When some of us bought second homes or decided to escape winter weather in the north or northeast and we settled on Sun City, we furnished our new homes with Arizona themes, including pottery and baskets made by native tribes. One of these tribes, the Hohokam, is part of the rich history of Arizona, and Southwestern archeology is evidence of the longevity of the Hohokams. The Deer Valley Petroglyphs, a 47 acre preserve in Glendale, boasts more than 1,500 petroglyphs and 500 of them are clearly visible on the basalt boulders there. The age of the petroglyphs is said to be anywhere from several hundred years to perhaps as much as 7,000 years of age. Experts tell us that these images on rocks may be prophetic warnings, directions, clan beliefs or even storytelling; the spiral is seen often in petroglyphs and some believe it is a sign of eternity.
Pat Tonnema, Field Trip Chair for the Lifelong Learning Club of Sun City, has announced that the club’s first field trip of the year planned for Nov. 9 will be a visit to the Deer Valley Petroglyphs. Members of Lifelong Learning can sign up for the Field Trip at class registration Oct. 10 at the Fairway Recreation Center when class registration and a membership meeting will be held 10 a.m.-1 p.m. in Arizona rooms 1 and 2.
History buffs will welcome a view of these remarkable images, and they may also benefit from Professor Ken Reed’s class on Russian History from Batu to Putin. We all know who Putin is, but Batu (1205-1255) may have been more elusive; he was the grandson of Gengas Khan and the commander-in-chief of the Mongol Empire. By the year 1240, he had conquered all of Russia and he still looms large in Russian history and literature in that he is the barometer of Russian attitudes of his age. Professor Reed’s course will be taught over five weeks from Oct. 19 until Nov. 16.
Historians will also welcome other learning opportunities to fine tune our understanding of American foreign policy and cultural development. Among these would be “Arizona Statehood and the Roughriders” taught in two parts by Marty Frees. Most of us have seen photographs of the Rough Riders standing tall with Theodore Roosevelt on San Juan Hill (on July 1, 1898) when the Roughriders fought to the top of Kettle Hill in order to be part of the liberation of Cuba from Spain. About 25% of the Roughriders were men from Arizona. And, as for the stories of our culture, former Lifelong Learning Club President Brian Callahan will once again offer classes about the Old West: “Famous Feuds and Range Wars,” “the Outlaw as Popular Hero,” “Lawmen: Good, Bad, and In-Between”. And, to be even more specific and recent, Sun City historian Ben Roloff will teach a class about the development of “Age Restrictions in Sun City.”
It’s all about the stories. American’s own evolving story as seen by our highest judiciary, the Supreme Court, will be presented by Erl Hardy in two class presentations, and Mark Merkley will lead us through an examination of reparations paid by Japan and Germany after World War II. Story telling itself, as a concept and activity, will again be presented by Bonnie Angster; of course, every culture and individual has its own story and narrative, which helps the listener or reader understand and sharpen empathy skills. Angster will focus on oral traditions of storytelling. Some of us tell our own story even as we seek self understanding about why we choose to do the things we do, and no doubt Bob O’Donnell’s class asking us whether we know our Moral Compass will be useful, especially in preparation for the scope of a “Collaborative Negotiations” class.
And one of the most charming storytellers of all will be featured in the fall term: Beatrix Potter. Taught by Ellen Schultz, this class is “More than Peter Rabbit” and discusses the legacy of Peter Rabbit’s creator in terms of her extraordinary observational qualities about the natural world. Though known for her 23 stories for children, Potter was a keen illustrator of flora and fauna, and she began a long history of sketchbooks when she was only eight years old. And, though the class is much more comprehensive than just about that rabbit, it is a fact that Peter was the first fictional character to be made into a patented stuffed toy.
Lifelong Learning Club paid members have received a schedule of these and other classes by email. For newcomers or other inquiries, Lifelong Learning Club President Michael Powell welcomes questions. You can reach Powell by calling or texting 602/330-6371 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do get in touch with Powell, you might want to ask him about his class about “Finding Beauty, Truth, and Goodness” in the books we read. Most learners are legendary readers, of course. Lifelong Learning Club is a chartered club of the Recreation Centers of Sun City dedicated to providing learning opportunities at a low cost for Sun City residents. The membership fee is $20 per year and classes are offered in the fall and spring.