Lecture series lets retirees travel from their chairs


EVERY MONTH, residents at Vantage House Retirement Community travel to exotic lands. They have visited Ireland, Australia, Mongolia and India -- without packing a suitcase.

"Fascinating Places" is an armchair-travel lecture and discussion series that allows residents to share memories of visits to foreign lands.

Wilde Lake resident Jean Trotter runs the program.

"When I did a program about a safari to Kenya, there were 38 people in attendance and 22 of those had been on a safari in Kenya before," she said. "That's a very high percentage. It seems that Vantage House has attracted people who are very well-traveled, well-educated and have lived very interesting lives."

Her husband, Gordon, is a docent at the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum in Washington. He helps with the Vantage House program by arranging speakers.

Jean Trotter owns Horizon Travel with Harper's Choice residents Sandra Croson and Katharine Gobbel. Their agency provides on-site service to Vantage House residents once a week.

"I bring Horizon to them so they don't have to go out," she said.

Trotter had the idea to start "Fascinating Places" two years ago as a way to stimulate interest in travel and provide senior citizens with an opportunity to reminisce about their travel experiences.

"As people get older, it's very important for them to relive some of the memories of their past as well as being stimulated by new experiences," Trotter said.

Ann Chitale, who plans activities and day trips for Vantage House residents, thought it was a great idea and helped Trotter get the program started.

A recent discussion on "The Great Indian Railway" was of interest to Chitale because she was born in Bombay, India. She goes back to India every year to visit family and friends.

Vantage House residents Dr. David Price and his wife, Jean, provided a film for the discussion on India. Their daughter, Janet Price Spauss, has given her parents several films by National Geographic, where she works, and has donated some movies to Vantage House.

The Prices lived in India from 1965 to 1967 when Dr. Price, now 85, headed the Ford Foundation's Family Planning Program there.

Jean Price remembers India as an exciting place. She said the people were "awfully nice" and "the Taj Mahal is simply out of this world."

While living in India, Mrs. Price, 86, bought a number of saris -- a traditional garment worn by Hindu women. Usually made of silk, cotton or rayon, the fabric for a sari is 6 meters long, Mrs. Price said.

"Most saris are hand-woven," she said. "The colors are gorgeous, and they usually have gold thread medallions on them. They're a job to put on."

Mrs. Price had one of the saris made into a dress to wear to her daughter's wedding.

Another Vantage House resident, Ruth Bronstein, traveled to India in 1979 to research schools there for a class she taught in comparative education at Salisbury State.

An avid traveler, Bronstein said she has been on every continent. She joined Jean Price and Ann Chitale in modeling silk saris for the travel discussion group.

Like others in the "Fascinating Places" program, Bronstein said she enjoys the discussion group because it's like revisiting places where she has vacationed. "I'm reliving my trip," she said.

Talk about HotSpot

Harper's Choice residents, mark your calendars.

At 7 p.m. Monday, Capt. Mike Kessler of the Howard County Police Department will meet with residents at Kahler Hall to solicit ideas for the HotSpot program.

The program, to begin in January in Harper's Choice, will allocate state resources to policing, activities for young people, victim services, mobilizing the community and revitalizing homes and businesses.

Information: Wendy Tzuker, 410-730-0770 or Capt. Mike Kessler, 410-313-3710.

Bar Association award

Pamila Brown, principal counsel for the Maryland attorney general's office, is the recipient of the American Bar Association's Government and Public Sector Lawyers Division 1999 Nelson Award.

She received the award in Atlanta last month.

Brown has been involved with the ABA since 1982, serving as chair of the Government Lawyers Division and on numerous standing and special committees.

She was recently appointed to a 12-member "Pay to Play" Task Force, along with former Sen. Howard H. Baker Jr. and former CIA Director William H. Webster, to explore issues of campaign finance and political contributions.

Brown lives in Hickory Ridge with her husband, Chris Robinson, and 7-year-old twins Matthew and Marissa.

Brown is also chair of the Hickory Ridge Village Board.

Back to School Nights

The PTSAs of Atholton and Wilde Lake high schools encourage all parents to attend Back-to-School Night to learn more about their child's school and meet teachers.

Atholton High School's Back-to-School Night is scheduled for 7 o'clock Sept. 16.

The Wilde Lake High School PTSA will hold its Back-to-School Night at 7 o'clock tomorrow in the Rouse Theater.

On Sept. 22, Wilde Lake High Principal Roger Plunkett will give his second "State of the School" address at 7: 30 p.m. in the Rouse Theater.

PTSA President Gene Shipp encourages parents to attend both Wilde Lake events to hear thoughts and plans for the coming year.

Pub Date: 9/08/99

A photo caption in the Howard edition of The Sun yesterday incorrectly reported the background of one of three women pictured wearing saris, a traditional garment of India. Ruth Bronstein traveled to India, but did not live there. The Sun regrets the error.
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