Friday, February 16, 2018

The Educated Retiree

     Last year B and I took part in a series of discussions offered by the Foreign Policy Association called "Great Decisions." The eight-week program was offered at the senior center where we were living at the time, in Connecticut, and also where we were vacationing at the time, in Charleston, SC. So while we were away from home, instead of missing some sessions, we caught up with them in South Carolina.

     So this year, when we moved to Pennsylvania, we looked for a place where they offered the course. We didn't find anything near where we lived, so we approached our local Center for Learning in Retirement and . . . long story short, we will be moderating the course this spring at home, starting in March.

     In preparation for that, we are attending the sessions which have already started in Charleston. So far we've learned about Russia and China, and yesterday we talked about Turkey.

     The Great Decisions program is offered every year, all over the country, typically in a local library or senior center, or the community college. I'd encourage anyone who's interested in foreign policy, or learning a bit more about the world, to look into the program in their area.

     As you know, I'm all in favor of using retirement to enrich our lives and advance our education. So I wrote a piece for US News called 4 Ways to Further Your Education in Retirement. Here's how it begins; go check it out if you're interested.

     A couple of years ago I visited my sister in Jacksonville, Florida, as part of my annual snowbird trip. When I arrived she told me she and her husband would be busy one night. They were taking a course called "The 1960s and Vietnam" at the University of North Florida. She went on to explain that the university has a program allowing Florida residents, age 60 and above, to audit regular undergraduate courses with tuition waived.
     I asked to come along. So one weeknight in February we joined 20 or so undergraduates, along with half a dozen retirees, to listen to a lecture and participate in a class discussion about the Kennedys, the Johnsons and the Vietnam War. The 20-year-old students got first-hand reports about the 1960s from people who lived through the events. Two of the retirees in the class were Vietnam veterans who related personal observations about the conflict.

     There are many learning opportunities available to retirees for free or at a low cost. And there’s a bonus: You not only learn something, you also have the chance to socialize with other people who have similar interests. Here are four ways to further your education in retirement . . . 


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Sightings of Charleston

     I signed up for another photography class at our Center for Learning in Retirement, at home in Pennsylvania. Like the course I took last fall, the class culminates with each student presenting a portfolio of pictures centered on a particular theme.

     Since I'm in South Carolina, and not in Pennsylvania, I picked for my theme: historical Charleston.

     So here's a preview of the photos I've been taking. Of course, I'll be taking more, and culling trough them to choose the best, but this is my first effort. Any feedback you can give me -- photos you especially like, or ones you think are boring or cliches -- would be much appreciated and help me put this all together.

     We'll start out with a picture of East Bay Street, showing the elegant houses along Charleston harbor.

     And then a view across the harbor, out to Fort Sumter, where the first shots of the Civil War were fired.

     This is a view of the First Presbyterian Church of Charleston . . . with three doors, perhaps symbolizing the holy trinity?

     And here's a view down Broad St., a main thoroughfare in Charleston, taken from the Old Exchange Building, once a slave market and prison. Notice the British flag (Charleston was named after King Charles) and the American flag with 13 stars.

     So the theme is Charleston history. Two signers of the Declaration of Independence are buried in this churchyard: South Carolina governor John Rutledge (1739 - 1800), who was rejected as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and tried to commit suicide by jumping off a wharf into Charleston harbor, and another South Carolina governor Charles Pickney (1746 - 1825) who went on to become a U. S. Senator. But I was more interested in this grave, of Margaret Charlotte Elford, 1817 - 1860. The inscription says . . .

Leaving a husband with seven young children to lament their irreparable loss
She was
In childhood obedient
In wedlock virtuous
In prosperity humble
In adversity resigned
In sickness patient
In death happy

     And here's another photo from the graveyard which I thought was interesting simply because there's a daffodil blooming, in early February!

     This rather abstract photo shows the buried-and-recovered city wall from the 1700s, visible along the top of the picture.

     And this abstract photo is a close-up of a sweetgrass basket, traditional work from the local Gullah culture, still handmade and then sold on Charleston's city streets.

     And finally, two photos showing typical, traditional Charleston features. A gated private garden . . . 

     And the side porch of a house, with the front door leading not into the house, but onto the porch -- all designed to let the sea breezes through to cool off the home.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Sunset in South Carolina

      I have drifted north from Florida to South Carolina, where a few days ago I met up with B. The weather is sunny and in the 60s.

     I finished the project I was working on, and so now I'm back to being retired. And back to blogging. Congrats to Bob Lowry who, I saw, had a piece of his called "What Factor Determines the Success of Your Satisfying Retirement" picked up by the Olderhood website. How can you not want to click over to Olderhood and find out what it is?

     Which reminds me . . . don't forget that I have a list of "More Resources" way down at the bottom of my blog, referencing lots of other sites that might be helpful to us in retirement. Check it out . . . or really, check it out periodically to see what's going on elsewhere in the world of retirement.

     So anyway, last evening B and I together walked out to the pier and watched the sunset.

     This is the view at 5:57 p.m. yesterday, looking east.

     And this is from the same spot, also at 5:57 p.m., looking west.

          As Bob Lowry reminds us, none of us will ever have a problem-free retirement. But may we all have a happy and peaceful retirement.