Mt. Auburn Cemetery that have ‘four season interest.’  This photo was taken in the fall, and you can see the leaves turning a beautiful shade of red/orange.  But it’s the bark, which stays the same all through the year that makes me love the stewartias.  Shades of brown and gray, stately and grand.”
Old Door Lock
Old Door Lock
Out on a Limb
Out on a Limb
Twin Birches
Twin Birches
Roman Garden
Roman Garden
Birch Butterfly
Birch Butterfly

For information about purchasing images or future shows, contact Helen at hsabrams@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

JUNE SCREENING ROOM: “GREAT DAMES”

“GREAT DAMES”

by Sue Wurster

When it comes to movies and videos, my taste tends to run to all things British, and in this first installment of our monthly “Screening Room” feature, I thought I’d share a few gems starring my favorite British “Great Dames” Judi Dench, Joan Plowright, and Maggie Smith.

You may not have run across Dame Judi in the 2014 British made-for-television gem, ESIO TROT.  Based on a story by Roald Dahl, Dench plays a sweet widow living in an apartment house for mature residents.   Her new upstairs neighbor, Mr. Hoppy (Dustin Hoffman), soon notices the lovely lady as he waters the lush plants in his terrace garden.  This is a sweet, warm romance well worth searching out.

ESIO TROT

It can actually be seen online by clicking here.

In 2012, Dame Judi made a very short TV movie called FRIEND REQUEST PENDING in which she and a friend spend an afternoon exploring the world of social media networking.  A wonderful piece about love and lifelong friendship.

FRIEND REQUEST

Dame Joan Plowright in MRS. PALFRY AT THE CLAREMONT is a 2005 gem.   Essentially abandoned by her family after moving her into the Claremont Hotel, Mrs. Palfry ends up enjoying a wonderful friendship with a young writer.

MRS P

And for anyone who loves a good comic mystery, WIDOWS PEAK is not to be missed.  The lovely young Edwina (Natasha Richardson) moves into Widows Peak, where a surprising number of residents fit that description, and stirs up the social scene.  Great fun!

WIDOWS

And then, there’s dear Dame Maggie.  Ah…Maggie–she just keeps going!  Her most recent venture, THE LADY IN THE VAN is the true story of playwright Alan Bennett’s relationship with an eccentric homeless woman who parked her van temporarily in his driveway…and remained there for fifteen years.  Beautifully done.

the-lady-in-the-van

And if you didn’t catch this 2003 HBO Made-for-TV movie, give MY HOUSE IN UMBRIA a try.  After a terrorist bomb is detonated on a train in Italy,  Mrs. Delahunty, a rather eccentric romance novelist, opens her villa to three stranded survivors.

UMBRIA

One of my favorites includes all three of my cinematic idols–so, if you haven’t seen TEA WITH MUSSOLINI, it’s a must.  And if you have, it may be time for another visit.   It’s a lush, semi-autobiographical Zeffirelli production about a young boy being brought up by a group of British woman during (and after) World War II.

TEA 3

Lily Tomlin (a different sort of dame altogether) is in this one as well, and I recently saw GRANDMA on “On Demand.”  Lily plays a poet who hasn’t written since losing her partner.   When her pregnant teenage granddaughter appears on her doorstep, she is quick to rise to the occasion to help her.

GRANDMA

Share YOUR favorites in an upcoming “Screening Room” feature!

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