Sunday, November 9, 2014

2 - 4:30 p.m.

Knox College, Room 4, 59 St. George Street

between College & Harbord

Entrances on St. George and King's College Circle,

acessible entrance from lot on north side of Knox.

Street parking or lot available


 Presenter:  JOHN RAE, Human Rights Advocate

John Rae brings a broad combination of community, government and union involvements to all of his varied activities. John took early retirement from the Ontario Public Service in 2005 after a 24-year career, during which time he was a Consultant with the Centre for Disability and Work, an Education Officer with the Employment Equity Commission, and a Program Officer with the Accessibility Directorate of Ontario. Having served in elective positions at the local, provincial and national levels of the Canadian labour movement, he remains a member of OPSEU's Disability Rights Caucus.

During the past 39 years, John has been a board member of many human and disability rights organizations, including co-chair of the Coalition on Human Rights for the Handicapped, which secured the first human rights coverage for persons with disabilities in Ontario. He is a Past President of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians (AEBC).

John is now 2nd Vice Chair of the Council of Canadians with Disabilities and a member of its Social Policy Committee. He serves on the Boards of Directors of ARCH Disability Law Centre, Injured Workers Consultants, Executive of the Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario, Inclusive Design and Accessibility Committee of the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, and the ODSP [Ontario Disability Support Program] Action Coalition.

An enthusiastic world traveller--so far 40 countries on six continents-John also enjoys history, live theatre, visiting museums and art galleries and music. He writes and speaks frequently on a broad range of disability and other human rights issues. His awards include the Social Justice Award for Lifetime Achievement (2007), presented by Mayor David Miller.

John Rae will draw upon his world travels and 39 years as a human rights advocate to discuss the state of human rights today, with a focus on persons with various disabilities. He will include various access issues and the recently opened Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg.

Visitors are welcome


ph: 416-410-1892




General Meetings

Sunday, November 9

TIME: 2-4:30 p.m.

PLACE: Knox College

Topic: Human Rights Disability Style

Speaker: John Rae

Human Rights Advocate

Note: Yonge subway replaced by buses between Bloor and Eglinton

Sunday, December 14

PLACE: Knox College

December: Annual music program celebrating the anniversary

of our 1977 founding

Musician: George Meanwell

We collect unwrapped gifts for women and children served by

Interval House (See page 6)

Sunday, January 11

Details to come

Inquiring Mind

Saturday, November 15

(last meeting until January)

TIME: 2 to 4 p.m.

PLACE: Wychwood Library

Convener: Marie Paulyn

Memoir Writing

Friday, November 28

TIME: 2 to 4 p.m.

PLACE: Home of Virginia Rock

near Bay and Bloor

Presenter: Virginia Rock

Play Reading

Date, time and location TBD

Contact Vivian Haar

Mosaic Planning Lunch

Monday, December 8

12-1:30 p.m.

Granite Brewery &

Restaurant, 245 Eglinton Ave. East (entrance on Mt. Pleasant)

Contact: Daniel Karpinski


General Meeting Report

October 19, 2014

Presenter: Adèle Koehnke,

Storyteller, Teacher, Writer

Topic: Resident-Driven Theatre in Long-Term Care Homes

Virginia Rock opened the meeting and Joan Appelby lit the candle and read our Ulyssean Creed. All present were welcomed and most of the announcements made appear elsewhere in this newsletter.

Virginia introduced our speaker, Adèle Koehnke, noting her equal interest in art, drama, writing and storytelling, giving some details about her life and work experience as a secretary and a teacher of Creative Drama to Preschoolers in Seneca College's Summer Program. The League of Canadian Poets awarded her first prize for "Pink Hat With Feather," about reconciliation with her father.

Adèle Koehnke's presentation of the detailed process she uses to awaken residents in long-term care homes to their own abilities and creativity is, in effect, a testimonial to the truth of our Ulyssean Creed: " . . . [a commitment] to the noble concept and provable fact that men and women in their middle and later years can, if they choose to do so, richly maintain the powers to produce, to learn, and to create, to very end of the life journey."

A storyteller for more than 20 years, writer, artist-illustrator, poet and teacher, Adèle talked about her career as a storyteller. "Adèle's Stories" focuses on interactive storytelling and features stories she makes up from scratch, sometimes developed with the help of adults and children or both. She illustrates them with drawings done on a tripod drawing easel as she tells them, inviting listeners to contribute their own ideas or memories. Over the decades, she has told stories at children's parties, holiday and birthday parties, libraries, daycare schools, camps, arts festivals and retirement homes.

Her application of her mode of storytelling at long-term care homes is creative and inspiring. She described in detail how step by step, residents were led to write a group story to developing it into a play in which they are authors, actors, producers, crew members who might make a set or think of something a character might wear, publicists who found ingenious ways to advertise their upcoming play, carrying a prop around through the hall. The staff placed posters in the elevators to advertise the plays.

This all came about some six yeas ago when Mary/Mrs. Smith, a feisty resident in Rockcliffe, which Adèle has been visiting every Tuesday for ten years, said to her: "We want to do what you do--tell our own stories." And so they did with Adèle's guidance to get them underway. Participating residents would tell a story and Adèle would write down what the group put together, bringing the resulting story the next week, all typed.

As a group they would decide on specific details with Adèle's leading questions such as "What is the story's focus?" - e.g., a travel story, a mystery story, a love story?, etc. Then each resident was asked a question, one at a time - i.e., when does the story take place and where?, who are the people in it?, their names and ages?, what happens to them? To flesh out the story into a play they were asked to name the characters and describe what they think might happen to them.

They are reminded that the story/play must have a beginning, a middle and an end and that there should be a problem to be solved. At the end of this process the residents are asked to give the play a title. Their imagination sparked, with a sense of humour, they named a recent production "Over the Hills Go the Pills." They chose for their name "The Rockcliffe Players."

They were not content with just writing the play. Adèle tells how the process developed into a full production of a half-hour to 45 minutes long staged in the home's main dining room. Again, it was Mary/Mrs. Smith who insisted on more: "We want to act in our plays." And later after several productions she asked, "Can't we go outside our home to other places?" And so they did, Adèle finding other venues at which they could perform- the Guild Inn, Cedarbrook Lodge among others. A play was produced every six or seven months with the full encouragement and enthusiasm of the staff who also provided refreshments afterward. One home video-taped the show so that it could be shown to residents who had not been able to attend the performance; the recording became another program for the home.

How important and stimulating the theatrical experiences were for these residents in long-term care homes is inspiring if one thinks of the all too frequently held image of a limited or boring daily life people have in a nursing home.

Some proved to be gifted writers; some have good minds, not impaired by age. Some contributed to the group effort by providing sound effects--banging on a wheelchair; playing a harmonica, shaking a tambourine. One had artistic abilities and drew a fine picture of a horse to illustrate a book later produced by Rockcliffe residents.

If a resident could sing, a place was found in the play to use that talent. Residents loved performing, were delighted to be introduced as players individually at the end of the performance (though by first name only), and looked forward to the next production. Anyone who wanted to be in the Rockcliffe Players could.

Rockcliffe has its disabled- blind and non-verbal residents, amputees, people using wheelchairs or walkers, residents reluctant to talk, withdrawn. But many in a way had found another home. No wonder this kind of unique theatre has been described as "resident-driven."

After Adèle's heartening presentation, a Q & A followed; some excellent comments and observations were made. Adèle spoke about the importance of the staff as talent scouts because they knew residents so well. Comments from the audience touched on theatre as a resource for social change and the importance of the East End Storytellers to which Adèle belongs--seniors gather in libraries, retirement homes and senior residences to tell stories.

On behalf of The Ulyssean Society Beverly Bloom thanked Adèle for her informative and inspiring talk and presented her with a copy of John McLeish's The Challenge of Aging and a year's honorary membership.

Following this section of the General Meeting, Virginia welcomed visitors and asked them to say how they had heard about The Ulyssean Society. A break for refreshments followed.

- Virginia Rock and Joan Appelby


Reconvening the meeting for the Mosaic, Daniel Karpinski introduced the three presenters: Virginia Rock, Marvin Goody, and Shirley Gibson. Virginia spoke briefly about the challenges and discoveries she has made in attempting to clear her York University office with its 40 years of books, files, documents, photos and correspondence, struggling with decisions about what to save and discard from files of writers, literary history--all things academic. She promised to continue this report at a later date. She concluded by reading three short powerful poems, among the many she loved to talk about with students: "The Tyger" from Songs of Experience by 18th century English poet William Blake and two by 20th century American poets, e e cummings' "Buffalo Bill's defunct" and "Fire and Ice" by Robert Frost.

Marvin Goody provided a historical context for his delightful, astringent limericks he chose from some 250 which have been accepted by the OEDILF (the Omnificent English Dictionary in Limerick Form). Four of Marvin's were printed in the last issue of Entre Nous. This tight verse form rhyming aabba has intrigued other Ulysseans; Elizabeth Allen, Pat Bisset, Mary Milne and Linda Stitt recited entertaining, clever limericks from memory. Other Ulysseans are encouraged to write their own.

Shirley Gibson also brought a light note, telling us several amusing brief stories. The Program Meeting was concluded by Lois Linett who read the Benediction and blew out the candle.

- Virginia Rock

Healing continued at October Inquiring Mind

We continued our discussion on Healing, presented by CBC "Ideas." Dr. Esther Steinberg is director of the Neuro-immune program and senior scientist at the National Institute of Health. The studies there are on the new body/mind medicine, looking at a holistic approach to healing. The treatment of illness lies in the balance between modern medicine merged with psychological healing-social support, family-patient relationships.

Healing goes on deep within cells and molecules, trying to establish lost balance. Every part of the body has to be working in concert like a symphony orchestra. We all heal in our own rhythm. It has been discovered that sleep indeed is restorative; when you are ill the body releases molecules that act as sleeping pills, showing that sleep is biologically necessary for healing. Environment plays a major role as well. Patients who were in intensive care units where there was a window to the outside improved much more quickly than patients who were isolated from the outside environment.

When you are healing you need social support. Loneliness works against healing. Belief plays an incredibly important role in healing. You may be the most agnostic person and yet belief will play an important part in it. It does not require that there is a Supreme Being; it means that "something" will make you feel better. This is the placebo effect, well documented medically; it shows remarkable results.

Michelle Chaoan has a Masters degree in social work and a PhD in philosophy and theology. She is the leader of the psycho-social-spiritual team at the Centre of Palliative Care in Toronto. She was asked what she means when she talks about "dying healed." She says that, "People who are dying can imagine that there is something else besides pain and suffering." Dying healed means that if we manage your pain, if we walk with you through the dying process, you are going to discover things that you love about yourself and about life, things that you never took time to discover before. You will be more gentle about relationships and about yourself. How is it that you want to be remembered?"

For each individual, "dying healed" means something very different. It depends on your dream. There is something transcendent within all of us. We are all spiritual creatures. In illness a whole new world starts to open up to you; you discover yourself as a spiritual being. You finally feel at peace, you die Healed.

- Marie Paulyn

Pink Hat with Feather

by Adèle Koehnke

I was never your pink-dressed daughter on knee


Outrageously wonderful news…

I am 42

You are 72

I showed you my new pink hat

On impulse.

Wanton, wee, stashed treasure.

You and I have never been impulsive.

I pirouetted

With now matron's blush.

You did not rush back

But were approving.

Mildly mystified.

We had no script for this Dad.

You were accepting

And asked me to repeat

Where I had purchased the hat.

It was so normal and all that.

You were interested

Touchingly interested.

And I, who have felt trapped

As the forever

Static ice cube

In your life drink,


For in the ordinary

There is healing.

Adèle Koehnke, our October 19 speaker, kindly agreed to share this poem about reconciliation with her father. The League of Canadian Poets awarded her first prize.


by Linda Stitt

Adam and Eve,

we are led to believe,

were expelled without mercy or pardon,

while the serpent, though cursed

for doing its worst,

was allowed to remain in the garden.

Linda recited this during the limerick section of our October 19 meeting. She agreed we could share it in print - a generous scoop as it hasn't been published. It will likely be included in her early 2015 book of new poems, probably launching along with her first e-book of favourites. Thanks!

Member News, Events, etc.

We are pleased to welcome Mary E. Milne as a new member of The Ulyssean Society. Mary has attended some meetings, and some members will recognize her from Linda Stitt's monthly words and music salons. Mary is a volunteer, in particular with the STOP Committee Food Centre for which she was the community advocate for four years. Her artistic talents are reflected in her poetry and the theatre-she was the hat designer for many productions at the Alumnae Theatre. For many years Mary has co-organized and hosted the weekly Wednesday evenings at Fat Albert's open stage, which began in 1967 and moved a decade ago to the Steelworkers Hall on Cecil Street, our Ulyssean home for a few years. "Fats" is a lovely community well known to Toronto's songwriters and acoustic players. Ulysseans Carol Farkas, Paul Nash and Bob Allen frequently perform there.

Last month we mentioned that Linda Stitt's popular words and music event is rescheduled to November 8, from the usual first Saturday of the month, due to current renovations at the Portobello Restaurant. The new announcement is that the redecorated venue will re-open with a new name, Vino Rosso, and owner/manager Khairul has new partners, Naz and Allam. The location is still 995 Bay St., between Bloor and Wellesley. Ann Elizabeth Carson, who has presented two excellent programs for The Ulyssean Society and attended others, is the featured writer/poet on November 8, 1:30-4:30 p.m. The series returns to the first Saturday on December 1. A number of Ulysseans have become regular attendees. Check for full information and photos and videos from past sessions at www.lindastitt.com. Meanwhile, Vino Rosso is having its grand opening on Thursday, November 6, 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. for those who would like a preview.

On October 21, 2014, Eva Karpinski, spoke at the launching of a festschrift for Barbara Godard at York University. The book, called Trans/acting Culture, Writing, and Memory: Essays in Honour of Barbara Godard, has been co-edited by a group of Godard's former colleagues and students who wanted to recognize her important contributions to such fields as literary, cultural and translation studies, feminist theory, arts criticism, social activism, institutional analysis and public memory. The late Professor Godard was a scholar described as "one of the most original and wide-ranging literary critics, theorists, teachers, translators, and public intellectuals that Canada has ever produced."

The essays collected in this volume commemorate her formative role and influence in shaping the disciplines of Canadian, Québecois and Acadian literatures and cultures, as well as the Canadian school of feminist translation theory. Godard was Eva's doctoral supervisor. In addition to co-editing the festchrift, Eva's contribution included a large introductory essay providing a historical overview of Godard's scholarship (co-authored with Jennifer Henderson, another former doctoral student of Godard's).

Eva is Associate Professor at York University and teaches feminist theory and autobiography in the School of Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies.

- Shirley Gibson and Virginia Rock

November 9 Meeting

TTC has announced another weekend closure of the Yonge subway between Bloor and Eglinton, with service replaced by shuttle buses, effective November 8 and 9. If this section includes your route, just leave a little more time and grab a transfer.

Greeting cards and calendars: Have you received too many greeting cards and calendars? Charities are currently mailing packages to past donors and to those they would like to entice to donate. All are good causes, but the excess piles up, creating a choice between tossing in the recycling bin and finding new homes for them. Solution: bring your extras to the November 9 meeting to add to the table and perhaps they will be "adopted." Remove personal information, especially forms including reference to a past donation amount. Leftovers will be donated elsewhere, perhaps Interval House or offered on a freecycle post; see www.freecycle.org to learn about local lists offering unwanted goods for free to keep them out of landfill and recycling.

November 21 Organ Concert Invitation

Knox College Chapel, a very short distance down the hall from our meeting room, has a noted 1991 pipe organ built in the North German baroque style by Wolff & Associates of Laval Quebec that is featured in a series of free public concerts by University of Toronto organ professor Kevin Komisaruk. The concerts are on three Fridays at 4:00 p.m. - 4:45 p.m.: November 21, January 23 and March 13. One of two pipe organs in the Chapel, the baroque organ has pipework patterned on a Swedish 1726/1728 organ, and the concert selections will be from the baroque period.

December 14 Meeting

As we celebrate the 37th anniversary of the founding of The Ulyssean Society, we continue two traditions - a program of music and the collection of unwrapped gifts for the women and families served by Interval House.

We are pleased to announce that noted musician and songwriter George Meanwell will provide our music. George plays many instruments including cello, guitar, banjo, piano and concertina, and has appeared on-stage in productions at Stratford Festival and in Toronto.

His recording and touring began with groups Short Turn and Quartetto Gelato before his solo albums of original music, the latest a 2013 DVD recorded live in Stratford. Stay tuned for more details in the next newsletter, and plan to join us in our usual location at Knox College.

Interval House

The Ulyssean Society has a long tradition of members bringing to our December meeting unwrapped gifts for women and children who are escaping abuse through Interval House. Virginia Rock attended their 40th anniversary celebration in 2013 and was very impressed by this important work-Interval House was the first shelter in Canada for abused women and their children!

Gifts should be unwrapped to allow mothers to choose items their children most need and will enjoy. If you have no time to shop, or just prefer, you may buy a gift card or make a one-time or monthly tax-deductible donation (details are below).

A wish list for residents of all ages from babies to mothers has been provided by Interval House-clothing including winter accessories (hats, scarves, mittens) for children and women (both casual and career); unopened toiletries for all ages of boys, girls and women are also appreciated. A few other suggestions for bringing enjoyment to kids of various ages are a variety of retail gift certificates for toys, books, movies, music, department and electronics.

Babies and infants: toys, stuffed animals, receiving blankets, soothers, baby bottles, diapers/wipes, diaper bags, blankets are particularly welcome

Toddlers: learning books, blocks, sports equipment (e.g. soccer balls, bowling sets) Children: board games, musical instruments, music paraphernalia (recordings-Justin Bieber, One Direction), books, Lego sets, craft and art supplies, science kits, dolls

Pre-teens and teens: make up, exercise and sports equipment, wallets, board games, comic books, books, arts and crafts material (sketch pads, paints, beading), musical instruments (kids' guitar, bongos, keyboard, shakers, xylophone), electronics, DVDs, (for teens) tickets to Raptors or Leafs or popular concerts. The list extends for different ages if you want more suggestions (ask Virginia).

Monetary gifts automatically trigger tax receipts for more than $15, on request for lesser amounts. Cheques payable to Interval House, including your address, may be handed to Daniel Karpinski who will take all gifts to Interval House following our meeting on the 14th; cheques may also be mailed later to Interval House, 131 Bloor Street West, Suite 200, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1R8 Phone: 416-924-1411 ext. 231 if there are any questions. One-time or monthly donations may also be made by phone or at www.intervalhouse.com.

If you have web access, do look at their site for an overview of their residential, community and advocacy programs. Read some success stories of lives saved and rebuilt through programs such as BESS, Building Economic Self-Sufficiency.

Monetary gifts automatically trigger tax receipts for more than $15, on request for lesser amounts. Cheques payable to Interval House, including your address, may be handed to Daniel Karpinski who will take all gifts to Interval House following our meeting on the 14th; cheques may also be mailed later to Interval House, 131 Bloor Street West, Suite 200, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1R8 Phone: 416-924-1411 ext. 231 if there are any questions. One-time or monthly donations may also be made by phone or at www.intervalhouse.com.

If you have web access, do look at their site for an overview of their residential, community and advocacy programs. Read some success stories of lives saved and rebuilt through programs such as BESS, Building Economic Self-Sufficiency.

A Quote

by Beverly Bloom

As you might remember from the September Entre Nous, I am still taking classes with our August speaker, writer Patricia McCully, at a community centre. The following is an example from Expanding Ideas, one of the exercises we do in class. We were to write about a quote. Here is mine:

"Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country." This famous American quote by John Fitzgerald Kennedy is from his Inaugural Address on January 20, 1961, when he was sworn in as the 35th President of the United States. It is one that I think about a lot.

Yes, I think that one should contribute to his or her country's well-being and not expect to be carried. You should give more than you take. There should be a joint effort of all able citizens to throw things into the pot for the sake of the nation, not just for you or a select few.

Working together always produces more than the sum of its parts. We can build a better world, starting with our own nation, if we all pitch in.

We all have skills which we can harness and share to achieve this goal.

Guests are welcome at our meetings

Invite your friends, relatives, acquaintances,

fellow students in the courses you take,

members in other groups you are in

Become an active part of your Society

Help it to continue to function well

The Ulyssean mantra - A guiding principle