Find more about Weather in Ann Arbor, MI
Click for weather forecast


4624 Packard Rd
Ann Arbor 48108
Register for Ann Arbor Classes

Click to Download Fall 2019 Program  

Elderwise Ann Arbor
You Are Here: Browse the Winter Program
Ann Arbor Calendar
Ann Arbor News and Events
About Elderwise
Get Involved
Ann Arbor Jobs
Directions to Elderwise
Contact Us

Fall 2019 Program


Multi-Session Courses | Single-Session Courses | Tours |
Theater Productions & Classes


F1901 From Kepler to Kennedy: To da Moon, Alice. To da Moon!
Presenter: Michael R. Kapetan
Dates: Fridays, September 6, 13, 20, and 27
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Fee: Members $40; Nonmembers $60

How did we do it? Fifty years ago we landed human beings on another heavenly body a quarter of a million miles from earth. What motives, means, and methods, what dreams, nightmares, and fantasies did we respond to and rely upon then to do that which eludes us today? We will begin with the very beginnings of humankind’s fascination with the moon and tell the stories of unforgettable men and women who turned fascination into vision, vision into fiction, and fiction into the hand-crafted ships that carried us on the most fantastic adventure that our species has ever embarked upon. In four sessions we will cover the ground from Johannes Kepler’s first visionary account of a trip to the moon to President Kennedy’s call for a real lunar voyage.

Michael Kapetan is an artist whose own work is informed by the scientific, the aesthetic, and the spiritual as he creates holy images for churches and synagogues, and unique solar sculptures that mark the turning of the seasons. He is retired from the University of Michigan’s Department of Art. Mike’s longtime interest in space travel began as a youngster with two television programs: Tom Corbett, Space Cadet, and a Walt Disney's Tomorrowland Series that featured presentations by Wernher von Braun.


F1902 Shakespeare’s Henry V in Film:
Laurence Olivier vs. Kenneth Branagh
Presenter: Peggy A. Russo
Dates: Wednesdays, September 11, 18, and 25
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Fee: Members $30; Nonmembers $45

Henry V takes place during a war between France and England, almost two centuries before Shakespeare’s lifetime. As with many of his history plays, Shakespeare changed some facts to fit his purpose. Many directors since have changed the play in performance to fit their purposes, especially some film directors who have felt compelled to adapt Shakespeare to both reflect and affect the cultures of their own time. In this course we will discuss Shakespeare’s text of Henry V, and then view and compare parts in two award-winning film adaptations: the 1944 version (directed by and starring Sir Laurence Olivier), and the 1989 version (directed by and starring Sir Kenneth Branagh). Both directors took liberties with Shakespeare’s text, resulting in directorial interpretations which are often diametrically different. Which is the “better” film version of Henry V? Join us and decide for yourself.

Peggy Russo holds a Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan. She recently retired from Pennsylvania State University and now resides in Ann Arbor where she serves on the Board of Directors of the Michigan Shakespeare Festival.


F1903 Creative Writing Workshop
Facilitator: Rosalie Karunas
Dates: Thursdays, September 12, October 3, November 7, and November 21
Time: 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. [Please note the 4:00 p.m. end time.]
Fee: Members $40; Nonmembers $60
Class Size: Enrollment for this class is limited to 12 attendees.

This workshop offers a relaxed setting for writers of all interests and levels. Attendees will discuss each other’s writings and offer suggestions for mining memories, maintaining a journal, and adding music and mystery to both prose and poetry. Whether you would like to delve into family history, memoir, or fantasy, or discover new formats, this workshop can help. Sharing your drafts with peers and listening to their reactions is a proven road to more effective writing. In this small group you will never feel overwhelmed or overlooked, and you will meet new friends whose lively company you will enjoy. To the initial session, please bring 13 copies of your work for distribution among the participants – up to two pages for poetry, three pages for prose.

Rosalie Karunas is retired from a career as a research statistician with Parke Davis and with the University of Michigan Health System. She is a long-time participant in this workshop who enjoys writing poetry, stories, and devotional materials.


F1904 An Introduction to the History, Culture, and Religion of Islam
Presenter: Michael Fahy
Dates: Wednesdays, September 25 and October 2
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon
Fee: Members $20; Nonmembers $30

With more than 1.8 billion Muslims in the world today, Islam is the world’s second largest religion. While Islam has been prominent in the news since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, its association with conflict and instability in the Middle East has led to persistent misconceptions and misunderstandings about the faith. In this course Michael Fahy will discuss the origins of Islam and its relationship to other Abrahamic monotheistic faiths of Judaism and Christianity, as well as the main tenets of Muslim theology and varying trends within the faith. In a brief historical overview, he will describe the decisive influence of Islamic civilization on the Western Renaissance. Like all major religions, Islam is internally diverse, and we will pay particular attention to how different ideas and beliefs are practiced at different times and in different places.

Michael Fahy holds a Ph.D. degree in anthropology from the University of Michigan and currently teaches in the University’s School of Education. He is an anthropologist of the Middle East, where he lived and pursued research for several years. Since 2004 Michael has offered presentations on Middle Eastern history and culture to American military personnel across the United States and Europe.


F1905 The Story of Antisemitism
Presenter: Ken Phifer
Dates: Fridays, September 20, 27, and October 4, 11, 18
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon
Fee: Members $50; Nonmembers $75

The story of antisemitism is a story of hatred and horror, a story of lies and cruelty, a story of good people doing bad things and bad people doing worse things. It is a story central to Western culture and its main religion, Christianity. It is a story with roots in classical times, Greece and Rome, a story that is part of early Christianity, and then part of the religion as it develops through its early days as the religion of the Roman Empire. This story is part of Medieval history, the Renaissance and the Reformation, and also America from Colonial times onward. This story is part of 19th and 20th century European history, including most horrifically the Nazi era. In this course we will look at the story historically and examine how and why antisemitism came to be and persists to this day.

Ken Phifer is a graduate of Harvard College and earned his doctorate at the University of Chicago Divinity School. He has been a Unitarian Universalist minister for almost 50 years, 25 of them in ministry at the Ann Arbor congregation. With pride, Ken has 17 grandchildren.


F1906 Argentina: 1976
Presenter: John Stewart
Dates: Mondays, September 23 and 30
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon
Fee: Members $20; Nonmembers $30

In January of 1976, John Stewart joined a friend on a four-month backpacker circuit of South America. By March, they had traversed Paraguay and entered Argentina, eagerly anticipating the relaxed cosmopolitan charm of Buenos Aires and the unspoiled natural beauty of Patagonia. But, Argentina was in the midst of economic and political turmoil. The atmosphere had been poisoned by runaway inflation, terrorist bombings, extrajudicial executions, and distrust of foreigners. Within a couple of weeks, the nation reached a breaking point, welcoming a military coup that promised stability at the cost of democracy and justice. The coup brought difficulties for travelers, especially the young and scruffy. Undaunted and perhaps foolhardy, our two heroes pushed onward to Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city, before turning back and heading north to Bolivia.

John Stewart is a retired software developer with degrees in biology from the University of Michigan. He is a long-time Elderwise member who has an affinity for low-budget travel.


F1907 Book Club
Facilitators: Shirley Southgate and Katherine McClellan
Dates: Mondays, September 30, October 28, November 25
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. except October 28, which is 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Fee: Members $30; Nonmembers $45

Using prepared questions and our own observations, the discussion each month will explore a book from current best-seller lists. Selected books for the Fall 2019 semester are:

September The Girl from Venice by Martin Cruz Smith Fiction
October First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen Nonfiction
November The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty Fiction

Please read The Girl from Venice before the first class. The facilitators will send a list of discussion questions for each book to all registrants prior to each Book Club session.

Shirley Southgate and Katherine McClellan are long-time members of both Elderwise and the Book Club. They are both avid readers, and look forward to a lively exchange of ideas, opinions, and interpretations.


F1908 Charles Dickens: Great Expectations
Presenter: George Stewart
Dates: Wednesdays, October 2, 9, 16, and 23
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Fee: Members $40; Nonmembers $60
Class Size: Enrollment for this class is limited to 15 attendees.

Pip is an unremarkable orphan boy, living on the marshland of the River Thames with his sister and her blacksmith husband. Suddenly and mysteriously, he is taken up by an unknown benefactor with seemingly unlimited resources. Unprepared as he is, Pip finds himself installed as a London gentleman of privilege and affluence, a young man of "great expectations.” Does Pip's unexpected stroke of good fortune provide him with a happy and trouble-free life? Seasoned Dickens readers know better. Great Expectations is one of Dickens' great novels; many rate it as his finest. It is a compulsive read, crowded with famously memorable characters and surprising plot turns, all delivered in the Dickensian style which has beguiled readers for more than 150 years. For the first class, please read the first 15 chapters, roughly the first one-quarter of the book.

George Stewart practiced law for many years in Kansas City, Chicago, Detroit, New York City, and Ann Arbor. He is honing his retirement skills by reading, and rereading, great writers like Charles Dickens. He looks forward to sharing the pleasures of Great Expectations with like-minded readers.


F1909 When America Was REALLY Polarized:
The United States Civil War, 1861-1865
Presenter: Michael Homel
Dates: Wednesdays, October 9, 16, and 23
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon
Fee: Members $30; Nonmembers $45

Not many events from more than 150 years ago retain as much fascination as does the U.S. Civil War. Television series, feature films, battlefield sites, arguments over slavery vs. states’ rights, and contests over Confederate flags and monuments – all these and more attract the attention of both historians and the general public. This course invites you to review the long-ago lessons learned in school and to learn what those lessons left out. Why did the South leave the Union? Why did the North insist on preserving the United States, despite the enormous cost? What was the military strategy of each side? What were the major battles? Why did the North win militarily? Did the North truly win? What major policy changes did the U.S. government enact? What was the nature of the Confederate nation? What did black Americans, North and South, do during the war? How and why did slavery end? And, what questions do you have about this traumatic chapter in American history?

Michael Homel is Professor Emeritus of History at Eastern Michigan University. He specializes in 20th century American history. Mike is the author of two books and other publications on urban education, race, government, and politics. He is a regular Elderwise instructor, offering classes on history, politics, and popular music.


F1910 The Unique Geology and Fossils of the Michigan Basin
Presenter: David Thompson
Dates: Thursdays, October 10 and 17
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon
Fee: Members $20; Nonmembers $30

This course will focus on the geology of Michigan, principally on the unique fossils of the Michigan Basin. Our presenter, Dave Thompson, will introduce the definitions of basic terms for geological formations, the eras of geological time, and the where and when of specific fossils, including the recent discovery of the Dexter Mammoth. Class materials will include fossil examples, in both images and actual forms, and will identify their locations and describe why they are different or unusual. We will discuss minerals only in connection with the larger geological formations, and there will be no mention of dinosaurs since there were none in Michigan. (The “why” of that will be explained.) Dave’s teaching approach is interactive, and class members are encouraged to bring their own fossil “finds” for identification.

Dave Thompson has been engaged in collecting fossils since childhood and regards it as his adult avocation, with a specialization in the invertebrate fossils of the Michigan Basin. He is a member of the Friends of the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology, has exhibited there, and has been a guest paleontologist at the Natural History Museum. Over 200 of his specimen photos are displayed on a website jointly sponsored by the University of Michigan and the University of Wisconsin.


F1911 How to Count Like an Egyptian
Presenter: Joan C. Jones
Dates: Mondays, October 14 and 21
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Fee: Members $20; Nonmembers $30

All cultures, past and present, have used mathematics to make sense of and organize their lives. In this course we will explore some of the ways that different cultures have used mathematics for counting, trading, keeping track of time, and scheduling religious practices. We will look at ancient counting systems (Egyptian, Babylonian, Mayan), as well as the adoption of Hindu Arabic numbers. The interactive sessions of this course do not require expertise in mathematics, but should interest those who are curious about the beliefs and lifestyles of other cultures. Prepare for a fun course with
lots of hands-on activities.

Joan Cohen Jones is Professor Emeritus of Mathematics from Eastern Michigan University, where she taught math for teachers. Her interests include the history of mathematics, especially how different cultures have used mathematical ideas, both formally and informally, over time.


F1912 Elderwise Sewing Circle: A Community Service Project
Facilitator: Joan Bulmer
Date: Tuesday, October 22
Times: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon and 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Fee: Members $20; Nonmembers $30
Class size: Enrollment for this class is limited to 12 attendees.

Sewing can be such a solitary activity. Let’s make it “sewcial” and get together to sew for a cause. Join us and make an easy quilt top to donate to the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. They use the quilts to cover the incubators in their premie neonatal unit, and when the babies go home, the quilts go with them. In this class we will only be making the quilt tops, creative arrangements of squares cut and donated by the Quilting Season in Saline. They will finish the quilts and add the backings and bindings. It will be easy. All skills (or no skills) are welcome for a day of sewing. Come and chat, learn a new skill or revive your interest in sewing. We’ll meet for both the morning and afternoon sessions, and send out for a lunch together – or bring your own lunch if you like. If you have a machine you can bring, please do!

Joan Bulmer is a product of many years of 4-H sewing with a renewed interest since her retirement. Currently serving as the Elderwise Treasurer, she would love to share her hobby with you, especially for such a good cause.


F1913 Two French Films: Zouzou and Sugar Cane Alley
Presenter: Edward Couture
Dates: Thursdays, October 24 and 31
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Fee: Members $20; Nonmembers $30

Zouzou (1934) is a cheerful, if a bit nonsensical, cinematic romance. It was created to showcase the talents of legendary African American dancer Josephine Baker, who had become a sensation of the depression-era Paris cabarets. It was the first feature film to cast a black woman in the leading role and perhaps the first to depict an interracial romantic relationship. Filmed a half century later, Sugar Cane Alley (1983) presents, through the eyes of a young boy, the much harsher, uncelebrated lives of depression-era black workers on the French-speaking island of Martinique. This movie was praised by critic Roger Ebert and went on to win 17 international awards. Both films are in French with English subtitles. They include bawdy language, sexual situations, and occasional violence.

Edward Couture earned his master’s degree in French and Russian from Middlebury College in Vermont. He moved to Ann Arbor in 1997 after retiring from 35 years of teaching in the Los Angeles city schools. Edward is a student of languages and history, and a professional philatelist focusing on stamps from North America and France.


F1914 Coming of Age on the Llano: Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima
Presenter: Kevin Eyster
Dates: Wednesdays, October 30 and November 6
Times: October 30, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.; November 6, 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
Fee: Members $20; Nonmembers $30
Text: Rudolfo Anaya, Bless Me, Ultima. Any of various editions.

Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima (1972), for which he received the Premio Quinto Sol literary award, is regarded as one of the most widely read and taught Chicano novels in the United States. As a coming-of-age story, the novel focuses on the development of young Antonio Juan Marez y Luna from adolescence to maturity. The story is told from the point of view of an older Antonio looking back on the earlier part of his life, and his initiation into his familial and cultural heritage. In these two sessions, we will explore Anaya’s characterization, point of view, and themes through discussion of the novel. We will view as well both an interview with the author and a film adaptation of the novel. We will also consider the novel’s continued popularity as a National Endowment for the Arts “Big Read” selection (2008), National Medal of Arts award winner (2015), and its relevance to our world today.

A professor of literature at Madonna University, Kevin Eyster also serves as Chair of Language, Literature, Communication, and Writing and Dean of Arts and Humanities. He continues to enjoy his favorite pursuit – teaching and discussing a wide range of American literature.


F1915 Historic Preservation: A Case Study from New Orleans
Presenters: George Klein and Dana Foster
Dates: Fridays, November 1 and 8
Time: 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. [Please note the 3:30 p.m. end time.]
Fee: Members $20; Nonmembers $30

The tension between urban development and preservation of the past can be seen in cities around the world. In this country, principles of historic preservation are studied in colleges and universities, and practiced by civic organizations. In this course George Klein and Dana Foster will focus on New Orleans, a city with many distinct areas and structures that tell us much about the past, but also may stand in the way of “progress.” George and Dana will examine how the tools of city government such as zoning and historic districts can be employed to resolve conflicts between preservation and development. They will also discuss an important preservation organization and include a segment on Confederate monuments in the Crescent City.

George Klein has taught English and humanities at Wayne State University and Eastern Michigan University (EMU), and directed EMU’s study abroad programs. George also served as a music program host at WEMU for 30 years. He is now an independent producer of online jazz programs.

Dana Foster is a retired city manager from Brighton, Michigan. He has become a New Orleans enthusiast and is eager to share his perspective on city planning and preservation efforts. Dana and George travel together to New Orleans annually for the Jazz & Heritage Festival.


F1916 Women in 19th Century America
Presenter: Susan Nenadic
Dates: Mondays, November 4, 11, 18, and 25
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon
Fee: Members $40; Nonmembers $60

Novels and films do not tell the real story about women of the past. They give us stereotypes. These fictional portraits of women portray delicate, hysterical, upper-class females who are only concerned about their appearance, or the destitute manual laboring woman and her noble suffering. Join us as we examine the real story of 19th century women’s education, occupations, and marriage and intimacy, including health and sexuality. Course participants will choose the subject for the fourth session, perhaps women of the Civil War, Women of the West, or Famous American Sisters. Our presenter, Susan Nenadic, will provide abundant illustrations and images, and will allow ample time for questions and discussion.

Susan Nenadic is the author of A Purse of Her Own: Occupations of Nineteenth Century Women, and Legendary Locals of Ann Arbor. She is a former board member of the Washtenaw County Historical Society, a member of the Ann Arbor Downtown Street Exhibit Educational Committee, and President of Friends of Amoru, a nonprofit organization creating a secondary school in Uganda.


F1917 Taking Apart the News
Presenter: Al Chambers
Dates: Tuesdays, November 5, 12, 19, and 26
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Fee: Members $40; Nonmembers $60

This course is about the news, and about the personalities and reputations of those who either make news or cover the news. Discussion material is always real time and controversial, even as the United States remains in a period of intense polarization and a severe decline in political decorum. Participants on both sides of this political divide believe that the nation’s problems are not being adequately addressed or are often misunderstood by the leaders of the nation or by the media. This continues to be a challenging time for discerning truth. Our presenter Al Chambers plans, as he did in the Spring sessions, to split class time between the most important issues of the week, and deeper consideration and discussion of a few major domestic or foreign policy topics.

Al Chambers has spent decades in front-line journalism, corporate communications and, more recently, consulting with major global corporations. He works hard at trying to understand the fascinating and fast-paced developments of today’s world and how the media covers them.


F1918 Yes. The Earth is Round.
Presenter: Philip Hughes
Dates: Fridays, November 8, 15, and 22
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon
Fee: Members $30; Nonmembers $45

This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong's first steps on the Moon. But, there are those who contend that the entire Apollo program was faked on a sound stage. Belief in a flat Earth is more widespread than you might guess (check out the Flat Earth Society on the Internet), and reports of abduction by space aliens are quite widely accepted. In this class you will see that there are many ways to refute such silliness. In doing so, you will explore some fascinating science, ranging from the glass beads strewn across the Moon's surface, to the structure of the Earth's interior and the origin of its weather patterns, to the likelihood of finding life beyond Earth. And as a bonus, you will surely improve your appreciation of the scientific method.

Philip Hughes teaches in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Michigan. His research focuses on the high-energy particles and magnetic field in the jets of plasma associated with supermassive black holes in galaxies.




F1919 Late Glacial Forager-Hunters in Michigan: Recent Archaeological Discoveries
Presenter: Henry T. Wright
Date: Friday, September 6
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon

Quite possibly more than 13,500 years ago, the first Michiganders arrived in a land of glacial hills and ice-edge lake features covered with a mosaic of tundra and spruce parkland. These earliest colonists were foragers adapted to harsh and rapidly changing environments, determined to exploit the local populations of caribou, elk, mammoth, mastodon, peccary, and other animals. Their subsistence and social systems have been defined by the devoted efforts of University of Michigan researchers and students, and by avocational archaeologists. Recently discovered sites in southwestern Michigan, north of Sturgis and south of Kalamazoo, have produced important new information. In this class Henry Wright will summarize these recent discoveries about the formative steps in the evolution of Michigan’s Late Glacial foragers, and will offer some predictions about the directions of future research.

Henry Wright is Professor of Anthropology and Curator of Archaeology at the University of Michigan Museum of Anthropological Archaeology. In addition to Eurasia and Africa, for the last five decades he has also studied the Late Glacial inhabitants of the central Great Lakes.


F1920 Willie Nelson: The Red-Headed Stranger
Presenter: Jeremy Baldwin
Date: Monday, September 9
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon

Willie Hugh Nelson, a.k.a. the Red-Headed Stranger, is one of the most recognized American artists of all time, despite having grown up during the Great Depression in the small and obscure hamlet of Abbott, Texas. In this presentation, Jeremy Baldwin will trace Willie’s amazing journey from these humble beginnings all the way into the 21st century and his most recent tours, recordings, and collaborations. We will pay special attention to Willie’s strongest musical influences, some of which may be surprising – Frank Sinatra, Django Reinhardt, and Louis Armstrong. We will also examine Willie’s political and social activism, including the legalization of marijuana and the creation of Farm Aid, an organization dedicated to promoting and assisting family farming.

Jeremy Baldwin has been the host of The Roots Music Project on WEMU 89.1 since 2005. In 2018 he also began hosting The Break for WEMU’s Friday programming. He is the founder of K & J Worldwide, a company specializing in custom travel and study-abroad experiences. Jeremy grew up in Oak Park, Illinois, and is a graduate of Chicago’s Loyola University. He has lived and worked in Ypsilanti since 1998.


F1921 Revival of the Diminutive Ukulele
Presenters: David and Theresa Smith
Date: Monday, September 9
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

According to the book Guinness World Records, the ukulele is the easiest musical instrument to play. Since its origins in the 1890s, the ukulele has been in and out of fashion. Currently this diminutive and unpretentious instrument is enjoying a revival that began some 15 years ago. Join us for a fun and informative afternoon as we learn about the ukulele’s unique history and about Michigan clubs and festivals focusing on this instrument. We will conclude the presentation with a demonstration and sing-along. You can't play the ukulele without smiling.

David and Theresa Smith are longtime amateur folk musicians and are members of Great Lakes Ukulele Gathering and Silver Strings Dulcimer Society. They regularly lead ukulele jams and workshops and have attended ukulele festivals in Michigan, Rhode Island, Indiana, and Texas.


F1922 La Danse Extraordinaire:
Sergei Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes
Presenter: Henry B. Aldridge
Date: Wednesday, September 11
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon

Entrepreneur, genius, and scoundrel, Sergei Diaghilev founded the Ballets Russes in 1909. For the next 20 years, he brought together composers, artists, and dancers to create some of the most exciting and controversial ballets of the 20th century, including the three groundbreaking Stravinsky scores: The Firebird, Petrushka, and The Rite of Spring. Join us as we first survey the people and productions of the Ballets Russes, and then view complete performances, including The Firebird, and Debussy’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faune, with the original choreography by Vaslav Nijinsky.

Henry B. Aldridge is Professor Emeritus of Electronic Media and Film Studies at Eastern Michigan University (EMU), and an accomplished musician. He is an incorporating officer of the Michigan Theater Foundation, and has served for many years as one of the theater's staff organists. Professor Aldridge has written three books and several articles in the field of video and film studies.


F1923 Step by Step: Michigan Women March
Presenter: Rochelle Balkam
Date: Thursday, September 12
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon

In 1995, then Michigan Lieutenant Governor Martha Griffiths said, “America was born out of the anguish and pain of women . . . “ We have war memorials for “men who died killing other men,” but “nothing for the women who died bringing forth a nation.” Michigan women have contributed to that Michigan story – from Native American women to our current governor. Some of their lives have been memorialized in statues and books, but many live on only in history’s hidden attic. In this class, we will try to balance the renowned “firsts” with those women whose contributions may be forgotten. We will focus on the women of five eras: Native American women and early settlers, abolitionists and the Civil War era, the women of the suffrage movement, the 1930s, and WWII, and women who contributed in the late 20th and early 21st centuries – like Martha Griffiths, who was called “the mother of the Equal Rights Amendment.”

Rochelle Balkam has taught Michigan history at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) for 28 years. She holds an M.A. degree in history and an M.S. in historic preservation from EMU. Rochelle is a former board member of the Historical Society of Michigan.


F1924 Music in the New German Cinema
Presenter: Caryl Flinn
Date: Friday, September 13
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon

Join us as we take a cinematic journey through the soundtracks of the New German Cinema (NGC), one of the 20th century’s most thought-provoking and stylistically versatile film movements. From the mid 1960s to the early 1980s, its directors played leading roles in conversations West Germany was initiating about the country’s relationship to World War II, Fascism, and the amnesiac 1950s. Through clips from the films themselves, we will see how music and other elements of the soundtrack provided insight into this fraught relationship. What, for instance, did it mean to perform Wagner’s music after the war, or the “decadent” music of Schoenberg, Weill, or Mahler? How can film music ask us to consider how ghosts of the past might still haunt the present? Our class will focus on the active, diverse, and innovative roles the NGC gave to music as it tackled difficult social and historical questions.

Caryl Flinn is a professor and former chair of the University of Michigan’s Department of Film, Television, and Media, and Affiliate Professor of Women’s Studies. She has published five books on film music, including one on the New German Cinema. Currently, Caryl is researching the soundtracks of Moonlight (2016) and A Quiet Place (2018).


F1925 Fake News? Fake Politicians? Or, Both?
More Adventures in American Politics: A Panel Discussion
Presenters: Jeffrey Bernstein, Michael Homel, Larry Kestenbaum
Date: Monday, September 16
Time: 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. [Please note the 3:30 p.m. end time.]

Not content with resting on their abundant laurels (and chair cushions), our intrepid trio of panelists returns for another round of commentary and prediction. Once again, you can both challenge and befuddle them with your comments and questions. Anticipating some of those questions . . . How has conflict between President Trump and the Democratic-led House evolved? Has the GOP-led Senate remained a presidential ally? enabler? defender? What divisions have appeared within each political party? What is the shape of the field of Democratic presidential hopefuls? Have there been any bipartisan achievements on domestic policy? Did foreign policy crises occur? And, what were their outcomes? What about United States relations with allies and rivals abroad? Do Michigan politics parallel, mirror, or contrast with national patterns? Surely, as before, there is much grist for the mill of current events, and for our trio of political millers.

Jeffrey Bernstein studies and teaches political science and American politics at Eastern Michigan University (EMU). He specializes in public opinion and political behavior.

Michael Homel is Professor Emeritus of History at EMU. Mike’s special expertise is in the fields of 20th century American history, and American urban history.

Larry Kestenbaum is the Washtenaw County Clerk/Register of Deeds. He was first elected in 2004. Larry is the creator and owner of, the Internet’s most comprehensive source for American political biography.


F1926 Becoming a Naturalist: Just Look and Listen
at the International Wildlife Refuge
Presenter: Jennifer Braatz
Date: Thursday, September 19
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon

This presentation offers an abundance of information about a remarkable local natural treasure, and how it reveals that every one of us is a naturalist at heart. All we need to do is use our skills of observation. The Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge, known throughout Michigan as the IWR, is the only preserve of its kind in North America. Established in 2001, the IWR is managed jointly by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the Canadian Wildlife Service. It is located in and near the heart of a major metropolitan area, and occupies almost 6,000 acres of scattered property – primarily coastal wetlands, marshes (notably Humbug Marsh), islands, shoals, and waterfront land along 48 miles of the Detroit River and Western Lake Erie shorelines. The IWR plays a critical role in protecting both wildlife habitat and migrations.

Jennifer Braatz is a Naturalist Park Ranger with the IWR. She holds a degree in Environment, Natural Resources, and Anthropology from the University of Wyoming, where she studied Greater Yellowstone otters, deer, and wolves. She has also served as a Park Ranger Naturalist with wildlife refuges in the State of Virginia.


F1927 Great Classical Composers:
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Giacomo Puccini
Presenter: Toby Teorey
Date: Thursday, September 19
Time: 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. [Please note 3:30 end time]

In this class we will once again visit the acclaimed Great Composers Series (BBC), to explore
the biographies and musical achievements of two giants in classical music: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Giacomo Puccini. Tchaikovsky became known as the Russian master of symphonies, ballet, and piano and violin concertos, and Puccini as the world’s most prolific and popular composer of opera. Join us as we learn about what inspired these geniuses, with explanations from famous musical performers and conductors. We will also view visually stunning historical backgrounds of Tchaikovsky and Puccini, and listen to some of their most renowned compositions.

Toby Teorey is the current Chair of the Elderwise Council. He is retired from the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan and in retirement pursues his enduring love of world cultures, including classical music.


F1928 Time-Restricted Eating: Is It Healthy?
Presenter: Robbi Duda
Date: Monday, September 23
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Time-Restricted Eating (TRE) is a form of fasting that limits eating to a certain number of hours each day. While gaining in popularity, some still question whether or not TRE is a healthy practice. In one way or another, daily fasting was likely something that was practiced unintentionally by our ancestors, who did not have 24/7 access to food the way we do today. Utilizing a combination of online videos and PowerPoint images, presenter Robbi Duda will discuss the science behind Time-Restricted Eating, a program that is currently being used to treat Type 2 Diabetes. In addition to controlling diabetes and some immune system disorders, TRE is also designed to help people lose weight and reduce hypertension. Robbi will also discuss practical approaches to this method, and will provide handouts for you to take home.

Robbi Duda is a retired nurse educator and American Nurses Credentialing Center Board Certified Geriatric Nurse. She has a master’s degree in Community Health Nursing from the University of Michigan.


F1929 Walt Whitman: Early Poems
Facilitator: Leonore Gerstein
Date: Thursday, September 26
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon
Texts: Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass: The Original 1855 Edition.
Dover Thrift Editions (2007) or American Renaissance Books (2018).

Marking the 200th anniversary of Walt Whitman’s birth, we will read poems from his first collection, the 1855 edition of Leaves of Grass. Whitman has been described as “everybody’s radical poet.” Our discussions will be particularly interesting, and most honest, if we allow ourselves to question this assessment. For discussion, our points of departure will be mythmaking and stylistic innovation. Walt Whitman (1819-1892) is one of the most influential poets in the American canon, and is often labeled the father of free verse. His work was controversial in its time, particularly Leaves of Grass, which was regarded by many to be obscene. Our facilitator will provide copies of the selected poems ten days prior to the class. Registrants can obtain them at the Elderwise office.

Leonore Gerstein was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and spent many of her formative years in Israel, first at a kibbutz, and then in Jerusalem, where she earned a bachelor's degree in English and philosophy. Leonore is passionate about poetry and is always eager to explore a variety of works with veteran and new Elderwise members.


F1930 John Williams: Stoner
Presenter: Will Horwath
Date: Thursday, September 26
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Text: Any available edition, hardbound or paperback.

Lust and learning . . . That’s really all there is, isn’t it?
  Katherine once said . . .
from Stoner, by John Williams

When John Williams’ novel Stoner was published by Viking Press in April 1965, it went loudly unnoticed – selling fewer than 2,000 copies. The best-selling book of that year, Saul Bellow’s Herzog (also published by Viking), sold 142,000 hardbound copies. Then, the fates did their dark work. Stoner was reissued in 2006 by New York Review Books Classics, and by 2011 it became a best-seller in France, the Netherlands, Italy, Israel, and Britain. The London Sunday Times called it “The Best Novel You’ve Never Read.” This academic novel tracks the undistinguished professorial career of true-to-life William Stoner – his workplace politics, his marriage and extramarital affair, and his love and pursuit of literature. Today, the book enjoys a cult following. Do sign up for the cult, and join Will Horwath in a discussion of Stoner, said to be “one of the great forgotten novels of the past century.”

Will Horwath holds a Ph.D. in English language and literature from the University of Michigan. He has taught literature and creative writing at Moravian College, the University of Michigan, and Oakland University. He most recently taught at Madonna University in the Department of Language, Literature, Communication and Writing.


F1931 Lifestyle Keys to Vitality and Longevity
Presenter: Robert Breakey
Date: Tuesday, October 1
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

The “Standard American Diet” is largely responsible for the epidemic of chronic diseases that we are experiencing in America, including obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, hypertension, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and several cancers. The good news is that this means all of these diseases are largely preventable, and many are even reversible. By choosing whole-plant based foods that are truly health supporting, engaging in at least moderate exercise, and ensuring that we sleep well, we have the opportunity to greatly enhance our health and vitality well into our elder years.

Dr. Robert Breakey is a fifth-generation graduate from the University of Michigan Medical School. He has practiced Family Medicine in Ann Arbor for 34 years. He has a special interest in health promotion, nutrition, positive wellness, and supporting the natural healing process that we all have within us. He leads the Family Medicine Division for his medical group, IHA, and is also on the Board of Directors for St. Joseph Mercy Hospital. Dr. Breakey personally has followed a plant-based lifestyle for 42 years.


F1932 Dante Alighieri: Inferno
Presenter: Jeffrey Cordell
Date: Friday, October 4
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Text: Recommended: Inferno: The Divine Comedy, Volume I, by Dante Alighieri.
Translated by John D. Sinclair. Oxford Paperbacks, 1971. ISBN 978-0195004120.

At once an elaboration of hell, idiosyncratic revision of Catholic doctrine, and extension of Ovid’s artistic vision of unending change and transformation, Dante's Inferno, and the Divine Comedy of which it is a part, is a kind of artistic summa for the Middle Ages. In this class we will consider The Inferno’s achievements as a work of art and its place in literary history. We will learn how Dante’s moral and artistic visions are intertwined, how he moved a classical tradition into the contemporary modernity of the Middle Ages, and how Dante’s sense of justice and character are indelibly interwoven.

Jeffrey Cordell holds a Ph.D. in Renaissance literature from the University of Virginia. He has taught literature and academic writing at Boston University, Harvard, and Alma College. Jeffrey is an assistant professor in the Department of Language, Literature, Communication and Writing at Madonna University.


F1933 The United States Census, 1790-2020
Presenter: Connie Olson
Date: Monday, October 7
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Our United States Census occurs once every ten years and, generally, we do not think much about it in the intervening years. However, during this past year, the forthcoming 2020 census has been in the news because of a controversy concerning one of the proposed questions. The 2020 census marks the 23rd time the United States has had a decennial census, and almost every one of them has involved a controversy of some kind. Join us to learn about these controversies and to explore how the United States Census has influenced American history, as well as how that history has influenced the census.

Connie Olson is a long-time library, architecture, and American history enthusiast, and an expert on the Carnegie Libraries of the United States.


F1934 Eight Mile: The Borders Within
Presenter: Ken Stevens
Date: Wednesday, November 13
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

This presentation focuses on immigrant neighborhoods in Detroit and their art as a sense of place. In this “nation of immigrants,” the City of Detroit stands out for the incredible number of nationalities, ethnicities, and religious groups which have populated its 138 square miles. To fully appreciate the city’s turbulent history and its abundant cultural treasures, it is helpful to envision the many invisible borders that have served as demarcation lines between and among groups. In this class Ken Stevens will explore Detroit’s history of immigration and migration, the ever-changing maps, the disruptions, and the harmonies. We will look at the “new Detroit,” with its many cultural attractions, art forms, restaurants, and parks, and travel back to the hidden gems of “old Detroit,” some in ruins, others repurposed, and a few still viable and operating.

Ken Stevens began his career in Cincinnati where he co-founded the Showboat Majestic theater. He joined the faculty of Eastern Michigan University in 1972 and created both the musical theater program and the graduate and undergraduate programs in arts management. Since retiring, he has been serving as consultant to the arts management program and to Villa Barr, a new art park in Novi, Michigan.


F1935 Trail of Tears: Cherokee Legacy
Presenter: Hedy Brodak
Date: Thursday, October 10
Time: 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. [Please note the 4:00 p.m. end time.]

Trail of Tears: Cherokee Legacy is a compelling documentary film which explores one of the great tragedies of America’s indigenous people. President Andrew Jackson’s Indian Removal Act of 1830 forced the removal of the Cherokee Nation to Oklahoma in 1838. Nearly a quarter of the Cherokee Nation died during their arduous journey along the Trail of Tears, arriving in Indian Territory with few elders and even fewer children. Wes Studi, the well-known Cherokee actor, speaks on camera in his native tongue (with subtitles). The film includes dramatization of key points in history, and interviews with historians and spokespeople for the Cherokee tribe. James Earl Jones, who is of blended African and Cherokee heritage, narrates in his customary and convincing tones.

Hedy Brodak, who retired in 2007 as the Assistant Library Director of the Troy Public Library, particularly enjoyed planning film and book discussion events for library patrons. She continues to enjoy the study of films and their relationship to current times.


F1936 Art and Artificial Intelligence
Presenter: Boyd E. Chapin, Jr.
Date: Friday, October 11
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Can machines use artificial intelligence to create art? In this class, we will explore a very novel and very current means of artistic effort. We will look at recent attempts to create paintings and other art forms through the application of artificial intelligence (AI). Researchers are employing computers coded with mathematical algorithms and neural networks to generate images. One such image, the AI-generated “Portrait of Edmond Belamy,” signed with the name of the algorithm, was auctioned at Christie’s in October of 2018 with a projected sale price of $10,000. It sold for over $430,000. We will ask ourselves whether algorithms can emulate the brain activity we call creativity. Might they someday equal or surpass what artists are able to do? Or is creativity uniquely human?

Boyd E. Chapin is a graduate of Wayne State University and a senior attorney with the Detroit firm of Garan Lucow Miller, PC. Boyd is a former docent with the Detroit Institute of Arts and has an ongoing passion for all forms of art. It is a passion he pursues through his own work in pencil, oil, and acrylic.


F1937 George Henry Jewett II: Renaissance Man
Presenter: Cheryl “Cheri” O’Neal
Date: Monday, October 14
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon

George Henry Jewett II (1870-1908) was an American athlete who became the first African American football player at both the University of Michigan and Northwestern University, and first in the Big Ten Conference. At Michigan he played as a halfback, fullback, and field goal kicker. He was considered one of Michigan’s greatest players in the pre-Fielding H. Yost era. Jewett grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the son of George Henry and Leticia “Letty” (Zebbs) Jewett. He attended Ann Arbor High School where he led in various sports and debate teams, and was fluent in German, Italian and French. George Jewett attended the University of Michigan from 1890 to 1893, studying medicine and winning football fame. In 1893 he transferred to Northwestern University and also broke color barriers as the first African American player there, and continued his studies to receive his medical degree. With this presentation, you will learn about Jewett’s remarkable rise from humble beginnings, his sudden and unexpected death at the young age of 38, and the indelible mark he left on our social and historical landscape.

Cheryl “Cheri” O’Neal is the great-granddaughter of George Jewett. She is retired from the federal government. A life-long resident of Ann Arbor, she continues to fall in love with the city and its diverse community. As a Life-Cycle Celebrant she designs ceremonies that give voice to personal values, traditions, and beliefs by facilitating weddings and civil unions, birth and coming-of-age celebrations, as well as end-of-life tributes, celebrations of life, and memorial services.


F1938 Religion, Immigration, and Industry in 20th Century Albion
Presenter: Tyler Eyster
Date: Tuesday, October 15
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

When Tyler Eyster embarked on a research project to analyze the impact of 20th century Christian communities in Albion, Michigan, he soon discovered the complex weave of religion, ethnicity, and commerce that comprised much of the fabric of the city’s life. Through both written records and oral history interviews, Tyler sought a better understanding of the ways in which Albion’s religious communities maintained their identities while influencing civic activities and industrial pursuits. He surveyed Mainline Protestant, Evangelical and Black Protestant, Russian Orthodox, and Catholic church communities, and how each was connected to the ethnic identities present in Albion during the last century, as well as how each demonstrated its own form of civic engagement. In this presentation, Tyler will share his findings, including those most unexpected.

Tyler Eyster is a senior at Albion College, majoring in religious studies and English, with a minor in history. He is a member of the Prentiss M. Brown Honors Program, and his project has been sponsored by Albion College’s Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity.


F1939 Ecological Diversity on the Florida Peninsula
Presenter: Don Chalfant
Date: Thursday, October 17
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

The range and variety of ecological regions in Florida identify this North American peninsula as a global hotspot of biodiversity. From the northwestern panhandle to the Everglades wetlands, the eastern Atlantic coastline, and the sheltered western Gulf Coast, you will find remarkable differences in hydrology, climate, landforms, soils, flora, and fauna. Don and Loree Chalfant spend many months in Florida each year observing and recording this diversity. For this presentation, Don will share his captivating photography of Florida’s wildlife, including a rare assortment of birds. On the ground, in the ocean, and in the air, you will enjoy a close-up view of (among many others) the Gopher Tortoise, Purple Sea Urchin, and Julia Butterfly, as well as the Burrowing Owl, Egyptian Goose, Royal Tern, Reddish Egret, and Roseate Spoonbill.

Don Chalfant holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Michigan. He retired from the Ann Arbor Schools in 1995. In retirement, Don indulges his passion for the outdoors, for birding, and for photographing the inhabitants of our natural world.


F1940 Identity Theft and Financial Fraud:
The Latest Schemes and Scams
Facilitator: Mark Munzenberger
Date: Friday, October 18
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

How common is identity theft? Is it something you need to worry about? Even if you have not been victimized, when you hear news of another significant data breach, or a friend tells you their own horror story of ID theft, you may wonder if you will be next. In 2017, over 15 million American consumers lost $16 billion to identity fraud. In this workshop you will learn the essential steps you need to take to protect yourself, and the tools available to help you. Unfortunately, senior citizens in particular fall victim to financial scams, and we will cover the dos and don’ts of how to respond to unexpected phone calls and emails. We will take the Identity Theft Awareness Quiz, and learn about the most recent, common, and current schemes and scams. We will also discuss ID theft prevention, credit freezes, fraud alerts, and credit monitoring. Your take-away from this workshop will be an action plan you can implement immediately.

Mark Munzenberger is a University of Michigan Credit Union Financial Education Specialist. He has over 15 years of experience in the financial services industry, specializing in consumer financial wellness programs. Mark is a certified credit and housing counselor, and also has a certification from the National Financial Educators Council.


F1941 Blaggards, Gentlemen, and Pompous Arses:
Leading Suitors in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility
Presenter: Ioana Fracassi
Date: Friday, October 25
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Text: Recommended but not required: Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility.
Any of several editions available in libraries, bookstores, or online.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen readers fawn over her leading male characters, like Darcy in Pride and Prejudice and John Knightley in Emma. Despite their imperiousness, these men are highly intelligent and cultured, not to mention exceedingly handsome and rich! Emphasis on the latter only makes them even more attractive. Yet, it is in Sense and Sensibility, presumably the novel Austen favored most, where depictions of men are much more subtle and dark (as are those of the young women who fall for them). Join us in this class for an in-depth conversation about human character, as exemplified by Austen’s awkward lovers, opportunists, and older men of good character. Our instructor recommends a full reading of the novel, with particular attention to the male protagonists.

Ioana Fracassi is an assistant professor in the Department of Language, Literature, Communications and Writing at Madonna University. She is a member of the Jane Austen Society of North America and passionate about the Regency Era. She would like to dedicate this presentation to Professor Richard Sax, with whom she studied Austen as an undergraduate more than two decades ago.


F1942 Great Modern Architects: Designers of Buildings
and Landscapes at the University of Michigan
Presenter: Frederick Mayer
Date: Wednesday, October 30
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon

Over the course of his 37-year career as the University of Michigan's Campus Planner, Fred Mayer had the opportunity to work directly with many of the leading architects of the late 20th century. In this presentation Fred will offer his observations about the essential qualities of great architects. He will describe the differing personalities of those he has known, and share a variety of anecdotes derived from his experiences in working with them.

Frederick Mayer studied architecture and city planning and urban design at Platt Institute, at Rutgers University, and at Cornell University. From 1968 until his retirement in 2003, he oversaw the preparation of master plans for each of the University’s four Ann Arbor campuses, as well as those at Dearborn and Flint. During Fred Mayer’s career, over 100 new buildings or major renovations were completed, numerous landscaping projects were carried out, and the collection of outdoor art was greatly expanded.


F1943 Famous World Churches and Cathedrals, Part V
Presenter: Toby Teorey
Date: Thursday, October 31
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon

In this class we will explore several beautiful and interesting churches with video lectures from award-winning Professor William R. Cook of The Great Courses series. The presentation will include video tours of the buildings, descriptions of church architecture, and explanations of the religious meaning in the details of each structure.

The churches of Armenia. These survived multiple conquests for over 1,700 years. In the year 301, Armenia was the first political entity to adopt Christianity.
The Cathedral of Siena in Tuscany. Its evolution in 1215 as both a civic symbol and a religious symbol continued over several centuries.
The great shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Cathedral of Mexico City. Both honor and encompass the saints, beliefs, and traditions in the New World.

Toby Teorey is the current Chair of the Elderwise Council. He is retired from the University of Michigan, and in retirement pursues his interest in world culture and events.


F1944 Protecting Michigan’s Beauty
Presenter: Erica Briggs
Date: Monday, November 4
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Are you frustrated by the visual pollution that mars Michigan’s communities and some of our most attractive landscapes – the growing number of billboards, the excess commercial signage, the lighting that washes out our night skies, the poor land-use planning? If so, you are not alone. In this presentation, we will learn about the history of scenic conservation in the United States and in Michigan. Erica Briggs will introduce us to an Ann Arbor based nonprofit, Scenic Michigan, and its efforts to protect, preserve, and enhance our state’s scenic resources. We will also discuss ways the public can become more engaged in scenic conservation.

Erica Briggs is the Executive Director of Scenic Michigan. She is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at Michigan State University and has 15 years of experience working on land use, transportation planning, and related policy issues in southeast Michigan.


F1945 The Poetry of Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979)
Presenter: Macklin Smith
Date: Wednesday, November 6
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon
Text: Recommended: Elizabeth Bishop: The Complete Poems, 1927-1979.
Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1984.


In “One Art,” occasioned by the suicide of her long-term lover, Elizabeth Bishop writes...

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost
that their loss is no disaster.

... and so begins what is possibly the best villanelle ever written. Elizabeth knew loss, her father having died during her infancy, her mentally ill mother having been institutionalized when Bishop was five years old, and when she was seven she was wrenched from the nurturing care of her maternal
grandparents. But her voice is never self-pitying, angry, or confessional in the mode of her contemporaries Sylvia Plath and Robert Lowell. It is detailed, reticent, technically masterful, and full of wonder. She seems to have worked through pain in such a way that she could access and reveal beauty with rare poetic luminosity. In this class we will consider six to eight of her poems, including “In the Waiting Room,” “One Art,” “The Moose,” and “Sandpiper,” attempting to understand and appreciate the artistry of this great yet modest poet. All of these poems are included in The Complete Poems, 1927-1979. A coursepack will be provided in advance by the instructor.

Macklin Smith recently retired from the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan, where he taught Medieval literature, Shakespeare, and a variety of poetry courses.


F1946 The Giant Success of a Tiny Company:
Chess Records’ Rock ‘n’ Roll, Urban Blues, Jazz, and Doo Wop
Presenter: Michael Homel
Date: Wednesday, November 13
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon

Founded by two Polish immigrant Jews, Chicago’s Chess Records was yet another small independent record company shaping American popular music in the 1950s and ‘60s. Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, Etta James, Ahmad Jamal, Ramsey Lewis, the Flamingos, the Moonglows – these were the greatest of the artists that Phil and Leonard Chess recorded. As we listen to these performers, we will learn about the unanticipated events that resulted in Chess Records. We will explore the challenges of a small “indie” firm in a fiercely competitive business, and how the Chess brothers succeeded. We will also address Phil and Leonard’s complex relations with their African American talent, as well as the brothers’ expansion into radio broadcasting, and the ultimate demise of Chess Records in the late 1960s.

Michael Homel is Professor Emeritus of History at Eastern Michigan University. He specializes in 20th century American history, and is the author of two books and other publications on urban education, race, government, and politics. Mike regularly offers classes on American history, politics, and popular music and culture.


F1947 The Poetry of Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)
Presenter: Russell Robert Larson
Date: Thursday, November 14
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon

Thomas Hardy, who was twice nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature, is one of the most important English poets of the last century. The American poet most like Hardy is Robert Frost, whose poetry actually was influenced by Hardy. Although Thomas Hardy spent his life living in and writing about southwestern England, his poems still reflect on the human condition and on international affairs. In this class we will examine the following poems by Hardy: “The Darkling Thrush,” “Neutral Tones,” “The Convergence of the Twain,” “The Voice,” “The Man He Killed,” “Channel Firing,” “The Ruined Maid,” and “The Oxen.” Most, if not all, are readily available on the Internet. In addition, an advance coursepack will be available at the Elderwise office for class registrants.

Russell Robert Larson is Professor Emeritus of English Language and Literature at Eastern Michigan University (EMU). He holds a Ph.D. in 19th century English literature from the University of Michigan, and joined the teaching faculty of the Department of English Language and Literature at EMU in 1970, where he served as department chair from 1999 to 2006.


F1948 Politics and Performing Artists: The Film White Nights (1985)
Presenter: Julie Teorey
Date: Thursday, November 14
Time: 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. [Please note the 4:00 p.m. end time.]

White Nights is a tense film drama about three individuals and their desperate race to escape their KGB guards and get to the safety of the American Consulate in the Soviet Union’s Leningrad. Can a famous Russian ballet dancer (played by Mikhail Baryshnikov) and an American dissident tap dancer (played by Gregory Hines) literally dance their way to safety? Can they outsmart the captors holding them under house arrest? As this drama unfolds, you will see Baryshnikov perform with breathtaking power and energy. And, Gregory Hines will amaze you with his tap dancing artistry. Actors Helen Mirren, Isabella Rossellini, and Geraldine Page also bring star power to this film, and Lionel Richie’s signature song, “Say You, Say Me,” won the 1985 Oscar. This movie is a gift to anyone who appreciates the talent of great actors and two of the world’s finest performing dance artists.

Julie Teorey, who makes no claim to such fame, invites you to come, sit in the dark, eat popcorn, and thrill to the drama and dance of White Nights. Julie received her B.A. in education and her M.A. in journalism from Michigan State University. She is a big fan of classic movies.


F1949 France, Part II: Irresistible Provence
Presenter: Gerlinda Melchiori
Date: Monday, November 18
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Cezanne loved them. So will you – the colors, culture, and cuisine of Provence. Last spring, Gerlinda Melchiori took us on a journey to northern France – to the Normandy Coast. This fall, she leads us on a tour of southern France, primarily in the Provence region. We will visit famous historical sites such as the global port of Marseille, papal Avignon on the River Rhône, and the Toulon of Les Misérables, on the Mediterranean Coast. We will then walk the paths of the Impressionist painters, hike the steep canyons and vineyards, and view with joy the lavender landscapes of this exquisite region. And, we will do all of this without the millions of tourists who come here every year.

Gerlinda Melchiori holds advanced degrees in history and business, and a doctorate in higher education management from the University of Michigan. She has served as an international consultant to universities around the world. Her special interests include the history and arts of regions and cultures worldwide.


F1950 The Kingsford Chemical Company Strike of 1953
Presenter: Kenneth Hafeli
Date: Wednesday, November 20
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon

In 1951 the Ford Motor Company divested itself of extensive properties in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Local entrepreneurs assumed control of the chemical plant at Kingsford, Michigan, reorganizing it as the Kingsford Chemical Company. For the next 19 months, members of the United Auto Workers, working without a contract, negotiated with Kingsford Chemical in an effort to make UAW Local 952 the sole bargaining agent for the company. On July 1, 1953, the frustrated union members went on strike. The next four months brought violence, charges and counter-charges of bad faith bargaining, and intervention by a cast of characters that included state and federal mediators, religious leaders, a U.S. Congressman, the Governor of Michigan, and the State Police. The affair left a legacy of bitterness and division in the two towns of Iron Mountain and Kingsford.

Kenneth Hafeli holds an undergraduate degree from Michigan Technological University in Houghton and a master's degree in history from Wayne State University, where he first began researching this topic. Ken recently retired after a 39-year career as a photo archivist with the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library in Ann Arbor.


F1951 Voyages that Changed the World:
Opening the Maritime Silk Road for the Porcelain Trade
Presenter: SuiWah Chan
Date: Wednesday, November 20
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, and Matteo Ricci – all are quite well known. But, do you know what they had in common? Porcelain. If that answer surprises you, you are not alone. It is a central theme that helps us connect the dots among major events that have changed the course of human history. The demand for porcelain in the 17th and 18th centuries came not only from Europe’s nobility, but from affluent households as well. It was the embodiment of high fashion and advanced technology from the Far East. The business drive to satisfy this enormous demand was the impetus for finding the fastest routes to the source, and the rise of new maritime powers that turned the pages of history. The maritime routes for the global trade in porcelain paved the way to the New World and worldwide exchanges that still flourish today. In this class SuiWah Chan will share his findings from his research on porcelain exported from the kilns of China to Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Switzerland.

SuiWah Chan is Professor Emeritus of Medical Education at Michigan State University and an associate of the Center for Chinese Studies at the University of Michigan. In retirement, he studies and teaches Chinese history and culture.


F1952 An Update on Ypsilanti’s Peninsular Paper Dam Project and PFAS Contamination in Southeast Michigan
Presenter: Daniel A. Brown
Date: Thursday, November 21
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon

As we learned last fall, between the 18th and mid 20th centuries, more than 100 dams were built along Michigan’s Huron River and its tributaries. Originally constructed to generate power and/or supply water, today they primarily provide recreation. Only four still produce hydropower, and most have far exceeded their recommended 40-year lifespan. The adverse effects of dams on the health of their host rivers are well documented and Ypsilanti, Michigan, is one among several communities deciding to remove its local dam. Dan Brown will provide us with an update on that decision and its potential impact, as well as the implications for future river restoration and preservation in Michigan. He will also discuss the continuing problem of PFAS contamination in the rivers of Southeast Michigan.

Daniel A. Brown is the Watershed Planner for the Huron River Watershed Council (HRWC) and leads the HRWC RiverUP! Program, a campaign dedicated to restoring and revitalizing the Huron River. Dan is a Michigan native who has worked on climate change and environmental issues across North America. He seeks to empower conservation efforts that are based on sound science, and to encourage residents and others to enjoy Michigan’s abundant natural resources.




F1953 Abstraction, Color, and Politics in the Early 1970s
Exhibition Tour, University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA)
Guide: Barbara Scoville, Docent Specialist
Date: Thursday, September 5 at the Museum of Art, 525 South State Street
Time: 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. [Please note the 2:00 p.m. start time.]
Class size: Enrollment for this exhibition tour is limited to 20 attendees.

Can abstract art be political? In early 1970s America, that question was hotly debated as artists, critics, and the public grappled with the relationship between art, politics, race, and feminism. Many of those debates centered on bringing to light the roles that gender and race played in defining and assessing “great modern art,” and on employing art to advance civil rights. Abstraction’s role within this discourse was especially fraught. Women artists and artists of color often created abstract art as a retreat from politics and protest. Many saw this as an abnegation of a commitment to civil rights and feminism. This exhibition presents the work of leading American artists – including Helen Frankenthaler, Sam Gilliam, Al Loving, and Louise Nevelson – who chose abstraction as a means of expression within the intense political climate of the early 1970s. Abstraction, Color, and Politics in the Early 1970s is on display through September 29, 2019, at the University of Michigan Museum of Art, Taubman Gallery II.

Our tour will be led by Docent Specialist Barbara Scoville. Attendees should assemble at the museum shop in the new wing.


F1954 Come One, Come All. Let’s Walk through Fall!
Guide: Andrew Buesser
Date: Tuesday, September 10 at the Pinckney Recreation Area
Driving directions will be sent with your registration for this field trip.
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Class Size: Enrollment for this field trip is limited to 20 attendees.

Our beloved naturalist, Andy Buesser, will lead us on a seasonal stroll along the Potawatomi Trail. We will begin at the Pickerel Lake parking lot in the Pinckney Recreation Area and follow Andy through this stunning natural setting. Along the way we will learn how to utilize our natural surroundings to ensure our survival in the manner of a caretaker. Our interaction will focus on the over-arching law: “Flourishment of the most cooperative.” Please wear long pants and sturdy shoes. Bring a raincoat, just in case, and a bottle of water. The total length of our walk will be less than one mile.

Andy Buesser is a master carpenter who has spent much of his life studying wilderness survival. Under the tutelage of legendary tracker, Tom Brown, Jr., Andy learned the knowledge and skills of Stalking Wolf, an elder and last of the Apache scouts.


F1955 A Visit to the Paint Creek Vineyard and Winery
Guide: Bryanne Patail
Date: Tuesday, September 17 south of Ann Arbor in Pittsfield Township
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Tour Size: Enrollment for this field trip is limited to 12 attendees.

Back by popular demand, this field trip will please anyone who is curious about the wine making process. Join us for a walking tour of the Paint Creek Vineyard and Winery, a small hobby winery in our local Pittsfield Township. The tour will take place just before the fall harvest. We will see the various grapes while they are still on the vines, and then we will see the various steps involved in converting grapes to wine – from measuring the Brix value (sugar content) to crushing and de-stemming, from converting to must (pulpy juice) and fermenting to titrating (measuring acidity), tasting and finally bottling and labeling the wines. Please be prepared to walk in the fields with appropriate attire and sturdy closed-toe shoes. Driving directions and details regarding location will be sent in advance to all registrants.

Bryanne Patail was born in Burma (the current Myanmar), and was educated both in Burma and the United States. He worked as a clinical engineer in the healthcare field for approximately five decades until retiring a few years ago. Mr. Patail prepared for his retirement by planting a vineyard and setting up a small winery with his wife Pat.


F1956 Graffiti as Devotion along the Nile Kelsey Museum of Archaeology Exhibition Tour
Guides: Kelsey Staff
Date: Tuesday, September 24 at the Kelsey Museum
434 South State Street
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Class size: Enrollment for this tour is limited to 15 attendees.

In the ancient Nile valley, the people of Kush (now northern Sudan) practiced a religion that included pilgrimage. Along their journeys, they left informal marks on temples, pyramids, and other monumental structures. These graffiti are found in temples from throughout the later Meroitic Period (100 BCE - 300 CE) when Kush bordered on Roman Egypt, and they continued in the medieval Christian kingdoms of Nubia. They provide a unique glimpse into the lives of individuals in antiquity. The informal markings represent one of the few direct traces of the devotional practices of private people in Kush and hints at their thoughts, values, and daily life. This exhibition of photos, text, and interactive media explores the times and places in which Kushite graffiti were inscribed. At the heart of the show are the hundreds of Meroitic markings recently discovered in a rock-cut temple and on a pyramid during the Kelsey expedition to El Kurru in northern Sudan. An exhibit curator and/or member of the museum’s docent staff will guide our tour. Graffiti as Devotion along the Nile will be displayed at the Kelsey Museum through January 5, 2020.


F1957 Matthaei Botanical Gardens Conservatory Tour
Guides: Matthaei Docent Staff
Date: Thursday, October 24
Time: 10:00 to 11:00 a.m. [Please note the 11:00 a.m. end time.]

Join us for a docent-led visit to the University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens Conservatory, a remarkable facility dedicated to sharing knowledge and promoting learning about the care of our natural heritage. We will tour the Conservatory in small groups of five, providing an excellent opportunity to both see and hear everything. We will experience the facility’s three major life and climate zones – the tropical, temperate, and arid biomes – and achieve a better understanding of the work involved in maintaining and sustaining the living collections that serve the sciences, the arts, and the wider public. The Matthaei Conservatory was commissioned by Alden B. Dow and opened in 1964. Built in an era pre-dating computer models, the building is believed to be the largest free-span Conservatory of its kind. It is home to more than 1,000 different plant species from across the globe. While pursuing some specialized research, the facility’s primary mandate is to grow plants for the research of other University programs. The Matthaei Botanical Gardens are located just off Dixboro Road, northeast of Ann Arbor. Driving and parking directions will be sent to registrants in advance.



THEATER Back to top

F1958 Eastern Michigan University (EMU) Theater: Cabaret A Musical by Joe Masteroff (book), John Kander (music), and Fred Ebb (lyrics)
Presenter: Phil Simmons, Director
                       Pre-Performance Class: Friday, October 25 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon
                       at the Red Cross Building
                       Matinee Performance: Sunday, October 27, 2:00 p.m.
                       Quirk Theatre, EMU Campus
                       Post-Performance Class: Monday, October 28
                       10:00 a.m. to 12 noon at the Red Cross Building
Fee: Members $30; Nonmembers $40 [Includes one ticket to the play.]
Emeritus Faculty: Members $20; Nonmembers $30
Extra Tickets are $10 each. Please see F1961 on the Registration Form.
Parking: Parking fees are $5 per vehicle at the Ford Lot, credit card only as you enter,
and $1.50 per hour at the Alexander Guest Lot, cash or credit card as you exit.

Cabaret is a 1966 musical based on John Van Druten's 1951 play I Am a Camera, which was adapted from the short novel Goodbye to Berlin (1939) by Christopher Isherwood. Set in 1929-1930 Berlin as the Nazis are rising to power, the story focuses on the nightlife of the city’s seedy Kit Kat Klub. The plot revolves around American writer Cliff Bradshaw and his relationship with English cabaret performer Sally Bowles. A sub-plot involves the doomed romance between German boarding-house owner Fräulein Schneider and her elderly suitor Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit vendor. Overseeing the action is the strange and omniscient Master of Ceremonies at the Kit Kat Klub. The original 1966 Broadway production was a huge hit, inspiring numerous subsequent productions in London and New York, as well as the 1972 film of the same title.

Phil Simmons is a professor of musical theater at Eastern Michigan University, and a card-carrying member of the Actors Equity Association. His passion is teaching the next generation of actors, singers, and dancers to be happy, thriving, career-long performers.


F1959 PTD Productions: Ripcord A Comedy by David Lindsay-Abaire
Presenter: Dennis Platte, Director
                       Pre-Performance Class: Monday, November 11, 2019 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
                       at the Red Cross Building
                       Matinee Performance: Matinee Performance: Sunday, November 17, 2019
                        2:00 p.m. at the Riverside Arts Center, Ypsilanti
Fees: Members $21; Nonmembers $26 [Includes one ticket to the play.]
Extra Tickets are $11 each. Please see F1962 on the Registration Form.

Abby Binder is a resident at an assisted-living facility for the elderly. Although she does not pay enough for a private room, she has become accustomed to having one anyway. With a sharp tongue and a near sociopathic disregard for the feelings of others, Abby is not the easiest woman to live with. Most of her former roommates have fled in terror. Her latest roomie, Marilyn Dunne, is not so easily cowed. Marilyn tries to charm Abby by chatting incessantly and arranging for her favorite food to be prepared in the cafeteria. Abby is not having it. "I don't like you," she tells Marilyn, "It's that simple." Thus, the wager. Marilyn agrees to request a room change if Abby can succeed in making her angry. If Marilyn can scare Abby first, Marilyn wins the coveted bed by the window. You will laugh and cringe as they blast past all appropriate boundaries for women of a certain age living in a polite society.

Dennis Platte has worked with PTD Productions since its inception 20 years ago, directing, designing, and acting in many shows over the years. He has directed Auntie Mame and Life with Father, and has acted Morris in Present Laughter and Willie in The Sunshine Boys. Dennis studied theater arts at Eastern Michigan University and has worked with theaters across Michigan and in New England.


F1960 The Yeomen of the Guard: How Gilbert and Sullivan Approached a Story from the 16th Century
Presenters: Mitch Gillett and Asher Margulies
                       Pre-Performance Class: Pre-Performance Class: Friday, November 22,
                       1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the Red Cross Building
                       Matinee Performance: Saturday, December 7, 2:00 p.m.
                        at the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater, U of M Campus
Fees: Members $32; Nonmembers $37 [Fee includes one ticket to the play.]
Extra Tickets are $22 each. Please see F1963 on this catalog’s Registration Form.

When W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan learned their follow-up show to The Mikado was less than a hit, they needed to create a new show, one that would bring in a larger audience. In our pre-performance class we will learn how Gilbert acquired his ideas for The Yeomen of the Guard, insights into Arthur Sullivan's work habits, and the story for this unique show, a production that is almost as beloved as The Mikado. Gilbert’s pointed satire and punny one-liners abound. There are plenty of typical topsy-turvy plot complications. And, many believe the score is Sullivan’s finest. The setting of Yeomen is the Tower of London in Shakespearean times. Colonel Fairfax is sentenced to die within the hour on a false charge of sorcery. To avoid leaving his estate to his accuser, and with the help of the Lieutenant of the Tower, Fairfax secretly marries Elsie Maynard, a strolling singer, who expects to become a well-paid widow. As could be predicted, the plan does not go smoothly. With hilarious anticipation, join us for this journey through the creation of The Yeomen of the Guard, its star performers, and its music.

Mitchell Gillett has directed opera and operetta, and has researched and performed the works of Gilbert and Sullivan (professionally and semi-professionally) for 32 years in Southeastern Michigan.

Asher Margulies is a student at the University of Michigan, with double majors in history (19th century Europe) and mathematics. Asher has played French horn in the Michigan Marching Band, and is currently the President of the University of Michigan Gilbert and Sullivan Society.

© 2011 - , Elderwise Site by Scorching Web Design