Active Bethel retirees set out on next adventure
“Life has always been an adventure,” said Lynn Arizzi of Bethel.
Lynn and her husband, Joe, have lived in Bethel since 2005 and have been very active in the community, including in the Western Mountains Senior College and the Rotary Club.
The couple will soon move back to Florida, Lynn’s home state. They recently looked back on their time in Bethel, and on how they happened to come here.
The couple met there after Joe, who served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean Conflict, attended college in Florida after discharge. It was there that he married “Miss Lynn,” which, he said “was the best thing I ever did.” Lynn was working on her Masters in music and education at the time.
The Arizzis later lived in Washington, D.C., and then lived on a sailboat docked on Chesapeake Bay, Md. for nine years.
When Lynn retired in 1990 from her position as Music Supervisor for the Fairfax County Public Schools in Fairfax, Va, she and Joe spent the next eight years sailing up and down the East Coast.
Then they decided to tour on land, bought an RV and spent the next six months traveling throughout the western United States, Canada and Alaska. Joe and Lynn’s many adventures are well documented with photographs taken by Joe and compiled in a large number of albums.
Their sailing days brought them to the Maine coast, and in 1993 they found Bethel. They learned about an LL Bean Weekend Symposium on cross country skiing at the Sunday River Resort. They decided to look into it, travelled to Bethel and were hooked.
For the next 12 years, they spent two winter months each year on the ski trails. During this time they also volunteered with Maine Handicapped Skiing. They roomed at Barbara Douglass’ B&B because it was the only one that accepted pets,and they had a parrot.
“Barbara’s bridge group enjoyed the sassy comments of Mario, the parrot,” said Lynn. They also rented at the Opera House.
In 2002, they bought their house on Eden Lane, but still travelled to Florida four times a year. Finally, in 2005, they moved to Bethel permanently to enjoy the small town atmosphere.
Their interest in the Western Mountains Senior College started during one of their ski trips in 2002, when they attended an informational meeting. As soon as they moved in 2005, they joined Senior College.
Later that year, Jackie Cressy, president of Senior College, approached Lynn about starting the Senior College Players. Jackie was aware of Lynn’s wide experience as a music and drama director as well as being a participant in a number of plays. Lynn rose to the challenge and held her first performance the following spring. Joe joined the Players as an actor, prop manager and photographer.
Lynn holds many fond memories of the plays she directed over the past six years. She recalled “Strangers Among Us,” as one of the highlights. This very moving and poignant play about Alzheimer’s was held as a To Your Health presentation. She loved directing all the Shakespeare plays, the Greek play, “Medea,” and the most recent, “Memories of a Wonderful Life,” which involved the audience with the cast. Her interest in youth led her to direct an intergenerational play, “Goldilocks,” which included the Senior College Players and fifth grade students from Crescent Park School, Woodstock, and Andover.
Lynn said she has great memories of working with all the cast members of the Senior College Players from the early days of “Valley Forgery” and “John Brown’s Body,” to last December’s “Memories” and “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.” And, she said, “Who can forget Walter Brough in ‘Gin and Tonic?’”
She participated on the board of the Maine Performing Arts and involved the Senior College Players in one of their productions. She was also a co-founder, with Ross Timberlake, of the Bethel Performance Arts Project. She assisted with his Porch Plays and directed two dinner theaters at the Bethel Inn with the Bethel Community Players, “The Legend of Lefty” and “The Butler Did It.” She also directed “Good Help is So Hard to Murder” at the Victoria Inn.
Lynn said she has fond memories of New Year’s Bethel, where she directed Senior College Players and played piano for the sing-along. She also played piano for a sing-along at the Bethel Inn on many Christmas Eves, and loved playing the piano on Saturday evenings at the Victoria Inn.
Another of Lynn’s interests involved her participation in the Mahoosuc Band, where she played the timpani. She especially liked playing the bass drum for the Memorial Day parades in Bethel, Greenwood and Woodstock while riding on a flat bed. She marveled at how tenderly people remembered fallen soldiers.
Among her other memories are being part of the luncheon crew at Roosters, which she compares to “Cheers” in Boston; dinners at S.S. Milton and Sue Milton’s hugs; learning to play bridge from Leigh Dickinson; the Friday afternoon bridge foursome; and her new love, playing golf.
Lynn’s experience and interest in youth led her to participate as a SAD 44 School Board member and Region 9 School Board member for seven years. One project that has captured her interest is called Mass Customized Learning, which involves individualized instruction. She’s excited because it’s all about students and how they learn.
While Lynn’s interests lie mostly in music, education and drama, Joe’s interests lie in civic duty. This led him to be an active participant in the Bethel Rotary Club where he also served a term as president.
He said he especially enjoyed the time he worked with Ann Lee Hussey, Governor of Rotary District 7780. Ann Lee was a polio survivor who has become a leader in a world-wide polio eradication effort. On one of her trips to Bethel, she brought a Nigerian polio survivor, Ayuba Gufwan, to meet and speak with SAD 44 students.
Ayuba has devoted his life to manufacturing bicycles for polio victims. Now inoculations are being conducted by volunteers in the countries which still have polio. When children are inoculated, their pinkie fingers are dipped in purple to identify them as inoculated. Hence, the birth of “purple pinkie days” started to help create an awareness of polio. Thanks to Joe and Rotarians, Bethel students had a great time on their “purple pinkie day” in 2011. Joe is also proud of the fact that Rotary sent Erin Murphy and Michelle Perejda to Nigeria to help with the inoculation project. Through his efforts, the Club agreed to sponsor them with some of the needed funds for the trip.
Another of Joe’s pet projects developed through the Rotary involved a partnership with Telstar High School to sponsor a Student of the Month. This project recognizes two students a month for outstanding achievements. Joe follows through at the school, taking photos to be posted and published. He enjoys working with students and continues to support this project, which he finds very rewarding.
Anyone visiting the Arizzis in the summer has been impressed with Joe’s flower garden. His efforts were rewarded a few years ago when the Mahoosuc Garden Tour featured his garden.
Joe and Lynn will be heading back to Florida for new lifetime adventures sometime soon. While Lynn plans to pursue golfing as a new hobby, Joe hopes to continue his interest in art.
Joe and Lynn’s active community involvement and contributions to Western Mountains Senior College will be missed. The Senior College Players are planning a “Farewell Party” – open to the public – at the Roosters Roadhouse Restaurant on Tuesday, May 7, from 5-8 p.m. There will be an appetizer buffet for a fee of $15 (tax and tip included) payable at the door and a cash bar will be available.
Anyone interested in attending is asked to RSVP to one of the following by May 3: Rosabelle Tifft at 824-2053; firstname.lastname@example.org or Roberta Taylor at 207-890-2595; email@example.com