Backyard astronomy and the sun will be discussed by Albert Lamperti on June 4 and 11.

Backyard astronomy and the sun will be discussed by Albert Lamperti on June 4 and 11.

by Mary McNeill Zell

Spring is in the air. Really? At last. For good. “Oh frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!” we chortle in our joy.

With a nod to Lewis Carroll, the Chestnut Hill Center for Enrichment (CHCE), at 8431 Germantown Ave., welcomes the season and invites the community to share spring and summer here.

We begin with “Street Smarts” next Tuesday, May 8, at 1 p.m., in the Center’s living room. Learn how to be safe as a driver, passenger and pedestrian; and how to cope with cyclists or aggressive drivers on the road. This program is free and ends with an interactive safety game.

The last Literary Salon of the season is set for Thursday, May 8, at 7 p.m., in the Chestnut Hill Hotel’s Bombay Room, with guest speaker JJ Murphy, an award-winning health care writer, long-time fan of Dorothy Parker and author of the Algonquin Round Table Mysteries. Copies of Murphy’s books will be available for purchase at a discount; and there will be time for cold drinks, sweet treats and conversation with the author. Donations to support all CHCE programs are appreciated.

The Center welcomes back Jan Collins, M.Ed., owner of Creating Your Positive Life and candidate for a doctorate in Spiritual Science, on Tuesday, May 20. “Control & Relationships – Ouch!” will be his topic. Me? Controlling? Never. Whose way is the right way? Join in the discussion at 1 p.m. in the CHCE living room; there is no charge.

Moving into summer, the CHCE invites its members and the community to enjoy a luncheon followed by a presentation from the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Tuesday, June 3, at 12:30 p.m. This event takes place at Center on the Hill, 8855 Germantown Ave. and the subject will be is the Museum’s special exhibit “Treasures from Korea’s Joseon Dynasty, 1392-1910.” The cost is $15 (CHCE members $10).

For those who think Astronomy is just about stargazing, think about attending a two-part program to learn about our closest star (the sun) and be introduced to backyard astronomy. This takes place on Wednesdays, June 4 and 11, from 11 a.m. to noon at the CHCE. Your guide will be Albert Lamperti, Professor of Histology and Neuroanatomy (Ret.) and an avid amateur astronomer since 1984 who now coordinates two Observing Programs of the Astronomical League. The fee is just $5 per session.

Health will be the theme on Tuesday, June 10, at 1 p.m., when the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging and Penn Nursing Consultation Services talk seriously about three of the new blood-thinning products being advertised and prescribed for the prevention of blood clots, especially in older adults with a history of heart disease and stroke. This free program will be in the Center’s living room.

On Tuesday, June 17 the CHCE is offering “Get to Know Your iPad” in the Center’s living room, and using our wifi connection. Long-time IT instructor and consultant Nina Epstein will discuss whether you should buy an iPad. What can you do with it? If you already have an iPad, bring it with you. The two-hour class begins at 10 a.m. and costs $20.

Early registration is advised, as space is limited for these activities. Call or email the CHCE office (215-248-0180 or visit

All these special programs are just the tip of the iceberg at CHCE. For the remainder of the spring and through the summer there are weekly classes in tai chi, yoga, watercolors and drawing/sketching, international folk dancing and lessons, bridge-scrabble-mah jongg-chess-pinochle games, Spanish lessons, French conversation, short story-craft-knitting groups, play reading (script-in-hand), daytime “movie Tuesdays” and community-wide “luscious lunches” (May 27 and June 24). All activities are offered at a moderate cost.

Looking ahead, the CHCE is heading to an Atlantic League baseball game (Camden River Sharks vs. Long Island Ducks) on July 24; game time is 11 a.m. at Campbell’s Field. On August 10, it’s Sunday brunch, followed by “Broadway on Butler” at Act II Playhouse in Ambler. And for the early fall, there is a trip to The Outer Banks. September 29 to October 2, to explore lighthouses, Elizabethan gardens, Kitty Hawk, aquariums and the natural beauty of the place ($100 deposit due June 1).

The Chestnut Hill Center for Enrichment serves those “fifty and better” living in northwest Philadelphia and eastern Montgomery County, but all programs are open to adults of all ages and all neighborhoods. Call or email us, or just stop in.

Mary McNeill Zell is executive director of Chestnut Hill Center for Enrichment.