Like most of you, we were members of Osher long before the pandemic changed our lives. In those days, we had our days planned well in advance, often having to select among several options. Now, all our days seem indistinguishable; Mondays are like Tuesdays; Tuesdays like Wednesdays; and so on. Where before the isolation, we attended several in person Osher presentations at SDSU and Cal State San Marcos, we found that convenience was not one of their assets what with driving, parking, etc.
If there is anything positive about our current living experience it is that we can stay at home and indulge in stimulating and informative courses with the Osher at UCSD program. We marvel at the technology involved in making this happen.
We began by registering for the summer programs and were so pleased that we signed up for the fall quarter through an easy and streamlined process. Suddenly, between the two of us our calendar was filled with morning and afternoon classes four to five days a week. We could be active in the classroom or quiet and not feel intimidated. All of the program leaders were accepting and interested in our comments or lack thereof.
For the Summer Session, I, Cheryl, was very happy with the Master Class on “The Life and Art of Great Artists” with Guri Stark. Learning about M. C. Esher was something on my agenda but never fulfilled. Now, I’ve been exposed to the magic of his art because of Mr. Stark’s in-depth knowledge and ability to round out the subject matter. “Japanese Architecture from Pre-history to the Present” beautifully presented by Diane Kane, PhD was a total wonder. Though we lived in Japan for 3 years and tried to absorb culture and daily life, this course filled in all of what was missed in great detail and returned me to familiar places.
Without the leadership of the literature groups I would have been lost. Attending the workshops and listening to the clarifying and helpful comments from the many educated readers was a big help. “On Earth We are Briefly Gorgeous” was difficult but definitely worthwhile and “The English Patient” is a continuing delight. Books, after all, help us to understand other people, cultures, and times.
The Fall Session has brought me into the Premier Class: “Impressionism: The Great Disrupter of Western Art” with Linda Blair, MA. Ms. Blair shines a light on art like no one else. She brings it to life and makes it unforgettable. The Master Class on “Special Topics in Human Origins” is a continuing education for me in a field of life-long interest and I look forward to the classes in November and December. To get us prepared for November 3rd, “The November 2020 General Election” led by Sandy Lakoff and the League of Women’s Voters was a valuable tool for us to vote early by mail.
There have been only a couple of occasions when we have been disappointed. One was due to the abrupt change in scheduling of classes. Another was the difficulty in managing those who dominate the conversation in some of our classes. It is always nice to see facilitators include all comments, but, on the other hand, it sometimes makes the question period too lengthy and repetitive. This requires courtesy and patience on everyone’s part.
The convenience of attending Osher classes online is going to keep us busy for a long time. It was a lifesaver during the confinement giving us something exciting to look forward to each day. If we missed a session, we could often find it in the archives, another benefit of the program. In addition, we inspired two friends to register enabling us to enhance our range of conversations with them. Being able to discuss something other than Covid-19 has been worth every moment we’ve spent with Osher.