Reconnecting with Osher

Reconnecting with Osher

September 1, 2012
Reconnecting with old friends through the Osher Institute

By Carol Matuschek (Photo by Tim Hanger of [clockwise from left] Matuschek, Ann Goodman, Ann Williams, Sally Wood and Rita Earl)

Over the past 40 years a walk around the lake at the University of Richmond and a green matcha tea have become steady rituals for me during my visits to Richmond from Germany. Even before, the lake and UR meant something special to our family. My brother earned his college degree from UR and my father painted a picture of the lake that still hangs in my mother’s living room.

Now what do the lake and green matcha tea have to do with Osher? Since graduating from Thomas Jefferson High School in Richmond in 1965, I have met Ann Goodman and Rita Earl, both former classmates and very good friends, for regular walks around the lake as well as ensuing visits to Starbucks for green matcha tea. It was actually Ann who introduced both Rita and me to the Osher program. Now we are all avid members.

Then, two years ago as I walked into an Osher class in the Special Programs Building on campus, I scanned the room for familiar faces and a place to sit. Suddenly a woman turned to look in my direction. Her face lit up and looked vaguely familiar as she cried out my name. She rose immediately, and we gave each other a big hug. It was Ann Williams, also a former classmate from Thomas Jefferson.

One of her first memories of me was coming to my 16th birthday party. Ann recalled a dramatic early evening snow and being picked up by my father since her mother was fearful of driving in inclement weather. That obviously really impressed her. We went on to exchange other stories about the lives we have led since high school and realized how important learning and continued education have been for us.  The love of knowledge appears to be what has drawn all of us to the Osher program.

More recently Rita and I realized that working together as a team is still quite enjoyable and fulfilling when we led the discussion of one of Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales” during the Osher Spring Semester. We had great fun planning together, just like in our high school days!

Finally, my experience at Osher has not only reconnected me with past friends, but also enlarged my circle of like-minded acquaintances. Sally Wood’s classes on Shakespeare were not only inspiring, informative and fun, but we discovered that she was a good friend of Ann Goodman in college and happens to be a very close neighbor of Ann Williams. All five of us were born in the same year and graduated accordingly. So in addition to attending classes together, going for walks or to an art show, we've started a Birthday Celebrating Group, going out to lunch or dinner on each special occasion.

Good friends, good food, good learning... Osher is fun!