JUNE 2007 MEETING

The Rose Garden at Elizabeth Park
June Meeting
On 21 June, the longest day of the year, we plan as visit to Elizabeth Parkís rose garden, one of Connecticutís premier cultural attractions. The roses should be in full bloom at that time and we will have a guided tour led by the best guide we could have - Donna Fuss, the leader of the Friends of Elizabeth Park, the organization which maintains the rose garden.

Elizabeth Park was established by a Hartford banking and railroad magnate, Charles Pond, who bought the land and gave it to the City of Hartford. Is is named for his wife. Lying on both sides of Prospect Street, the dividing line between Hartford and West Hartford, the rose garden is in West Hartford.

The rose garden was laid out in 1904 by a Swiss landscape architect named Theodore Wirth. He had been trained in part at Kew Gardens, the English Royal Botanical Garden, where the roses are famous. To this day the Elizabeth Park rose garden is not only the oldest municipal rose garden but the third largest in the United states. It contains 15,000 roses.

We will have an hourís tour beginning at 11 AM. But after lunch you may want to see more of the park, which is centered on a lovely pond with great trees, shrub borders, and flower gardens of all sorts.

Lunch will be served in the Pond House, a nice restaurant in the park by the pond. Luncheon will cost $19.95, including tax and tip. Following lunch there will be a brief business meeting with election of officers - secretary and treasurer - for the next two years.

Directions to Elizabeth Park:
From the east, take I-84 west to the Asylum Ave exit, turn right on Asylum and follow it about a mile to Prospect Avenue (at top of a hill with a traffic light). Then turn left on Prospect Avenue and almost immediately turn right into the Park drive. Follow drive to vicinity of rose garden on your right and park on the drive. We will gather at the Pergola in the center of the rose garden at 11 A.M.

From the north or south take I-91 to its intersection with I-84 and then follow directions above.

From the west, you may find it easier to take the Sigourney street exit from I-84, then go north to Asylum Avenue and west to Prospect Ave.

Fred Cazel

Editorís Note: Fred Cazel has lead several trips to the British Isles to view ďCastles, Cathedrals, and GardensĒ in different areas of England, Ireland, and Scotland. Some Emeritus Assembly members have had the opportunity to enjoy these trips and to profit from Fredís extensive knowledge of famous gardens. As is suggested in the account above, he provides not only botanical names enough to satisfy the most ardent gardener, but also historical background for the more casual traveler.

Web note:  see the spring 2007 issue of the Newsletter for a detailed map and directions for the park.
A MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT      January 30, 2007
Our First Spring Program :  Murderers by Jeffrey Hatcher

When we met in Storrs on November 14, the members present were called on after lunch to decide, among other things, the nature of the Spring programs.  Chairing the meeting, I was able to suggest two musical programs and one theatrical presentation, a play called Murderers, by Jeffrey Hatcher, which takes place in a Florida retirement community called Riddle Key.  This third offering captured the favor of the gathering,captivated by its piquancy, and the vote for it was overwhelming.

The play has already had its East Coast premiere in an October production of the Philadelphia Theatre Company, where it received favorable reviews for a rousing performance.  One critic wrote,  "Murderers is a delight - a very funny comedy with some biting satire and terrific storytelling. . .  Hatcher has a lot of fun mocking the American Way of Waiting for Death, and his three protagonists . . . play with the sterotypes of the elderly in unexpected ways."  Each of the protagonists presents a separate tale, one of an administrator of the retirement center, one of a wife killer, and one of a wife who takes umbrage at the sudden appearance in the community of her husband's old flame.

Jeffrey Hatcher is a prolific playwright who has also written for television.  His plays, produced on Broadway, off-Broadway and in regional theaters across the country and abroad, include Three Viewings, Scotland Road, Neddy, Korczak's Children, A Picasso, Mercy Of A Storm and, with collaborators, Work Song and Lucky Duck.  He has won grants and awards from the NEA, TCG, the Lila-Wallace Fund, and A Rosenthal New Play Prize, a Frankel Award, a Barrymore Award and others.

Murderers is to be staged, starting on April 13, at TheaterWorks, a professional theater company centered in a building that it owns, an Art Deco structure at 233 Pearl Street in downtown Hartford.  Our date is for a Sunday matinee on May 6, at 2:30.

Parts of the glowing reviews we have consulted naturally focus on the performers in Philadelphia, and the question was asked, whether the same performers would appear at TheaterWorks.  Such duplication is not customary: each theater company mounts its own production in its own way, with a vision built up from the insights and necessities of director, scene designer, casting director and the various talents supplied by the company.  It is quite certain that one of the Philadelphia actors is already booked for a New York appearance beginning in March, and the other actors and theater people in Philadelphia no doubt have commitments of their own.

It will be interesting for us, then, to experience Hartford's own unique performance of this original work in the company's intimately proportioned, 200 seat auditorium, in its historic building.

Nicholas Welchman, President
President's Message      August 20, 2006
Long time members of  the Assembly are used to the pattern: two program meetings in the Fall, each  concerned with an issue touching on public policy,  two in the Spring, each dealing with some aspect of the arts.   Usually the Fall meetings occur in  October and November, but this year, because of anticipated conflicts, we have  moved the first meeting up to September 19, which leaves us all now with  little time.  Another variation is  in the realm of location: we're moving out of the midstate corridor, roughly  between New Haven and Hartford to visit Fairfield University, a distinguished  institution and the home of an unusually active AAUP Chapter with a strong  record of accomplishment.
I  became aware of Professor Ralph Coury, our main speaker for this meeting and a  member of the History Department at Fairfield, serendipitously.  Dipping in to a July, 2005, weekend  issue of the Financial Times, an international business newspaper published in  London, I found a letter by Ralph Coury in which he discussed the ideas of Osama  Bin Laden as expressed in Bin Laden's own words, finding in them a cogent  political agenda rather than a mere farrago of jihadist hatred; moreover there  were citations of specific acts by westerners that were perceived as injurious  to Islam.  I thought that a  Connecticut academic with an informed awareness of Islamic culture and politics  would be a figure to whom we would listen with interest and profit, nowadays,  especially in an atmosphere of scholarly interaction.  Accordingly I mentioned my interest to a  planning meeting last June and, authorized to proceed, approached Professor  Coury;  I was able to secure his agreement to join us.
Ralph  Coury's scholarship is, of course, not limited to Osama Bin Laden's life and  thoughts, and we agreed on a topic of more general interest and a greater  historical sweep:   "From  Churchill to Bush: Western Imperialism and the Middle East." Let me emphasize that there is nothing  gratuitous in the term 'imperialism' in this context:   after World War I and the collapse of  the Ottoman Empire, Winston Churchill was British Secretary of State for War and  Air as Britain assumed responsibility for formative rule over the new nation of  Mesopotamia, as Churchill liked to call it, though the name of Iraq was soon to  supersede this classical nomenclature.   Soon moved to the Colonial Office, Churchill continued to develop his  theory of air power as an effective tool for establishing government authority  in opposition to unruly tribal elements.  Thus was Iraq born under the tutelage of the British Empire, acting under  the somewhat belatedly confirmed mandate of the League of Nations.   And Britain continues today, as a junior  partner to the Great Power of the moment, to advance the mandate of 1923, "to  take both Palestine and Mesopotamia (Iraq) forward to  self-government."*
Professor  George Lang (Mathematics) will round out our program at Fairfield with an  address at lunch.  George has been a  vigorous representative, both of AAUP at Fairfield, where he helped to show how  far a Chapter can go at a private institution to advance the interests and  protect the rights of the faculty, and of Fairfield and Connecticut at the  national level within the structure of AAUP.  It will be a pleasure to receive his  welcome and hear an account of faculty success through  collegiality.
*Townshend,  Charles, 1986.  "Civilization and  'Frightfulness': Air Control in the Middle East Between the Wars," essay in Warfare, Diplomacy and  Politics, Essays in Honour of A. J. P. Taylor, edited by Chris  Wrigley.
Nicholas Welchman, President
For a sampler of our program activities, as summarized by Cecilia Wellna, please click on the highlighted link.