Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dorothy Seale Brown

Dot is an amazing woman, one of the most positive people I know, and also a tireless advocate for social and educational opportunities for children.  I've known her for many years, but had fallen out of touch in the last few years.

She told me her greatest goal and accomplishment in life was being useful: using her knowledge and skills in a way that would make a difference in her lifetime.  She had the ability, education and drive to help improve the lives of others, especially children, and she enjoyed it all along the way.

Dot was born on Long Island, NY in 1928.  She says it's hard for people now to realize that Long Island was so rural, "cow country" at that time.  She remembers her grandmother sending her across the road to fetch milk the farmer squirted directly from the cow into her pail.  After her family lost everything in the Great Depression, Dot worked hard to attend nursing school, then worked as a nurse to put herself through college, earning her degree in education from New York University.

Dot moved to Vermont in 1952 where she worked as a school counselor while raising her family and earning a Masters Degree in psychology from the University of Vermont in 1980.  Until the 1960s Vermont schools had no budget for school counselors and no money for children with special needs, mental or physical disabilities.  As Dot said, "There was no way to deal with children with disabilities and nowhere to refer them.  They just had to go home."

During her nearly 30 year career in education in Vermont, Dot took on a number of leadership roles promoting education for all children with or without disabilities.  She says she was not always popular with school boards as there was just never enough money and the schools themselves were often so antiquated that access, assistance and infrastructure for special needs kids was just unavailable.  Dot was involved when parents of children with disabilities began to fight against the exclusion and segregation of their children.

Change began to come when a profound and historic shift in disability public policy occurred in 1973 with the passage by Congress of Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act. Section 504, which banned discrimination on the basis of disability by recipients of federal funds, was modeled after previous laws which banned race, ethnic origin and sex based discrimination by federal fund recipients.

Dot was able to travel extensively in support of her Masters Degree, to research advances in child development and educational access opportunities and later, just for fun.  After retirement she spent ten years as a volunteer for Vermont Legal Aid, working as an ombudsman, visiting nursing homes throughout the state to talk with patients about their treatment at the facilities and refer cases that might need problems resolved.

Dot suffers from "arthritis, head to toe", but stays as active as she can and says, "I could have worse things".  She's a weekly hospice care volunteer for the VNA, leads book club discussions, stays active in her women's support group and spends time with her children and grandchildren.  She enjoys listening to books on tape, doing word puzzles and the occasional card game.

I really enjoyed seeing her again.  Her happy, hopeful, enthusiastic and upbeat personality is wonderful to be around.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Larry Hamilton

I met Professor Lawrence S. Hamilton at an Occupy Burlington rally in October.  Larry, along with his wife Linda, joined the Peace Committee that was formed that afternoon.  My sister and I were also in that group as we knew our dad would join Larry as a Veteran for Peace, if he was with us.  I thought Larry would make a great subject for this blog and I was right.  But where to begin?

Larry was born in Toronto in 1925.  That's right, he's 86 and gets more done in a day that a lot of us.  He told me he couldn't wait to get out of the city, ANY city, and started working in logging camps in the North Woods during the summers while he was still a teenager.  During his forestry career, he worked on one of the last log drives on a river in Northern Ontario, working on a logging crew, in a sawmill, cruising timber in the far north.

Larry joined the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm and served in WWII until 1945.  After the war and deciding he always wanted to work outdoors, Larry went to The University of Toronto and worked while earning a Masters Degree from Syracuse College of Forestry (NY), then received his PhD from the University of Michigan in Natural Resource Policy.  He started teaching at Cornell in 1951 and became Professor Emeritus after 30 years.

Larry's passion for international conservation prompted him to join the East West Center in Hawaii, an institution whose mission is to promote technological and cultural interchange between people in the United States, Asia and the Pacific region.  He traveled all over the region, in Thailand, Western Samoa, Nepal, Indonesia, Australia and other areas doing pioneering education in forest hydrology and tropical forestry.  While in Asia, Larry says he began to get interested in mountains and concluded that much of what we 'know' about mountains is essentially wrong.  They are a unique and very delicate ecosystem and conservation efforts that will work in many other environments can be devastating for mountains.

Larry and a small group of five scientist/educators launched a concerted drive under the banner of "An Appeal for the Mountains" to spotlight to spotlight the neglect of mountain-specific conservation efforts.  Together the group published The State of the World's Mountains: A Global Report and were able to add a Mountain Agenda to  the "Earth Summit", the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.  This effort and the  ensuing awareness of mountain ecology is the work of which Larry says he is most proud.

In 1993 Larry and Linda moved to Charlotte, Vermont to be near family and because they love the natural surroundings and the four seasons.  They also like the size and neighborliness, noting that individual people's voices can be heard in public forums and state government.  Linda served as Conservation Commissioner for 13 years and Larry is a Town Tree Warden, most recently leading a roadside tree restoration project that has planted some 435 trees along Charlotte's byways.

In 2004 Larry received the Gold Medal from the King Albert I Memorial Foundation in Switzerland which is conferred occasionally "on persons or institutions that have distinguished themselves in some way in the mountain world."   He was also recognized as "the father of cloud forest conservation" with a distinguished science award from the University of Hawaii.  He also writes the quarterly mountain newsletter of the World Commission on Protected Areas.

Larry said he believes humans have genetic biophilia - an innate affinity for nature and its healing properties, evident in the dramatic effects of nature therapy in hospital patients, prison inmates, kids with ADHD, etc.  We've had 40,000 years of being IN nature and we can't just separate ourselves from it.  As Larry says, "If I can be responsible for saving one little chunk, I will have had a successful life."

I guess I would say he has achieved that meaningful, successful life.  I caught up with him a few days before he headed to Washington, DC by train to encircle the White House to encourage President Obama to quash the Tar Sands Pipeline Initiative.  Larry and Linda are inspiring examples of what people can do in "retirement".

Update: The Burlington Free Press did an interesting article about Larry on January 5, 2012.  Here's the link.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Edward Cashman

I met Judge Cashman in 2007 when the Vermont Bar Association commissioned me to make portraits a number of retiring Superior Court judges for a gallery in the courthouse.  I was struck by his dry wit and thoughtful comments at the time and thought of him when I began this blog last spring.

Edward J.  Cashman was born in Elizabeth, NJ in 1943, the third of four children.  He left New Jersey in 1961 to attend Boston College and later American University's Washington College of Law.  He had married his Vermont sweetheart Gail in 1966 and after law school, with a wife an two small children, enlisted in the U. S. Army, serving in Vietnam.  He and Gail moved to Vermont where Ed served as Assistant Attorney General for the State of Vermont, Chittenden County Clerk, Commissioner of Public Service and Grand Isle County State's Attorney, all the while maintaining a private law practice.  In 1982 he was appointed District Judge and served in ten of Vermont's fourteen counties over the years.

Ed and Gail settled and raised their three children in Essex Junction  where he has been involved in town government over the years.  He retired from the bench in 2007.  I asked Judge Cashman how he was keeping busy in retirement and it seems to me he couldn't have been this busy when he was working!

Where to start?  He's been a volunteer, Board member and cook at Dismas House for over 20 years, facilitates book discussion groups at the Brownell Library (the current selection - "To Kill A Mockingbird"), teaches constitutional law, First Amendment law and legal theory at Johnson State University and Champlain College, works with a personal trainer and swims pretty regularly.  In fact, he was a competitive swimmer into his 40's.

Judge Cashman told me his older brother gave him this advice: "You don't retire, you refocus."  He also believes lawyers are frustrated teachers and gets a lot of satisfaction from his interaction with his students, a number of whom are criminal justice majors.  If you ever meet him, ask him to describe how he uses the movie "Goonies" in his curriculum.  He's also an avid student, taking college courses for the last 20 years, most recently "Skeptics and Believers".  He told me he is a man of faith and science.  Here's how he put it:  Theology answers 'who?' and 'why?', science answers 'what is it?' and 'how does it work?'.

We talked quite a bit about the current state of or national discourse, which, frankly, worries me a lot.  How does a multicultural society deal with absolute belief?  Do you have a right to be wrong?  Judge Cashman said he hopes his students learn not to be buffeted by the loudest voices in public debate, extremists on both sides.

He says he doesn't miss being on the bench, but has endless interest in issues of fairness.  You may remember a controversial sentence he handed down in 2006 to a sex offender who would receive no treatment in prison sentence because the state no longer offered such treatment to prisoners, but who could receive treatment on the outside, while still remaining under the supervision of Dept. of Corrections.  It was a big deal, with Fox News professional blowhard Bill O'Reilly, among many others around the country ranting about the travesty in Vermont.

Judge Cashman stuck to his guns, so to speak, and one result of all the brouhaha was that the State of Vermont now treats sex offenders in prison.  Judge Cashman was supported by many legislators and members of the Vermont Bar and Judiciary.  He says there is never an easy answer when it comes to victims' suffering weighed against punishment of criminals, but he believes every offender, while under supervision, must be given the keys to use if they want to change their life.  Shortly after this incident he was invited by the United Nations War Crimes Tribunal to address a group of judges in Bosnia who were struggling to bring a humane sensibility to their deliberations in that country's trials.  Judge Cashman quipped "That sentence was the best thing that happened for my career."

I remember being proud of both him and Vermont for refusing to bow to shrieks for vengeance and accusations of coddling criminals, but to try to engineer as good an outcome as could be achieved in a terrible situation.  James Gallagher, president of the Vermont Bar Association at the time, said it was unfortunate that Cashman had to endure the criticism that he did.  "He has always struck me as a thoughtful, deliberative, careful person who was trying to do the right thing."

OK.  I almost left out the little dogs he and Gail love so well, but I can't because they are such a big part of Judge Cashman's daily routine.  They say pets keep us young and they, along with his many other interests seem to be doing just that.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Joann Peckham

This blog post was very difficult to write and I put it off for a while.  I photographed Joann at her home and her husband Wayne joined us as we chatted.  I asked if I could take some photographs of Wayne, too, and we had a very pleasant time.

Wayne passed away the following afternoon, June 10, 2011, completely unexpectedly.

It was a terrible time for their family and it felt too awkward to write about them just then.  I have to say am am so glad Wayne agreed to be photographed, since the photographs were really nice and I was glad I could give the family some prints to use at his funeral.  It made me realize, as I have many times, how important it is to have good recent photographs of those we love.

I met Joann at my aerobics exercise class at The Fitness Edge.  She struck me right away because of her patrician profile and general dignity.  (Yes, I often look at a person for photogenic appeal, I have to admit.)  She was cordial and a little reserved, but we got to know each other enough for me to ask if she would consider being part of this photo essay.

Joann was born in Little River, Kansas in 1935.  She told me she and Wayne, whom she met when he was stationed in Topeka in the Air Force, consciously laid out plans for their life, starting with family, keeping their interests and exploring ideas.  They discovered that they both came from families with numerous adoptees and ended up adopting their own two children Karoline and Kris.

Joann and Wayne came from large families and Wayne's family added a brother after a young boy his grandmother was babysitting was abandoned.  He was later adopted which was not that unusual during the Great Depression.  The branches of both families continued the tradition of adoption down to the present.  That emphasis on nurturing families lead Joann and Wayne to a lifelong interest in genealogy and family history.

Joann's family were pioneers.  Her paternal grandfather was from Alsace and emigrated to Kansas after his mandatory two-year service in the German army was about to be extended against his will.  Their family were farmers and raised horses.  Her mother's parents, from England and France, also emigrated and raised fruit trees on the prairie.

Wayne's ancestor Sir John Peckham arrived in Boston with Sir Henry Vane, later Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, in 1635.  Wayne's family has been in The New World for 13 generations and he was descended from three passengers on the Mayflower.

Joann and Wayne returned to New England after they were married and settled in Vermont in the early 1960s.  Wayne taught drafting at CVU for over 30 years and Joann retired from where she managed the Office of the UVM Faculty Organization.  She had a very rewarding career at UVM,  working with the UVM Faculty Senate, getting to know the active professors and Executive Council.

 Joann was always a volunteer, leading Cub Scouts when her son was younger, teaching Sunday school and after retirement she for the American Cancer Society and Heart Association.  Now she likes to help where she can, but without a set schedule so she can come and go as she likes and attend events that interest her.  She keeps in shape and happy by walking, aqua exercise and keeping up with her far-flung family and friends.

While I have always been interested in history, the fascination with my personal history was never much on my mind.  (I have been an avid collector of old family photographs, of course, mine and complete strangers'.)  After visiting with Joann and Wayne, I am intrigued and am glad my brother Peter has recently taken on an in depth family genealogy project for us.

Update April 27, 2012:  Carol Lee Phillips informed our water aerobics group that Joann had passed away on April 25, due to complications of surgery.  My sincere condolences go out to her family and friends.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Bob Spear

It all started with watching butterflies.

As a child growing up on a Vermont farm, Bob Spear helped his dad with just about everything.  His mother died when he was very young, so Bob and his father tended the farm, built barns and felled trees with a cross-cut saw for building and firewood.  Bob, 91, still cuts wood for the stove in his workshop at the Birds of Vermont Museum in Huntington.  While out and about he became fascinated with butterflies and began to draw them.  When a parakeet flew into the barn one day, Bob loved the colorful little fellow and kept him uncaged as a pet.  He also made his first carvings of that bird and set himself on the path of learning all about birds in Vermont.

While he kept drawing and carving, Bob worked on the farm until he went into the Navy.  He was trained to maintain radar equipment - radar had just been developed - and he remembers using a slide rule (no computers!) for his calculations.  The atom bomb ended the war before he was sent to the Pacific, but while in sick bay with German measles he met and became lifelong friends with another seaman Henry McKinnies, known to the rest of us as Jeffrey Hunter.

Back in Vermont Bob worked as a technical specialist at GE while learning all he could about natural history and conservation.  He founded Vermont's first chapter of the Audubon Society and continued carving birds.  Bob had learned taxidermy from a  correspondence course when he was 12 and has always spent many hours on each carving, ensuring accuracy and detail.  He has a collection of bird specimens brought to his workshop by friends and strangers alike.  Some were killed by cars, flying into plate glass windows, some came from hunters.  All are carefully preserved by taxidermy and enshrined in glass drawers with their dates, species and donors listed.  Bob uses these birds to observe their size, markings, feather patterns, etc., when he begins a new project.

I thought Bob's hands were pretty amazing.  I think you can tell a lot by a person's hands and his told the story of his life of hard work, love of nature and meticulous attention to detail.

Bob's collection of carved birds grew so large he needed a building just to house it, so, after retiring from the Audubon Society he added to his barn on Sherman Hollow Road and opened the Birds of Vermont Museum.  2011 will see the 500th bird added to the collection.  Bob built all the display cases and created habitats.  He makes the green leaves from aluminum, carved and painted, too.  He was recipient of the 1966 Wildlife Conservation Award, given by the National Wildlife Federation “for outstanding contributions to the wise use and management of the nation’s natural resources”, the first of many awards for his dedication and artistry.

I asked Bob how he keeps up with it all.  He has help.  His daughter Keri and other BMOVT staffers run the museum these days and Bob works when he feels like it.  That usually translates to very day, though AND he still cuts wood and maintains the grounds and butterfly gardens.  He spends time in the summer on Lake Champlain and the winters on the Savannah River in Georgia and, yes, takes plenty of work with him.  Bob says he likes to watch the Western Channel on TV and "always has a book going".  He likes Shakespeare and keeps a copy of Hamlet on the bedside table.

Bob's next project?  Carving the Butterflies of Vermont!

I'd like to note that the BMOVT is a favorite destination for me and my grandson Anthony, 6.  We love to look at the birds, speculate about how they live and pretend to be owls.  The museum has many educational opportunities and fun outings.  Here are some photographs from a workshop in March on building habitats.  Anthony chose to learn about the Great Blue Heron.

I photographed just a few of the birds and habitats to show you what you're missing if you've never had this unique Vermont experience.  You need to visit the Birds of Vermont Museum!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Blanche Lamore

When I arrived at her house Blanche Lamore was reading the newspaper.  Blanche is 98 years old, born in 1912 in Cabot Vermont, just a few miles from where she lives now.  Her family were dairy farmers who also tended the sugar bush in winter.

Asked how she had stayed so fit, Blanche told me people had always called her a tomboy.  She had enjoyed hunting, fishing and trapped foxes and coons as a girl.  She fished her whole life until last year when her fishing partner was no longer up to it.  That man's son sent her some perch though, knowing she'd miss it.

And Blanche likes to walk.  She grew up walking in the woods and fields, walking the mile to school in Lower Cabot, home for lunch, back to school and home again ("'Course it got dark in those days, too, if you didn't walk right along home. We couldn't be fooling around on the road"), walking to town, walking for fun.  Blanche has been in the hospital a few times in the last couple of years, but always comes out ready to start walking again.  She also likes to garden and pull weeds and hangs her laundry outside.  She swears this is OK in the winter, too, because when the clothes freeze she brings them inside and they dry out just fine.

Blanche worked in the cafeteria in high school to earn money to buy the next year's books.  After school she worked as a waitress at Joe's Pond, then got married the next year. She and her husband Wilford farmed, timbered, sugared and did other jobs "to help people out".

In 1933 they moved into Blanche's uncle's house in Lower Cabot where she still lives.  They added on a bit and raised their son Morris.  Blanche worked in the Lower Cabot village store and did housework for mostly older folks around town "who wanted a little something".  Around that time Blanche says, rich people began moving to the area, mostly for the summer, but some stayed year round.  She did housework for several families, but signed on with one particular family for nearly 40 years, even living at their home after Morris was out of school.  She always enjoyed work, "or I'd have told them 'no'", and had the opportunity to travel around the country with the family.  Blanche stopped working at age 87 but has stayed close to the children in this family and they refer to her as their adopted grandmother. 

Wilford died 38 years ago of lung disease after years of breathing wood dust.

Blanche says she doesn't care for TV and prefers to keep busy.  She's chairman of the Cabot Fall Foliage Festival, a project she's been involved in for 54 years, treasurer of the Cabot Historical Society and an active fundraiser for many organizations around town.  A friend takes her to the United Church of Cabot every week, but she's sorry to see the church community dwindling.  Blanche is also an active Justice of the Peace and has married countless couples over the years.

Two years ago the wheel fell off her car "but that was a good thing, because I shouldn't have been driving then anyway".  She misses her independence, though and says having a car gave her the opportunity to get involved in so many things. Blanche thinks you need a great variety of interests to keep you busy and that "you have to be awful broadminded" today.  You can't just sit and wait for the world to come to you.

Blanche is a lifelong Democrat and likes to "keep up".  She remembers the 1930s as hard but says everyone worked, even if they didn't have a job.  "They didn't realize they were missing things". They sang, skied in the fields, cooked and helped others out as much as possible.  They made their own fun and certainly didn't have "the problem of too much stuff".  Now, she says, people seem to depend on "stuff".  Blanche is a great admirer of Bernie Sanders who "has a good head on his shoulders and knows what's important".

Blanche says she enjoys things as much as ever, likes to putter around and feels lucky to be at home where she can make her own decisions.  "I can't complain", she says, always had work, family and fun.  Whenever she thinks of the beautiful dress she might have had, she thinks of what would have been spilled on it!  "You make yourself happy by helping out where you can".

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Robert Senghas

My great grandfather was a Unitarian minister and my family attended that church throughout my time living at home all over the South and Northeast.  I was active in the Unitarian Universalist youth group (LRY) in junior high and high school.

After that, though, I spent 16 years not attending any kind of church, too busy with work, children, day to day concerns.  When I moved back to Vermont in the early 1980s, I rejoined my family church in Burlington and was lucky meet and get to know Bob Senghas who was the minister there and his wife Dorrie.  After living in the West for many years, it felt great to return to a community of thoughtful people who, for the most part, shared my inherited liberal secular humanism.

Bob Senghas was born in Cleveland in 1928.  In his third year at Harvard Law School he married Dorrie who had just graduated from Radcliffe (or Harvard, as she preferred to call it).  He joined a large law firm in San Francisco and practiced estate planning law for five years.  He became restless, feeling he was saving a lot of money for people who had plenty.  He began attending a UU church with Dorrie who was brought up in Concord, Mass., the seat of modern Unitarian Universalism.  One day, after listening to the sermon he said, "I can do that."

Bob spent the next three years at Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, CA while Dorrie taught at a local high school.  After receiving his degree Bob served as minister in Davis, California, Wellesley Hills, Mass. and at the UU denominational headquarters in Boston before coming to Burlington.

One of the most significant periods  Bob remembers was his involvement with the American civil rights movement in Alabama in 1965.  In those years, African Americans in the South faced tremendous obstacles to voting, including poll taxes, literacy tests, and other bureaucratic restrictions to deny them the right to vote. They also risked harassment, intimidation, economic reprisals, and physical violence when they tried to register or vote. As a result, very few African Americans were registered voters, and they had very little, if any, political power, either locally or nationally.

Like so many Americans, Bob and Dorrie watched the violence unfolding on TV.  When James Reeb a UU minister was murdered while marching in Selma, Martin Luther King, Jr. asked ministers from around the country to join him in protest marches.  Despite having a family, Bob felt he had to go since the Unitarian Universalists had taken a strong stand on integration.  The ministers stayed with local UU families and in an African American housing project.  Bob remembers the marchers, mostly middle class people - many women, including Catholic nuns, men in suits and ties, and the realization of the danger they faced.  He says he had never experienced and emotional moment quite like that before or since.

The deadliness of the situation in Alabama hit home when, after Bob returned to California,  his friend Jonathan Daniels, an Episcopal seminary student from New Hampshire, was murdered shortly after picketing whites only businesses.  Bob visited Alabama again as part of the effort to keep state officials and police in compliance with Federal law after the TV camera crews had left.  During and after the marches President Lyndon Johnson advocated for and soon signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Bob's commitment to learning, philosophy and social justice directed his life and led him to write very moving, powerful and thought provoking sermons in the years I knew him.  Bob told me his 20+ year practice of Zen Buddhism at the Zen Mountain Monastery in Mt. Tremper, NY has changed the way he lives and relates to the world.  One important aspect of this serene practice was to help him overcome the frantic end-of-the-week stress of writing his sermon.  He was able to slow down, spread out and organize the process, approach it calmly, let it go in the hours he was not actually working, spend more time with his family and let the thoughts come without feeling frantic about a deadline.  Bob says he never rewrote a sermon.

Bob told me he thinks a primary responsibility of a minister is to earn and deserve the trust of the congregation.  One should be emotionally open and able to accept, if not agree with the differing opinions of people of goodwill.  simply reinforcing the beliefs of those we agree with is not the path of a true spiritual leader.

Cycles of Reflection: On The Mystery And Challenge Of Living, a selection of Bob's writings, collected by Julia Blake is available at the Northshire Bookstore or by emailing Julia.

Bob is a student of Zen Buddhism to this day and also enjoys time with family and friends, tennis, billiards and his viola, taken up later in his life.  He plays with the Amateur Musicians Orchestra and says he feels active, connected and happy. 

Beautiful, quick and courageous Dorrie Senghas died in 2002.  They were married 50 years.  Bob is the father of three children, a grand father and great-grandfather.

I know my own life has been enriched knowing both Bob and Dorrie.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Maize Bausch

I met Maize a couple of years ago when I photographed some of her paintings.  She is vibrant and lively, a force of nature.  Since I did this interview her grandson has posted an archive of her work here.

Maize was born in Greenwich, CT in 1925 and began painting in her early 20s and became seriously involved in her art around 1972.  She and her husband Carl moved to Vermont and designed and built their home in Charlotte in the early 1960s.  While they were raising their children, Carl began a boat building business and Maize continued to paint.  She remembers Carl's decision to build her a studio and her delight and anticipation as it progressed.

Using the studio, finished in 1980, made a huge difference in her painting.  Maize feels her work took a leap, became much more spontaneous and energetic.  She would spend hours working and listening to music on her tiny radio - classical, jazz, Billie Holliday.  When Carl heard the radio he bought a better sound system!

Both partners loved their work and spent many happy, productive years, rejoining each other for dinner in the evenings.  Maize's painting career flourished.  She was a member of the Womens' Caucus for Art in Vermont and she exhibited her work here and around New England.  Maize says her connections to the arts community and other artists are very important to her.  She looks forward to the South End Community Art Hop each year, exhibiting and meeting old and new friends, always showing new work.

She feels her life is very full now, with her work, children and grandchildren.  Carl died in 1988 and she muses about how he would interact with the family, what a wonderful grandfather he would have been.

I asked Maize how she stays so energetic.  She loves to be out and about, in the woods at home, gardening, especially flowers - high tone marigolds - and spending with her family.  She greets each day with her yoga practice, swims when she can, eats lightly.  Maize values good conversation, not just chit chat, but real substance.

Her inspiration?  Being alive.  "The statement - being alive - has a ring to it.  It wakes us up and directs good."  Of her art, Maize says, "It's abstract.  I'm not looking at anything in particular, I want to stay open; I don't paint exactly what I see, but what comes from within."

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Carol Lee Phillips

I met Lee at an aerobic exercise class at the Fitness Edge.  It's an amazing group, very welcoming, and Lee was one of the first people I spoke with after joining.  I was impressed by her serenity.  I know that sounds odd, but she radiates a kind of calm dignity.  When I asked her to join my photo essay project, she was very gracious.

Lee was born in Bridgeport, CT in 1932.  She lived a busy life with husband Charles Allen Phillips, medical school, four children and a rewarding career as a pediatric infections disease specialist, becoming Chair of Pediatrics at the University of Vermont.

She loved her work - seeing patients, teaching medical students and residents.  As department Chair her work became more administrative and after ten years she retired.  Her husband Allen had passed away and she kept busy with volunteer work, lecturing on epidemiology for the Vermont Health Department and continuing a 20 year involvement in pediatrics at the Lund Family Center.  Lee served on the Board for many years.

Lee has family all over the country, including three grandchildren in college in Vermont.  She uses her computer "just for email" to keep up with them.  She's an avid reader who like variety - adventure, detective, travel - she just "loves to have a book in her hand" and her black cat Molly beside her.

Lee says she was never a "sports" person and had no time for exercise while working, but began walking after retirement and now enjoys both walking and water aerobics.  One book she enjoys is Isn't Pushing 90 Exercise Enough?  by Marguerite Wolf.  If you'd like to find a copy, send me an email and I'll put you in touch.

She told me, “I am happy that I became a physician in a time when women doctors were rare. On the medical faculty I served as a role model for a lot of entering women. Many were very reassured to see that I could have a career in medicine and still have a good marriage and happy children.”

“I was pleased to be able to help my patients and teach Pediatrics to the student and resident. As the department chairman, I interacted with all the pediatricians in Vermont and a lot in New Hampshire and Upper New York state and enjoyed them all.  Now that I am retired I look back with pleasure on my career and cherish my children and grandchildren. I had and still have a very satisfying life.”

Lee also enjoys her neighbors, stays active with friends and keeps up with world events.  She was a pleasure to photograph.  See you in the pool, Lee!

UPDATE February 16, 2014:

Carol Lee Phillips was recently honored with a Lund Family Center Heart of the Community Award at The Essex Resort & Spa.  Lee was the pediatrician at the Lund Center for more than 20 years and the fist female chair of pediatrics at the UVM College of Medicine/FAHC.

Lee was joined by a number of her colleagues who referred to themselves as "Lee Phillips' followers".

"Lee is at the grass roots of what pediatricians can do in this community", said Dr. Ann Guillot, chair of the FAHC pediatric residency program.  "She has taught hundreds of residents and students how to be a pediatrician and a good person.  She quietly did what needed to be done at Lund.  She is devoted to the needs of families and the notion of what it means for a woman to succeed."

Monday, May 30, 2011

Charlie Lotz

Charlie Lotz is a great example of an older gentleman who loves life.  Born in Brooklyn, NY in 1922, Charlie and his wife Gert moved to Vermont in 1952.  Charlie had spent nine years in the U.S. Coast Guard during and after the war and began his engineering career with General Electric in Burlington.  During our conversation I found out Charlie worked with my Dad (also an engineer) at GE and they knew each other pretty well.

Charlie's work took him to England, France, The Netherlands, Egypt and the Caribbean, to name just a few places.  He recalled a surprise boat trip on the Seine in Paris for Gert's birthday one year.  It sounds like they took full advantage of the opportunities for travel during Charlie's career with GE.

Charlie and Gert lived in Charlotte for about 45 years and now live in Shelburne.  Charlie remembers the local team efforts starting and publishing the Charlotte News back in the day.  He's still their favorite cartoonist emeritus and I'm including a recent Mothers' Day drawing.

I caught up with Charlie at the Charlotte Senior Center where he visits a couple of times a week and hosts some of the gatherings.  He also enjoys getting together with other retired friends from GE.  Charlie is friendly and relaxed and likes to stay in shape playing tennis and golf.  In fact, he couldn't chat long because he was off to play tennis right after our photo session.

Charlie and Gert have three children - Steve who lives in Shelburne, Wendy from Hinesburg and Patti who lives in Australia.