Elizabeth Mitchell:

Probably like most women I have talked to in Maine, I entered politics by accident in a way. It was in fact my husband who was interested in politics and ran for the US Congress and almost won even though we were new to Maine. In 1974 there was an open seat – a 5 to 1 Republican to Democratic seat and nobody wanted to run as a democrat- someone asked me why don’t you do that- and I said- why not? And then when I decided to run, the party decided I wasn't qualified- hadn't been here long enough and didn’t know anybody! I fought both the primary and the general elections- and I think all of us who came in at that time- it was the Watergate era- we invented the door to door campaign. All of us were doing it. It hadn’t been done. People were so impressed that you would take the time to come and listen to them. And it helped that you were a woman. People were so disenchanted with Washington. They wanted a change. And I sensed that mood.

I am 100% behind Hillary Clinton. It is the first time we have had a competitive woman. There would never be a perfect woman or man running. I am too old to wait for another woman and I am going with her and hope that she is successful.

I invite you to go and look at all the photographs on the wall outside the House chamber. I remember taking a lot of school children around and there were no pictures of any women on the walls. What kind of role model is that? It annoyed me. If you look, I’m the only women’s face that’s up there. That’s wrong too. I am very proud of being the first. But I don’t want to be the last. And I think there is a very very wonderful young woman called Hannah Pingree who’s serving as the majority leader, who may be the next. Which is great!

I have no idea what I brought in. I came in as a Mom and as a person who is deeply committed to public policy and to make things better, especially in education. I saw things in my children’s schools that I thought should be corrected – and I also learn listening to others and other points of view, and I don’t mind taking risks.  That just comes naturally to me. I didn’t have to do anything special- I was just grateful and excited to be here and tried quickly to learn.

I got my medicare card and went to law school in the same year. In my time women were mostly into nursing and teaching- nothing wrong with that but those were primarily female roles, and women were going into law school but it didn’t cross my mind then.Then when I had an opportunity to do so – I remember someone asking: are you sure you want to go to law school at your age and I said- No…but at my age I can also quit if it’s a mistake! But that’s not my personality. When I started I was determined to finish. I worked part time- went in summers and was only a semsester behind the kids I started with, though many of them are my kids age. But there were older people in the school, and we brought in a different perspective and I think the class was enhanced because of it. When I took the Bar exam the first time I didn’t pass it . Then I took it again and did pass it. It was just a dream I had to have a professional title. My husband is a lawyer. My father-in-law, my son is a lawyer. And I had been making laws fior 20 years- so that was certainly some of the reason behind it.

We don’t have a committee that focuses on Higher Education. I hope that we start a committee. It gets lumped in with K through 12- early childhood. It takes all the Oxygen out of the room. It is very full time. We are struggling to put more money into the University. They have been underfinanced for a number of years , so its very hard for them to think creatively what they should be doing because they are treading water to keep quality professors and quality courses from what they have. It is an issue but its not an issue for the legislature because there is no leadershuip that’s brought it forward. And we also have a tradition of a board of trustees who come to the legislature for money. And you don’t want it to be politically micro managed.

W are a global economy. I think we would be foolish to argue for something paroichial ,but we have to be sure that there is an understanding of the values, risk and rewards in something like outsourcing- that we don’t have bad contracts that hurt us- not so much that it is outsourced but that if it is not well done or negotiated correctly.

Could we do more? Yes, but we are also a transitionsing economy. There are no paper mills  we used to have , manufactuiring kjobs are changing.. so we are looking at biotechnololy and new kinds of jobs that certainly include manufactruitn. We don’t want to be only tourism . SO it’s a state in Flux.

But in the state budgest, we are encouraging biotechnoloty, tax benefits and pther incentives ot encourage investment in the state. Stae can only od so much. We can get out of the way provide regulatory fairness and make syre thare are no unneccesaary barriers, but that does not mean that our environment can get polluted. A race to the bottom does not serve Maine people well. If we lose the environmental qualities that makle people love ME by saying you can pollute the rivers, then we have lost everything and gained nothing.
SO I think you will find the state offering incentives, access tohigher edfuication, our workforce is our most important capitol, and trying to make our tax base as fair as possible, but I don’t know what eles the state can do. State does not make big businesses. State can part5ner with people to make that happen.

The state is discussing bio-fuel, wind power, and we encourage green buildings . We are at the forefront of that. There is incentive to people to invest in solar power. It certainly wouldn’t be on the nmagnitude of Germany! It’s a country and we a re a poor stateJ And there is a backlas in the state that we are spending too much money without considering that most of our money goes into educatina d healthcare.

Biggest issues for the state of Maine: Jobs! Creating good jobs that pay decent wages- not the minimum wage jobs- too many people I know are working two to three jobs woth no benefits and no opportunity to get out. SO good paying jobs whiloe mainting the quality fo life and specialness that’s Maine. 

Many of the people who are homeless ahave issues of mental health  so we are not providing enouh services for them. No one is interested in institutionalizing people but its not enough o hand a person from mental illness avoicher and expectthem to manage without some help. Many mental health related people are in jails. So that’s just one of the issues with the homeless. Then some people live from paycheck to paycheck. Then there are unscrupulous people who get otherpeople into debt beyond whjich they could ever hope to repay. After a few months and few years they re-up the interest rates so they can’t et out/. So people from no fault of their own , who are poor and are tr6ying to get by on their own – we are looking for ways to protect them from unscrupulous lenders – people who are desperate for a home and get taken in-
Then tragedy happens- and medical bills often drive people frm their homes.
We have done a good job- theres never enough- but for housing for the elderly. With partnershiup with housing and urban development- Washington doesn’t believe in partnershuips- but we built much housing in the 70s and 80s for the elderly through partnering. And there is more being built todayalso for people who are crowded out of expensive real estate markets- policemen, teachers, firemen…
In fact there may be enough funding in this budget to match private contributions for Florence House which is for homeless women.
People are trying but the problem is immense and it never ends. I have been working on some of these issues sonce 1971 and many of those problems are stuill there. You don’t give up because you can’t solve it. Some are intractable but you keep trying.

It is tough to get comprehensive tax reform because everyone says don’t tax me- tax that person behind the tree! They like the tax reductiona but no one wants ot change the tax structure.

Iraq: It sounds very odd but I worry about not having a draft even if its for public service or military service like mnay foreign countries do. Because otherwise the poor people- thepeople who want to go to college, who see no other way out are doing all the fighting for us. And I see as soon as everybody is involved in the fighting then people who are oleaders of this country have to deal woth the war in a very different way. If their own sons and daughters aren’t part of it- its somebody welse’s sons and daughters and it really does worry me. If you don’t want to do miuliotray servives- you should serve your country for 2 yeas- peace core or any other avenue of service ot make this country better.

W eshouldnt sdtay in Iraq but getting out cincerns me. My husband was in Vietnam and he has a very different perspective. He feels that when they were there- whether or not they should have been- and that country had goteen so torn apart that when we did pull oiut – thousand of people were killed because a vacuum had been created and its haunted him and others who have served in Vietnam for a long time. How you get out without unleashing this massive bloodshed I have nightmares about. DO I want us to stay there nmaking it worse? No! But I never wanted ot go in the first place. But now I have a new question- How do you et out- because Iraquis are victims too. Women and children and their men are being shot everyday- so I worry about that, and the sectari8an violence. I wish I had an answer. If I had an answer I would be running for President! I wish ai had an answer for you. I have learnt that the big questins of the day can’t be answered with a Yes or No- for me. – so I migt be very boring as an interviewee because who are good have great punchy slogans- I can’t give you an answer.
We can’t wait for anybody. We have to keep working in our own little ways- with debates- with conversations- with writing your congreemen. No, I am not waiting!

back...

Noel Bonam:

I also got involved with a nonprofit which did suicide prevention. I got hooked on very intensely in a good way. It is not typical in India for a man-19-20 yrs old to volunteer his time like that. My mom didn’t get that concept- 80-85 volunteers keeping a center to prevent youngsetes from committing suicide: My neighbor next door committed suicide. Pre college. Good guy- no one knows what happened. While I was in college- two of my friends- one attempted few times- never killed herself. The other killed herself. She really wanted to pursue a career- get a degree- but her family got her married while she was in collge. She actually had a baby- right after it she killed herself- maybe depresseiion connected with the post pregnancy. So it was a great volunteer opportunity. I was always involved- YMCA’s rotary clubs- things like that. I think it had to do a lot with the leadership aspect of it and the collaborative aspect of it. Getting a group together and figuring out what you can do. And mostly it was a lot of fun.
Andhra has one of the higher suicide rates in the country. Suicides- dying because they couldn’t get into medical school. Women because they couldn’t get enough dowry. Or some dying because they were being killed by the in-laws under the pretense of suicide. Farners killing themselves because of the drought in India at that point. It really ranged.
And the founding principle of this international organization with which we were affiliated was that when someone is in so much agony that they are willing to kill thenmseles- they don’t need advise. They need someone to listen to them. To empathise with them. Nobody who is suicidal really wants to end their life. They want to end something else. They want to end the misery. The disappointment. The pain. So I was told I had very good HR skills and hence I ended up doing personnel management. I ended up traveling through that NGO to meet other people in it for training and all that- that was the beginning of my travels- and I never stopped traveling after that.

In 98 I ended up coming to Maine to see Maine and to meet with these friends of mine here who were traveling through here from Australia. I loved Portland- I could see myself living here- had no clue I would actually live there. I saw someone at the door. And we got talking with the door half open. About 45 minutes. Then we went upstairs and chatted for a couple of hours. And he was like would you be interested in working for us? My resume was apparently a perfect match for what they were looking. So two months later I moved here to Portland Maine.

Many many different things are being done. And some you might not see the results until 5 years from now. System change impacts you don’t see immediately sometimes- and that discourages people. Within the refugge community- extend support into their organizational supports- in fighting- why is it happening here as well- because the conditions are very different- so whats prompting them to do it here as well. It is with them not knowing how to do things differently. So our role is to make them understand the need for more collaborative leaderships. For these minority communities to survive and succeed. That’s one initiative started in the refugee communtiy that can be extended into others.

in a state of Maine there isn’t a lot of awareness as in the rest of the country. Its not that Mainers don’t like people from away- they just don’t know how to deal with people from away. Its just that they don’t have a frame of reference. But if you reach out and initiate the connection the doors open. But what that prompts you toi think about is how to make connections. Students ina  school setting- or refugees away in groups- so finding opportunities for people to connect and mentorship. Finding mentor businesses to work with ethnic businesses make them a member of chamber of commerce- where they may not walk in otherwise easily. Best way to initiate a healthy and sound encounter is ehn you provide comfort to both sides. Goes back to the educational awareness piece.

Lots of people think that refugees just pick up their bag and come to America because it’s a land of opportunity. People don’t realize that refugees often don’t have a choice as to where they are going to go. And sometimes they don’t want to be where they are but they don’t have a choice. They are resettled by the UN commission for refugees. And usually it’s a place which doiesn feel look like the place they come from. People speak difrent. People eat difernt . People interact difrently. Everythign is different. So providing that kind of education to Mainers to who you are. So sommunity also has a responsibility to to educate itself. We have a responsibility as a astate because we see value in diversity – bringing in people from all kinds of backgrounds. Hopefulkly Maine will not be the least diverse state in the country anymore.

India is probably the most diverse country that I know and probably the country that knows how to handle diversity the best. On the flip side- India is probably also the most racist country I know. Which is very weird. On one side the gujaratis are so different than the Telugus are so different from the Punjabis are so diff from the Kashmiries are so diff from the Rajasthanis are so… all customs, what you eat, how you dress, and how you speak- but somehow because we are all the same race and we are all the same kind- diversity doesn’t seem to matter as much.
But here somehow I am brown and you are black or white becomes a point of contention- influences the conflict here. Influences conversation on diversity here. So color seems to play not an important but a prominent role .
So somehow, India seems to have its act together- and it only has its act together perhaps because it doesn’t pay attention to it. And here so much attention is given to color- maybe a little too much. You and I- both brown people- can have a much easier conversation about race and ethnicity and diversity and conflict- but I can assure you if you and I were of different skin color- this conversation will not be as smooth. We will both be treading more carefully. Both trying not to hurt the other person- to say the wrong thing. Why is that?

back...

Hannah Pingree:

I got elected at 25. I am a house majority leader now. I am 30. I am the 2nd youngest woman in the house. And 5th or 6th youngest overall.  As majority leader, there aren’t many young majority leaders in the country. Maine has had a couple of people arund 30 in leadership positions.
I had an advantage at 25 because I had helped my mom in politics. Knew people in politics. Knew how to run a campaign. So all that helped me be comfortable when I got here. I felt credible when I showed up here but you still had to prove that you knew what you were doing and to be credible on my own not just because I am Chellie Pingree’s daughter.

Before you are here you are the most idealistic. Things are hard to change- you become less idealistic. Helathcare, economy, taxes… but in general I tend to be still more idealistic than some people who are older here. I haven’t ecome jaded. You do become more realistic. But there are things we have to cange and if you don’t keep trying to change them, they are not going ot change. I remain idealistic. There are times when I think polituics is toigh. There are issues that are tough to fix.
I am not a showy politician- get my name in the newspaper. I just like to get my homework done and get things done. You know vast majority pf poeplke say- you ar young, you are smart0 go for it. People had to trust me. They didn’t elect me because I was a young woman. They elected me because they thought I wouold od a good job as a majority leader.

Being a legislator is not for money. I don’t think voters understand that.  People say: oh you're a politician- money, fame…its not that exciting. There’s no money and newspapers usually ask you hard questions… You have got to do it because you want to be making a difference.

We get paid about $1000 a year and get another $7000 dollars in like stipends and get full health care benefits. That swhat a citizen legislator is. Its tough. You really need another job to have money actually. I believe it shoulkd be paid more- not rificulously more- but I am a young woman with no kids- but there are people here who have a tough time and they are making a real sacrifice. January to June you are here- by the end of the session 5 days a week. You can sort of have another jo but it has to be a real flexible job.

I am a very realistic person. I like to pick things and get them done. I don’t really have a vision that I would change the world in some really monumental way. When I came in maybe I had more of a sense that that could happen. Being here I feel like if you are a committed legislator who really is enaged in the process- everyday I feel like there are things I have made a difference on. So I don’t like try and pass big bills and get credit for them, but I know that if I hadn’t been in the room things would have turned out differently. Like paying more for volunteer drivers who drive people to medical appointments, keep ten thousand people from being cut off from healthcare, domestic violence funding in the last budget, funding environmental bonds-that old people don’t get cut off from health care, that schools are funded…
In the long term I would like to be part of the steps for changing health care or energy- I spent a long time negotiating green house gas bill- I like to be the process person who gets things done.

I find the war very frustrating. The first yar we passed a resolution: Don’t go to war. George Mitchell- US senator from Maine I really look up to. He gave a speech a few years ago about US beign a moral leader- reducing poverty in the world… We are just so far from it as a country as from where we should be. We have totally divided the Middle East …Totally demonized groups of people …US should really be a diverse excxiting center of intelligence and democracy – buyt we are becoming a most ridiculous fear driven angry society . Its really disappointing as a politician and where we are headed is really disturbing to me.
I think its necessary to spread democracy but not the way Bush administration is spreadinf democracy.  Some level of funding educational institutions and helping people understand that democracy is a good thing makes sense. I don’t think imposing demcocracy on people makes sense.

Compared to Vietnam, Iraq is pretty distant. We are getting uncomfortable, but as a socity we have money and we are doing generally well.. I don’t think we understand what some of the poor parts of the world are like or what it is to live in them with a war goin on around you. We are comfortable, but I think we are less comfortable than we were 10 years ago.

Religion is somewhat important to me but being in a small town, caring about your neighbor, bein a good community member is more important to me. Living a good life and being  a good person is more important than being like Reborn and all those things to me, that I learnt in Sunday school. I have respect for people who are involved in it and doin some religious things makes sense to me, like as a tradition. But I am not a really religious person.

We are having a good friend of ours who is a Gay man marry us. He’s been in a long term relationship with his partner in NY city- he grew up on the island- so he’s marrying us. He became a notary public so he could do it. And he said: Hannah! You are a politician- and I want to be very clear that what you are doing I am not allowed to do, and is something I should be allowed to do.
And I think your enefits- health, social security, inheritance- are very important- and I would support Gay marriage, and I asked him do you care about marriage- and he said- I should have the same rights as everybody else. And I completely support that. Just the fact that we are having him and his partner read something at our wedding. We want to do a traditional wedding but we also want to be non-traditional.

back...

Elizabeth Szatkowski:

We worked about 100 students a year, helping them make a good choice for college. And then they were expected to at least help one other person to go to college. We set up an internship program with the governor’s office, so college students would come and get a paid internship during summer and meet other educated people in their own state. Many of those students who went through that got advanced degrees came back to W. Virginia.

One of the reasons people were getting their mail at the Preble Street Shelter was because they wanted to share their mail with us. Maybe once or twice a year they would get a card from their daughter-they would like to share it with somebody-they wanted to show that somebody thought of me-look what she picked out-look what she wrote-I matter! If they got mail at their little apartment by themselves-no one would know! You know sharing-it’s life and death with a group of people-who maybe don’t have another place to do that!

Maine has used Federal funds in a much more liberal way than other states. It has made training and education available to families in ways that other states didn’t–in especially healthcare. The services do catch a lot of people-but there really isn’t a safety net. There really isn’t a bottom line-that says-no matter what –you’ll have a place to live and food to eat and education-there isn’t!

I didn’t see my job as changing people. I saw it as being a tool to help somebody do what they wanted to do. It was also my job to reflect back to them the positive-ness I saw in them. And so I really felt that, at Preble Street Shelter, most of the time, people really showed their best selves. You know people there-who were constantly being picked up by the police-but yet-we liked them.

back...

Alice James:

The Kosovo kids were in and out of my house for years--and this drove my kids crazy. So the rule was--my kids didn’t have to give up their bedrooms--but they would have to put up with this, because houses and homes are for sharing--you are lucky to have one! In the long run, the payoff is huge. They are both globally oriented because of it.

Kosovo and the death of Yugoslavia: Watch online Video by Alice Mead

back...

Gail Duffey:

In the 70s, UNUM became a very progressive company in terms of diversitycompany diversity--offering opportunities to women, and it also eventually became one of the 1st companies to offer benefits to same sex couples.At that time, If you worked hard and showed initiative, you could progress. I worked my way up until I became a Vice President. Today, they have developed profilesToday, profiles--like who's a successful salesperson for selling insurancesuccessful insurance--so now they select people based on this profile. I don't know if today someone could work their way up the way I did. Now I would have to fit the profile!

It was interesting when they merged with Providence Mutual thoughProvidence though--a really Southern Good Old BoyOld Boy--much farther behind than UNUM in terms of being progressiveof progressive--Women's rights or any other diverse groupsdiverse groups……Good grief! They were horrified to think that we had groups for homosexual couples! That just wasn't the Southern way!

One generation breeds another--so if you have a mother who stays at home home--smokes and drinks and watches TV all day long and thatdrinks that’’s the only thing they ever teach their childrenthe children--those children are going to think that this is the way life is. So in my humble opinion, we have to do more to aid the mothers and to teach the mothers mothering skills. If they never had a role model to teach them mothering skills how would they learn that?

back...

Mike McCarthy:
I went to a very strict catholic school for 8 years- had a lot of difficulty with that. Almost got kicked out of school in 2nd grade-4th grade-
2nd grade for refusing to color. I was bored and I finished the whole book- 72 oages. So I went to the sister and said I am all done with this. Can I have another book? And she said: You are nto supposed to go ahead. I said: I had some time so…
And I hadn’t colored the pictures at the top of the page and she said you’re supposed to color- and I saod I hate to color . She said Mr McCarthy got o your seat and color the pictures so I took my purple crayon which was flat and busted and colored all the pages witth it and gave it to her 2 minutes later. ANd we had to have a meeting with sister superior and monsigneur and my parets  to dicuss whether I was catholic or not. In 8th grade both our parents and my sister and I decided that we would go to public high school and not to catholic school- they made my sister stand up on a chair and say why she wouold not go to the catyholic school. And I was very vocal about it when it came to me- so I almost got kicked out then. Part of it was that we could not afford the catholic school but we were too proud to say that- but also I wanted no part of those nuns- for the rest of my life. So it worked out. I had an enjoyable high school experience. The stress was on academics and then sports. If you were a good student they pushed you. If you weren’t they didn’t care. There was no alternative program.

1965- This was a few years before drugs hit schools. Families were for the most part intact. Two parent homes. If you got into trouble at school you got into trouble at home. There was none of this-I’ll call my lawyer or what’s his disability…or anything like that. I think it was the year I left that the drug culture sort of hit the American high schools.

There was stratification of the school then- tracks- kids who were going to college and kids who institutionally weren’t cared about. Only the high achievers were valued. That’s how it was structured. There was clash there- more coming from students who were privileged. That plays into my thinking that it has to be a school where everyone is welcome. That is a big part of my philosophy here at this school.
I went to UNH in 69 and graduated magna cum laude with a major in mathematics with an education minor. I always wanted to be a teacher.

One of my links that brings me here at this school and what I have done here was my student teaching. I taught in a maximum security prison in NH in the afternoons and in the morning I taught in a rural HS. I was there at the prison about 5 or 6 prisons. AT the time of the (attica?) prison riots in upstate NY – prisoners took over the prison and many people were killed – it spread across the country in proisons where people started to look at how they were treated – that was beginning to happen in concord. I went there and I had to go through 4 sets of electronic doors. You go in and SLAM it would slam behind you- it was scary . After I passed through the 4th door I passed into a regular classroom . No locks no guards. Just me and 26 inmates. My job was to teach them Math and get them ready for their GED. I talked a lot to them aabout how their school life ha dbeen. And almost all of them had some kind of a label- they had behaviour problems. They had special needs- they were all dropouts. They were like the lowest readers in elementary schools. Instead of group1, group2 and group 3 innovative teachers called them cardinals, bluebirds and crows! And you knew who the crows were. SO these guys were losers in middle schools and drop outs in HS. Theer weer 4 guys who were Spanish speaking. And it was almost a joy for them to tell me what they were in for. One of them was in for murdering his teacher which I found very interesting and kept my eye on him. It was really sad that an institution like a school had contributed to them having this life and their povery and things like that.

In this school we don’t track. If theer are special situations we mainstream English language learners very quickly and they become part of the whole culture. And part of this was my experience in prison.
SO during my tenure there- 3 or 4 months into it- there was a prison riot. I drive into the prison and there are poloice cars everywhere- police troopers and national guard and I said: well! I guess there is no class today. Biut the said No! In fact they want you up there. SO I had to walk all the wa up there with policeman by my sidea and I was like Vow! That’s probably not good! So I am asked to go into the warden’s office. Theres a huge conference room with a table and the governor then  was an independent racist right wing fanatic and they though UNH was a radical left wing institution and I walk in there and the lt governor and the warden and the members of the executive council , prison officials and the state police were there. They were interviewing people about what happened- what was going ot go on . They were sort of accusing me of brinigng in radical ideas because some of the leaders of the uprising were my ‘guys’.  We talked about school and their backgrounds but we never talked radical oir things like that. The funny thing that happened if there was anythign funny that day was- they were all smoking- or most of them were smoking- and I was like I don’t know what the term is- but like  a wise-ass in those days – so I said: Can I have a cigarette? Now, I had never smoked in my entire life – I have never smoked a cigarette at all- so- they gave me a cigareets . They said- do you want a light- I said sure. I held it up. I didn’t know it had to be in the mouth. And everybody just laughed. That made them laugh and they realized that they weren’t dealing with a dangerous person. My advisor from UNH said: You are either the smartest guy – or the dumbest. They locked down the prison and didn’t allow any exercise or teaching in the prison for three weeks. Then I did get back. Same students but fewer. It was very tense- they wanted ot talk about that all the time- and I was told not to.
My sympatheisis were much with them- because they were very nice people- once you get to know people and what they have had to work with . It was a very profound experience.
In fact I wrote an article for an expeditionary learning magazine and the title of the article was ‘Everything I learned about school reform- I learned in prioson.’

I taught 7th 8th grade math at a middle school in MA and the most painful thing about it was the academic stratification which was mirrored by class. It wasn’t hard to figure out that the kids who didn’t have the really good clothes belonged to the lower divisions. There were divisions A through…. Upper level math to A and B. Spanish and French A through G. And beyong G you had low expectation. Since I had come pout of the prison- I had N and O- who referred to themselves as the zero diviosn and R who referred to themselves as the Retards. And I was a zealot for including everyone and it was not popular with the administration . I was like- why do you do this- don’t you realize how kids feel in this class? The principal was an asshole. He was just very rigid- former marine colonel and had absolutely no vision. The HS principlas I wprked at was one of my heroes- he did a very good job. I had to get out of that middle school- it was strange.

I then got a job as an asst principal in a school in Waterville Maine. The principal was also the president of the national principal;s association. So in my 1st year there-1977-78, he missed 80 days. So I was 27 years old- the youngest faculty member- in a 1400n pupil school with a proiciapla that was gone half the time- so I really learnt how ot be a principla there very quickly. They used to call me ‘the Kid in the office’ And my name evolved from the kid in the office to the general- as the kdis called me. I was tough.
The teachers were condescending at first- but then I ended up with a very positive experience there.

Somebody came to me and said in a restrrom in the social studies room there’s something very terrible written about you and you have to come and see it. I walked into the bathroom and there was nothing on the towel dispenser or anywhere else. I suddenly realized I was in the girls bathroom. SO I am 27 years old and the asst principal and I am in the girls’ bathroom! I quickly walked out of there. There was no one there fortunately. But I was very flustered- so I didn’t even dare go to see the boys bathroom then. But later I did walk in- and on the towel dispenser it was carved: ‘McCarthy rapes little blind girls and their goldfish!” I haven’t seen any such graffiti such.

There was a growing drug culture. Around Colby college- very affluent. Very stratified. Or very poor. SO negative interaction. So kids on a lower street were smoking marijuana and getting caught and kids on Mayflower hill were on prescription drugs and not getting caught. So one day the superintendent came with the FBI and they told me they were putting an agent in the school and I was her link. The principal didn’t know. None of the teachers knew- so I was her only link and her only protection. She was a very young looking cadet . We enroilled her and filled in for her- like you would do a witness protection type program- it was very intense. The I was told by the superintendent not to do the type of supervisions I used to do- that is go out in the parking lot and cars- and get them back into class- or counsel them or yell at them. SO I was told to leave all that alone. Then the teachers were all mad at me because I wasn’t doing my job! I had to just take it. That was hard. Then July 1st or the 1st summer there were 150 arrests- all at once- kids and parents and some teachers. That was the drug link. That was a hard one.

I went to Bonney Eagle as a principal. I was 29. I converted that from a sort of junior high to a middle school philosophy. Junior high is set up more as a high school – in departments-math, English… In middle school you try ot link the subject areas and kids with agroup of teachers who all have the same kids and pay attention to not just academic but social emotional habit changing- more like a family type of thing. Much smaller. AT Bonney Eagle we helped people teach a little differently- that they were mpore aware of students- get rid of tracking- which was difficult.
I always used to come here to play sports and I always had my eye on it- because this is more like the type of neighborhood I grew up in – more diverse- more interesting. When it came open I applied and I have been here for 19 years.

I saw a lot of negative stuff when I came here. There was a lot of student violence. Lots of racial put downs. Theer were 7 ability groups- from highly gifted to emotionally disturbed. Lots of special eds- pull outs- those kids never got into the mainstream. They didn’t really follow the kids. Everythign was tracked. One house- one half of the school- had all the special ed kids in it. One half of all the school ahd all students of color. And they were sort of proud about it- and I just didn’t get it. It was popular among the powerful parents because their kids- I used to call them the anointed- they used to travel together- and they used to put down all the other kids. They made the sports teams- the cheerleaders- the yearbook . So I got the teachers to work woth me to study the school. Who are we serving? And we really came to the conclusion that we were running two schools. One for the haves and one for the have-nots.
Some started working- and the faculty was very negative about it. ANythign I wanted to do- we have always done it this way! So I said its going to change. I was very unpopular. Very very unpopular. Parents were having secret meetings about me- how to get rid of me. Teachers were going to those meetings. There were petitions. Lots of union grievances against me. I have never had a grievance in 15 yeasr at this point. But then- it was very negatiove.
And the hardest thing that happened that year had nothing to do with school. My brother died. He was my best friend and president of a bank in revere MA- and he got cancer in April and died in June. He would talk ot his wife and I have 7 bortehs and sisters- and my parents are alive. He wouldn’t see them. He would only see me. So everyday after school at 3 o’ clock I would drive down and talk to him and his wife and then come back and talk to my own family and tell them what was going on. SO I would do that every nioght and get home sometimes at 2 or 3 in the morning. Sleep for a couple of hours and then come here. And I didn’t really have any friends here then to talk to. So very lonely. It was 1988-89- and we really were making changes here. It was quite tumultuous.
That changed me a bit. I think I proably exposed a little more humaniuty around here-wasn’t as much of a bastard anymore- I guess- and people started working a little more with me. I knew we had to do something about the staff because they were hostile.
And then I read about outward bound- an organization that got started in Scotland. For sailors – older sailors were doing very well- but the younger weren’t. They weren’t doing the work- and droiwning- and- they realized that the difference was the sailors experience of working through adversity and working through problems. SO they started a school where they would almost create adversity like sail a mile of ocean when they didn’t know how ot sail- with a team of people- or climb a mountain you hadn’t before- that sort of thing- and the goal was that everybody had to get to the top of the mountain. So I contacted them and 3 or 4 summers – and people wound volunteer for 5 or 6 days and we would go through the woods hiking or-
The 1st Year I talked to the teachers and said if we had 20 people it would be great and a real turnareound and 5 people came forward. We went and it was a success. And they started talking about the culture of inclusion and team work and poarticipation in how rules are made and things like that with the students. The following year 15 new people went- the following year 15 more- so we started having this growing culture of how do we bring to the cxlassroom what we were learning in the woods. And at that time expeditionary learning- as a nationa school reform model was born. So some very sharp people at that time started blending ideas of outward bound and ideas of some very smart educators together – and so outward bound asked us to be one of the pilot schools. There are 9 in the country. Boston, Denver, NY, Iowa.. and Portland, ME. We sort of figured out this expeditionary learning model together. We had the philosophical framework but not how you get it to the classroom. So now we get about 1200 visitors ayear from all over the world. People from India, Australia, Ireland, Sweden, Ghana, china, Thailand… so it’s great for the kids.

I love this place. The transformation frm 1988 to today is amazing. We have great staff. We deliberate about every culture- deliberate about how we hire- it has to be a match . Have ot be able to teach with a very open mind- that has to be part of the change. 60% of our kids are on  afederal free lucnhc program. We speak 31 languages- lots of single parent homes which is a stressful on the parent- so it’s a recipe for disaster – but if you look around kids open doors for you- they speak to people- look thenm in the eye. Last June we got our test scrores back. If you compare the demographics of King with the demographics with the rets of the state it is very stark. There is about 1% diversity in the state of ME and we are 31%. Free lunch in 20% of the state-its 60% here. We scored better than the average in the curriculum area in every subject at every grade level and within the city we compared better than the other schools also. So I can not only talk about the positive culture at King but also the academics- because sometimes you can have a happy bunch of idiotsJ(
The culture is- It is really valued to be smart, to be good- to do your work- its not valued ot goof off because so much is field work and you got to work together and you have to do your piece otherwise the final product is not going to be as good. And the interesting part is ecause it is so active it engages a lot of different learners. So we have soemthign in our curriculum and in our way of teaching that matches with everyone’s way of learning. And once kids can see some success it carries over. We are very deliberate about building teams about building culture. 6th grade is like bootcamp hereJ They do an intense study of a tioic for example what st he effect of phtpplanktom on global warming – there are articles, discussion. Scientific work, mathematical work , technology- kids do real professional work. Usually kids also have a purpose- their results are going to a professional place and everything has to be right. So there are high expectations.

Our kids did an expedition on the 4 freedoms based on Norman Rackwell’s artwork- freedom of religion, from want, of speech, from fear. Kids look and study that- US role in the work-what it means to them- they have to pick a position on it. Then they make a collage on their version of it. Each year we get a  gallery who takes it up- Portland museum of art took it one year. They actually got a very hostile reaction to it one year. One guy was like- kids are very anti-govt and all that. Well’ kids are viewing the world and kids aren’t stupid. They see. They see the poverty and the absurdity of how much Americans have vs. other countries …
There are kids from war torn countries and its probably the best part of seeing how well they get along together and we often have expeditions where the kids get to tell their stories. It’s a very powerful thing for you know a kid who think everything sucks- to see how a fellow students parents are living with so many other people in one house and how his life was back then. It is very powerful.
There is sometimes some Sudanese and Somali stuff- tensions that infilterate- stuff from the parents- but generally everbody gets along. Some discipline problems- but very few. Very little students violence which was rampant when I got here. We really don’t have bullying here. That’s part of the culture. Really knowing the kdis and kids saying we have an expression here- we don’t do that here. Kids have language around if we see an issue- we don’t do that here.
Why aren’t three schools interchanging ideas on what works? And what doesn’t?

That makes me sad sometimes. That that hasn’t happened. Sometimes I think its me- that I haven’t paid attention. Sometimes I feel like its not welcome. Theres an odd culture in Portland- schools don’t work togetrhr. I was the only principal from outside. And I was very much an outsider here when I first came. And was very resented. And you’ll see change in leadership in those schools soon- so that would change the equation I think. Because I think expeditionary model is really a very good solution for learning.

Here we have houses with about 8o students and five teachers. We loop- so York and Windsor houses- when 6th grade students go into 7th- its the same teachers and same students.

If you ask people- what is your most profound experience it is rare that anybody wpould talk about school- it would be like a climbed a mountain or learnt to do drive or- its really sad. One of the things I hope is that when one of my kids are asked this question they would say Oh! It was that expedition where we went down the presumpscot river we learnt…

They do very well after here in HS but they do come back and say they are bored. We have passed really good students who have done well in college. And teacher say they can tell King kids because they get along with everybody and do their work.

Impact of war on kids:

I think some of it we know and some of it is so deep that we don’t- because w ehave no tests to get at that or draw that out. It’s a big worry. A kid can appear to be quiet where in fact there is something deep- something that has happened or they have seen- that has shut the learning down. Very difficult to teach learning to a kid who doesn’t have a frame in their own language. That there is an alphabet and that words are put together for a reason. Its profound. The Sudanese group and the Somali group are the most challenging groups to come in here. They learn. They do take longer. If you get them engaged- if you are just standing and talking at them- its not going to happen. I do worry.

A kid asked me once: What do you do? They see me walking around. Talking. What do I do? I said: They pay me to worry. And he understood.

Back...

Donald Hankinson: Osteopath

Some of these kids- at least what we gave them was a more healthy healing environment- they were used to being zoned out on pharzine-spending most of their time isolated in padded rooms- but maybe 15-20% of the kids really went through major changes in their lives- some of them are married. Maybe, they would have arrived their anyway, but I tend to think that we gave them something they wouldn’t have had otherwise. At that point, the drugs that they used, and the view as to what schizophrenia and autism meant was pretty fatalistic. It was just a question of giving them enough mediaction to keep them under control. There weren’t many programs that were looking  into finding within the child some spark that could be built upon to create health- to create some doorway through which they might be able to emerge- as opposed to just how to keep that person under control, protect society...

Osteopaths are physicians.  There are 2 types of medical degrees in the country, DOs and MDs.  I am a DO.  So DOs are licenced to practice family medicine but there are DO surgeons, pediatricians. There are osteopathics hospitals.. Osteopaths, as of the late 40a and early 50s were licensed in all 50 states to practice in the entire scope and spectrum of medicine. 


Healing process is a question of regaining balance as opposed to just treating illnesses and diseases. Osteopaths are physicians.  It is just that in addition to learning everything that the MD learns, we also learn this moralistic philosophy and this use of our hands to diagnose and treat an illness. It’s more systemic, not symptomatic. It’s more in keeping with the Eastern philosophy that most speaks to me.

Acupuncture is a really good one.  There are different schools of acupuncture where people, and I am not that familiar with them, but I know there are the seven elements.  And the seven elements if I am remembering correctly, there’s one school anyway- and I think they are practicing the way I am talking about, they look at imbalances in the whole body and they diagnose using the 6 pulses and they are saying, o.k., where is the imbalance in the system, how can I help to reestablish the balance that this system is trying to come to.  So they can then heal themself.  This person, this innate intelligence can work, as opposed to treating this symptom and that symptom with accupuncture.  Homeothapy the same thing, there are people who practice constitutional homeopathy where they try to get a sense of who is this person, and where are they at in their healing process.  What remedy is what that system is calling for right now that is going to help them to heal themselves.  As opposed to homeothapy for symptoms.  Oh they have a cold, what is the symptom for a runny nose, what is the remedy for a headache, what is a remedy for this. And,  It is a different model, it is a question of the model that you are using. 

the father of osteopathy was an MD.  He was a physician during the civil war.   And he saw the horrors, at that time, medicine was brutal, giving people mercury and lead to make them vomit, and he thought that the medical approach at that point was based on the philosophy that people were sickest because there was an evil humor, and they get it out and they would bleed people and they would give them diarrhea and vomiting to get it out.  And he watched a number of his children die and he had some sort of inspiration about, he described things that have not been proven until the last 30, 20, and in some of them in the last 15 years.  The autoimmune function he talked about in the 1800s, these little cells, fighting protections …. , so he went back to his school to say, here is something we should add to our curriculum.  He did not want to start a new school, he said lets just - this is the natural progression, we are trying to help people but here is a concept, lets broaden that concept.  And they threw him out, they said you are out of your mind.  Get out of here.  So he started his own school.  And the roots of osteopathy is clearly in the eastern view of helping the imbalance and the healing forces being something unique in the person which comes from some great divine force and our job as healers is to help that healing process, as opposed to a more Egyptian, modern medical model which I described in the civil war, which is ..diseases are to be identified and treated, and hopefully the patient survives the treatment. 

The problem with the modern medical system is that they are just looking for that particular symptom and they are treating that and sometimes that’s not really the core of what’s going on with somebody so people go un-diagnosed sometimes for years and years through all kinds of painful procedures so people just keeping treating the symptoms and never really listen to what’s going on with the person. Medicines which we are given which have been proven by placebo controls and double blind studies and cost hundreds of billions of dollars end up 6 months down the road killing people. And the drug company sort of like, pick what studies to show. So, there’s a semblance of neat, clean guaranteed heeling but it isn’t actually the reality that most people’s experience.

The question though is that they do at-least have these studies. They do have ways and these are harder to study. You can’t really do an easy placebo controlled double blind study on Osteopathy. You have to do outcome studies and I’ve been involved in 3 of them – and there are many more going on now, but they are harder to do- you have to do outcomes. You take hundreds of thousands of kids of otitis-media(ear infection) and you see what usually happens to them but you see what the usual outcome is with antibiotics and you treat them Osteopathically and you say is it better? And so those studies are being done but it is hard to do. And that is something that is more challenging in the modern world. And I think it’s a challenge that starting to be met.

Am I treating the person, and do I see the process of treating as one of- I just lectured to students yesterday, some residents, and I told them that you have to realize that treatment does not begin with the patient lying down on the table, the treatment is going on all the time.  When someone comes into your office, that innate intelligence inside them, that perfect force is already working, it is working 24 hours a day, and it knows what that person needs.  Your job is to cooperate with that process and help it to express itself more fully. You are not healing anybody, people can only heal themselves.  So that is the difference.  If you are still there treating people, treating their symptoms, then that is not holistic.  If you are working with people as a perfect entity which has  some unresolved issues, then you can maybe help some other intelligence to complete the healing process,  then I think you are practicing holistic and then it does not matter whether you are giving them antibiotics or an osteopathic treatment or accupuncture.  So it is really the philosophy of the way you apply it as opposed to the therapy you use. 

When you come down ultimately to one patient with a complaint with their physician- its just that some people recognize different aspects of the same problem. Ultimately, a really good physician, an MD- if he’s really practicing well- he’s practicing some sort of holistic medicine. He’s stepping outside the boundaries into area that aren’t clearly defined. Listening to his patient, going with instinct, letting him participate in …., and people in the holistic realm if they start using this in  a very linear way- not listening- then they’re not practicing in a holistic model. I think there’re certainly issues that need to be addressed but sometimes you’ve to be careful to realize that some of these distinctions that we talk about don’t actually reflect the reality on the ground as clearly as we think they do.

back...

Ken Kunin:

Our record of placing students in higher competitive schools and their performance once they are there tells us that we are addressing the various demographics in our school including the very high learners. But we have 220 students whose primary home language is not english. They need to be able to reach that middle 10th grade reading level that would help them become proficient as adults - that they can read the paper, make decisions, be contributing members of society and be able to be continous learners for whatever they need to know for  the job they may have in ten years that may not even exist today.

back...

John Richardson:

But beyond innovation what we have is what we call yankee ingenuity. We were just named the 5th best state in the nation for enterpreneural activities. That is we as a state offer more benefits- we are at the top 5 in that regard. MTI is a public private institute that offers grant money to indoviduals who are searching- it has to be technology driven- it can be low tech but some technology...

We are now talking boat building- innovation and technology and doing things other people aren't. We are using composites - research and develoment at the university in terms of composites for boat building and wood building into a 21st century product- a quality product that if you merge that with technology such as composites or as in the case of precision manufacturing as they described it to me- these people can compete with anybody in the world.

I was opposed to the war in Iraq from day One. As the house majority leader- I think we were one of the few states that passed in the house of representatives a resolution- some called it an anti-war resolution - Essentially what it said is that Saddam is a murderer, okay- and as a dangerous man he's murdered many of his own people and others in the region. Because of that something needs to be done. But we should explore all diplomatic options first. We should seek sanctions second, and only then we should seek out our neighbours and our allies in the world, and we should bring that alliance together and do what's necessary to stop Saddan Hussain from being a murderous dictator who has shown blatant disregard for human life. So, we had very specific steps that we outlined in this resolution, all of which were ignored at the time by president Bush and by a republican congress.

I was very much in favor of the actions that took place in Afghanistan, and thought that we lost our focus on the war in terrorism by changing direction and focus away from Afghanistan towards Iraq. I didn't think AlQuaida was very serious real threat in Iraq. I think Iraq posed much threat to its neighbors specially as we were blockading and watching it, and we had them fairly well contained - so either the regime would topple, fall or be contained. It wasn't our business to go in and take out the dictator because if that was the mission of this country, then we would start there and we wouldn't be finished probably for about a hundred years. I thought that it was unwise. I thought it was the first time in this country's history that we attacked a country without being attacked, and that was a dangerous precedent to start.

back...

Pat Eltman:

I graduated from HS in 1968. I worked in a telephone company. I needed to work. Oh, yeah. I mean I just came from a generation where all parents had lived thru the depression and job was a very sacred thing- and you know I remember growing up my father alwys said that the grocery business was a safe business for him because people always have to eat- and one of the jobs here- especially for the Cathedral girls was to work in the telephone company. So, it was a very normal thing to happen. I finished HS and went to work- most of my people-becaue I was in the business course in HS- went to work. SO I’ve been working since I was 14-15 years old.

then I actually ended up taking some jobs in the telephone company which were not traditional jobs for women. Then I left there in 1976 because it was just too consuming. It was a lot of work and it just wasn’t working out for me- I thought I could do something else- so then I drove a bus. Which I loved. You see these green and white RTP buses they use for transportation. I drove a bus for a long time. It was my favorite job that I ever had. SO, it’s a transportation job. Yeah, there were some women.

I stayed there till 83 and then eventually became the dispatcher and manager of the drivers. I had a woman who had the job before me, so it wasn’t a –
So I did that and I worked there and then got involved in politics. In 1976 I actually worked in Jimmy Carter’s campaign- volunteering. I had a friend that ran for the state legislature. That’s how I got involved in Politics. I was 26. No, never been married. Then I went on- I worked on Ed Muskie’s campaign in 1976 as a volunteer. Worked with Carter’s as a volunteer. That was sort of my last position- as a volunteer. I worked on Jimmy Carter in 80, Walter Mondale in 84, Michael Dukakis in 88, I didn’t do Clinton in 92. I stayed here and did some stuff. I did AlGore in 2000. John Kerry I stayed here. But I have worked on all those campaigns at a national level.

I guess it was a choice- My parents were Republican. Becaue if you lived in S.Portland, you were a republican. That’s the way it was then. And I remember when I became the chairman of the S.Portland democratic city committee, I checked my mothers and fathers registration. They were republicans! That didn’t last long.
SO my first paid political position was in 1980. That’s when it all started. I was the deputy state director for Carter- I worked on the caucuses in 80 with the people frm the white house- with whom I am still friends today. And I did the caucuses in ME and then I worked as a deputy state director for Carter Mondale in 80 here.
We have normally caucuses. I mean the way we nominate a President is very Democratic. We have the nominating caucuses. And how we do it- you attend the caucuses to be a delegate to the state convention.

How we do that is we you come and you have to declare your support for a presidential candidate- and when you do that- and they divide up the delegates are off for each area- by the support of how many people have declared for Bill Clinton or any of- like Hillary or OBama and that- we’ll have caucuses in Feb of 08 and we’ll go- and I am a Hillary supporter- so I’ll go and I’ll sit with the Hillary-Clinton people at the caucus, and we see- by the looks of- say there’s 25 from S.Portland- whoever has more support- gets to send more delegates to the state convention. Then at the state convention is where national delegates are picked by that support that’s  shown at the state convention. Happens all over this country. Some state have primaries- you’ll hear. Some states have slating- I don’t know if they do slating any more- but the way we do- we are a caucus state here in ME. Some states have primaries- NH primary- we are different than they are. We used to be the first state to do a caucus.
In Primary you actually go to the polls and you vote for the candidate. And in other states, I don’t even know what IL do , you go and vote for delegates-the call it delegate slating-  you vote for a person that’s supporting the president, not the president- I don’t even know how it works anymore, its been so long for me.
We have delegate. But the 1st step is caucuses. The delegates to the state convention are picked, then the state convention- its not that hard,- then you oick the delegates to run for the national convention to represent ME. They represent our support for the candidate. If more people at the caucuses representing Hillary Clinton, then you’ll have more delegates at the national convention representing Hillary Clinton.

In 84, I worked on Mondale-Ferraro campaign. I started here then I ended up – Oklahoma, Iowa, Washington- ended up in Washington for a long time because I was delegate tracker for a long time. I did caucuses first. I did caucuses here I went to NH, I went to Oklahoma city and I went to MI- traveled around the country during caucuses and primarie and then I ended up in Washington DC doing what we call a delegate
Tracker. That was a contested primary for Mondale. Jesse Jackson ran against him and god knows who ele- so long ago- but what a delegate tracker does is- you are responsible for so many states- I had RI, WI, IL, AL- and what we do is- delegates who have voted in the national convention for Walter Mondale stay with him and don’t float off to Jesse Jackson- they can- they’re not supposed to, but they do- and then the other thing is that candidates drop out – Jesse Jackson he didn’t drop out till the day of the convention- sometimes people that realize that they’re not going to- they drop out- and then we’ll go after the delegates to support Mondale. We call it a delegate tracker, so we get close to people- we talk to them all the time- that’s how the nominating peocess works in this country- its very- Democratic.

George Bush is our president- I am no big fan of George Bush but George Bush is a retail politician. George Bush when you come down to it- is somebody you want to go have beer with- that’s why he won. Retail politician- you think you connected with him- I mean people thought that- I never connected with him but others thought that they did. And Kerry was never anyone you could feel like you could have a beer with. But you know- Integrity is important. Honesty is important. And trust. Now, if you look at the polls, its pathetic. No one trusts the guy. No one thinks the country is going in the right direction. Its sad. People have lost their trust in him and that’s the sad part to me.

I don’t know. I don’t know what they are- Standards? I don’t even know what the definition of that is anymore. Isn’t that awful? But, oh, yeah- I always feel a good hardworking people they expect people to be treated the way they would like to be treated. I mean I am big on that- how we treat each other is the most important-I think- I don’t even know what corruption means anymore. What does it mean- stealing, lying, or what does it mean- I don’t know-I guess its stealing money- using taxpayers money...

Actually, I will say that I think there are more moderate republicans now. See the things about the party is that the democrats have the left wing of the party. Those are the people who vote at the primaries. Who go to the caucuses. Republicans have the right wing of their party. But we collaborate. Like Josh Hardy- the republican leader of the house is a great guy and I know him since he was a young man in this business- and I have a lot of respect for him. And I got to say he works hard and he does what he thinks is best- and you got to respect that. I have more respect now than I have ever had for the republicans. Because, they’re becoming more moderates- of course! But they work hard. We have got  a great group of people in the legislature right now. We really do. They are just phenomenal- they really are- both republican and democrats. Yeah- I do think there’s a lot of talent there.

back...

Ashok Nalamalapu:

 

David Cluchey:

 

 

 

Valerie: USM Student in Junior Year

We are very wrapped around in rushing around. I think we pretend to be fast and I think we accomplish probably less than in spain where they have the afternoon siestas and in germany where they have the shorter work schedules. Here we get caught up in rushing from place to place. We could just be so much more productive if we slowed down and just think of doing things that matter. Sometimes I feel old when I hang out with my friends. They are not quite ready to slow down.

I hate it when someone walks up to me and when they have a earbud and they’re having a conversation with me. I feel like they don’t really appreciate that conversation. They don’t really appreciate interacting with other people. They are just inside themselves.

Part of it is being cool and having the cool new gadgets. But that gadget wouldn’t be cool if people didn’t respond to it. And I think people respond to it because they are afraid and they’re not sure who they are – what they’re doing. Even for children now there is so much pressure to be active in clubs and sports. That childhood playtime is removed. In fact that childhood playtime where you’re just finding yourself and playing with other kids that’s been taken away. And when a kid doesn’t have that- how do they know who they are? How do they know where they fit in the world? Those activities are so structured. They’re told what to do and they do it. There’s TV or sports. There’s no inbetween creative time.

There was this big joke in High School about condoms and people would steal them . Using a condom had a stigma. Condom was bad. Sex was good. Pregannacy was bad. Hormon pills were good. I think more practical sex ed would help. Not making it this big embarrassing subject. It should be talked about with males and females together, and then it could get carried into intimate relationships where they can talk to each other. A sex ed program where the instructors were  a little cooler would probably help. The man was 70 years old- funny hair- people considered it a joke. But if a cool 25 year old came and did it- it might make a difference!

Feminism to me is the belief that women should have equal rights and be equally respected as men. I think they should have the option to choose any job- but there is a difference. And the fact that women are nurturures is definitely true- and some feminists would frown on that- 'you're wrong! There’s no difference!' There has to be a difference. Men can’t give birth. That's what makes women who they are. So there are jobs which are more nurturing- then more women would tend to have that. And most women aren’t- but if a woman is as strong as a man she should have the chance to have the same job as the man- even in those kinds of occupations.

I think society has pushed this sexualized womanhood on us- even on children. There are 13 year olds who wear thongs and underwear that says Eat Me on it. I think we should be able to feel safe whatever we are wearing- but when we play into that system that sexualizes women we are endorsing that culture where men turn women into sex objects.

I started a group with my boyfriend to raise awareness of AIDS crisis. For people to realize that AIDS is not a gay man's or Haiti’s disease. Or poverty disease. Its  a world disease that should not be ignored. If the govts don’t acknowledge it how are people going to start taking action to deal with it? Govts should be addressing it. So we raise awareness and raise money to send money to different non-profits related to it.

Newspapers, books, coffee, children, giving other people happiness and satisfaction, ensuring other people are safe and happy makes me happy.

back...

 

 

Ed:

Before I left Portland, I went to say bye to my best friend.His father had goe to Columbia with an Afghani who was studying to be a doctor and, who had gotten into Afghani politics. So he said if you ever get to Kabul- see if you can find Abdul Zahir. I had no idea how ot find him and if it was even safe to mention his name. But I did try to find him. I decided to go to the Parliament building and try and find him through there. I asked the guard with a rifle I would like to see Abdul Zahir- he uyshered me in to see another person- who I said I would like ot see Abdul Zahir and eventually I got ushered into this very nice plush office – the office of the Afghani secretary of state who could speak English and said I would like ot speak to Abdul Zahir. He was very formal. And he said: And what is the nature of your business with Dr. Zahir? And I told him- and he said he is in a conference rigt now. SO I just sat there talking with the FAghnai secretary of state who had also gone ot Columbia university – and after a while a fklunkie comes and whispers something in his ear and he says: Dr. Zahir will see you now and he takes me from his office intoi this beautiful manicured garden with avery distinguished gentlemen standing a in a suit and tie. I went up to him shok his hand and gave hijm greeting from his friend. And he took me into his office and he told me his position is somewhat similar to our speaker of the House fo Representatives. And he told me what it was like and said when he was at Columbia and whenever there was a long weeken or vacation- where dod he go? He went to Portland, ME with his friend Charlie. He asked me if Woodford’s corner was still there? And about him and Charlie rowing a boat to Peak’s island. It was just so mind boggling- sitting in Kabul Afghanistan talking to the speaker of the house talking about Portland, ME. That was  amemorable experience and I found out that he eventually went on to become the Prime MInsiter of Afdghanistan and became later a member of the UN delegation. And also heard that after the Russians invaded Afghanistan, migt have been killed by them- but never kne for sure.
\Kabul was fascinating. Even downtown- dirt roads. One main road. One street light. Very cheap. And there was a restaurant there- called Khyber restaurant- for some reason a hangout of the other westerners there. We aso found that there was a café in the basement of te American Embassy there- and we ate western food for a couple of days there but third da we were told by the guard that we were no longer welcome because of who we were and how we were dressed. The women were completely covered with the mesh on the eyes.
I met a French woman a typical platinum blonde- not much up there- who was heading to southern India to star in Indian movies. And she wasn’t appropriately dressed. And this other American guy and I and she were heading ot buy a ticket on a bust to east Pakistan. And we were late since the ticket office closed at 5 and we were running to get there and she was dressed two little pigtail with pink ribbons and a pink miniskirt. She coulkdn’t run as fast as we did so I was holding our hand and running through downtown Kabul . The entire city came to a stop just to look at us. To look at her. Not only was I touching her and the way she looked and we were runign through downtown!

And teher was a new hotel that had just been built in Kabul and we decided to sdtay in it and it was just 25 cents a night . It had western styled toilets in it instead oif the ceramic hole in the floor. \
In the town of Ghazi we were in this yellow school bus – we stopped on night to have dinner. We went in –all 17 of us in this restaurant. Despite the gas lanmterns i=t was unusually dark- a strange kids of darkness. I looked around- the walls seemed to have this textured blackness. I thought a textured wallpaper. It was also shimmering. I had never seen anything like that. We couldn’t talk so we would walk into the kitchen pick up the lid and smell and if it loked okay we would order. W e caused quiye a coomotion. About the time we started eating food- and each of us wwas flicking flies. I was looking and whole sections of these walls were moving and flying on to the food. The wallpaper was millions of flies packed so tight together that it looked like wallpaper. I guess we had woken them up. We tried to cpver our food with jackets and eat! There were just flies everywhere.
When I left I took with me I think 1300 dollars for everything. When I got to Bangkok-Thailand- I had a few hundred dollars left and I sent home for 700 dollars moer. SO the whole trip cost me about 2000 dollars-present, airfare across Atlantic, Pacific. In Nepal I was staying at a hotel for 25 cents a night and splitting it with another guy- and we could eat 3 meals a day for under that.

47:29 Took a train from Amritsar to New Delhi. So I traveled 3rd class on an Indian train which as you know is quite an experience. So we would climb in through the window even and put our baggage on the luggage racks and climb up there. That was our territory and people were afraid to say anything to us-we were foreigners.
I was in India for just under 2 weeks- spent most of the time in New Delhi. Stayed i9n Mrs CHatterji’s guesthouse. Walked everywhere. Took buses sometimes. Took train from New Delhi to Varanasi first. Because we knew it was a sacred city- see the Ganges and ofcourse there were funerals going on. It really was just like I had read. That’s what I enjoiyed most. Because I had read a lot and had a little bit more understanding of what I was seeing better than most otherwestern tourist. 

 

I think I was kind of prepared for anything. After combat- psychologically- it happens- you are ready for anything. It was sensual- not an assault. I wasn’t taken aback except perhaps by the untouchables. Spent some days there.

Deformities on some of the beggars- that were hard to take. People sleeping in doorways. Wre ethey sleeping or were they dead? Peope washing clothes in water trckling down from the gutters. Well- that is the caste system. That is the culture. Who am I to criticize?

I was actually disappointed when I saw the Taj. The chips in the stone- the discoloration- that really upset me. Its much nicer in the pictures which are taken froma  distance. I’m sure its better taken care of now.

It was interesting. It was like everyone had learnt from the same book! 1st question would always be: What is the purpose of your visit to my country? The next question would always be: Do you have brothers and sisters?
I went to a restaurant in New Delhi- and the menu was in Hindi as well as in English. I ordered this SOUth India sampler plate. I took only one bite- just a taste- and my friend said I have never seen anyone turn so red. I saw smokwe coming out of your ears literall. And my eyes were terai8ng. I picked up the galss of water-whetevr floating in it and drank it all down-the only glass of water I took in that entire trip. I went to the bathroom, put a finger down my throat and made myself bring it back up. Never touched anything else on that plate and tp this day I have never eaten anything that has curry in it.

Bceause I was traveling so slowly as the culture changes you have time to adapt. Certainly Darjeeling is different from America or London, but by the time I reached there I had adapted and specially it wasn’t cosit8ing me any money- the main go0al of my trip.

I spent Christmas eve in 1968in strand hotel in Rangoon on my way to Thailand- the only hotel open for foreigners- a leftover from the British Raj. We were the only people in the dining room. Nice hardwood floors, crystal chandeliers. It was just the 2 of us in the ballroom and they had a violin player playing carols- just for us.

Hitchhiking was very difficult in those days- in Bangkok- you could wait a whole day before anything came down the road!

I had heard of going to Australia just island hopping across Indonesia just doing it with local fisherman- but there were stories of people who never made it to Australi thatw ay. You had money and they could throw you overboard and no one is ever going to know. So I dodn’t do that. 

So I bought a plane ticket from Bangkok to San Franciso through Pyongyang, Taipei to Hongkok to Seoul to Osaka to Tokyo to SFO. By then I was getting ansi to get home. No Australia. I though I could always do Australia later. As it turned out I did Bangkok and Hongkong again but not Australia.

In Teheran I needed to get small pox vaccination because I was going into Afghanistan and else I won’t be allowed to come back to US. I walked up to a guy and showed him the address of the office of world helath association. He motioned to me to come with him. He comes to a car opens up the car and tells me to get him. The thougt whether I should or not didn’t occur to me. He drove me to the office which was by the airport far out of the city. Waited for me and drove me back. Wouldn’t accept an y money. Just- was glad to be able to help me out.

Also at the end I was getting ansi and one of the reasons was that I felt that if I hurried I could get back home the excact same date that I got back form Vietnam previously. And even though I got to Boston one day previously- I stayed vernight in Boston purposely so I could come home on the exact same date.
I think in one way the trip kept the trauma of the war from sinking in as deep as it could have.  This trip was my focus the whole time I was in Vietnam- other than staying alive of course.But I knew this was there waiting for me.I could focus on it and it took away some of my concentration from what was going on around me. So it didn’t dig in as deeply as it could have if I didn’t have that to keep my mind on. So focusing on that got me through it.

I knew I wil go into war. The fact that my father was in WWII and didn’t come back till I was 3 years old. That made an impression on me. I remember the day still when he came back. He didn’t talk about it but he had pictures and all. He came back at Union Station. He came back by train. I though to fthe day I came back. I came back by plane. My thought was- how would my son come back from his war? And fortunately, he’s too old now for it.

When I got married my wife and I decided that our honeymoon would be recreatuing this trip. We were living in SFO then. We each gave up our jobs. Gave up our apartment- put our furniture in storage. We took the flight from Boston to Europe and it didn’t take me long to realize that 2 people cannot travel as cheaply as one. One of the things I did in Europe ehen I didn’t want to spend money was that I would go to a train station and just lie down on a  bench ion the waiting room and sleep there for the night. I knew it would be fairly safe. She wouldn’t hear of it. She had to sleep in abed- and well beds are in hitel or in hostels and those cost money. So by the time we got to Istanbul I knew we did not have enough money left for even the tour bus to go across Aisa and around the world. Like I said- that’s the poiont of no return. So we had this big discussion. But we really didn’t have enough money to do anything else except to go back home. I don’t think there’s ever been a couple who ever came this close to getting a divorce over their honeymoon as close as we did because of our arguments on spending money!

I grew up Jewish. The concept of community is very big in the jewish religion. For example when a parent dies, like my mother died about two months ago- we are supposed to say a prayer three times  aday for the period of mourning which for a parent is 11 months. But you can’t say it unless you have nine other people with you. And ten people constitue a community. So there are cetain prayers in any religious ceremony if you don’t have ten people wityh you you can’t say them. There’s one place you can in Portland where in the morning you can find ten jewish peole together. So I do that- as much as I can. I don’t do that necessarily because I am that religious. Its just what you do. Its more for the purpose of – if you believe it- that the person who died it gets that person to a higher place.

Now that I am retired, my wife and I will- travel, of course!

back...

Tom & Jim: Touring India

Tom: We were in a train and we came across a kid 17 or 18 yr old. Very good English- was a shoe shine wallah. He followed us to the train. We were talking to him a little…. As we got to the train I realized I had stepped in human excreta. It was all over my shoes and there were 45 minutes to my train so I thought I would go and find a bathroom or something to wash it off. The kdi saw it and he said he couldn’t do it here in the station because the cops would beat him but he took me outside and I sat on the curb and he cleaned my shoes. He saw it he said as his duty, his responsibility. His Karma right now. Maybe in his next lifetime he would have a better life. He was also very savvy and he said this is a dirty job and it would cost you- do you have dollars? I think I gave him 10 dollars. He was very smart- good English- but…

The two questions I asked: I asked a lot of people are you Hindu first Muslim first or Indian first. And across steh board a 100% of people said Indian first-Muslim second.
Here, people are searching for joy outwardly- kayak or in a car or ski or…I didn’t see any kayaks on cars or anything- and I started asking people where do you find joy and again and again and again it always came back to-family. They would say- I would just as soon as dinner with my family than go somewhere-

Jim: Kerala was interesting. The highest literacy rate and the lowest birth rate. When I was there 40 years ago the literacy rate nationwide was 52 or 54 percent. Now it was about 60-62 percent. That is very poor progress in 40 years. Govt is focused on IT and that kind of education but they haven’t focused much on primary education. The we heard the complaint over and over again that teacher are higher and paid by the state govt and they don’t show up and many days there are many teachers absent . We saw that in the village. The day we  went there there were hardly any teachers around. Kids were just sitting.
In this country education system is much more decentralized and that would never happen because parents play a very active role in it. If a teacher was absent 2 days a week she would be fired and another teacher placed over there. So I don’t know if the engagement of people in govt programs is as much as here.

In Kerala there was a state wide bandh (closedown) one day because taxi drivers were protesting insurance company premiums. The whole state was closed!

Tom: The food was different from North to south. The language was different. It was tropical in the south but not the north. I liked the physical aspect of the language. Lots of diversity in the south. Lots of churches- that looked like temples.

Its very inetersting that in Rajasthan all the road construction was being done by women- really hard work. Road crews of all women working very hard- breaking soil –rocks... Govt had started a scheme where anyone who wanted to work in construction would get 75 rupees a day. And it was all women! And we get to town, and the men seemed to be sitting around at the chai stalls smoking and drinking.

Jim: We went to one town in Punjab it was pretty much a ghost town. Most of the people were living abroad. Beautiful houses built by peole in the village who don’t live there.
We were in the hotel in Bomabay on New Years day and it was very quiet. The next day Tom looked out the window and said theres a demonstration going on. One whole lane was filled with people in white shirts all walking. It wasn’ a demonstration. It was people all going ot work- early in the morning going to the station.

Tom: As a teacher it was heartrenching for me to see these young people working and not earning much money – being servants- and thinking that these kids should really be in school and how much different his or her life would be if they were in school.  Often times there parents would be in the village- had sent them to the city- one less mouth tp feed- and they would earn a little bit of money and send it home. We came across that pretty often. More in the North than I think in the South.

Part of the main draw for me in going to India was the diversity. I mean where else can you go where you would get Hindus muslims Buddhists Sikhs Christians. The Jains intrigued me. And zoroastrians. Diversity of language and religion and culture- you would be hard pressed to find such diversity. My teaching is all about diversity. Trying to understand diverse communities and societies. Majority of my students are musims from Somalia-98% are refugees. Sudanese Christians. In India I was inetersted in how peope from diff religios are getting along. In number of situations we had free conversations with muslims and hindus. Peope took inteters in us asking about religion. Especially the muslims. In Jaipur we stayed in the muslim part of the city. The women were almost totally veiled. It makes me look more intently.

Jim: After peace core worked at LLBean then worked in the state legislature for  a while- in the congress. Became congressman from Freeport. Its interesting ot see how this society works through its problems through policy. Its very human- people have ideas and they react on a very human level but somehow it works to address issues.


Tom: I found India in general to be very humbling. Part of my going was to get a general understanding of humanity-   billion people in a small space. What it really enforced in me was to come back to Maine and live simply- reduce my carbon footprint even though I used up a lot getting there. To live in the backwoods and have solar power and educate people and live simply so that others can live.

back...

 

Arta:

After 8 years it is too hard to bounce from one country to another. It doesn't just happen like that.

We were all highly educated. We didn' really like the stigma of the Refugee. We all went to school- every one of us. We were not like the marginalized refugees. People helped always and Catholic services. But we didn't want to live on welfare. We all got jobs. And every single one of us paid back to the US for our tickets. We didn't come to US to be on welfare. We had Alice James helping us and directing us, and we were all capable. We all went to school to get education.

It has been great living in ME. People are welcoming, down to earth and very nice. I was given many chances and I made the most of them. But in order to achieve my career goals I need to move to a bigger city.

But first, I feel like I need to go back to Kosovo for  a little bit- and touch base with who I am before I start the next major thing like Masters here. I lived there for 28 years. My identity is my identity. It never goes away. But I think I have combined and assimilated my life here.

back...

Kerem Durdag:

I think in the language based on where I am. Speak Turkish and Urdu fluently. Smattering of German, French and Spanish. Write poetry in English and also translate into English from Turkish.

I was in MN in a Catholic college– incredibly frustrating on some days. But then you get smart about it and realize that its an incredible gift. So when it comes to any conversation about Christianity and Islam I can hold my own and go face to face with anyone and tell them to Shut up if they get too Xenophobic about these things. I am not able to see both sides. I am both sides.

There’s always radicalization of any religion- because religion lends itself to a sort of push at the extremes rather easily. Its an incumbent responsibility on people like me and the billions of others around to raise our voice to a level where it drowns out sort of this-hum- of the crackpots. And that’s rather tough to do actually- because the hum of the crackpots tends to get more attention.

I honestly don’t know how it could posisibly even get worse – but it has been exacerbated by the Iraq mess- the 9/11 mess- it has been exacerbated by the governments in this Islamic diaspora to not govern with any sense – it has been influenced by the fact that if you go through history Islam hasn’t really gone through any renaissance of thought – its still from the 14th century. So after 600 years the pot starts to sort of boil.

Lose? Nothing! I don’t think you lose anything-unless you want to lose it. And I haven’t wanted ot lose anything. It is easy to discard that truth. And loss can be rather convenient but I have never made it so for myself. Otherwise why would I want to translate 700 turkish poems into English or why would I want to talk to my Pakistani friends every month?

I love the fact that in the US there's a sense of personal responsibility. There’s a sense of individuality. Love the fact that you can hike mountains. Be in the middle of nowhere. You can’t easily beat that in Turkey opr Pakistan.

Good thing here is the amount of opportunity for my children. Its a key differentiator between here and India or Pakistan unless you come from the elite. In terms of missing out- there is a general level of inncoence they will lose quicker than I did. It happens quicker in the US.

The Turkish are xenophobic. Pakistanis to a lesser extent. It is good my children are growing here- if they see xenophobia they would know how to address it. They see people from all spectrum. But there's a general cocoon of protectionism from community and level of connection that they miss here.

Lot of language that they are missing- urdu is very romantic- Turkish is very passionate- they are missing out on them. In Pakistan or Turkey- being emotive is the course of the day. Over here there’s a general level of puritanical sort of veil.

When my son in kindergarten was subject to teasing because of 9/11 I told him to turn around right back and tell them two things: One, You are as American as them except that your father is of a different generation of Immigrant’s than their fathers, and two, You are a much richer human being because you can speak two languages. But, they are all 5-6 year olds trying to understand the world.

I would like leave some imprint on the face of the earth- affect a human life or lives in a positive way- for people to have a life that is fuller- not wrapped in misery and death & destruction. I think that can be achieved through poerty. And I would like to bring technology to a place that would make human lives better. I would like to affect people’s ability to have pottable water. Or kids lives-for example, building playgrounds for people in Haiti and Afghanistan in orphanages, churches schools etc. I am doing that and I would like to spread that… And if my kids do that I have done well.

back...

Bill Todd:

My philosophy is that Political Science and Economics are really one discipline. I think in a broader sense to study one without the other is irrelevant.

We were in a tanking industry and there were death threats becuase of disgruntled clients who threatened to come in and kill everybody because they had lost so much money. In summer of 2002, I had had enough and I decided to take the risk and create the position I wanted to work at. Thats how the idea of my company was started. The same technological innovations that cost so many people their jobs also made it possible to create a new framework. I started 'Harborview Investments' with my partner looking at ways of making money that were consistent, tried and true.

You look at the demographic. People in Maine tend to be more prudent. They are resistant to invest with a new entity- and rightfully so- and most businesses fail. Just like any organic-infancy is the time when there is the highest mortality. We used private capital, not public capital- which has both advantages as well as some disadvantages. Conversations at the state level- even if the money is cheap- are not business talks. It is laborious. For some it works.

Maine is less dynamic- so money in motion is low- smaller and less dynamic client base- people are not moving in and out- clearly there are better places to do business. But it is also a good place to do business because it is a good place to live. Homes are cheaper. Good place to raise a family. So supports for the busines that are more than just money. And its a beautiful place.

Take Maine and NewHampshire. You have markets that are very similar- infrastructure, latitude, proximity to global markets, geography... the difference is The Tax Code. NH has made the decision historically to keep taxes very low- expanding business and causing citizenry to relatively be more self reliant- though impoversihing schools to some extent. Where ME and VT have taken a different policy- to have a very high tax rate and have more social services creating disincentive for business.

When you do business in a place which has a history of having lower taxes you have a degree of certitude in investment- not so much in VT and ME which makes it nice for people who are already here. Which makes for an ironic situatin where people who have a certain level of success are not interested in creating the catalyst that would allow competition- or in creating dynamic industry which would fuel population and growth. But I think Maine will grow despite itself.

Somethings aren't Maine's faults as factories close and towns lose their last manufacturing jobs. Its a first world currency and a resource driven economy- timber, paper...Maine trees are on 30 year cycles whereas they could get eucalyptus from Brazil- somethings are just how they are...We need a skilled based economy- Maine is fairly educated- we could get skilled workers working in dynamic industries but those in this day and age are often service industries and they are not going to come to a place where they have a lack of certitude- current high taxes- and if they lower it is it going to last?

I don't see outsourcing overly affecting Maine. We don't have that many jobs to outsource. I think if Maine were smart they should start insourcing. Insource to Maine. Change the tax code and if you had the right systems and the right language skills, you could make the argument that higher end applications could be done here.

back...

Nancy:

In the 70s, I got a job with a Sailmaker in Portland- I grew up near the water and my father is a sailor, so... It was also the job for all the alternative type folks in Portland. This was a big factory production loft-not the romantic small sailing loft, you would imagine. There are sailing lofts all over the place in Portland.

Sailmaking led me back to Boston and that led me to making interior design kind of things and that sort of brought out the entrepreneurial feeling and that led me back to Portland.  The old Port was just beginning then- Portland was much more pioneer town and prices were lower to set up a business– and there was a certain kind of energy. I was 26 when I started.

Most all of our suppliers have gone away. From Portland and from this country. Every time I pick up a pen, I have to wonder whether the supplier would still be in business? I have gone through six mills to do my webbing- still woven in New England, and all you can hope for is they’ll still be there when you go next.

I do not knowingly buy anything from a country that has a bad reputation for labor. As a very small company, I’m not going to be inspecting mills in China, so I’m counting on my suppliers' integrity to tell me correctly what the conditions are- in some I can trust, and some I can’t. I don’t deal directly with international suppliers. I deal with people in the US.

I am really chauvinistic about Portland and the rest of the world. I have become kind of an activist about my sense of community in the last couple of years. I always thought my community was my business neighborhood and I actually bought a house in Portland because I wanted to tighten up my sense of community. I have my business community. I definitely have my gym community. I have my Buy-Local community which is adjunct to my business community, but its also inclusive of a whole new way of alternative thinking.

I design accessories and outerwear- Mostly bags and outerwear like cloaks. I can do this for ever but I can’t do it for 70 hours a week forever. That’s how much I have to work during holidays.
Right now I see it getting slightly smaller, with faster turnover and in a location that is affordable enough that I don’t have to keep the doors open for 12 hours a day in season and am hopeful that that will happen pretty soon.

back...

Angela Adams:

I grew up on an island off the coast of midcoast Maine. I come from a you know a lobstering family. My father is a carpenter. My mother is a gardener and cook. And I also grew up in a very hands on family. As  a kid I was mowing lawns- so I had to go find people to mow lawns for. So, when I was painting houses, I had to find people to paint houses for. Just knocking on doors. Going around with a lawn mower and asking- So, it’s the same thing we are doing now. Nothing was ever figured out for us- I can assure you of that.

We design, we market. The patterns are ours and in some cases, we actually work closely with manufacturers in other countries. In some cases, we work with an industry partner based here in the US that manufactures in other countries. You know we have fabrics made in Israel, rugs made in India- its very global. Different countries have different specialties- So, wherever it make sense for the product.

We want to evolve into a company that’s fully Green. We are trying to get there. We are definitely trying to be responsible in our manufacturing  business, and how we are designing- we are trying to be less impactful on the environment. It’s hard because it feels hypocritical. There are too many products on this planet and we design more products every day. Our philosophy is that maybe if we can create beautiful products that last for generations and become heirlooms that is certainly going to be easier on the environment than a rough throwaway society.

Recently, there was something we wanted to watch on the 6 o’clock news and we couldn’t because we’re never home at 6 o’clock and I was thinking- is that going to die- the idea of the 6 o’clock news – would it become the 9 o’clock news because we work too much. Now- I don’t get home till 8. I don’t even get home till 9!

I don’t think that my gender has been an issue in business. There are times when I have felt that people didn’t look at me as much as they did at the other people- because maybe I am younger and I am casual and I don’t wear a 3 piece suit or something. In other countries it may actually have been a factor. Going to China- I wonder- there were 2 of us- there were definitely times when I thought that it wasn’t completely comfortable for them that we were women- young women. I haven’t been to India yet- I am dying to go. We spent the whole afternoon talking about it yesterday. I don’t know what it would be like there being a woman and doing business.

Maine, I think is a hard place to have a business. For me, I love it-the landscape- I am a die hard Mainer. But I think it can be a hard place to run a business and an expensive place. And obviously not everyone in the business community understands what we do because there aren’t many businesses here to compare us with, so that’s a challenge. Its not an easy place. Running a small business here is expensive.

back...

Chris Pezzulo: Pediatrician

I am 100% Italian. Everybody came between 1895 and 1905 in the big wave.
My parents both completed college. My mom did nursing moved into psychology and then after she got married didn’t pursue a career. But just going to college and pursuing education changes the way you look at things and the world so I don’t think it was a wasted education. But she never became a professional. She is always looking up medical terms and is always interested in it. She could probably had been a physician if she had been born at the right time and had enough self confidence to do that.

The year before I applied to med school I did a year of research at VA. They ahd residents from SUNY come and work there. I remember some of the coolest residents that came through were DO’s and they had trained at NY osteopathic college of medicine. I think because of my innate sense of personality IO have to always looka t the other side to see- if what everybody says ois really riht?> I have to check out the potehr side. They were telling me about this holistic healing approach not just straight medicine and how the body has this innate ability to heal itself and I was very interested in Yoga and became a Yoga TA and it all sort of came together the way I viewed the world-SO some people said- you have to apply for this DO school. I found out that there was this fairly new one in Maine. I thought it was the East coast’s answer to Alsaka. I loved Northern Exposure at that time.- I identified with Rob Morrow- the doctor out there in Alaska. And my first choice was UNE and I got in. And the rest is history. We moved up here in 1989.

I feel I am much more present with my children than my father was. It’s a specific goal I have that I will be home at a certain time and all that. Now they are older so they have their own ideas of where that time is going to be spent! That’s okay. But when it mattered I tried. Well-except through residency- and I couldn’t help that. I do remember the stress! My younger daughter was kind of colicky- and I was in 2nd or 3rd year and we had 36 hour shifts. And here was my wife at home with a toddler - my son, and a colicky daughter and a husband who was not present. As scary as it sounds- the look in her eyes when I would come home was very close to madness- I would just take the kids and say – I’m here. I could be totally sleep deprived but I could only imagine what she had been going through. Because as hard as it is to be a resident atleast you are talking with adults all day – you are working-its not your own children at you for hours. It was frightening actually! She says- no it wasn’t like that. But I saw that. My daughter was a difficult baby. Now being a pediatrician I can see that she probably had reflux which we didn’t treat. She had sensory issues- couldn’t tolerate being in a car seat. And she would scream from the time we buckled her to where we were going to go- and here I am saying as a pediatric resident- we can’t unbuckle her! It's not safe! It makes you crazy as a parent- am I doing the right thing? So we got through that. Residency was certainly challenging.

But by the time 2nd year in med school came around- I pulled toward the pediatric. I was born I think with this innate sense of justice. I felt like my childhood growing up was unjust so I sort of –felt like- I need to make a difference for kids. And then I was attracted to the lectures on pediatrics. There were ten of us in this class of 70 who were all drawn to pediatrics! Sometimes I get frustrated because I feel like people think that because I’m a doctor I must be rich. I know that pediatricians are the lowest paid of all types of physicians. The student debt just doesn’t go to zero! And my wife decided to stay at home, rather than have a lot of money and have someone else raising our kids. On paper- I can’t imagine honestly that we would have done it any differently. And its been wonderful for the kids. I think our kids are extremely grounded. We thought we would have our son practicing early so he has his credit card tied to ours. He makes 100 doallars a week- thinks its great- goes to a restaurant , no one else has any money and pays for everyone- because he’s generous and he’s not good about money.
My daughter on the other hand is so good with money- and she keeps no more than 30 dollars on the card. She is all about bargain and sales and she will check online…buy 5 things for 10 dollars!

 

When you look at alternative medicine- they list DO’s in alternative which I kind of find strange because we are trained in western medicine but we have a broader approach. For me alternative nedicine is homeopathy and naturopathy and I don’t mind being lumped with them because I send a lot of patients to them. And I don’t feel there’s just one way to do something. Its much richer to have all these alternative therapies involved.
I think all of those things are healthy adjuncts but as a ptient I wouldn’t want a homeopath or naturopath to be the only medical proviudetr I have because my concern is that they don’t have the breath of training that I have. I do wonder about their background. Its strange when I hear myself say that. But its what MDs often say about DO’s. I like to say lets try this and try this- the best provider for a patient is to probably have 5 people.

I have so many friends who are MDs and afraid to venture into areas they feel squeamish about. I feel MDs are more dogmatic. They know what they know and are not willing ot look outside the box. This is not true of all MDs.

I am hoping to have an opportunity to work soon in Haiti . There is a very large Episcopal mission in Haiti. So churches are partnering with it to accomplish some goals and help monetarily. And they are open to us helping out. In one village, kids can only study from 8-12 because there’s no water to drink. So they have to go home. Its incredible! So I’m hoping- and I’ve actually been in contact with Conbit Sante which is an American organization that works with Haiti out of the Maine Medical center based in Portland. I would like to bring some type of medical mission and doctors through our church- so we can go and help. Conbit Sante is very much about goals. The mission is not to bring them things because then you are gone and they haven’t learnt to do it themselves. So its  a different kind of mindset where you will create a shared project that will survive after you leave.

I am a Christian but I am almost afraid to use that word because it has been co-opted by this moral majority that Christian means something to them that I don’t feel. But I feel like Christ would not be on their side were he to come back rigt now. So I believe in Christ and I feel like I could believe that Christ and Muhammasd abd Buddha were all versions of the same thing to me. I would love it if I feel like at the root of all the religions there’s a lot that’s the same.

In the press- there is so much of this-Christian Values- and born again Christians and evangelical Christianity- it seems like there is this overwhelming christianity in this country- which is amazing because this country was founded for religious freedom not to become this Christian religious state! So I feel its like we want to be the opposite of the Moslem world so we are creating the same thing- just a christian version!

My wife and I- we feel that being part of the church is like being part of the community and its great for our kids ot be connected to church or school programs. And when I am in church and listening to the sermon- I am moved by it and also feel that it’s a form of mass hypnosis. Its quieting my brain waves and I feel like it’s a good thing for me. But I don’t feel like I am dogmatic that it has to be Christ and it has to be Christian and it has to be republican- like that.

You know on this teen questionnaire I have this question- do you reualrly attend religious services? And there’s maybe 1 percent of kids that say Yes! And that shocks me because I didn’t feel like we were such an anomaly. I thought we were just like everybody else, you knowJ And honestly, my kids feel very connected because of it. They have a larger sense of adults that they can rely on and respect. Sometimes in this society the kids don’t have a very larger circle of adults that can trust, go to and respect. Teacher are like have-tos and parents- but there isn’t any extended family. One question I ask is like are their any adults or neighbors that you can go to? And everybody leaves it blank! People are clearly not getting a sense of community. So I am hoping that my kids are getting that through church and just the way we live. I don’t know. You’d have to ask them, I guess.

My wife and I are both sort of liberal democrats so you can imagine what we think about the war! I just feel like if we go back to right before the war when Bush was talking about weapons of mass destructiona and comparing Saddam Hussain to the new Hitler- I just hope that all those speeches are somewhere on tape and we will use them in classes – because I feel like the way the rhetoric and the propaganda was so dramatically forced down our throat – I felt like I lost my resolve during those speeches and I started to believe –Oh my god we must have to go! And yet before those barrage of speeches came I used to say that- I know Saddam Hussain is really not a nice guy but what are we going to do after? At least they have water and electricity and jobs and schools. In many ways Bush went to war is the way a teenager would go into doing somtehing. Sounds good- lets do it! No thought at all. White educated men in their 50s and 60s and 70s could go in without any forethought has been maddening for me! I don’t know if our culture is unique or it can happen in any country- you can poison a populous. It was like the McCarthy era once again. I felt like Bush was like Hitler the way he was propagandizing his goals. I didn’t have any issues about being in Afghanistan the way we did it. It was a more worthwhile cause. But to move to Iraq! I felt like it was 3 year old doing it-' If its a Moslem group who bombed the world trade towers- then let’s find a moslem country and we will have a war with it!' How did Iraq have anything to do with it? Its very frightening to me. Very sad? Why are we plundering all our money and people into this fight for nothing? Futile! My son feels the same way. I am just thankful thankful thankful that there is currently not a draft. I am all for fighting for your country if there’s a cause. But honestly, if there was a draft I would pick and move with my family put of this country. Because this is not a war I want a child of mine to die in.

I would like to retire in Italy and visit this country three times a year if I could swing it. We have traveled all over this country and there are very few places that I feel comfortable in. In Italy- its like reverence of things like- nature, art, beauty , food- its all about the things that feed your soul. Here we feed our bellies and our bank account- but we don’t feed our soul.

 

back..

Wendy Chapkis: Professor of Women and Gender Studies

It wasn't simply a coincidence that the women's movement and the gay movement had a common origin. Of course both originated out of the racial civil rights movement too. Once the genie of equality is out of the bag, it is very hard to say, we didn't mean you people! Yeah- all people are equal except you. No, doesn't go down. Especially for gender and sexuality, two are very linked. It isn't true that I am being denied marital rights with my partner because we have lesbian sex. Probably not. I mean I could say we'll never have sex again. They will still not let us marry. Its not about the sex, our sexuality, its about our gender. Its really about institutional rules: marriage is about one man with one woman- sometimes thay say its about protecting children - but a man and a woman can get married in their 70s - there's no possibility on the planet that they can procreate!

 

Its not gay and lesbian people who threaten marriage, its women who threaten marriage. Women who are demanding equality within heterosexual marriages. Refusing to occupy the position of traditional wives.

 

Women's studies programs were never only about women. They were about relationship between women and men. Gender inequality. And they were also about the construction of the category women and what it meant to be a woman. Eventually, it led to much broader interest in not just women but what does it mean to be labeled woman, what does it mean to be labeled a man, and what about the peopel who are uncomfortable with either one of those labels

 

I really can't underestimate the importance of AIDS. My generation, the worst thing that could happen would be- you could get pregnant, and couldn't get abortion, and we fought very hard for abortion rights.  Students of now haven't known a time when there wasn't a threat. They have grown up- been born in the 80s some of them in the 90s even... So, that's transformed what they think it means to be sexually active, I think.

 

Really basic rights associated with marriage are denied the same sex couples. So I think on that level there is outright discrimination. Cannot underestimate how grating that is to people who cannot access that benefit. That is why marriage is such a big issue for LGBT people. I have been with my partner for 18,19 years, and when I got the job here, I was delighted that it had domestic partner benefits, because she's an artist and hadn't had health insurance for 20 years. Now, she has health insurance, but every penny university pays for her health insurance is counted as income for me and I am taxed on it, whereas my heterosexual colleagues get that benefit as a benefit. But, for some gay and lesbian people, marriage is also a huge cultural institution- a social acceptance- not just a set of benefits. Those people don't want civil unions, they want marriage!

 

You are demanding that society recognize gay couples and not just two nice old ladies that live together. You are demanding that your relationship be given the same status as a heterosexual marriage and that means its a level of acceptance and not just tolerance. And I think a lot of people don't want that. But again, it is also a benefits issue. Gay and lesbian people want special rights- but in fact it is the heterosexuals who want to preserve the special rights. They are the only ones who get a pass on social security. The only ones whose benefits are not taxed. The only ones to bring a non-national partner into the country and give them residency. LGBTs can't do that.

back...

Anant Ahluwalia:

I think my children have a much better quality of life. More conveniences- but that has caused certian levels of stress. More branded products- TV pushing them onto more and more things- They have a lot more awareness than we did which causes stress. You know of things which you can't have. We didn't have that problem. We lived in a bubble of our own and that was life in the bubble. It was easier for us to make choices growing up- because they were fewer. Not going to college was not an option. Dropping out of high school was not an option. So those decisions were pretty easily made. Having a relationship outside of what your parents deemed appropriate for you- so that was not an option. We had lots of friends- both girls and boys- but taking that into a relatinship was not an option. We all knew that. So that made life easier. It was a lot less complicated then what my kids will have to do.They have a varying degree of options. So the drive itself has to be more personality that the environment.

I still have friends from when I was in 1st grade and from college. When we went to India we stayed with my friends' family in India. Now, when his father passed away in India, his mother was there- and he took four weeks off- and went to India to be with his mother- now she is here- and the kids are watching all this. They know the family and they are asking questions- where his mother going to stay, what is your friend going to do? And I said well, he will have to make a choice. Either he will go back or his mother will come here- or they would come up with a combination that would work.
But they say- it won't be right for his kids! Its all about choices. So they are getting that cultural exposure that either his mon might come or he would spend significant amounts of time in India. It is very different from what they see around here. When my wife's parents come here from Florida, they stay two days with us and they want to go stay in a hotel. Paula is okay with it and her parents are okay with it. And when they come here for two weeks- they have to make an appointment to meet with their other kids and its okay for them and its okay for the kids to say- sorry dad, I won't be able to I'm busy I won't be able to see you this trip. He only stays thirty miles away. Now they are seeing- Vow! There are differences. And that doesn't mean its wrong or right- it just means thats the way life is. Thats what they did to their parents. Its  a more formal relatinship- its more based on events rather than - there's nothing adhoc about the culture.

When we were growing up we wanted to leave the country because there weren't opportunities. Didn't matter where- because opportunities were outside of that geography. Today- most kids there want to stay there- because they get the cultural experience and potential for having good jobs because the opporunity is there. Overall experience is much better there now. Only thing lacking was opportunity. If I had to start over- I don't think I would have left.

For me Indian comes first. Sikh comes second. America is a place I stay in- because my upbringing was always Indian. I don't think the kids think that way. But differences are good because it helps to not only boraden your experience but challenge your own concepts.

back...

Lenny Shedletsky:

It was a Jewish community-everyone knew everyone else and what they were doing. We went to Jewish school and all that. I think there was that sense of community there, though, where people watched out for each other- I think that is missing now. Even with a war on, somehow people are not coming together.

I think it’s character- but I don’t know why it’s missing- or how to change it- what would improve it? but I do fear for future of this culture –Technologically, it’s strong- we can blow any country- from the face of the map- but there doesn’t seem to be -I think that our culture has become extremely  individualistic to a point of- no sense of community really.  Very little sense of community. I guess, on one hand, I am lamenting the experience of the closed religious community that I didn’t find a good way to live, and yet, on the other hand if you have this modern American culture where we don’t have this small town- looking over each other’s backs –then I think -it is difficult to find community. Honestly, I don’t know what the answer is- I don’t. And I don’t know what it would be like in another country. I would assume there would be variations. Would another country - have this much lack of community or sense of identity?

How people think ? What they think about?What their attitude are towards what they are thinking about? If that’s what’s influenced, then I think I have done a good job. If they had gotten- what is a body of information- I don’t think that’s a big deal. A nice thing. Not a bad thing. But I think that’s less important than if somebody had an insight during the process, or if it changes their attitude, toward your subject or themselves. I don’t think of communication as- just at one level- its not just a skill level – level of behaviors- it’s tied up with the human being- physiologically , culturally , psychologically-every way you can imagine
Q> Why do you think this subject is important? Is it missing?
Let’s put it this way. When I try to think or express to somebody else- why it’s important- I ask people to imagine what life would be without it. Which of course is very extreme- because the only time you might have a life without communication is if you have some terrible disease going on- or injury- brain injury- people can be without eyes, ears- and they can still communicate- you know, in some cases, very effectively. Very well. So its so tied to being a human being, that’s hard to imagine a world without it.
So, if I’m asked why its important, I’d say it’s one of our main characteristics- that’s used in deciding whether a person should continue to live or not. If the brain’s injured- that’s the time they would say, well, let’s pull the plug.

Now, in everyday sense, I see communication as something that goes on between people but I also see it as something that goes on within people. That’s somewhat not your prototypical view- see it as something internal- but to my thinking, I don’t separate psychology from  communication. To my view of thinking, communication is not for me to give you information, I also see it as a means to give me information. I take the view that the world doesn’t come to me as a gift, I interpret the world. And, I call that communication.

back...

Jeremiah Conway:

I grew up in Queens, New York. A close community. Lots of immigrants- Irish, Italian, lots of Jewish population. Very white- and that has changed now. Neighborhood now is completely Korean, Chinese, Indians- its a new wave of immigrants.

Sad thing in the US now is- that outside of those military families - you can lead your life here with no consciousness of the war, if you turn off your TV. It really doesn't hit families. WIth Vietnam it was immediate and present because of greater loss of life and it hit across pretty much all segments of society- because of the draft. I think if a country is going to fight- if you are going to go that way- there should be a draft. There are advantages to that because now it is mainly falling on the backs of the few and mainly who are much poor. College students do not have to face in most instances the proximity of this war- and that makes a difference in terms of activating a protest. And I find students between when I was in school and now- they are now much more apathetic. I still think there's a great deal of idealism and lot of American kids who want to live good lives and do good with their lives- but I think there's less boldness. I see more of a politically passsive population. On the other hand, most students here at USM are first generation going to College- so a lot of students here don't have much financial support from their families. They are working their way through school- so it amazes me to see the number of students who are going full time to college and are working one or two jobs. Enormously busy lives- juggling  a lot of different balls. I would say work and school dominates all these students lives to an extraordinary extent. Sometimes, listening to them, you wonder how they do it! Something has to give. If you are taking 3,4,5 classes and working 30 hours a week- there's no time! And add on to that all those examples of single mothers- and its a stretch.

We are Hard society- in some ways yes. Most middle class families- both parents are working- very very busy lives. So, kids growing up in this society have a lot of things- you know stereo sets, televisions- if you look at other societies- camps during summers- so that's not hard- but on the key things- I think there are a lot of abandoned kids- wioth parents who don't have the time ot be with kids. Its a frantic society. Very frantic scoeity. I worry about that a lot. We seem to be a society of time savers. Materially in relation to rest of the world we are very fortunate, but price paid for that in terms of relationship and in terms of pace of life, we sacrifice  a lot.

What he says aount being taunted is probably true- I am not saying that it justifies any of the actions of course! but what I am trying to say is that here's a person who lives in the mix of so many other people- totally isolated- and that strikes me as immensely possible in this society.
There was a book a few years ago called ' Bowling alone' That struck me as a n accurate portrayal of something that is happening in this society - people ysed to be at least based on my experience- much mroe a part of civic organizations, neighborhood associations, that sort of thing. Life now is much mroe a matter of bowling alone. For some it works, for many it doesn't.
SO to think of a young person on a college camous alone- no friendships, he never went to college, thats a breeding ground for people snapping.

And here's teh Philosophy professor coming out- I think we should be talking to young people much more about the conduct pof their lives- places where people can talk about- what do they values, what's troubling them - I think at some level all of us need counselig in our lives - thats what friendships and close relationships at their best provide. Young people today lack that. There's definitely a breakdown of communication. No question about that. Theres alot floating anonymously in the midst of a large population .

I think you are always going to have instances og mental problems and psychological illness, but if you have more of a community - you are able to spot them, you are able to care for them, able to do something about it- there's a network of relationships they are in- and [people with problems know that there are people who care for them.
When you sense that no one cares for you, you don't feel responsible for anybody.

We are a highly technological society and a great deal of our education is very technical knowing and very technical thinking. We need that and we need a lot of thoughtful people being leaders- and that is philosophy at its best. In this society there is tremendous concern for a result oriented education, and that fits well with technical acumen, but there are otehr areas of life that are hard to package with easily demonstrable results. I am a believer that real important parts of kids education should lead to introspection. That's a very critical part of raising adults with some depth.

Even higher education is curious term- what do you mean 'higher'? Higer is not just grade 13 to whatever.. but higher education should be - in some way- the issues of acquiing depth as a person. And if a college education does not provide that then I think a society is in trouble - so you will get people trained in politucal science who are fantastically adept at polls and statistics , but have never thopugh carefully about what our society is, and ideas of different societies and have some historical depth.

Different countries, different linguistic systems, different histories- will produce different maps. But there are remarkable similarities and parallels between them.

On some profound level- Buddha was philosophising, Jesus was philosophising, Moses was philosophising. Unfortunately, what happens with religion is that it gets organized to the point that that very questioning and searching and doubting that initiated it, gets lost.

In this society there is tremendous concern for a result oriented education, that fits well with technical acumen, but there are other areas of life that are hard to package with easily demonstrable results. I am a believer that real important parts of education should lead to introspection. That's a very critical part of raising adults with depth.

It amazes me to see the number of students who are going full time to college and are working one or two jobs. Enormously busy lives- juggling  a lot of different balls. I would say work and school dominates all these students lives to an extraordinary extent. Sometimes, listening to them, you wonder how they do it! Something has to give. If you are taking 3,4,5 classes and working 30 hours a week- there's no time! And add on to that all those examples of single mothers- and its a stretch!

I think we should be talking to young people much more about the conduct of their lives- what they value, what's troubling them - I think at some level all of us need counseling in our lives - thats what friendships and close relationships at their best provide. Young people today lack that. There's definitely a breakdown of communication. No question about that. There's a lot of floating anonymously in the midst of a large population.

In my mind, wisdom is concerned with the most basic questions about how you lead your life. We all have a map about how we understand the world and I think Philosophy instead of just operating within that map, looks at the map, questions the map. Is there an alternative to it? But I think you only question when you have trouble with that map. If you are not troubled, you have no reason to philosophize.

back...

David Moltz: Psychiatrist

On Iraq: Vietnam and this war share much in common. In Vietnam, in the early sixties- I knew that it was wrong and I knew it was going to get worse and worse and I sat their helplessly watching. And it is the same now. I remember after 9/11- I remember the administration planning to go into Iraq - and I said: Oh No! and then the rationals came out, and the troops get sent and the whole thing- and I just sat their again helplessly watching. I knew even before that it couldn't be a short thing- it could be a civil war. I went on a March- Attack Iraq? No!        
For Vietnam, from the very start there were protests. With Iraq there were also- but the media was not protesting this time. I sat as an outsider watching Bush get elected, then watching Bush get reelected after Abu-Gharaib. I felt like I was in a foreign country. And then it all shifted. Then it was very difficult to be against the war. Now it is very difficult to be for the war!

My youngest daughter works in this wolderness survival rogram in Utah where adolescenets who are on the ir way to jail or death or something and kidnapped and dropped in the middle of the desert. If you are a wealthy family and you have kid totally out of control- doing drugs or in jail and not listening to you at all -maybe beating themselves up- you want to get them to one of thee programs. There are stories of mother driving her daughter to a gas station- and she saying that she is going to get cigarettes and these people descend on the car- basically tie her up and ship her off to Utah. She gets dropped in this little town in Utah and she is in the middle of this program. The only way she gets out of this is by rigt behavior. SOme of them are terrible, some of them are like boot camp and some- the one she was in was actually run very badly but they were very decent kids. I thik they left them in hands of people who didn't have enough training. The staff burnt out pretty easily. My daughter burnt out after a year- but many kids improved. There were in a totally different environment. I fthey said- Fuck your mother! I'm not going to- well they just didn't eat anything. They hiked a lot-from one place to another. and if they dodn't move they left them in the middle of teh desert by themselves- and they would be like- wait! wait! And they were away from drugs- so things changed dramatically and many of them would get it together - then go back to their old environments and not do very well.

The things that really excite me now are my grandchildren. They are very involving and do take a lot of energy. SO grandchildren and painting and building is what I love right now. I would like to stop working in two years- renovate my garage and start building little boats, paint, draw... I also do Taichi a lot. I am starting to teach it. Yeah i feel very busy and the least of it is my work. We have a place in our grandkids lives- which is really incredible.

back...

Andrew Finger: Pastor/Minister

Where we lived- we were divided by streets. Each street was named after who lived there. The Italians on one, the Germans on another, Polish street, and we didn't call it the Black street. We called it a different street.  And we didn't realize that we lived liked that. We just knew that we happened to live on different streets, and we got along fine. But No- the parents never intermixed.

I dated a woman who was a sophomore who would later on become my wife. We went on to a dance. But we both had such a miserable time! She never said: Thank you and I was glad it was over!

I used to deliver flowers to a funeral home. And when I did that I was always disturbed by the people being upset- crying and just sad! And I always thought- wouldn't it be nice to talk to these peole and make them happy. The other part was I went to Sunday school regularly , and my teacher from kindergarten to 3rd grade was a very wonderful woman. But she never called me by name- which was very strange. But when she called on me - she would alwyas say- and what does my little minister have to say today? SO I don't know if that had any effect, but when I look back- I knew every Sunday thats what I would be called.

It bothers me that there is war- and that religion has been the source throughout history of wars. It doesn't have to be like that. I have come to believe that its the zealots of each religion and once they take over its a problem. So when I see anybody who acts like that whether lutheran or not, I like to confront them and have them open up- Love is the answer. Nothing else.

I used to be a probation officer and usd to deal with kids in Framingham. And you know I could see a difference in the kids. And the end result was that the kid was determined to lead a better life. And he knew he was forgiven because I said so. It was a juvenile court. When it was a real bad kid, the judge would say, Andrew, take him out to the hall and straighten him out. I would meet with the kid and he was my charge. In the beginning they would use the foulest language they could, and try to shock me, which they couldn't. And I would just take it, and they couldn't believe that I would take it. They would expect me to slap them or something- instead I would talk and try to help them understand what they were doing and why they were doing. Its like going to a counilor. Thats what our absolution really is.

Church has become a corporation with well paid leaders. Not enough concern about the average people. I sensed that and it disturbs me. Its not right. That's not how is supposed to be. And it reflects in community.

Just to show how wrong things could be- I was a member of the conservative branch of the Lutheran church. I trained with these guys for 5 years- was in this conservative branch for 30 years- and my wife and I- we decided we will go and join the moderate group. We didn't think it was a big deal, but when I did that I became an anathema. None of my colleagues ever spoke to me again. Never wrote to me. Never enquired about me. These were people I was very close with. I spent years with them. So that was a very difficult thing for me to swallow. These were my friends- my Christian friends- and they just turned me off completely. But my wife and I were very happy in this other group. I still belong to the -moderate group- you might say.

The difference is just in the matter of authority I think. And being rigid- the group I walked away from- you towed the line. If I hadn't joined the moderate group- I would never be able to talk with you- the way we are today- or share my feelings with you. I wouldn't do that. But this group I belong to now, you can do that. Its fine.

There's celebacy in Catholic church because then the minister can completely serve his parishioners, while a married man can't devote all his time to his parishoners. On the other hand, it is hard to understand how a celebate man can minister to families, when he doesn't understand family dynamics.

And just because Jesus had male disciples- now, he didn't exclude women. In many ways, he had good relationships with the women. Just because patriarchs long ago, named the disciples- and they never named the women - they should have- but in that culture you just never named the women- so... and there's nothing that says that women should not be ordained. There's only one passage that says women should remain silent in the church. In that culture, that was the wisest thing to do- but in that culture. Its a different culture today.

back...

Elizabeth Gannett: Practising Western and Eastern Medicine

Halfway thru the trip, I got a pretty bad respiratory infection, which is pretty common for people going to China and I probably had pneumonia and the only physician who was available to see me was a traditional practitioner. He was quite an elderly man and he did herbs and I walked in and he examined me and listened to my lungs and said maybe I had pneumonia. He didn’t do an Xray or any thing. And I said to him- I don’t believe in this stuff- maybe it will be a waste of your time to see me- and he said- oh no, it will work anyway- and I said, oh! Maybe its something to think about- so he gave me some herbs- in tablet form and he said – this is what’s going to happen- there’s fire in your lungs and it has to come out- and in the next 24 hours you will get laryngitis when the fire comes up in your throat- and you’ll have some coughing and will bring up some phlegm and the laryngitis will go away and then everything will go away and you’ll be fine. This is exactly what happened and I actually recovered. I was so amazed. So, when we got to Hongkong, I started to look for all the books I could find that were written in English on Chinese medicine and read up about it for the next several montsh and found a tour that would stay in China longer next time and actually went to Beijing university and did a an immersion course in Chinese language for the next summer.

I was in Stok in Ladakh teaching ina school. There was a definite place for the elderly in society there more so than here. Here, I can say, particularly after being in Florida for a little while, that the elderly are in their own little group, away from everybody else and I think its horrible. But they like that. My parents generation chose to live like that. They didn’t want us to live too close- wanted their own space. I don’t know if it’s because of my exposure to other countries, but I really feel like its really important to be around children even as you get older and to have a role in society and not just to be off playing.

I think it might have to do with somewhat the focus on youth in this country. Nuclear families and independence. Elderly people at some level don’t feel valued. So being old and by banding with each other they don’t get that. O, Plus, the importance on nuclear families, there’s that real feeling that they don’t want to intrude on their children’s lives and they feel like they should have their own life and be independent on their own. Rest of the elderly that I know have  a real fear of not being independent and have to live with a  son or a daughter is not something they want to live forward to. Because being independent is really valued in American society. A lot of elderly fear that they would be a burden to their children.

I love traveling and not being a tourist but being with people in the culture that I am traveling to. I find that whole experience of being somewhere where everything is totally diff- I really enjoy it- plus I think it helps me see things in a very diff way and it helped me to broaden my aspects and outlook on things and grow.

back...

Jim&Priscilla

P: Because I had such a free childhood- my parents trusted me- I expected the same thing of my children- and you know the younger one especially got into trouble. I think they all smoked Marijuana. They were all drinking alcohol. Our youngest son actually had quite a problem with alcohol. Has never gone to college. Went to vocational school for a while. But, finally straightened his life out. Is finally out of it. Our daughter’s extremely involved in her community today. She’s involved with Safe Passage.

I think I was very ill-prepared to be a parent. I had the right instincts- I brought them up to be respectful and I wanted them to get an education but I really don’t think I understood what the problems were that they were facing- I was naïve. Our daughter- she has known where her boys are at every moment. She’s a wonderful parent and so is her husband. They’re both teachers and they just know a great deal about child development.

J&P: I think religion is basically-the root of all evil.
However, being spiritual- thinking about religion- is a wonderful thing. I think about God every day- how old fashioned it is...
Look at nature- it couldn’t just happen! Couldn’t! There is definitely something. and its definitely not in church- No way. I do think there’s also a lot of good in the organized religion- community, helping one another, serving- but sticking it in people’s face and trying to spread it around- any time you go back- to the crusades- back to to the Khans- to the Moghuls- the Greeks- the Romans- laid waste, the rapes, the pillage.

j&P: We were against it. Very against the war. We both go for peace marches. I think we had no business being there. I think its based on greed – for oil. I think we should get out today. Not 18 months from now- but today. We know, if we get out today , there will be shambles. But there’s already shambles.

People like Gandhi, Buddha- to me- like Dalai Lama- these people had the right idea- but beyond that in an organized fashion- we’ve just created a mess.

I am still proud to be an American. But I’m not proud of our Bush govt. I am ashamed of our govt. Actually, ashamed of our govt! I am ashamed of our leadership. I’m ashamed that we have the administration that we do. We have made fools of ourselves internationally.

Civilization hasn’t changed much- that’s the scary part- it hasn’t really changed much since recorded history. The greed of people- The haves and the have nots. What I think is- the terrible shame is- that we now understand this. Everbody around the world, with mass communications understands this. In ancient times, in historical times people only knew what was going on around them. But now everybody in the world knows that there are haves and have-nots and we are not doing much about it. Still spending money in the wrong places.

We keep very active. We cross country ski, ride a bike, paddle a canoe, and garden. Go to the gym- hopefully 3 days a week. Right now I work part time in a bicycle shop- mostly lugging bicycles from the 1st floor to the basement and moving them back up. Come home pooped. We hike. Paddle canoes. Fly fish. We still climb mountains. We’re both involved in the Maine Audobon society and the Appalachian Mt. club. We’ve been officers in those. I’m involved in a couple of environmental organizations. I’m on the board of the organization owners of Maine Appalachian trail land and trust to acquire additional land along the Appalachian trail in the state of Maine. We’re both involved on a volunteer basis with a committee at Moosehead lake where we spend summer to sort of do battle with a development company- Plum Creek- which does a lot of development in the area. We are actively involved in that. We swim in the lake a lot. Priscilla swims a lot. I was a lifeguard but she’s a better swimmer. She swims beautifully. We chop wood. We garden. We cut grass. Up at our camp. I’ve pictures of it. It requires a lot of physical work. Going up on  a ladder- putting in a water system- putting in docks- moving the garden. Its really only an acre but its like a mini farm because we work physically at the place. We chop the wood, move the wood, transform the garden- We have an outhouse. We have an outside shower.

I look forward to whatever the day will bring. I appreciate my good health. My family. Being able to read the newspaper, books, spend some time outdoors. I look forward to our summers.

back...