Tag Archives: news

CELEBRATING ONE OF OUR OWN! ARTIST SUZANNE HODES

Congratulations to Suzanne on the publication of her book!

Suzanne says that “the memoir is about the ups and downs of the creative process, its challenges and joys, its successes and failures.  It also includes over 100 color images in color of my paintings, prints and drawings.”

Suzanne was the subject of one of our first BOLLI Matters member profiles.  Just type her name into the blog’s “search box” to bring it up so that you can read more about her and her work.  In addition, she has a beautiful website you can access in order to see many of her paintings.  Go to:  suzannehodes.com  (or just click on the picture above).

The book is available at Blurb.com (less expensive) and at Amazon.

Congratulations, Suzanne–from all of us at BOLLI!

SUBMIT YOUR WORK TO THE 2018 BOLLI JOURNAL!

THE BOLLI JOURNAL

2016 VOLUME

Click here or on  image above to view contents of the 2016 Volume

The BOLLI Journal, our bi-annual art and literary magazine, offers a glimpse into the creative lives of the many writers and visual artists in our midst.

At BOLLI, we have an opportunity to invent and reinvent ourselves through our scholarly and creative pursuits.  Our writing, photography, and art courses, as well as our less formal groups, encourage members to develop and refine their expressive spirits and skills. The BOLLI Journal provides a showcase for a variety of these efforts, illustrating who we are, how our history and imagination have shaped our identities, and how we craft our lives now.

The BOLLI Journal seeks original writing and visual art from all members.

SUBMISSION PROCESS

BOLLI members may submit up to FOUR pieces of writing and/or art work (total) for consideration for publication in the 2018 volume.

WHAT TO SEND

WRITING

Any BOLLI member may submit original unpublished fiction and/or nonfiction prose, poetry, or playwriting.  Please double space and number each page of your work, but do not write your name on your manuscript/s. Include a word count below the title of each piece being submitted.   (2000 word limit.)

VISUAL ART

Any BOLLI member may submit original unpublished, high resolution digital photography. Professionally photographed, high resolution images of original drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, and/or crafts may be submitted.

HOW TO SEND IT

Work should be submitted via email although hard copy may be left with Matt Medeiros for     scanning and sending via email.  (No particular computer program is preferred for either writing or photographs.)  The email subject line should read “Journal Submission,” and material should be provided as attachments. In the text of your email, provide your name, home address, telephone number, and return email address. Send to the editor at:   Bollijournal@gmail.com.

Your submission will be acknowledged within a week of its receipt. If you do not receive such acknowledgment, contact editor Maxine Weintraub:  maxinebernice@comcast.net.

WHAT  HAPPENS NEXT

All material will be reviewed as “blind” submissions by The Journal committee:  Editor Maxine Weintraub, Marjorie Arons-Barron, Beverly Bernson, Betsy Campbell, Jane Kays, Joan Kleinman, Marjorie Roemer, Larry Schwirian, and Sue Wurster.  Other selected  jurors are also part of the process.  While suggestions might be made for improvement and resubmission of material, submissions will not be edited without permission.

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS:  JUNE 17, 2017

2014 VOLUME

Click here or on image above to view contents of 2014 Volume

 

“RADIO FREE BOLLI” RETURNS TO RAVE REVIEWS!

“RADIO FREE BOLLI” RETURNS!

“Home Cooking Jazz” DJ’s Judith Stone and Nancy Connery with Trivia Maven Sue Wurster

After the successful launch of our term’s end “Radio Free BOLLI” show last spring, the cast and crew returned for an even more spectacular lunchtime presentation on Tuesday, December 6.  For the uninitiated, “Radio Free BOLLI” features the dulcet tones of members Judith Stone and Nancy Connery who provide a weekly “Home Cooking Jazz” show on Monday afternoons from 1-3 on the Brandeis station WBRS 100.1 FM.

This time around, Judith and Nancy–teamed, once again, with Sue as trivia maven, Emily Ostrower as show manager, and Megan Curtis as technician–provided a stroll down “The Great White Way” with Broadway numbers from shows spanning the decades.  All along the way, BOLLI members won amazing prizes in the form of stunning, top-quality plastic refrigerator magnets–but the event ended with a grand prize drawing in which members won places in our winter seminars and even a spring term membership!

As the show got going, the audience did too–eventually just breaking out into a Broadway sing-along thoroughly enjoyed by one and all!  It was an afternoon of hooting, humming, and simple hilarity–so watch for the springtime version of “Radio Free BOLLI!”

Steve Messinger nails a trivia question for a round of enthusiastic applause.
Steve Messinger nails a trivia question for a round of enthusiastic applause.
Sophie Freud, Naomi Schmidt, and Joyce Holman relish a
Sophie Freud, Naomi Schmidt, and Joyce Holman relish a “South Pacific” moment
Harriet Gould and Libby Saks join the hilarity as Phyllis Freeman and Susan Bradford, in the background, prepare to take the next trivia question.
Harriet Gould and Libby Saks join the hilarity as Phyllis Freeman and Susan Bradford, in the background, prepare to take the next trivia question.
Lynn Chernoff and Hella Hakerem inspect the high quality, rare, artistically arresting refrigerator magnet awarded for correctly identifying a number from The Pajama Game.
Lynn Chernoff and Hella Hakerem inspect the high quality, rare, artistically arresting refrigerator magnet awarded for correctly identifying a number from The Pajama Game (or maybe it was Cats…)
And, finally, show manager Emily Ostrower holds the winning ticket for
And, finally, show manager Emily Ostrower holds the winning ticket for “Radio Free BOLLI’s” Grand Prize spring membership winner!

Be sure to join us for our spring edition of “Radio Free BOLLI” when we return to Broadway’s Golden Age for another rousing sing-along and trivia fest!

radio-free-bolli
The “Radio Free BOLLI” Production Crew

From left, our crew consists of Megan Curtis, Technical Director; Sue Wurster, Trivia Maven and “Gypsy” Dancer; Nancy Connery, Co-Creator and DJ Deluxe; Emily Ostrower, Production Manager and Prize Guru; and Judith Stone, the Other Co-Creator and DJ Extraordinaire.

CAST PRESENTS: “Going Solo”

During the last week of the fall term, the BOLLI Membership Committee sponsored lunchtime presentations celebrating ourselves and our activities, providing our fellow BOLLI members with entertainment, discussion, and more!  First up, that week was our intrepid group of actors providing a program called “Going Solo.”

                                                                 CAST                                                                               (Creative Acting, Storytelling, and Theatre)On Monday, our CAST Our CAST members performed monologues drawn from plays (many of them one-character shows) featuring characters from real life.  The performers provided the following glimpses of fascinating people–

CAST Coach/Performer Sue Wurster as Stein

Sue Wurster started off the program with a piece drawn from the play Gertrude Stein Gertrude Stein Gertrude Stein by Marty Martin.  The play, a single-character work, featured Pat Carroll in its off-Broadway run in New York in the ’70s and takes place on the eve of Stein’s eviction from her Paris apartment.  In this portion of the work, she talks about the inner self as well as what she was trying to accomplish in her work.

 

Monique Frank as Emily Dickinson

We then moved back in time (and place) from the Paris of 1933 to the Amherst, Massachusetts of the mid-19th Century.  In this scene from William Luce’s one-woman play, The Belle of Amherst, the reclusive poet talks about her father, her sister, and, of course, her poems.

Bunny Cohen as Amelia Earhart

In 1932, the National Geographic Society awarded its Gold Medal to Amelia Earhart for becoming the first woman (and the only person since Charles Lindbergh) to achieve a solo transatlantic flight.  In this passage from Laura Annawyn Shamas’ one-woman play, Amelia Lives, the aviatrix reflects with some amazement upon the extraordinary public response to her flight as she accepts the medal for her achievement.

Becki Norman as Vivien Leigh

In Marcy Lafferty’s one-woman show, Vivien Leigh: The Last Press Conference, drawn from the Leigh’s own words, we are given a portrait of the troubled and gifted actress not long before the end of her life.  Here, she talks about her most determined campaigns in life:  marrying Laurence Olivier and landing the role of Scarlett O’Hara.

Eileen Mitchell as Eva Peron

In a very unusual piece, First Lady, playwright Erica Christ has provided a unique look at the woman who used her position as Argentina’s first lady to fight for women’s rights and care of the poor. Here, Peron (after her death) reflects upon what it means to be a woman in Argentina…and more.

Sandy Clifford as the irrepressible Molly Ivins

Twin sisters Margaret and Allison Engel have provided a vivid image of brassy Texas newspaper columnist Molly Ivins in their one-woman play, Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins.  In this portion of the play, Ivins turns her humor on Texas politics as she tries to write about her father.

Bette Winer as J. Robert Oppenheimer

A scientist herself, Bette Winer was drawn to this particularly powerful monologue from Carson Kreitzer’s compelling play, The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer.   In this passage, the scientist reflects upon the volatile age that he and his Los Alamos crew ushered in when they invented the modern devil, the atomic bomb.

The Cast of CAST’s “Going Solo” Presentation

So, is CAST a closed group?  NO.  Does one have to audition in order to be involved?  NO.  What if you’ve never been on stage in your life but are kind of interested in maybe trying some acting–is this something you could join?   YES!  And so, how would you go about doing that?

Just watch the Bulletin for announcements of our upcoming meeting times (next at BOLLI on Thursday, January 5 from 12:00 – 1:30) when we engage in lots of fun activity–we do some warm-ups, play some theatre games, engage in some improvisation, read scenes and/or plays, and so on.  No experience necessary–just a desire to have some creative fun!

Want to know more about BOLLI’s Special Interest Groups?  Click here:  https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/33972419/SIGS.pdf

LUNCHTIME FARE for Week 10 (Dec. 5 – 8): LET’S CELEBRATE!

This week, the last of our Fall 2016 semester, is full of wonderful celebrations sponsored by the Membership Committee and some of our BOLLI Special Interest Groups.  Join us for a wonderful array of festive frolic!

MONDAY:  CAST “Going Solo”

(Creative Acting, Storytelling, and Theatre)

Seven of our BOLLI thespians will present monologues drawn from plays featuring real-life characters.  Above, rehearsal shots feature: Monique Frank as Emily Dickinson, Eileen Mitchell as Eva Peron, Sandy Clifford as Molly Ivens, and Becki Norman as Vivien Leigh.  Others include Bunny Cohen as Amelia Earhart,  and Bette Winer as J. Robert Oppenheimer!   Come and support the remarkable work of these wonderful performers!

TUESDAY:  RADIO FREE BOLLI RETURNS!

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 12.34.30 PM

Back by popular demand!  “Home Cooking Jazz” DJ’s Judith Stone and Nancy Connery take their weekly radio show on the road to 60 Turner Street.  This week’s show features great musicals through the ages.  Come and enjoy music pulled from Broadway shows from the 1920s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and so on.  Along the way, we’ll provide exciting trivia opportunities (complete with exciting prizes) and end up with a Grand Prize Drawing!

radio-free-bolli
Music Producer Megan Curtis, Trivia Master Sue Wurster, DJ Nancy Connery, Production Manager Emily Ostrower, and DJ Judith Stone

 

WEDNESDAY:  “One BOLLI, One Book!”

indignation

BOLLI’s Book Group, led by Charlie Marz and Abby Pinard, will moderate a BOLLI-wide discussion of Philip Roth’s novel, Indignation.  The novel takes readers back to the 1950s with a butcher’s son from Newark who escapes the family ties that bind by enrolling at a small, traditional college far from home in the Midwest.  What could possibly go wrong?

The group’s next  “One BOLLI, One Book” event will take place on Friday January 6 at 12:30 when the discussion will focus on Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel who depicts life before and after the collapse of civilization in this gripping, surprisingly beautiful novel about the endurance of art and the shared stories that connect us and make us human.  Then, on Friday February 3 at 12:30, the discussion will be about Atticus by Ron Hansen.  An aging Colorado rancher, in trying to unravel the mystery of his son’s death, struggles to come to terms with his life.  A moving and beautifully written novel about blame and responsibility and the illogical, consoling, and ultimately redemptive power of the human heart.

 

THURSDAY:  A 21st CENTURY TEVYE

tevye

Boston based actor Jeremiah Kissel stars as Tevye in a new production of the acclaimed musical, Fiddler on the Roof, at Watertown’s successful New Rep Theatre.  On Thursday, Kissel will join us at BOLLI to talk about his experience in this show, offering his perspective on playing a “21st Century Tevye.”  The show, directed by Austin Pendleton (award winning director and HB Studio acting teacher who originated the role of Motel Kamzoil the tailor on Broadway), opens on Friday, December 2 and has already been extended to run through January 1.

fiddler

JOIN US IN MARCH FOR OUR NEXT  LUNCH & LEARN TERM!

And, by the way, if you have ideas for Lunch & Learn presenters, please be sure to let the committee know by clicking here to access the L&L Google form.

FINDING “HIDDEN GEMS” OFF-SITE: A Unique New BOLLI Course

FINDING “HIDDEN GEMS” OFF-SITE

By Elaine Dohan and Class Participants

addison-at-andover-academy
“Hidden Gems” participants at the Addison Gallery of American Art at Andover Academy.  (From left:  Anne Walker, Fran Goldberg, Diane Winkelman, Hannah Delfiner, Sandy Traiger, Elaine Dohan, Lenore Goldstein, Tamara Chernow, Joyce Plotkin, Helen Kadish, Patsy Benincasa.)

Years ago, Tamara Chernow, Eileen Mitchell, and I planned and organized docent-led tours of many different museums located in the area.  Lunch was always included, and sometimes buses were provided as well.  These outings were very popular for social as well as educational reasons.  It was a huge job, and I guess you could say we “wore out.”  Eventually, though, it seemed to be something worth bringing back to life.  The result?  Hidden Gems, the very first “off site” BOLLI course designed to tap into the rich cultural community we enjoy here in the Boston area.

This term, participants in our five-week Hidden Gems course traveled to museums with excellent docents who expanded upon the readings that the group read preceding their visits.  But the first meeting of the course took place at 60 Turner Street when Nancy Alimansky provided our introductory lecture.  She really set the stage for the course, offering us tips on how to “access” pieces of art.  She focused on aspects of contemporary and modern art, providing slides and referring to the greatest of these artists.  She even referred to the wonderful photographs hanging in the Blue Room, executed by our own artists and available to us all the time.  Nancy clearly knows and loves her subject, making her the perfect example of what makes a good teacher.

After that wonderful opening session, we embarked on our visits to the Addison Gallery at Andover Academy, the Fuller Craft Museum, the Davis Museum on the Wellesley College campus, and Brandeis’ own Rose Gallery.   Lenore Goldstein, Anne Walker, Joyce Plotkin, and Diane Winkelman have provided some details about each of our visits to these gems.

AT THE ADDISON GALLERY OF AMERICAN ART

By Lenore Goldstein

addison-1

The Addison Gallery of American art was created by alumnus Thomas Cochran “to enrich permanently the lives of the students of Phillips Academy.”  The Gallery is a teaching resource as well as an art center for the students and faculty of the Academy, for other students, teachers and scholars and for the general public. Its collection of more than 17000 objects of American art dating from the 18th century to the present is one of the most comprehensive in the world.

Our BOLLI class visited two exhibits—“Manzanar: Photographs by Ansel Adams” and  “Eye on the Collection:  Fall, 2016.”  We were led by a terrific docent who gave us insight into many of the pieces in the museum’s collection.  But it is the Manzanar exhibit that stays with me.

manzanar-nurse

Manzanar was one of the War Relocation Centers during World War II.  The purpose of Adams’s photographs was to provide propaganda showing that the Japanese (who, for the most part, were American citizens) suffered a great injustice but created a vital community within the Relocation Center in the desert.  Most of his photographs were of happy, productive families engaging in happy, productive activities.  That upset me.  I understood Adams’ motive, but I couldn’t put behind me that the Japanese were prisoners who had been kicked out of their homes, lost their jobs, their possessions, their lives.  And of course I thought of the Holocaust.

This museum has so much to offer.   Opening this week is an exhibit called “The Deception of Perception.”  It focuses on distortion and ambiguity in photography.   This “Hidden Gem” is well worth a trip to Andover.

THE FULLER CRAFT MUSEUM

By Anne Walker;  photos by Hannah Delfiner

fuller-craft-museum-4

Who knew?  Wonders abound in the Metrowest, and I barely knew it!  For instance, Brockton has one of the very few museums devoted entirely to “work of the hand.”

Fuller Craft Museum was an eye- opening experience.  From the ultra-edgy “Steam Punk” installations to an appealing gift shop, it is a marvelous surprise.  Gorgeous, satiny finishes on contemporary furniture, sensuous wood-grained bowls and platters, books recycled into expertly detailed hand-cut constructions were a source of unexpected delight as well.

One of the most surprising aspects of the Fuller Craft museum is that it is sited on a beautiful lake with walking trails and an outdoor collection of sculptures which we must see in the spring!

fuller-craft-museum-1

THE DAVIS MUSEUM AT WELLESLEY COLLEGE

by Joyce Plotkin with gallery photos byHannah Delfiner

davis

Our trip to the Davis Museum at Wellesley College was timed beautifully – just after a three-year transformation of the galleries was completed – which enabled the Museum to double the number of art works on display.  The Davis, opened in 1993, was designed by Spanish architect Rafael Moneo, winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, and features art objects from antiquity to the modern day.

We started in the basement of the museum and first saw an exhibit titled Partners in Design:  Alfred Barr and Philip Johnson.  Barr, who taught the first undergraduate art course in modern art at Wellesley College, and Johnson, Museum of Modern Art’s first curator of architecture, together were responsible for bringing modernism to North America in the form of the German Bauhaus movement which concentrated on stripping down objects to their simplest form (with no ornamentation) and focused on rational and functional design.  The exhibit contains furniture from both Barr’s and Johnson’s apartments including a cantilevered chair that, when viewed at a particular angle, looks like it is floating on air.

davis-museum-6-screen-shot

Also on display were examples of kitchen and household objects stemming from the movement that was active in the 1920’s and early 30’s but was ultimately shut down by the Communists.  It was interesting to me to see this phase of Philip Johnson’s work, as my husband and I recently saw, in Madrid, the Gate of Europe towers –the first inclined skyscrapers in the world – designed by Johnson and another colleague and completed in 1996. It was described by our tour guide as a building that typified the architecture of the future.

davis-museum-1

Our second stop was the top floor of the museum which hosted the most recent works of art in a beautifully re-decorated, very inviting, high-ceilinged gallery with natural light pouring in from the skylights above.  As we entered the gallery, we were met by a terrific Alexander Calder mobile hanging from the ceiling and wandered through the fifth floor gallery observing a pairing of great paintings by Jackson Pollock and his wife Lee Krasner, interesting representative works by female artists Grandma Moses, Helen Frankenthaler and Louise Nevelson, a boldly colored Andy Warhol sculpture of Brillo and Campbell soup boxes as well as wonderful offerings by Picasso, de Kooning, and many others.  Personally, what delighted me beyond the wonderful art was the fact that the Museum featured the works of numerous women.  I hope the museum continues and expands the trend of acquiring and displaying works of art by women.

davis-museum-5

Since we did not have time to see the whole museum during our class time, my husband and I went back to the Davis two days after this visit to see all of the exhibits.  We were delighted with the European and American exhibits and definitely recommend the Davis as an interesting destination for other BOLLI members.

 

THE HIDDEN GEM IN OUR OWN BACK YARD:  

THE ROSE GALLERY

by Diane Winkelman

rose-1

BOLLI’s new “Hidden Gems” class ended with the jewel in our own back yard.  We were treated to a curator/docent led tour of the exhibits currently on view at the Rose.   Learning about contemporary art with a curator who had recently come from the Museum of Modern Art in New York was extraordinary.   Our initial view of the museum was of David Reed’s painting – from afar and then close up. The experiences were dramatically different. We learned about his use of paint to create large dramatic canvases that had never been seen all together in one room until this show at the Rose.

rose-3

Each gallery had a show by a different artist.   Sarah Sze’s: Timekeeper combined sculpture, installation art, and painting to produce a visually fascinating statement about time and perception.

Timekeeper
Timekeeper

Do go and explore the rest. If you get fatigued in museums, don’t  forget to rest in Mark Dion’s room installation ” The Undisciplined Collector” … a permanent room installation that might make you feel right at home.

dion
The Undisciplined Collector

 

Thank you, Elaine, for a wonderful experience!

Diane Winkelman, Tamara Chernow, Anne Walker, Joyce Plotkin, Elaine Dohan, Helen Kadish, Hannah Delfiner, Sandy Traiger, Fran Goldberg, Lenore Goldstein

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The BOLLI Journal’s First Annual Literary and Artistic “Salon”

KICKING OFF THE 2018 BOLLI JOURNAL

by Maxine Weintraub, Editor 

The BOLLI Journal committee hosted its first lunchtime program on Monday. November 14th—a literary and artistic “salon” in the spirit of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas.  We drank alcohol-free bubbly and indulged in cheese and crackers, brownies and grapes as we explored the creative process and its place in the BOLLI Program.  Steve Goldfinger’s poetry (below left), Barbara Jordan’s photos and paintings (middle with Marjorie Roemer), and Jane Kay’s (right with Margie Arons-Barron) tale of a lovingly remembered childhood icon, a blue glass slipper, delighted the audience.  Listening to each of these creative BOLLI members answer questions from Marjorie Roemer, Sue Wurster, and Margie Arons-Barron brought into focus the way in which BOLLI members change and grow as they explore and develop new talents within the BOLLI environment.

Thanks to all who came and participated.  We look forward to many more such programs and invite all of our BOLLI members to become involved with the next Journal issue.  Please submit your poetry, fiction, non-fiction, photos, and art to the Journal – submissions open from now until June of 2017.  In the spirit of sharing, we include the brownie recipe–not from the Toklas’ cookbook and with no hidden ingredients.  In fact, the recipe includes no leavening agents at all!

For specifics on the submissions process, please click here for the BOLLI Journal flyer.

brownies

MAXINE’S (Not Alice’s) BROWNIE RECIPE

Grease and flour a 9 x 12” pan                                                                     preheat oven to 350                                                                                                        in saucepan, melt two sticks of butter and one 4 oz package                            unsweetened chocolate                                                                             remove from heat                                                                                                         beat in two cups of sugar and one teaspoon vanilla                               beat in four eggs                                                                                                             mix in one cup of all-purpose flour                                                                       fold in one package semi-sweet chocolate bits                                           pour into prepared pan                                                                                            bake until done (about 25 minutes, depending upon your oven)     cool on rack and try not to eat them all at one sitting.

Possible variations on this recipe are endless.  Any kind of chocolate chips will do.  Try adding a fruit cup mix at holiday time.  Nuts. Almond flavoring.

Maxine Weintraub reading
BOLLI Journal Editor, Maxine Weintraub

Maxine Weintraub, who heads the 2018 BOLLI Journal committee as editor, is no stranger to arts and letters magazines.  She is a regular contributor to The Goose River Anthology and has produced two volumes of her short stories.

 

CLIMATE CHANGE Presentation and Video

Missed Dr. Emanuel’s Presentation?
emanuel presentation
On Tuesday November 1, 2016 the Lunch and Learn Committee presented MIT’s Dr. Kerry Emanuel,  a world renowned expert on Climate Change.  He was gracious enough to provide us his material and Matt has placed it on the web within Google Docs.  Click here to access this presentation on Google Docs.
Dr. Emanuel gave a similar talk two years ago which is available through YouTube.  You can click here to go directly to that video.
emanuel video
Dr. Emanuel in Action

LEAVE IT TO LYDIA: The Pan Mass Challenge

PMC 2
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.)