Tag Archives: Meet Our Members

MEET MEMBER BEVERLY BERNSON: A RARE FIND!

MEET MEMBER BEVERLY BERNSON:  A RARE FIND!

by Sue Wurster

BOLLI Member Bev Bernson

 

“I guess I’ve always collected art,” Bev says about her favorite pastime.  After studying at Colby Sawyer Jr. College,  Vesper George School of Art, and then Mass College of Art, she became a graphic artist.  She then worked at Beth Israel Hospital and the now defunct Newton Times.  Her work included quite an array of creative art projects in Newton, and she was a founder of the New Art Center.  All along the way, she was exposed to art,  artists, and dealers, curating shows and buying works.

In the early 1960’s, Bev started Any Old Thing, an antique business she undertook with her long time friend Lorraine Altschuler.  “We were friends since junior high,” she says.   “We did not have a shop but, rather, traveled around New England and New York City, renting space at antique shows and, at times, other shops,” she says.  “It was a wonderful life.”  Sadly, after 29 years in the business, Lorraine passed away, and Beverly carried on alone.  In all, Any Old Thing lasted 45 years.

Now, Beverly’s home in Newton houses her extensive and extremely varied collection, all placed with care for maximum enjoyment.  A few years ago,  Bert Yarborough, an artist and professor at Colby Sawyer where Bev is on the President’s Council, saw her collection and was intrigued.  When the college decided, then, to build a new art center, he asked if she would be interested in having works from her collection be the opening show in the gallery.  “I was flattered and eager to get it underway,” she says.  “I had loaned works to other shows in the past—but never something like this.”  The show, entitled Inner Visions, features work by self-taught and mainstream artists.  At the moment, Yarborough is working on the catalogue for the show which will open on October 13 and will run until early December. “Very exciting!”  Some of the pieces to be mounted in that exhibit include…

CABALLERO by Martin Ramirez (1895-1963) –considered one of the most accomplished self-taught artists of the 20th Century.
Bird woodcut by Milton Avery (1885-1965), American modernist and abstract expressionist artist who influenced Rothko and others.
Ceramic Plate by Todd McKie, contemporary fine artist who says he tries to make the “most beautiful, mysterious, most colorful, funniest and truest” work he can. “Once in a while, I succeed.”
WOMAN by Bill Traylor (1853-1949) who was born into slavery and began to draw in 1939 to record his recollections and observations. Between 1939 and 1942, this self-taught modern artist created nearly 1,500 works.

 

Beverly is also involved in Gateway Arts, a workshop for adults with disabilities, where she sits on the advisory board and helps with fundraising.  “The artists’ lives are changed profoundly—socially as well as artistically—and the interaction is a joy for all,” she enthuses.  “We have a store on Harvard Street in Brookline Village where the artists sell their work.   It is a truly wonderful place which gives the artists an opportunity to earn money for their work and a reason to be deeply proud of what they do.”

When it comes to pride, Bev is quick to point to her family—husband (Bob), 2 sons (Peter and Teddy), 1 daughter (Julie), 2 daughters-in-law, 2 granddaughters, 1 grandson…and another grandson on the way.

As if work and family were not enough to keep Bev busy, she has also devoted a good deal of time and energy to tennis, playing regularly since her 20s.  In her 40s, she started playing team tennis (doubles only) and kept at it until she was 70.  “I still play, all year long, two to three times a week at the same club—the names keep changing.  Now it’s Boston Sports Club in Newton.  We play outdoors in the summer.”

After retiring from team tennis eleven years ago, Bev started taking courses at BOLLI.  She has taken two courses each semester and has attended several of the winter and summer lecture series as well.  In addition, she is now the art editor for the 2018 volume of The BOLLI Journal.

“BOLLI is an amazing place,” Bev says.  “The people who give their time organizing activities, teaching courses, giving programs, and doing all the behind-the-scenes work that makes it all happen are truly wonderful and greatly appreciated.   BOLLI is a gift to all of Brandeis’ surrounding communities.”

But, of course, it takes interested and committed members like Bev to keep it an amazing place!

BOLL Matters editor Sue Wurster

There’s nothing I like more than getting to know the people around me even better!  I hope you’ll leave a comment for Beverly in the box below.  It means a lot to each of our profiled members to hear from others.   (And I’d love to hear from you about YOU!)

 

 

 

 

 

MEET “PEOPLE-WARE PERSON” SANDY SHERIZEN

SANDY SHERIZEN:  “PEOPLE-WARE PERSON”

When asked what led him to join BOLLI, Sandy Sherizen replied, “Two words:  Charlie Raskin.”  Sandy went on to say that, “After hearing Charlie praise BOLLI for about five years, I finally told him that I didn’t really want to take any more courses.  Of course, that didn’t stop Charlie.  Instead, he started talking about how BOLLI has so much more to offer.  He also said that, as we get older, it is often difficult to make new and satisfying friendships.  “BOLLI fills that need as well,” he said.  That did it.

Since joining five years ago, Sandy has found getting to know his fellow BOLLI members to be completely engaging.  “I absolutely love the participants,” he says.  “There are so many different backgrounds, perspectives, and levels of joy among this group.”  He goes on to point out that “Finding such a great source of ‘people-ware’ is inspiring—and sadly missing from so much of our culture today.”  How true.

Sandy says that both taking and teaching courses has been especially satisfying for him, adding that, “I also like Lunch & Learn.”  He goes on to say that “I had neglected music, art and non-fiction in my life and now have the opportunity to take courses in these areas with talented and knowledgeable SGL’s.”  For many years, Sandy taught courses in sociology and criminology at the university level, and he has now taught four different topics at BOLLI.  In addition, he plans to start a new one in the fall.  “I used to tell undergraduate students in my classes that, if they didn’t ask me questions, I’d ask them.  There is no need to say that to BOLLI members!”

A highlight of Sandy’s BOLLI experience to date was participating in the Sages & Seekers program this past fall.  In this program, run by Margie Nesson and Brandeis professor Sarah Lamb, Sandy was paired up with “this really nice and bright undergraduate named Jessica” and was somewhat surprised to find that “I felt very comfortable sharing my life experiences with her—we had trouble stopping when the sessions were over.”  Jessica invited Sandy to several campus plays in which she had parts; he met her parents and sister; and, with her boyfriend, she  attended a service at Sandy’s synagogue.  “She’s now in Amsterdam but will return later in the summer—I can’t wait to hear her stories about Holland and about what she plans on doing next in her life.”

When asked about his “extra-curricular” activities, Sandy is quick to say that “I read a lot and am trying to somewhat limit my New York Times addiction.  Since I love politics, I hate today’s politics.  I am active in my synagogue and am currently working with a number of congregants on immigration assistance.  I used to teach ESL in Framingham and have wonderful memories of meeting people from around the world.  Finally, in my ‘spare time,’ I am a community member of an IRB (an ethics and confidentiality medical research review committee) at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.”

A strong bent for social action seems to be in Sandy’s DNA.  He worked in civil rights in Chicago in the 1960’s before teaching sociology at the University of Illinois and then coming to Boston University in 1976 to teach criminology.  He then spent over 30 years working on cyber-security and privacy issues as a consultant, seminar speaker, and writer.”

“I am divorced,” Sandy says, “and I have a son in San Francisco.  We have a wonderful and full relationship.  He inspires me and offers me life lessons.  We are cheerleaders for each other, and, after we talk or chat online, I smile.”

After talking to Sandy, I smile too.

BOLL Matters editor and “Meet Our Members” feature writer, Sue Wurster

There’s nothing I like more than getting to know the people around me even better!  I hope you’ll leave a comment for Sandy in the box below.  It means a lot to each of our profiled members to hear from others.   And I’d love to hear from you about YOU!

 

MEET MEMBER CAROLINE SCHWIRIAN:  HARDLY A STILL LIFE!

CAROLINE SCHWIRIAN–HARDLY A STILL LIFE!

Caroline Schwirian at Back-to-School Brunch

Caroline and her husband Larry met in architecture school and still maintain a firm together.  They joined BOLLI in the fall of 2015 because, Caroline says, “Larry and I tend to focus too much on work.  I realized we needed an outlet that we could both enjoy.  After some research, we decided on BOLLI where we could have both a learning and social experience.”

Since joining BOLLI, both have enjoyed the wide range of classes the program provides, “giving each of us opportunities to learn things that we hadn’t had time to study over the years.”  In addition to the courses, though, Caroline says she has especially enjoyed the summer/winter lecture series on history and music.  She has also joined the Membership Committee and assisted in organizing this spring’s Back-to-School Brunch.

Outside BOLLI, Caroline has a variety of “extra-curricular” interests that keep her busy.  “I have always loved plants and flowers,” she says.  “I never had much time while working, but after retirement, I took a cue from the book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, and decided to start a small vegetable garden.  It’s difficult to battle the rabbits, chipmunks, and squirrels, but I am persistent.”

“One thing that led me to architecture was my love of drawing,” Caroline muses.  “Unfortunately, after you reach a certain stage, you don’t get to use those skills that much in an office.  Last summer, I took the drawing course offered by BOLLI, and it helped me get back into sketching.  In her recent course on 18th and 19th Century French Painting, Suzanne Art encouraged us to try our hands at still life.” On Suzanne’s cue, Caroline went, quite literally, back to the drawing board and created the following piece of work.

Caroline’s Recent Still Life

Perhaps her most encompassing interest, though, has been the Schwirian house and the preservation of the Auburndale Local History District.  “Our home has been a labor of love for 42 years,” she said.  “It was kind of run-down when we bought it, so we have a lot of ‘sweat equity’ in it.”  She goes on to say that a small part of the house dates from 1810 when it was the gatehouse for a long-gone estate. Most of it dates from 1849, when it was one of the first houses in Auburndale, a Newton village.  The house was designed by architect Charles Edward Parker who also designed the United Parish Church of Auburndale (1857) located nearby.  United Parish is one of the few remaining wooden Romanesque churches in the area and is noted as a Newton landmark as well as being on the National Historic Register.  The composer Horatio Parker was born in the house in 1863.  Parker, who wrote primarily church music, went on to be the Dean of the School Music at Yale where he taught Charles Ives.

“Many of the homes in our area date from the 1840’s to the early 1900’s,” Caroline says.  “Many in our neighborhood feel that we are only the temporary stewards of these houses. When a number of our neighbors realized that the character of the area was changing, a concerted effort was begun to protect the houses and their history by creating a local historic district.”  Caroline co-chaired the Historic District Committee for the Lasell Neighborhood Association, and, following state guidelines, she, with others, researched the history and styles of many homes in the area and then presented the findings to the City of Newton.  “Of course, politics were involved, so it took five years of work,” she says.  “But the Auburndale Local Historic District finally became law in 2005.”   Her interest in preservation has influenced her work and led her to move on to another office that focused on preservation projects.  In private practice, renovations and/or home additions are designed to be compatible with the original structures.

Caroline, was born in Cleveland and attended Western Reserve’s School of Architecture (now Case Western Reserve University).  She was one of only two women in her Freshman class of thirty plus classmates and was one of only twelve to graduate five years later—this during a time when only 1% of all licenses architects in the U.S. were women.

In the fall, Caroline and Larry will be sharing their love of architecture when they will serve as BOLLI SGLs.  Their five-week course will focus on learning to look at architecture.  “When we can, we enjoy traveling to see the art, the architecture, and the culture of other places,” she says.  “My favorite journeys, though, are the ones that take me to see my grandchildren in Ohio and DC.”

BOLL Matters editor and “Meet Our Members” feature writer, Sue Wurster

There’s nothing I like more than getting to know the people around me even better!  I hope you’ll leave a comment for Caroline in the box below.  It means a lot to each of our profiled members!  And I’d love to hear from you about you!

MEET MEMBER ANDY THURNAUER–AND AMERICA’S FAVORITE PASTIME

ANDY THURNAUER–AND AMERICAN’S FAVORITE PASTIME

My dad knew nothing about baseball. He was born in Nürnberg, Germany where boys played soccer. Dad dropped out of high school during the Depression and came to America for work. Mom was also from Nürnberg, but she emigrated later, to escape Hitler. Coming from the same hometown and sharing some mutual friends, my folks met in New York City. They married, and after my dad returned from World War II, my sister and I were born.

As immigrants, my folks were grateful to the United States for giving them second chances in life, and they tried hard to be good Americans.  Even though German was their first language, they spoke English at home. Also, Dad tried to take an interest in America’s favorite pastime–baseball.

We lived in a suburb of New York City which, during the post-war era, was absolutely mad for baseball. So Dad took us to Yankee Stadium and to the Polo Grounds even though he didn’t understand what was happening on the field. He even bought a baseball glove so he could play catch with me. He was terrible at it, but he did it anyway.

My neighborhood was bursting with Baby Boomers who rooted passionately for the Dodgers, the Giants, or the Yankees.  The Yankees were my team, and Mickey Mantle was my hero. From around the age of six, my friends and I gathered in the local park and played ball every chance we could.

When I was ten, I joined Little League and, in a couple of years, was the starting shortstop for Cutler’s Pharmacy.  At thirteen, my friends and I switched to softball, and that became our passion. I played intramural softball through junior and senior high school as well as during my four years at Brandeis.  After graduating from college, I played in leagues for the next forty years–as an infielder and a pitcher. I played for the Harvard Coop in Cambridge and then for the Boston Children’s Museum.  But my main team was Silva Brothers Construction in the Reading Men’s Softball League.

Tom Silva, the contractor on “This Old House,” sponsored our team of Reading neighbors. For seventeen years, during my forties and fifties, I was the Silva Brothers’ third baseman. Sometimes we came in last place, sometimes in first, and usually, somewhere in between. But win or lose, we had a great time playing ball and hanging out together.

As I grew older, my knees got worse and worse. I could still get down to field a ground ball, but it became harder and harder to stand up again to make the throw to first base. Eventually, I stopped playing in a competitive league. I joined the ADD Inc team in the rather casual Boston Architectural B-League. I was the team’s pitcher, manager, and sports reporter until I hung up my cleats for good at age 60. I had entered the Teaneck Little League in 1958 and retired from the Architectural League in 2008, fifty years later.

I still get together with a few of my Silva Brother buddies on Sunday mornings. Sometimes it’s just for coffee. However, when the weather is good, we head down to the local park afterwards. We don’t play softball anymore, but when the nets are up, we stagger around the tennis court for an hour or two, playing a doubles match for what we call “the championship of the world.”

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BOLLI Member Andy Thurnauer

I spent most of my working career as a bookseller, for many years owning my own bookstore. After closing the store, I went to work as an archivist for an architecture firm. I retired from that job at the end of August, 2008. Two weeks later, I began taking classes at BOLLI. My first class was “Why Sing Plays?” led by Art Finstein which included a study of Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.” My daughter had once played “Little Red” in Sondheim’s musical, so for me, Art’s class was a perfect introduction to BOLLI.

At BOLLI, I’ve been on lots of committees and task forces and such. My favorite BOLLI activities (outside of taking classes and attending lectures) have included working on The Banner and participating in the Sages & Seekers program. 

MEET MEMBER MARTHA BERARDINO: STITCHING IN TIME

MARTHA BERARDINO:  STITCHING IN TIME

In June of 2014, Martha saw an advertisement for BOLLI’s “Scholar for a Day” in the Newton Tab.  Having recently retired, she was intrigued with the idea of taking classes and signed up for the program.  When she arrived, she found herself in a current events class that she did not think she would enjoy, “but I was so impressed with the SGL who gave us a map and spoke so knowledgeably about ISIS that I even talked during the session.”  She says the Lunch & Learn program that day was also excellent, and, consequently, she signed up for the 2014 fall term.

“Since then, I have enjoyed all the classes I have taken–with only one exception.  And since I have taken 17 courses so far, that strikes me as a great ‘batting’ average. I enjoy listening to the SGLs and my fellow classmates—everyone has so much to offer on the many subjects.  I have been especially impressed with the great selection of speakers at Lunch & Learn, and I also love the seminars during the winter and summer terms.”

In addition to her course load at BOLLI, Martha has become a “part-time” member of the Photo Club, attending some of the group’s meetings as well as their outings which she has found particularly fun to do.  She has also been taking part in the Book Group.  “The books chosen have broadened my reading selections, and the discussions are very interesting,” she says.

One of Martha’s interests outside BOLLI is doing cross-stitch samplers, a tradition in which, for centuries, stitchers have created pieces to demonstrate their skills and commemorate significant events.  “In 1976, I wanted to make something for my first child,” she says.  “I first tried crewel and then needlepoint but then realized that I liked counted cross-stitch the best.  It takes concentration, but I also find it relaxing.”  She has enjoyed making birth samplers for the babies in her life which she says some receive shortly after birth while others come along later.  “I just recently finished a birth sampler for my great niece who lives in Pennsylvania—she’ll be four in April!  And now, I am working on one for my honorary great-niece who arrived twelve days early on March 5th.”

Martha majored in chemistry in college, and after she graduated as an analytical chemist, she worked in three different arenas.  After two years in the chemistry lab at Mass General, she spent eighteen years in a Boston City Hospital research lab which then moved to Beth Israel Hospital.  Her last job was a twenty-two year stint at Biogen, the well-known biotech company.  “Working in biotech is fascinating and very rewarding,” she says. With a note of pride, she adds that “during my time at Biogen, we had seven drugs approved by the FDA.”

Martha is married to Bob, a retired high school guidance director, and the couple have two children.  Son Michael is working on his Ph.D. in public policy at UMass Boston where he concentrates on English language learners.  Daughter Jennifer, who works as a corporate recruiter, is married to Watertown Chef Mike Fucci who was recently the winner on an episode of Cuttroat Kitchen on the Food Network!

Apparently, Martha Berardino’s friends have dubbed her their “Culture Meister” because of her talent for organizing trips to drama, dance, and music performances.  At the moment, she recommends the play Topdog/Underdog at the Huntington Theatre, the Matisse exhibit at the MFA, and Charlotte’s Web at Wheelock Family Theatre.  “Right now, I am planning a five-day trip to the Berkshires in July which will include performances at Tanglewood, Williamstown Theatre, and Jacob’s Pillow as well as art museums and, of course, good eating at area restaurants.”

Martha certainly samples it all!