I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. . . I believe that tomorrow is another day, and I believe in miracles.
– Audrey Hepburn

Ah, the Hepburn ladies—both very different and very special. I wonder what Katherine Hepburn would have said she believed in. So, how could you rewrite that quote to fit yourself? Yours could be playful like Ms. Hepburn’s—or more serious. These days, there is plenty of time to reflect, consider and note what you have always left unspoken, even to friends and family. You can be serious or have some fun with it!

What are your values? You might mention friendship, honesty or patience, but are there any that are unique to you? Take the time to be specific. If you haven’t already seen them from years ago, there are the books This I Believe, and This I Believe, Part II. They might give you some ideas on how to approach the challenge. If you have a computer, you can also find this series online at NPR. Although the recent quiet around us will start to disappear soon, we are likely to still have “more time” to devote to this than we did in the past. This project can go on as long as you wish.

Caveat: Much as I like the quote above, it bears remembering that the very nature of a miracle makes it something which cannot be expected to happen—that would be akin to magical thinking. The unexpected, miraculous nature of a miracle is what makes it a miracle!

One of the synonyms for “miraculous” is “incredible.” And so, it is miraculous—cum incredible—how gracefully our instructors at the Senior Center have pivoted to the online Zoom format for their classes during the quarantine. This is no small thing, and it can be hard to appreciate if you have never tried to teach a subject. With conversion to an online class, there is the patience required when grappling with the technical reality, as well as the level of flexibility and creative challenge of presenting courses while you are, essentially, alone.

Although it may be hard to believe, most of the instructors at the Senior Center have been here for more than 10 years, and they really like what they do as much as they like their students. What’s really wonderful is that all embody an ideal image of what aging can look like when you stay active, physically or mentally. Now that we are staying closer to home, it’s a great time to consider the ongoing exercise courses. Please visit our website CharlotteSeniorCenterVT.org, and click on Online Courses for a list of them.

One of the Senior Center’s newest instructors is Nicole Librandi who started last fall; she has taught Italian at Middlebury College and Elon University (NC), among other institutions. Although she has studied a few Romance languages, she is very taken with the flow of Italian and its intrinsic poetry and mode of expression. Nicole takes pleasure in the learning experience along with her students and focuses on fun, hands-on learning using props and visuals to make things concrete. Singing and food are often important parts of her classes, and she is figuring out how to do this while in quarantine.

While it’s true that we probably will not be traveling to Italy in the near future, there is always Italian food, wine and opera to enjoy. Plus, studying a language is very much like taking a trip without having to pay for the plane fare.

Starting on 5/29, Nicole will be offering two Zoom courses in Italian: Italian Intro, starts on 5/29 for six Friday afternoons, from 1– 2 o’clock. If you’ve never studied Italian, or if your knowledge of the language is “rusty,” this class is for you! Have fun with the Italian language and culture together, through basic conversation and virtual tours of Italian art, music, style and cuisine. Class size is limited, so please register by 5/26 for the six-week course. (See below for how to register.) The suggested fee is $30, but donations of any amount are accepted.

Italian Refresher, starts on 5/29 for six Friday afternoons from 2:15 – 3:15. Join this class to refresh your knowledge of Italian through conversation and grammar updates. Enjoy Italy—virtually—as you practice Italiano in conversation, games and song: think musica, bellissimo, pasta, Roma, Venezia, etc. Class size is limited, so please register by 5/26 for the six-week course. (See below for how to register.) The suggested fee is $30, but donations of any amount are accepted.

How to register for a Zoom course: Please send an email with your name, address, phone number, and name of the course you want to take. You will receive a confirmation that you are enrolled. Pre-payment is requested; checks should be made out to Charlotte Senior Center and mailed to P.O. Box 207, Charlotte, VT 05445. If you have any questions, please send an email, or leave a message at (802) 425-6345.

Meanwhile, the Gents Breakfast (that’s right, no apostrophe) has stopped cooking breakfast and is now Zooming their gatherings on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month. What is also noteworthy is that the meeting time has changed from 7 a.m. to a much more reasonable start of 8 a.m. The email list has dozens of names, and 15-18 gents make an appearance each week. Over the years, the group has gone from using a fold-up projector screen, to a desktop screen, to a high definition wall-mounted screen for their videos and PowerPoint presentations. But really, the group is more about the relaxed exchange of information, ideas and experiences.

They have heard about the history of medical imaging, public health, climate change, long-distance sailboat racing—and this week is the story of a several-day trip to Yellowstone last March. The topics are usually scheduled in advance—but not always—and spontaneous discussion can happen also, with a designated “share chair.” Bob Chutter and Dale Hyerstay have been shepherding it along for quite some time, and it’s a welcoming, friendly group with a wealth of different backgrounds, education, and experience.

If this sounds good to you, please send an email and indicate that you are interested in the Gents Breakfast. You will receive a confirmation and a Zoom invitation to the next meeting. There is no fee, and no commitment is required, so you can come on the weeks you wish.

The Senior Center’s mission is to serve those 50 and up. Residents from other communities are always welcome. There are no membership fees. Feel free to leave a message on the Center number anytime: (802) 425-6345; voicemail is checked daily.

Be careful. Stay well. But mostly, be kind.

Charlotte Senior Center
(802) 425-6345