Taking early retirement from my job at U.C.'s Boalt Hall School of Law, where I was a lowly administrative assistant, clearly wasn't the smartest move I've ever made. Suddenly I had all this loose time on my hands, driving me absolutely bananas! Not to worry-- thanks to the good Lord above, a friend passed on her Elderhostel Road Adventure catalog, so now I can fill those empty hours with dozens of Road Scholar programs. Should you not be familiar with Elderhostel, this is a not-for-profit educational program dating back to 1975, with President James Moses responsible for its remarkable success. It offers more than 7,000 learning adventures in all 50 states and 150 countries around the world, as can be seen in the bulky catalogs sent regularly throughout the year. There's also an Adventures Afloat Catalog. To date I've taken more than 31 programs, some domestic , some international. To say which programs I enjoyed the most is almost impossible. I've attended three or four New York City programs. One focused on the Fifth Avenue Museum Mile at the Metropolitan Museum. I also had lunch at a restaurant in one of the Twin Towers, little dreaming of the horrific attack of 9/11.
Another enjoyable program was the one in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a lovely, lovely city where my friend Claire Lichtenstein lives. Her father, Saul, owned and operated Saul's Deli on Shattuck Avenue, still one of Berkeley's favorite restaurants. As a great admirer of Jimmy Carter, I visited the Carter Presidential Museum in Atlanta, Georgia, gaining even more respect for this man.
Another memorable program was the one in New Orleans, where I saw the Street Car Named Desire and Tennessee Williams' home.
Of the International programs, I would have to say the one in Italy was the most thrilling -- Milan, Verona and Venice. I'll never forget the magical afternoon I spent in the San Marco Plaza, sipping a glass of wine while listening to an orchestra play, strangely enough, "I Had It May Way."
Without doubt, Venice has to be the most beautiful city in the world!
The program in Great Britain was also most enjoyable. By sheer chance I arrived just in time for the opening of the Edinburgh Festival and Tattoo, with plays and concerts going on all day. This one wore me out!
In July of this year I plan to attend the Aspen Music Festival in the lovely Victorian town of Aspen. There I'll have the privilege of listening to the world's most accomplished musicians, with lectures and evening concerts going on for six days.
In summing up my rewarding experience with Road Scholar and Elderhostel, I can only say that no other organization offers more great moments of discovery, awe, joy and friendship. I would, therefore, urge you all to sign up for a program and see for yourself the sheer pleasure and riches Road Scholar offers.