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Play the Recorder and Savor a Scone

by Suzanne Walsh

muriel

Do you want to learn to play the recorder or sharpen your rusty recorder skills? Here are two OLLI class options for you. During the fall, winter and summer sessions, Play the Recorder welcomes players of all levels to learn and play together. During the spring session only, The Recorder Consort invites experienced players to improve their proficiency.
Teaching both classes is Muriel Pendleton, whose goal is to provide the space for the “making of music” together. If you happen to notice a Mary-Poppins-like figure traveling by bicycle to and from the OLLI building, bike helmet in place and blue skirt fluttering in the wind, you might not imagine what mettle this instructor is made of.
Muriel was born in Birmingham, England. At the start of World War II, when she was not quite ten, Muriel and her younger twin sisters were among the children evacuated from British city centers to safer rural areas.
“I remember going on the train all by ourselves with labels on our coats and clutching our suitcases,” she says. She was billeted in a coal-mining village with a woman who played the organ and taught piano, which began Muriel’s musical training. She returned home, only to experience the sustained bombing of the Birmingham Blitz.
After completing her basic education, Muriel attended drama school, which led to a love of Shakespeare and sparked her interest in the recorder and early music. It also inspired her OLLI PlayReading Circle class, which combines her interests in English literature, history and drama.muriel
Muriel has taught the recorder class for 12 years with only two short breaks––one for a trip to England, and the other a recent victorious battle with West Nile Virus. Her students call her amazing, energetic, spunky and delightful.
Come join our community of recorder players. Besides making music together, the last day of class is “scone day,” with tea and homemade scones––just like Mary Poppins might have served!

rec group

What is a Memoir?

by Geoff Carr

Memoirs come from people just like you and me. Here at OLLI, there have been memoir writers from every imaginable walk of life, and some others that still surprised us.
As memoirs are shared, we understand more about our neighbors; in our peers we gain understanding and inspiration. In fact, we have recollections that bring us closer to each other and we recognize stories and experiences we thought unique to ourselves. One talked about visiting the South Pacific, another talked about tracing her roots to Guiana. Today’s memoir comes from a place where most adults have not gone.
Enid takes us to the world of dance. She doesn’t dance in ballet shoes, with ice skates, or in a pool with synchronized swimmers––no, she performs on roller skates. Enjoy her essay and realize how unique she is.

A Reinvented Life
by Enid Busser

An athlete? When I went to school, I couldn’t throw a ball and hadn’t a clue about any sports. I was a klutz and have always hated to look inadequate. I avoided sports.
enidI retired at 59 ½ and began to look for some new things to do. I began a skating class in Whittier. We worked on starting and stopping and how to fall down. I find I am never able to follow the falling instructions. It’s – Oh No! Crash! “When you put wheels on your feet, you’re gonna fall down,” said a friend. Most of the time you just get a few bruises or a skinned knee. I do feel a bit old to go around with scabby knees. We learned a very simple, slow waltz called the Glide Waltz.
In October the next year, my husband suddenly passed away. I really had to reinvent my life. I decided to get more into skating, going to the rink in Buena Park once a week. I made friends there, and some of the brave men were willing to do the Glide with me. I watched the Southwest Regional Championships. The lowest level adult category was the Glide Waltz. I thought, “That doesn’t look too hard. I bet I could do that.”
Competitors in skate dancing go on the floor in flights––at that time usually four skaters. There are three judges and you skate, beginning from a standstill, until the judges have made their decisions. Each event has two dances for elimination and two more if you need a final. I know about 20 dances now. Competing made my knees feel weak and my arms shake, but I began to compete at local contests. I wore a dress of black and gold material that another skater wanted to sell. It fit me perfectly.
Skate dancing is a very exacting sport. Good timing is essential; that was easy for me. Each step must be in the correct place on the floor, with a correct lean. It really helps if you can be dramatic and look “really cute.” Showing off is the hardest part for me; I don’t have much of a dramatic flair. I do enjoy the costumes, however. Think of the dresses the ice skaters wear: sparkling materials, lots of rhinestones, brilliant colors and gaudy jewelry.
I now skate three times a week. I usually go in once a week to practice. I compete in the three local contests, regional championships and sometimes nationally. A few years ago they added a new age group, 65 and over, the Golden Division. I am the oldest woman competing in dance in our region––maybe in the US. I have also done some travel as a skater, going to invitational contests in Las Vegas, Seattle, and Pennsylvania. I even went to Australia with a group from Glendale to do a show number at the world championships.
I find skating an addicting activity and endless challenge. I can go to the rink, grumpy and tired. After moving to the music with my mind on the sensations and technique, I am smiling and happy.
In 2014 in Fresno I placed 4th of 8 in Golden figures, qualifying me for nationals. I was 5th of 5 in dance but three of them were just 65 and two of them had been national champions, so I was certainly outclassed. The big surprise was that for the first time I was not nervous. I think the reason I was not nervous was due to the memoir writing class. The first time I got up and read my story I was pretty nervous, but after doing it in this friendly group, I became relaxed. I think that carried over to my skating.