Volume Twenty Eight, Number 8
Photo by Louise Hughes
CUTTING THE RIBBON to welcome completion of Beaumont’s capital construction and renovation project last month (from left) are Dr. Don Trachtenberg, Community Board chairman; Joe Peduzzi, President; Dolf Paier, chairman of the Special Projects and Finance committees, and John Woolford, chairman of the Services Board. Champagne toasts, speeches, tours and a celebratory dinner for residents and their guests marked the first day of festivities; on the second day, members of the Future Residents Club and other guests toured the new pool and fitness center, game room, library, crafts room and Bistro, stopping along the way to sample delights from the Beaumont kitchen. Joe Fortenbaugh, former president, during whose term the project began, attended the ceremonies. More photos on Page 16.
Travelers find Cuba a country in flux: Colorful, lively, run-down and poor, looking hopefully toward the future
By Birchard Clothier and Jean Homeier With Jean Bodine, Marlynne Clothier, Lon Homeier, Linda Parrotto, Barbara Pottish, Julie Williams, and Debora and Jim Zug. Ten Beaumont residents recently visited Cuba, eight on a week’s tour of Havana and environs, sponsored by Princeton University, and two (the Birchard Clothiers) on a 600-mile cross-country program sponsored by Road Scholar. Sources for this article included a retired Cuban economist, an architect and a representative of the Cuban Department of Agriculture.
“It’s complicated,” the Princeton guide said to almost every question about life in today’s Cuba. And it is, to be sure. In 1959, Cuba nationalized everything. All who could leave did, and the industrial, financial and professional elite were in Cuba continued on page 3
Beaumont Globe Trotters Lost and Found in Ireland: Page 6 Rocky Road, but Hearts of Gold: Page 6 Up the Ganges on a Riverboat: Page 10 Joy and Tragedy in Cambodia’s Music: Page 11 Walking Tour with a Difference: Page 12 Myanmar, Land of Temples, Monks and Smiles: Page 13
New Beaumont doctor has wealth of experience
Shh-hh-h Shh-hh-h, pay close attention. I will tell you Beaumont’s best kept secret. Quiet now while I whisper it to you. Sh-hh-h, this secret is just for you. Beaumont has a Creative Writing Group. There, now you know. Members of the Creative Writing Group have been meeting since the year 2000 having a good time reading their writings and making helpful comments. Three books have been published from work shared with the group. Some members used to say they couldn’t write. They learned that was a silly thing to say. Everyone can write. Most of those who say they can’t do actually write good letters and emails every day. Now that you know the secret it is expected you will come to the next meeting of the Creative Writing Group. Meetings are on the second and fourth Thursdays each month at 10:30 a.m. in the library. A good time is promised. No secret.
By Peter Binzen
Dr. Daniel Wolk, who replaced Dr. Deborah Streletz on Beaumont’s attending physician staff, is a Boston native, a graduate of Roxbury Latin School and of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he majored in mechanical engineering. MIT is not Dr. Daniel Wolk known for its production of physicians, but Dr. Wolk found it ideal preparation for his medical degree at Tufts University. From Tufts he moved to Philadelphia over 30 years ago for his residency at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. It was there that he was “inspired by a teacher who spoke of the need for geriatric training and practice.” Geriatric medicine became his specialty. After earning a fellowship at the Philadelphia Geriatric Center, Dr. Wolk taught at Temple and Crozer and, for the last 20 years, at Bryn Mawr Hospital. He is a teaching partner in the Bryn Mawr Family Practice Residency Program. Dr. Wolk, 58, sees geriatric medicine as increasingly important because of the aging of the American population. “Young people in their 30s don’t worry about their health, and many don’t take as good care of themselves as they should,” he said. “Older people have to work harder and harder to stay well.” Five years ago, Dr. Wolk contracted cancer in the salivary gland. He was treated with radiation therapy and removal of the gland. The experience left him “happy to wake up every day and get out of bed.” Dr. Wolk and his wife, Cathi, a family therapist and social worker, live in Narberth with their pit bull, Rufus, who is 9 years old, “adorable and very mellow.” They have two grown daughters. In his spare time, Dr. Wolk says, “I sing in a choir, work for protection of our environment, do other community service, bike, kayak and travel.” He says he speaks Spanish (“passably well”) and some French. Beaumont’s two part-time physicians, Dr. Wolk and Dr. Peter Chung, each spend the equivalent of about one full day here each week. In addition to his work at Bryn
— Margie Manlove
Mawr Hospital, Dr. Wolk is in a four-doctor private practice in Broomall. Dr. Wolk is “very impressed” with the quality of health care at Beaumont. “The nurses are better than any I’ve ever worked with,” he said. “The level of professionalism is extraordinary.”
In Memoriam Countess Natalie O. Tolstoy August 5, 2014
Mary Colket August 24, 2014
Louise Guthrie September 22, 2014
Edward H. Rosen October 1, 2014
Members of the Beaumont Community extend deepest sympathy to their family and friends.
BEAUMONT NEWS The Beaumont News is published by the residents and staff of the Beaumont Retirement Community, 601 N. Ithan Avenue, Bryn Mawr, PA 19010 Editor Associate Editor and Production Manager Assistant Editor Graphic Designer Photo Editor Events Manager Proofreader Circulation Manager
Mary Graff John Hall Ginny Rivers TJ Walsh Louise Hughes Kim Norrett Jennie Frankel Barbara O’Brien
POSTCARD PICTURE of Havana street showing old cars and carefully well-maintained buildings in section of city frequented by tourists.
Cuba continued from page 1 Miami in a few days. The country has never recovered. The time warp between Miami’s “Little Havana” and the real thing seems, and is, decades. Cuba is still a fascinating place. The people are friendly, the food is good, the rum and beer are without peer. There is great competition to get into the elite art, music and dance schools. Those who graduate are professional class and work individually or for the state but can break into world class and reap those benefits. Baseball is the passion of many, from those who spend their days in the plazas to little children in their schools. This often leads to animated conversations. The Havana group visited both the art school of the University of Havana (where the modern campus design takes its inspiration from female anatomy) as well as private studios where the artists must pay a hefty tax to the state when work is sold to foreigners. Houses and aging American automobiles are painted in brilliant colors, and in one unusual neighborhood of
roughly 50 small homes and apartments, every inch of exterior space is covered with mosaic tiles in fanciful designs. Music is everywhere, from the streets where small bands play day and night, to small churches which have been restored as venues for concerts. The Havana group listened to a classical guitarist in the courtyard of an elegant 19th century house, now a ceramics museum; heard a choir in a tiny church, and joined dancers from a contemporary dance company who tried to teach us basic Salsa movements. Most unexpectedly of all, on an excursion out of Havana to Matanzas and Veradero Beach, the bus pulled into a rest stop where a band was playing, people were dancing and each of us was handed a piña colada. Not the Pennsylvania Turnpike! But the economic picture is somber. Cubans spoke freely to us of problems in the present system. The bureaucracy is restrictive, inefficient and overwhelming. The effort to make all citizens “equal” falters badly: Everyone, whether doctor or laborer,
“They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work.”
Cuba continued on page 5
From newcomers to neighbors
For the Erdmans, moving to Beaumont was a short trip By Mary Schnabel
There is always a special dimension to our pleasure when we know that we are welcoming a “legacy” resident. In the case of the Erdmans, Barbara and Mike, it is Barbara, whose mother, Betto DuBarry, lived here in a beautiful apartment in Austin. Barbara grew up on the Main Line and went to Shipley and Westover, then to college at Mount Holyoke. Mike was raised in Princeton, New Jersey, and after prep school at Deerfield it was on to Princeton, knowing he couldn’t possibly have gone anywhere else. His grandfather, his father and four older brothers all were Princeton graduates! Barbara, after college, decided she needed some working skills in order to become independent. So she went to Boston and Katherine Gibbs Business School, got a job at Houghton Mifflin as secretary to the publisher, and enjoyed the Boston single life for four years. Then she Barbara Erdman married, had two kids, a boy and a girl, and lived in the Cambridge and Belmont areas for four years. Eventually the couple divorced and she returned to Philadelphia, where she still had family. Meanwhile Mike decided to go to Penn for a graduate degree in architecture. During this period he got married and had two daughters. After Penn he was employed by an architecture firm, which soon became Ewing Cole Erdman and Eubank. A number of years later Mike left the firm and went on his own, doing architectural and consulting work. And, Mike tells me, Ewing Cole, his old firm, is still around and has done jobs for Beaumont. Barbara and Mike married not long after Barbara returned from the Boston area, and lived close by for over 40 years before moving to a villa on Pond Lane. During that time Mike became a board member and Managing Director of Ralston House, a nonprofit which, back in the early 20th century, was a home for indigent women and widows. In the early ’80s, with a shrinking clientele and only a small endowment, the building was rented to the University of Pennsylvania and became Penn’s Institute for Aging. Through Mike’s long
association with Ralston House, he was the perfect candidate to become the architect to design a new lab building for the Institute. And now that building is the major work area for this important new part of the University of Pennsylvania Medical System. Mike Erdman After their children left to live their own lives, Barbara and Mike were able to enjoy their interests in sports—tennis, hockey, golf—as well as various volunteer jobs. In addition to Mike’s continuing interest in Ralston House, they have been active working with the Church of the Redeemer, the Philadelphia Orchestra Committee and, for Barbara, the Park House Guides.
Well traveled couple now call Baldwin home By Mary Schnabel
When I first met Minney and Ted Robb, I asked them the usual question: “Are you all settled in ?” Their response was a huge sigh of relief. They had spent the day making difficult decisions as to where they would dispose of all the books that wouldn’t fit into their new Baldwin apartment. As soon as they began to tell me the number of places that would be the beneficiaries of these books—Bryn Mawr Hospital Thrift Shop, Cape May Library System and five or six other places, including our own Beaumont library— I was happy to recognize fellow readers! The Robbs are native Philadelphians, but both have had amazing and cosmopolitan lives in other places. Minney’s first husband was a diplomat and journalist, which meant lots of travel to foreign places including three different postings to Tokyo, a total of six years altogether. Minney says she was a young bride when she first arrived in Japan, and—I was impressed to learn— Minney Robb was enterprising enough to go to school to learn the language. Also, during some of those different trips, she managed to have three of her six children. Meanwhile Ted went to Penn, served in the Korean War, returned to graduate, and then took a job with a German company, Kurz Hastings, makers of foil products. It’s too long a story to tell in this short article, but ask him sometime about the company. Ted loved the old Bavarian gentleman New Residents continued on page 5 4
Cuba continued from page 3 receives the same salary of about $25 a month as well as a monthly ration of basic staples including the essentials of Cuban diet, rice and beans, which are consumed in a week. A guide employed by the state told the cross-country group, “They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work.” Health care and education are free, but individual ambition is thwarted at every turn. Although we were told the unemployment rate is low, the able-bodied young people lounging in the plazas each day made this hard to believe. Cubans pay 10 percent of their income for housing, which is guaranteed but increasingly unavailable. Almost everyone must find a way to augment the “equal” government salaries, and friends and family in Miami are a major source of funds. Those who work in the tourist industry, including taxi drivers, do better than most because of tips. The westerner’s convertible peso— worth 25 Cuban pesos—is especially sought-after. Thus the bellboy may well be a doctor. One guide had been a lawyer, another an English teacher. A college English professor enhances her income by writing love letters for mostly male clients. The masses just struggle to survive. There are, to an extent, two Cubas—one found in cities like Havana and Santiago and one in the countryside. “Havana isn’t Cuba,” the manager of the former King Ranch said, looking over an endless stretch of poor quality land on which countless state-owned steers were grazing. “This is Cuba!” The cross-country landscape was mostly barren, with some sugarcane fields. The Russians’ departure in 1989 destroyed much of that industry and its rich fields have reverted to weeds. Small towns predominate, but are not usually picturesque. Efforts are underway to add color to some of the homes. Chickens and goats abound, as they can be privately owned and also serve as a principal source of protein, augmenting the monthly rations. A large machine plowing a field means that the state farms it. Smaller plots, often worked by a resident farmer, are plowed using oxen. Horse-drawn wagons and primitive truck-buses provide much of the rural transport. The urban Cuba still features many lovely plazas and handsome buildings, though mostly in a state of disrepair. Many buildings slated for rehabilitation have thick vines growing on them, thicker than the scaffolding that supports them. We saw few beggars, although that may be because
the police don’t want the tourists to be harassed— their hard currencies are too important to the country. It’s obvious that poverty is pervasive. Automobile traffic exists but is relatively light. The ancient cars are a joy to see. The engines have often been replaced with small Chinese diesel counterparts, but the tourists love them and some will pay just to sit in them. Birch observed that his 1950 Ford was still on the road, with many of that decade’s vehicles that were once thought “cool.”) Under Raoul Castro, restrictions on private enterprise are slowly being eased and there are markets where one can buy fresh produce (if one has the funds), as well as many small shops. We were served excellent seafood (exception: lobster with dark brown gravy!) in spite of there being not a single fish market on the entire island. Government requirements make it so difficult to have a fishing boat that one sees few of them—the governmental reasoning seems to be that if you have a Cuba continued on page 15 New Residents continued from page 4 who owned the company and who appointed him Vice President of Marketing. Ted also did an amazing amount of traveling in this capacity, often to Germany, Korea, New Zealand and other places in the Pacific area. Fast forward, back in the States, married to each other with a total of nine children between them, they became involved in several local organizations. Among other things for Minney, seven years on the Lower Merion School Board; Ted Robb for Ted, over 15 years as Trustee of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the Nature Conservancy. These past years they have had the luxury to do a lot of traveling and hiking together. When I asked where, they quickly began naming some of the places they have visited and hiked—India, Nepal, France, England, Scotland . . .until I couldn’t write fast enough to keep up. The Robbs were not strangers to Beaumont when they decided to become residents. They were nearby neighbors in Rosemont and visited often when Ted’s sister and brother-in-law, Ann and Kaighn Smith, were residents here. Now they have settled IN, but I’m not sure they are ready to settle DOWN!
An Irish tale wherein the lost is found
They hit a rock in Ireland and found not leprechauns, but some hearts of gold
By Rena Burstein
A few days into our first trip by car in Ireland my husband, Eli, and I stopped on a rainy afternoon for an overnight stay at the Reendesert Hotel, overlooking beautiful Bantry Bay, where that evening, from the bay window in our room, we watched the ducks flying in to land. In the morning, we had breakfast at a window facing a garden abundant with bird feeders and a variety of birds at their morning repast. We each had our bowl of Irish porridge and Eli had a serving of especially delicious kippers, which made his day. The sky had cleared after a rainy night and we took off on our planned itinerary for Waterford, where we were to spend the next night. Around noon, in need of a light lunch, and finding ourselves in the town of Coachford, we stopped at a pub called Coachman’s Inn. After lunch, Eli made several calls from a phone at the end of the bar. While I waited, I gazed out a window facing the town square. The streets were rather quiet in that early afternoon sun—and quite unremarkable. After friendly leave-taking remarks, so characteristic of Ireland, we left for Cork, a hilly, densely populated city, which turned out to be a nightmare for a novice driver seated on the right side of her car. With Cork behind us, and with a sigh of relief and frayed nerves, we arrived in Youghal (pronounced you’all), where we stopped for tea and a side trip to Ardmore, “the neatest village in Ireland,” as a roadside marker had declared. There we inspected an ancient round stone tower and adjoining graveyard. As we started to drive back to the main road, Eli discovered that he couldn’t find his wallet—with his passport and his even more precious autograph signature book. We stopped to undertake a full search, which included all of his pockets, the luggage and the entire car several times. To no avail! The sun was lowering, panic set in. After major consideration and frantic consultation, we decided to go back to Youghal and enlist the help of the garda (police). We found the garda station, in which one person was filing an application for a local license and chatting informally with the personnel. We presented our problem. Encouraged to recall every place we had been that day, we finally decided that the most likely place to look Ireland continued on page 7
By Sis Ziesing
Off to Ireland recently to visit the beloved granddaughter who was taking a semester off from college to attend the University of Dublin. Flying all night with her parents, we got to Dublin at 9 a.m, 3 a.m. our time, not a good experience for oldies. Collected the granddaughter and, with much yawning, got to a charming inn southwest of Dublin three hours later. Had a great night’s sleep and headed off the next day to a nearby famous abbey. Son-in-law drove. As we all know, you drive on the left side of the road in Ireland. Because you’re not used to it, it’s easy to drive a little closer to the left side than you should. In all fairness, a rock was sticking out a little farther than it should have. BAM! Hit it and the two left-hand tires looked as if they had been slashed. HELP—what to do? American cell phones don’t work in Ireland. We didn’t even know where we were! What happened next was not to be believed. Literally one minute later, a car going the other way stops. It’s a young mother with three small children offering to take said son-in-law to a village a few miles away where there’s a telephone. This can’t be convenient for her, as she has to backtrack to do it. She takes him off and with some trouble, they locate a tow truck. She keeps him company while this happens (three kids no doubt whining still in her car). Meanwhile, at the accident scene, a small empty tour bus stops and its driver offers to help us hapless ladies any way he can. At that point, the wonderful Irish mother reappears and says the tow truck plus son-inlaw is coming. The tow truck does appear and hauls car away. Tour bus driver insists he take us to the lunch room of the abbey we were headed for. We were assured that when the car was fixed, the tow truck guy would bring it to the abbey. Again, this is not to be believed, just as we are finishing lunch, the tow-truck guy appears in the café to say the tires have been changed. We didn’t even have to look for him outside. All in all, a painless experience for what could have been a nightmare. What an adventure!
GUINEA FOWL following Doc, one by one
Photo by Rich Stephens
Saga of the guinea fowl: Doc comes clean
Needless to say: As of this date there are three male guineas in my possession and the question is, should I turn them out to make it on their own or should I fatten them for a holiday roast? By Dean (Doc) Snyder The roast idea is appealing, but first the three dudes There is an old Pennsylvania proverb: “Too soon old, will have to be crafty enough to escape the threats of too late smart.” 1. the great horned owl, Folks you are looking at him! 2. the red tail hawk, Acting on a whim, knowing that I had dedicated a 3. the red foxes. few months to helping clear the residual damage inflict- Who knows what the future holds for my bachelor ed on Wheeler Woods in the spring, and having been guineas. May they enjoy their freedom. I’ll ride with the previously victimized three times by the dastardly deer punches and dream up some other idea. tick, I acted to raise some guinea fowl who hopefully would help rid the woods of the ticks and save me from Ireland continued from page 6 further rounds of antibiotic therapy. was the pub in Coachford— but we couldn’t remember Who knew: That newly hatched guinea keets were susceptible to irreparable skeletal damage when treading its name. Tom McCarthy, on duty at the Youghal Garda Station, couldn’t have been more patient, persistent, smooth surfaces? That the result could equal dislocated good humored and caring —just wonderful. hips? We could describe the pub only in terms of its lo Who knew: That there was no way of sexing cation at a crossroad. I re-created the view I had seen guinea keets? through the window while waiting for Eli to make his Who knew: That guineas, like geese, mate for life? calls. Tom McCarthy made a half-dozen phone calls in Who knew: That in my flock of four there were an effort to identify the pub. I glanced at the clock on three males and one female? the wall —nigh onto 7 o’clock. Tom said he would call Who knew: That when I decided to allow one keet with an obvious hip injury to reach puberty, it was the the postmistress. In an anxious voice I said, “Wouldn’t the post office be closed?” only female? “Ah, no, it is in her house.” Who knew: That when my small flock of one female “Ah, yes,” the postmistress recognized the descripand three male guineas reached puberty, all hell would tion. “That would be O’Shaughnessy’s place.” break loose? O’Shaughnessy knew the man who found the wallet, Who knew: That the innate drive to reproduce but that man had no phone. “Never mind,” we were when the numbers equal three to one could be so assured, the local garda would pick up the wallet at the physical as to actually cause structural damage—i.e., two fractured legs? Ireland continued on page 15
Summertime: Amid hammmers and sa
Above: PIEBALD DOE visited Beaumont, east of villas on Pasture Lane. Photo by Doc Snyder Right: JOAN ROBERTSâ€™ TOMATOES flourished; she shares them with Philabundance. Photo by Rich Stephens
aws, the livin’ at Beaumont stayed easy GROUNDS CREW members replaced an unsightly drain on Pond Lane with a work of art. Kneeling, in front, Grounds Director Mark Hritz; standing, Kurt Mueller; in back, Jake Bean. Photo by Ann Louise Strong
HELEN BALLARD, with grandchildren, took a horse-and-buggy ride around the campus. Photo by Louise Hughes
RESIDENTS PETER BINZEN AND DEBORAH DILWORTH BISHOP entertained other residents and guests in Beaumont’s new library at the signing of Peter’s new book about Deborah’s father, the former Philadelphia mayor, Richardson Dilworth, Last of the Bare-Knuckled Aristocrats, written with Peter’s son, Jonathan. Photo by Louise Hughes
Up the Ganges River and backward in time
We stopped at ruins of temple complexes and former Buddhist universities built mainly under the auspices of the Gupta Emperors in the period between the 4th and By Hannah Henderson 7th centuries. Letters written by Chinese scholars and pilgrims in the 5th or 6th centuries describe a particular My fourth and most recent trip to India was with ly important university at Nalanda. Its ruined site covers Harvard Alumni. Our leader, Harvard Professor Diana almost 100 acres. Construction there and at several other Eck, told us about the country’s major religions and sites was of bricks, not stone or cement. Remains rise philosophies as we traveled up the Ganges River by boat three to 10 feet and sometimes reach two stories high. from Kolkata (Calcutta) to Varanasi. These and other sites are maintained by a national Indian The Ganges starts as a stream in the Himalayas and architectural and historical organization. They are the broadens to seven or eight miles wide. Worshipped as only places I saw that were not covered with litter “Mother Ganges” for at least 2000 to 3000 years, it plays and trash. a major role in India life and culture. This traveling by We spent nine nights on the boat on the Ganges is a very recent development, howevGanges in a comfortable replica of er. Maritime traffic all but ceased on the Ganges, except a 19th-century Burmese riverboat, for a trickle of local traffic, after the British organized from which we observed a basic and created the Indian railroad system. Now the raillifestyle that has changed little roads and regular roads are way overburdened, and the in centuries. hope is that with the river opened to tourism, commercial traffic on the Ganges will grow to even out the load. For me the high point of the trip was the visit to We spent nine nights on the Ganges in a comfortable Bodhgaya, a late 19th century British reconstruction replica of a late-19th-century Burmese riverboat, from which covers acres. Here, after five years wandering and which we observed a basic lifestyle that has changed meditating, the Buddha sat under a now-famous banyan little in centuries. This area of India, West Bengal, is tree where he received “supreme knowledge” and became one of India’s “bread baskets.” By Indian standards, it The Buddha. The Bodhgaya complex contains one is prosperous. The land along the Ganges is not much major five-to-eight story building with smaller buildings higher than the river, so the soil is replenished by floodon either side. Pathways and a decorative wall system run ing during the summer monsoon season. Plots of land between buildings. appearing to be about 10 to 20 feet square are separated We visited just after a major Buddhist festival, so by raised rows of mud. Labor is almost entirely by hand, every building, archway and façade was covered with or in the case of wealthier farmers, with the help of water bands of orange or yellow marigolds. Among the hordes buffalo. of pilgrims were copper-robed monks from Tibet, gold Life in the villages has not changed much, either. robed monks from Thailand and monks in white or light Houses are built mainly of split bamboo siding, with dirt blue from Korea and Japan. The Tibetan women wore floors and palm-leafed roofs. The one-burner brick stove dark blue robes with striped aprons; some were ritually is out front, usually cooking something. Bedding is foldflinging themselves face forward onto the ground, saying ed up in the rear. The only cement edifice is the temple. prayers, then getting up and doing it again as they circled As a village grows, concrete buildings with stone or tiled sanctified buildings or objects. floors increase, but the basic shape remains. The popula Varanasi, the holy city of the Hindus, is the most tion is hard to estimate. We all thought the small town important place on the river. Every good Hindu must of Matiari, known for handcrafted brassware, might have come here to be cremated or have his or her cremated 5,000 inhabitants, but it turned out to have more than ashes strewn. Here we saw people ritually bathing from 50,000. the long steps leading to the river (“ghats”) and we also A very high, almost overwhelming noise level saw two cremations from start to finish. pervades the country— the Indians seem a very Little I saw in India has changed since my first trip boisterous people. Boats on the river blast “Bollywood” in 1979. Of course, I did not visit South India where music from loud speakers. computer and Internet industries reside.
Cambodia: Where music lifts hearts and hopes while echoing the bloody Khmer Rouge years
After he spoke, his niece performed a lovely classical Cambodian dance for us. The other artist escaped to France just before the genocide and returned after the Khmer Rouge years to help the country rebuild. He spoke about his interest in Cambodians’ emotional lives, which he captures with beautiful vivid color. By Jeanne Cortner and Grace Morgan In Siem Reap we had two more marvelous evenings In January Jeanne Cortner and her niece Grace Morgan —one seeing the art of Shadow Puppets. The other was traveled from New Delhi to Cambodia for a non-governmental provided by the Cambodian Circus, an impressive group tour sponsored by Cambodian Living Arts, an organization of young dramatic acrobats who established a circus committed to reviving traditional arts in Cambodia. Grace, who is working in New Delhi with the World Bank, is also a group while living in a Thai refugee camp. The young niece of Jeanne’s brother here at Beaumont, Bob Morgan. circus performers were talented, gutsy and creative. They The extraordinary music and arts highlighted our few carried the smiles and energy of Cambodia’s future. As we drove from Siem Reap to Battambang, we days there. We’d never have met the painters, composstopped at what appeared to be a small country house ers, film directors and musicians on a standard tour, or on a dirt road. We watched the family make hundreds of even independent travel. wafers over an open fire, a thriving home-based business. Cambodia’s green landscape; its welcoming people Here we were introduced to a musical “Master” found by and their mild tones of voice, music, and street life are Arn as he searches the countryside for old music masalmost startling. Its easy pace, combined with touches ters who can teach. This master plays an old woodwind of French and Buddhist architecture, are charming and feel soothing to the eye. It seems far away from the hectic instrument made of bamboo “pipes” well over a meter long. The music from this traditional instrument is loveand crowded streets of Delhi and our U.S. cities. We saw many temples and explored the most famous, ly and he moved beautifully as he played on the roadside. He joined us that evening for an impromptu musical Angkor Wat, inside and out. We shared a lovely tradiperformance in Battambang. tional music performance at sunset on the banks beside A slight digression: The Khmer Rouge tried in the it. Many local people joined us, especially children who danced to the music. My favorite temple was Ta Prohm, 1970s to kill all educated, professional and cultured individuals. Very few musicians remain, and CLA tries to set which is smothered by the roots of giant Banyan trees. up classes so those who are still alive can teach traditional Cambodian Living Arts (CLA) was founded by Arn music to the young. By ensuring the traditions are not Chorn-Pond, who survived the genocide by playing lost, it is helping Cambodians, particularly older ones, music for the Khmer Rouge. He sees CLA as a way for him to give back to his country. His story can be read in regain their sense of value after the war years. CLA is also trying to make the arts economically viable. Never Fall Down by Sally McCormick, and in a documentary film, The Flute Player, based on his life. He, and Arn Chorn-Pond has devoted his adult life to the rebuilding of Cambodia through the arts. His music is many other masters of traditional musical instruments what kept him alive through the Khmer Rouge, and it who survived the Khmer Rouge, played and sang for us is clear that while his music must bring back difficult throughout the tour in front of pagodas, at parties and memories, music also brings hope for the future. on the roadside. Each of these experiences was remark One early evening in Battambang, Arn performed able in blending the arts with the complex, tragic and for us in front of a pagoda. First he played a lovely song proud history of the Khmer people. We all felt part of with his flute, like the music that kept him alive through something quite special. the Khmer Rouge years. Master Mek, the musician who In the city of Siem Reap, we dined at the private homes of two artists. Each was a lovely outdoors-indoors taught Arn the flute in the Khmer Rouge camp, played in the background. The evening combined the past and wooden structure with tea lights bordering its external walkways. Each host spoke about his work. The work of the future and left many of us speechless when it was one reflects his life surviving the Khmer Rouge and Viet- over. Our last stop was Phnom Penh, the capital. There namese occupations and subsequent violent elections. we visited the National Museum and saw performances Cambodia continued on page 12
A walking tour with a difference
Addie Gay turns 106
By Debbie Zug
Jim and I took a band of “wounded warrior” friends and family hiking in Brittany and Normandy, France, last year, and were totally amazed at the determination and positive attitude of these travelers who were able to mostly forget their health problems for five straight days. We were very nervous at first. One man was 82, slow but very plucky. Another person had Parkinson’s disease. My brother who came with us was suffering from early Alzheimer’s. There were bad backs and stomach troubles. Most incredible was the man in the midst of chemotherapy for inoperable lung cancer. His wife had had an emergency appendectomy just a week before the trip started! We walked around Dinan, a lovely, quaint old medieval town surrounded by fortified walls, the former seat of the Dukes of Brittany. Then we walked to Dinard and St. Malo on the “emerald coast,” right on the northern coast of France. The next day we took a self-guided tour of the old abbey on Mont St. Michel. This abbey has been called one of the “marvels of the western world.” We must have taken 100 or so steps up and down on that tour. The last day we saw the famous 11th century Bayeux tapestry, made in England, telling the story of the Norman conquest of England by William, Duke of Normandy. Embroidered on linen with wool yarn, it is 230 feet long. The finale was a guided tour of the American cemetery near Omaha Beach. We all shed many a tear walking around the rows and rows of marble crosses, thinking of all the young men who fought in France to protect the freedoms that we have today. So what if our walking line did stretch out, at times, for about a quarter of a mile? The May weather was mild and sunny, we had three wonderful French guides around the clock, and everyone remained cheerful and engaged. The BN is published monthly 10 times a year, October through July. Contributions are welcome, provided they are the contributor’s own work. The deadline for each issue is the 10th of the preceding month. E-mail to Mary Graff at email@example.com and mgraff@BeaumontRetirement.com, or hand in at the Front Desk.
Photo by Louise Hughes
HOW THEY DO IT: Addie Gay and Mike Bailey (Housekeeping) demonstrate their push-up style.
Much has been written about the keys to living a long life, and it all adds up to more of a job than recreation. On Sept. 11, however, the remarkable Mrs. Addie Gay turned 106, and her story is a little different. Her secret? For the last 70 years or so she has spent half an hour a day on a stationary bike, done 10 push-ups, and taken one daily vitamin. My own regimen has included a visit to the gym five days a week and protein intake made up of shakes and meal supplement bars. Plus I guess I can only hope. — Mike Bailey
Cambodia continued from page 11 of traditional dances and music from different parts and traditions of Cambodia. While we were in Phnom Penh, we saw a film about the Khmer Rouge years titled The Missing Picture. It had been nominated for an Oscar for best foreign film just the day before. After the film ended, its director, Rithy Pahn, explained that he was trying to answer questions from young Cambodians and to describe what many in the older generation cannot. He said that grief is a huge issue in Cambodia because one quarter of the population died between 1975 and 1979. Everyone in the country today has lost family members or friends, or is close to people Cambodia continued on page 15
Burma, now Myanmar: land of temples, monks and smiles By Debbie and Jim Zug To friends who asked why we’d ever want to visit Myanmar, we’d respond, “Myanmar’s an emerging thirdworld country with a fascinating history and we want to visit before it becomes too touristy.” So off we flew, 14 hours from JFK to Seoul, then a six-hour flight to Yangon, Myanmar’s capital. Three aspects of Burma, now Myanmar, make it special. First, with the country 98 percent Buddhist, it is full of temples, pagodas and stupas (sacred monuments), especially in magical Bagan. Second is its many monks and nuns. Third, most of its people still live as they did centuries ago, working in the fields with oxen, selling vegetables and fruits, with basic housing often lacking electricity or running water. Myanmar, in Southeast Asia, has 60 million people and 135 tribal groups. For centuries the country was ruled by ethnic tribes and a series of kings. The British took control in 1885 and restored its independence in 1948. A brutal military dictatorship then governed until 2011, when former general Thein Sein became President, heading up a quasi-civilian government. He has implemented many reforms, opened the country to tourists, brought in many advisors and scheduled elections for 2015. Aung San Suu Kyi, the 1991 Nobel Laureate and a true liberation heroine along the lines of Mandela and Ghandi, is to run for President in these elections. It will be fascinating to follow the country’s emerging democracy. Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon is a massive temple complex 2,500 years old. Its major dome is covered in gold leaf topped with 4,531 diamonds and crowned by a 76-carat diamond. The major highlight of our temple travels was Bagan, a 16-square-mile area with some 2,000 pagodas, temples and stupas. The structures date back to the 11th through the 13th centuries, around the time Angkor Wat in Cambodia was built. Wherever we walked we saw temples of every size and description with people praying in front of various Buddhas. We saw monks everywhere. They get up at 4:30 a.m. to pray, then go out into public areas to beg for food. It is a great honor to have your son become a monk. Every man must live in a monastery at least once in his lifetime for a week or for years. The novices, boys age 8 to 18,
JIM AND DEBBIE ZUG in Bagan, Myanmar.
study for eight years to become monks and then go to university for four years. They learn basic academic subjects and memorize all the Buddhist texts or scriptures. We visited a major monastery outside Yangon with 180 monks and 1,200 novices, nuns and students. Would this disciplined way of life be beneficial for our United States teens? The Burmese were eager to sell us products they had made. They were friendly, although many in the rural areas stared at us, having rarely seen such tall white people. In both the villages we visited, the women were caring for children as well as weaving or making lacquer ware. The people older than about 55 had few teeth, as dentistry and health insurance do not exist. Going to a doctor or a hospital requires cash. We visited workshops where girls were making cigars, tapestries, embroidery, lacquer ware and gold leaf. A rural school we visited was a very basic building where classes were divided by age group, about 35 children to a class. They were learning math, English and writing. The only piece of playground equipment was a soccer ball. Our three-day visit to Inle Lake was another highlight of the trip. The floating gardens and villages of Inle Lake are probably unique. The people live on the lake in stilt-house villages and use teak dugout canoes for transportation. Fishing and growing vegetables are their livelihood. They create floating gardens by mixing grasses and water hyacinths into a compact mass on which they grow tomatoes, gourds and cauliflower. They tend the gardens from their canoes. Amazing. As Rudyard Kipling said, “It is quite unlike any place you know about.” More than a century later, Myanmar remains a world apart.
Mike’s Roundup By Mike Bailey, Housekeeping
It’s been a while! I would not have left you, But the small break was a rescue. A lot went down in just a short time, I think we may all have lost our mind. So pour out the moonshine And pull up a saddle, The round-up is back And is coming straight at you. Let’s start with the sparks that dazzled the sky: Accounting’s Kristen Szoke’s baby girl, Emma Marie said hi, on Saturday, August 23, around five. Kerry-Ann Simpson from the Dietary crew Got engaged on August 29, to Gerard Patrice.
Photo by Louise Hughes
DOLF PAIER, chairman of Finance and Special Projects committees, throws his hard hat into box to be returned to contractor, signaling the end of new construction.
Congrats to the two! Now back to the business the bistro is in, Thursday through Monday from five
Kerry-Ann Simpson and Gerard Patrice
until ten. Out with the old and in with the new: Personal Care did some remodeling too. Arts & Crafts studio, library with a view, A brand new gym With equipment to use, Or take a few laps in the re-designed pool. Now remember the sun brings out what the
Mike, Kristen and Emma Marie Szoke
shade may hide.
Cuba continued from page 5
Cambodia continued from page 12
boat, it is too easy to take off for Florida. We were told that Cuba has a high literacy rate, little crime and an excellent health care system. Cuban doctors, in fact, are exported to needy countries. These countries pay the Cuban government, which in turn pays the doctors their pittance. Cubans have been given their residences and are permitted to sell them. Private restaurants, “paladars,” can be opened in one’s home. They often must compete with adjacent government eateries, but seem to prosper nevertheless. Over the next several years, more changes are expected. The currency will have only one peso. When Raoul Castro’s term as President expires in 2018, a young engineer will succeed him. It’s hoped that he will help bring about a more open society. Change, we were told, must come slowly because obsolete infrastructure impedes correcting present problems, let alone more development. Opening the borders would cause the flight of all who could and the inflow of new money into the economic vacuum would probably destroy the island’s culture. Something may (or may not) be done about the much discussed United States embargo—now over 50 years old— which severely limits trade between our two countries. Our group felt it is time to lift the sanctions on our neighbor only 90 miles away. Just two weeks before our arrival a Russian ship docked in the Havana harbor. We were told the visit was not unusual and that Russia still makes its presence known.
who grew up in orphanages. People 50 and older, in particular, are still grieving for those they lost and are struggling with their own guilt in surviving. Grief, the director said, does not “get better” or go away, but rolls in and out of our lives like waves. We must learn to live with it. The film The Killing Fields concerns a place outside Phnom Penh, now a park. Here thousands of innocent victims were thrown in the earth during the war; many buried alive. We walked through that park without speaking for two and a half hours as we listened to an audio tape describing events there. It was an overwhelmingly emotional time for us. Our visit to Cambodia ended with a festive party at the home of a new CLA friend, bringing together our group, the Cambodian Living Arts staff, and many of the musicians we had met that week. It was great fun and left us with lasting memories— dancing to Cambodian music with many who have seen so much in their lives. We will never forget seeing some of the older masters’ smiles as they released the burden of history they carry every moment.
Photo by Louise Hughes
JOE PEDUZZI cuts the cake at Bistro party in August celebrating his first anniversary as president.
In April 2015, Arn and the CLA friend whose home we visited will come to Beaumont to share their stories with my Beaumont friends. Ireland continued from page 7 man’s home. We took a photo of Garda Tom McCarthy, left our Waterford hotel number with him and left for Waterford, arriving there in the dark and in the rain. We parked next to Reginald’s Tower, which was just like the tower in Ardmore, and went into the Tower Hotel for dinner—almost too tired to eat. As we were finishing breakfast the next morning, Tom McCarthy phoned to tell us that the “lost and found” had arrived in Youghal. However, it could not be brought to us in Waterford, because the person who was to make the delivery was called to another assignment. So, back to Youghal we went. A charming female garda was on duty. From her we were able to get the name of their chief, headquartered in Cork, so that we could send a letter of appreciation and praise. (It was subsequently acknowledged on official letterhead stationery). Our drive back to Dublin through light showers, a semi-tropical countryside full of cows, marvelous hedges and more shades of green than you could possibly imagine, was pure delight.
Beaumont’s Grand Re-Opening
Construction’s over, and it’s everybody into the pool! FUTURE RESIDENTS CLUB members Renata Whitaker and David Randolph (far left in back row) celebrated opening of new pool along with residents Susan Woolford and Alan Tripp (also in back row), Joan Thayer and Lillian Lefevre (from left in the middle) and Hannah Henderson and Services Board Chairman John Woolford (front row). Photo by Louise Hughes
Below, left and right: Dean (Doc) Snyder gets the better of a 25-pound weight in the new Fitness Center, as Fitness Director (and coach) Bob Stedeford keeps watch; Mary Schnabel toasts the new Bistro on opening day. Photos by Louise Hughes
Above: Workmen finish up new bocce court and putting green just in time for September’s grand re-opening. Photo by Rich Stephens