Category Archives: Of Potential Interest




From  Lydia Bogar:  Books–Blink by Malcolm Gladwell, The Only Plane in the Sky by Garrett Greff, The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery.   TV–NCIS,  M*A*S*H*  Series (Netflix, Amazon)–Grace & Frankie.  Movies–Same Time Next Year, Out of Africa, Close Encounters of the 3rd Kind.

From Bonnie Seider:  Books–Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens; The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides; Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriority.  TV–This is Us; A Million Little Stars;  Dancing with the Stars.  Series (Netflix, Amazon)–Modern Love;  The Kominsky Method;  Poldark;  Dead Again.  Movies–After the Wedding;  The Good Liar

From Sandy Miller-Jacobs: BooksWhen by Daniel Pink;  A Bend in the Stars by Rachel Barenbaum;  All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr;  21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari;  Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips.  TVThis is Us; The Good Doctor;    HGTV – Property Brothers;  60 Minutes;  Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates.  Series (e.g., Netflix, Amaon)–The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel; The Baker & The Beast (in Hebrew with English subtitles); The Kominsky Method;  Grace & Frankie;  The Crown.  MoviesMy Cousin Vinny;   Judy;   Annie Hall;  Gigi.

From Kathy Wangh:  BooksThe Hare with the Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal;  The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason.

From Helen Abrams:  BooksOlive, Again by Elizabeth Strout.Series (e.g., Netflix, Amazon):  A French Village.

From Sophie Freud:  BooksSapiens by Yuval Noah Harari; 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari;  The Great Pretender: The Undercover Mission that Changed Our Understanding of Madness by Susannah Calhalan.  Series (e.g., Netflix, Amazon)–The Crown.

From Guest Bill Gates: Books— An American Marriage by Tayari Jones;  These Truths by Jill Lepore;  Growth by Vaclav Smil;   Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker; Prepared by Diane Tavenner.

Aging with Resilient SIG Leader Sandy Miller-Jacobs

Sandy created and has been leading BOLLI’s “Aging with Resilience” SIG for over a year now.  She–and the group as a whole–welcome all  interested BOLLI members to join.  Remote access to the group’s discussions and activities will soon be provided.






from Sue Wurster

I can’t even imagine how we would have managed to keep ourselves sane during this kind of situation in the days before the internet and social media–all of that technology is certainly proving to be invaluable at the moment!

So, what can we share about how we’re spending our time these days?  Here are some thoughts and suggestions from some BOLLI members–and we’d all appreciate more!

First, for those of us who love theatre, I did a little “arts and entertainment” culling of The New York Times and found a couple of gems.  I have two young high school friends who, last week, were bemoaning the fact that Newton North had just completed their tech/dress rehearsal, opening and closing of Hello, Dolly!–all in one night.  They had some good pictures to share, which certainly showed off their tech work, but, of course, the pictures couldn’t really provide the essence of the musical–the music!  NYT’s theatre editor Scott Heller says that many are taking kids like Jayce and Dylan to heart and are finding ways to share their work.  (Click on this link for an uplifting article:  NYT article about school musicals)

And here’s a piece about other ways to view theatre these days:  (Click here for another NYT article:  other ways to see theatre)

Click here to see this array of new work–one added every 15 minutes!


A variety of Writers Guild, Photo Group, and other BOLLI members share their recommendations:  

Lois Sockol says that, “Now that I have some at-home time on my hands, here’s a couple of rewarding things I’ve done. I made the decision (for the 100th time) to sort through and organize a collection of family pictures. After an hour or so, nothing was organized, but I had such a happy time rummaging through years of delightful memories! I have also discovered that some museums have virtual tours, and although the experience doesn’t provide quite the same thrill as my original visits, what a delight to roam the corridors of the Louvre and the British Museum! There are other virtual tour museums as well.  I just haven’t as yet made the journey, but I will.

“Part of me says get into bed,” Maxine Weintraub recommends,  “turn on old movies, and eat coffee ice cream.”  She adds that she’s taken to dancing to country music on channel 534.  (“Or maybe it is 538.”) in her nightgown for fifteen to thirty minutes every morning.  She promises to leave her building once a day to either take a walk or a drive–windows open, good music playing loudly on the car radio.   She says she’s been doing some harder stuff–“working on the collection of short stories I have been fiddling with for years.”  Staying in touch with good friends who are also incarcerated is key–  as is trying not to get annoyed at being labeled “the elderly.”

Max seems to have inspired Larry Schwirian who has taken to long walks with others (but finds it hard to communicate with fellow walkers when trying to maintain 6 foot distances between them) and suggests that “We could have a pajama fashion show.”

Lydia Bogar, too, echoes Max’s promise to get out of the house.  “The sun is shining.  Take a walk,” she says.  “Walk a long loop around your neighborhood and then drive it to measure the distance.  Tomorrow, walk a longer loop and measure that.  By the time you are ready to walk the Turnpike in the breakdown lane, the panic will have passed.

For those who need new viewing options, Kathy Wangh shares a link to free streaming sources.  Click here ,

Of course, we’re all reading.  BOLLI Matters  technology writer and resident chef John Rudy offers a link about free e-books.

Mel Markowitz suggests trying ham radio! “I’ve been a ham since 1958 and just spoke with Damian, 3000 feet above sea level on the side of a volcano, in the Canary Islands 🇮🇨!”

Donna Johns, who says her tub has never been so clean, is a fan of the online MasterClass program.

(I am a Khan Academy fan.)

Edie Aldort is also a walker–she’s appreciating the fact that the drone of traffic has lessened a bit, but she’s wondering if her dog needs to maintain a 6 foot social distance from other canines…

“This morning I am feeling grateful to be retired, in a warm, cozy house, with plenty of food and entertainment opportunities,” says Linda Braun.  She adds that her book group met online via Zoom.  “We all saw and heard one another very well;  I hope some of our classes will resume using that resource.”  (Stay tuned, Linda!)

My 9 month-old grandbaby provides lots of ideas:  play with the wastebaskets, dump all the bins of videos on the floor and then try to get out of the pile, pull the whole basket of old Plays magazines off the shelf and watch them slide everwhere–then try eating the covers; empty the family room toy bin, rolling everything that is round or has wheels.  If it doesn’t roll, just try to eat it instead. The 19 and 21 year-olds provide their share as well:  raid the fridge, cupboards, and pantry–leave empty bags, boxes, and bottles on the kitchen counters…or the floor.  Cook stuff, using as many pots and pans as possible–leave them on the stove or, occasionally, in the sink but certainly don’t rinse them.  Or just order in and charge it to Mum…

The hoarding of toilet paper, paper towels, wipes, and, worst of all, the baby formula my grandboy needs is so demoralizing…

BUT yesterday, on our neighborhood online message board, people were posting things like, “Am going to CVS at about 3:15—need anything?” and “My 8th grade son is volunteering to take out your trash, rake your yard, clean out your garage, or whatever.”  Seeing the neighborhood functioning like a true neighborhood is a pretty uplifting thing.

As is Gene Kupferschmid‘s view of “Two mourning doves making love on my little balcony.  A glimpse of Spring.”

Don’t lose heart–our BOLLI courses will start going online in the coming week!

“This is a time to appreciate and share gratitude for all the positive things we have in our lives. Family, friends, neighborhood, access to food. We have each other for support. I am sending an email embrace to all of you. No risk of infection! Hugs and Health,”  Marty Kafka

So, in the comment box below, tell us what you’re doing to keep alert and busy!  Share books, movies, and tv shows of interest.  Send other ideas to BOLLI Matters’s blogmaster:






WANTED: Teacher with a Funny Bone

Cartoonist Roz Chast


  • A deep personal commitment to the nexus of knowledge and laughter.
  • Experience reading and accepting the wit and wisdom of Roz Chast, born and raised in Brooklyn, who has been drawing since childhood.
  • Understanding and appreciation of the value of chintz covered chairs and Baroque picture frames, and, generally speaking, everything related to middle class America in the 1950’s.
  • Finely tuned communication skills, including but not limited to Theories of Everything: Selected, Collected, and Health-Inspected Cartoons of Roz Chast 1978-2006, and Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
  • Advance a curriculum that would include discussions such as:

The artist’s reflections of everyday life and the power of black and white (she started with single panel black and white drawings) graphics.

Why Roz hand-lettered the title pages of her books, why her books feature a cartoon of herself rather than the typical author photograph, and other mysteries.

How the artist’s perspective on a family translates for you.  

During the summer, I started to assemble ideas and research for a five-week BOLLI course under the working title “Everything I Ever Needed to Know, I Learned from Roz Chast.”

During the past few months as I immersed myself in four new BOLLI courses, I realized that I just don’t have the skills necessary to deliver this course myself.   Is there anybody out there who might like to do so?  If you’d be interested and  would like to see a potential bibliography for such a course before you decide, please let me know. Thanks for your time and interest!

Lydia Bogar (

Frequent BOLLI blogger, Lydia Bogar


Our own “Renaissance Woman,” Lydia has done everything from teaching English to doing volunteer emergency service.  We’re lucky to have her volunteering, these days, to help with BOLLI Matters!






Davidow Gallery at  Colby-Sawyer College
New London, NH
October 13 – December 10
Are you an art enthusiast looking for a good day trip?  Try heading for New London, NH to see “Inner Visions.”
The new Bill and Sonja Carlson Davidow ’56 Art Gallery at Colby-Sawyer College features  its  inaugural exhibition: Inner Visions: Selections from the Collection of Beverly Stearns Bernson ’55. This is a wonderful collection of Outsider Art featuring paintings, drawings and sculpture from every major figure in this special genre. The exhibition will run until December 10 and will be open from 9-5 during the week and from 12-5 Saturday and Sunday except during school holidays.   Help celebrate the college’s stunning new building and gallery by taking a trip to see this exhibition featuring works from BOLLI member Beverly’s extensive collection!
For more information, click here to access the exhibition’s website:


Recently, we’ve been thinking about the wide range of volunteerism in which BOLLI members engage and would like to highlight them in this venue.  Are you involved in a program that you find particularly rewarding, especially one that would benefit from additional volunteers? Share your volunteer experience with us!  Here’s Lydia to start us off–


Two Suggestions from Lydia Bogar

The storm warnings came across the bottom of the TV screen before the 5:00 news. I checked the radar on my computer and went back to washing the kitchen floor.

Within minutes, my old memory stem woke up as I put the mop on the porch. Tomorrow would be the anniversary of the Springfield/Brimfield tornado.  The video of that tornado as it crossed Memorial Bridge in Springfield remains as vivid today as it was then…

That old memory stem also brings back the first responders from across the state, and, most especially, the contributions made by two groups of volunteers:  first, SKYWARN, severe weather spotters, all trained volunteers connected to the National Weather Service in Taunton ( and second, the Worcester area CISM team (

My first SKYWARN training was in October of 1999 when I was a disaster services volunteer with the Worcester Chapter of the American Red Cross. It was a very interesting training–especially good for campers and boaters.  Glenn Field from NWS Taunton gave us a lot of information about clouds, reading radar, and thermal convections. As a civilian, retired from the Red Cross, I have continued SKYWARN training and strongly recommend it to the BOLLI community. You can contact Rob Macedo at to schedule SKYWARN training for any community group with a membership of 15 or more. It is very much worth three hours of your time.

I’ve also spent 16 years training and volunteering in CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management), a peer support network for first responders. There are 15 teams in Massachusetts, covering all police, fire, and EMS personnel from North Adams to Provincetown.  Our teams consist of trained peers as well as fire department, clergy, and mental health professionals.  It is an amazing global system that includes volunteers who served in New York in the fall of 2001, Boston after the Marathon bombing, southern Louisiana and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina, and the western part of Massachusetts after the tornado in 2006. If you are a retired mental health professional or retired member of the clergy who is interested in volunteering, please contact me at, and I will refer you to the Team Leader in your residential area.

BOLLI Matters Co-Editor, Lydia Bogar

Former English teacher and health care professional Lydia Bogar provides BOLLI Matters with a wealth of material on a variety of subjects including her own regular feature “Lines from Lydia.”  





By Sue Wurster

Years ago, I was having lunch with actor friend John Newton at my local corner diner in NYC.  It was one of those places which tends to be stuffed with at least three too many tables, and on this particular occasion, every seat was filled.

John had just landed a role on the then popular soap opera, The Doctors, and was bemoaning his fate.  “I have to confess,” he said.  “I hate being a doctor.”  And when I asked why, he replied, “Well, I can never pronounce the diseases, and all of my patients die.”

There was a distinct gurgling sound from our right as a woman  struggled to down the gulp of coffee she had taken before John’s admission.  And there was an even clearer harrumph from our left. Glowering looks galore–and an elbow to John’s right ear as a tall, thin man in a three-piece suit maneuvered his way out.

I have to confess as well.  I have never liked medical shows.  I know, I know.  That makes me probably one of the only inveterate couch potatoes in the universe who did not get into the likes of Dr. Kildare, Marcus Welby, ER, or Gray’s Anatomy.  As a naturally squeamish being, I spent just way too much of their air-time with my hands over my eyes.  So, how on earth did I end up watching this season’s Call the Midwife on PBS?  I’m still not sure–but I think it may have been a simple case of mistiming.  I was headed for Masterpiece Theatre and got there an hour early.

However it happened, I was soon hooked, and I found myself looking forward to each new episode in a way I hadn’t looked forward since, oh, probably Downton Abbey.  And, upon the season’s close, I ended up hitting Netflix for more.  So, what makes this one work for a squeamish viewer (who still turns away during most of the actual birthing parts)?  The characters, the setting,  the writing…

So, if you have not partaken of this particular BBC gem, it’s well worth your time to do so.  Based upon the memoirs of nurse Jennifer Worth (who, sadly, died shortly before the first episode aired), this family drama is set in Post-WW2 London’s impoverished Poplar district.  Nurse Jenny Lee arrives at Nonnatus House, a nursing convent in the district, to take on a job as midwife.  A host of truly engaging and endearing characters, played by an outstanding cast, provides multi-layered interest and appeal.

Sister Monica Joan, for example–played by Judy Parfitt (Jewel in the Crown, Pride & Prejudice, Girl with a Pearl Earring to name just a few credits)–is a brilliant, and compassionate yet eccentric older sister beset with bouts of dementia.  The equally quirky Camilla “Chummy” Fortescue-Cholmondeley-Browne–played by actress/comedian Miranda Hart (perhaps best-known for her semi-autobiographical series, Miranda) –is a gawky, uncertain midwife who has just finished her training and finds her niche, leading her to defy the expectations of her aristocratic family.   Beyond the lives and loves of the inhabitants of Nonnatus House, we are immersed in Poplar of the late 1950s and 60s–with all of the social issues that such an environment hosts.

And the writing, of course, is top-notch.  From the voice-over narration of “older Jenny” (provided by Vanessa Redgrave, which may, in itself, have been what pulled me in) to the ensuing dialogue, the language is both rich and real.   When dealing with the complex issues that accompany poverty and the altering of social structures and values in changing times, there is no cloying or preaching note.

It’s a wonderful ride, this series–well worth a good binge!

BOLL Matters editor Sue Wurster

A confirmed snow day couch potato, Sue has an affinity for the British approach to both film and TV.  




Dear BOLLI Friends,

I write to you from Florida, the state where a lot of people  have moved when they retire.  Why not? After all, the Gulf of Mexico and Sarasota Bay are beautiful, the weather is terrific, and here in Sarasota, cultural pleasures are sophisticated and plentiful. Even life-long learning programs abound. The easy path is for retirees to sit back, read the papers, watch TV news, critique the world from their armchairs, and then share those critiques only with those whose politics agree with their own.  After all, retirement has its rewards, and some might believe that inaction and armchair “jawing” are among them.

A certain caution is discernible here in Florida when people meet one another for the first time.  Is it “safe” to discuss politics?  (And what other subject is so front and center these days?)  We don’t, after all, want to offend and argue.  Who among these strangers voted for Trump and who voted for Hillary?  Who didn’t vote at all?  Who watches with complacency and agreement as liberal institutions in government and in society are attacked and dismantled?  Communication across the great political divide not only grows more limited but is increasingly full of disbelief and rage.  What are we to do with our passionately held beliefs and accompanying angst?

My beliefs and personality dictate action, constructive action.  The question for me is, what kinds of action will be the most constructive?  In other words, what will help to defang our present administration and re-establish a more liberal democracy that reflects our values as a welcoming, fair minded, constructive, and positive force in the world—- a Marshall Plan kind of world.  Of course, some of you who read this will not agree with me, and so, I urge you to respond.  Let’s communicate!

Two events that I attended here were heartening.  The first was the Women’s March in January.  Here in Sarasota, police estimated that 10,000 people marched!  We women and men carried signs, wore pink hats, and shouted slogans as we marched along the beautiful Marina Bay and across the bridge connecting Sarasota to Bird Key.  It was peaceful, and it was wonderful to be among so many like minded demonstrators.  Clearly, they were not “retired” from politics and life.

This past Saturday (3/18), we attended a “town hall” where the local Congressman, Representative Vern Buchanan, held his 75th meeting of constituents since taking office five terms earlier.  The Sarasota Herald Tribune said that this 75th town hall meeting (attended by more than 1,300 who packed Van Wezel Auditorium and an estimated additional 800 who couldn’t fit into the room) was unlike all his previous town hall meetings and would not soon be forgotten. We have seen television news reports of other town meetings with Republican congressional representatives and senators—full of people with strong opinions becoming raucous, erupting in chants, and even booing. That’s what this meeting was like.  Retirees do not want their health benefits messed with, want veterans and people with disabilities cared for, want fair immigration policies, and more.  And this meeting occurred in Florida, a state that voted for Trump.

We have been away from Massachusetts now for three months.  I read The New York Times and watch MSNBC, which, of course, indicates the nature of my own political bent.  I admit that I am not current with politics in Massachusetts where our citizens are overwhelmingly “democratic” and liberal, despite having a Republican Governor,  Perhaps you don’t feel the need to watch your words or wonder who supported whom in the election.  Perhaps you haven’t felt the need to become an activist, armchair or otherwise.  Some of my friends, including BOLLI friends, are becoming active and have been eager to tell me about their involvement in church and immigration groups, grandmothers’ groups, civil liberties groups, and more.

I wonder if it is time to create a BOLLI clearinghouse for organizations and actions in this perilous time for democracy, a place where actions and activism can be discussed, and information shared.  I know that beliefs and actions supported by like-minded others are more likely to be effective and succeed.  Perhaps in my absence from BOLLI, a group has been formed and is already active?  If so, count me in.  If not, let’s do it!

See you soon around our BOLLI “campus.”

Your snow-bird friend,

Eleanor Jaffe