Retiree Network – Calendar of Events, August 2017

Here’s what the PCC Retiree Network has coming up in August, 2017:

August 9th, 1:00 p.m. Monthly Happy Lunch – Mother’s Bistro (212 SW Stark St, Portland, OR 97204). We will need to make reservations for the group, so we’ll take RSVP’s through Monday, August 7th. If you can join us please RSVP by replying to the emailed version of this message or use the ‘comment’ box below this post to let us know you’re planning to join us.

August 17th, Art & Conversation, Portland Art Museum: This monthly event occurs on the third Thursday of each month beginning with coffee and conversation followed by a lecture or film screening. This month, Randy Gragg, guest curator and Executive Director at the University of Oregon’s John Yeon Center for Architecture and the Landscape, will discuss Quest for Beauty: The Architecture, Landscapes, and Collections of John Yeon, a retrospective exhibition highlighting the work and collections of architect, conservationist, and collector John Yeon.

Coffee at 9:15 a.m. in the Fields Ballroom, Mark Building; lecture at 10:15am in the Whitsell Auditorium, Main Building. Those attending the lecture are also welcome to explore the galleries after the talk. This series is free for adults 62 and over and is made possible through the Marguerite and Harry Kendall Education Fund. Additional support comes from Rick and Erika Miller.

August 23rd, 11:30 a.m. Pinot & Prose Book Club at Walter Mitty’s Restaurant, followed by lunch and our monthly business meeting at 1:00. Our book selection for August is: “Astoria, John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire – A Story of Wealth, Ambition and Survival” by Peter Stark. You can read the publisher’s summary and comments on our web page here: Astoria.

August 23rd, 1:00 p.m. Retiree Network Monthly Business Meeting: We’d like to invite anyone who has ideas, suggestions, or just plain interest in our activities to come join us for this meeting as we work to plan a full calendar of events for Fall term.  At Walter Mitty’s Restaurant.  

Posted in Book Group, Book of the Month, Calendar, Events | Leave a comment

Pinot & Prose Book Club selection for August, 2017

“Astoria, John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire – A Story of Wealth, Ambition and Survival” by Peter Stark.

Publisher’s comments:  Astoria is the thrilling, true-adventure tale of the 1810 Astor Expedition, an epic, now forgotten, three-year journey to forge an American empire on the Pacific Coast. Peter Stark offers a harrowing saga in which a band of explorers battled nature, starvation, and madness to establish the first American settlement in the Pacific Northwest and opened up what would become the Oregon trail, permanently altering the nation’s landscape and its global standing.

Six years after Lewis and Clark’s began their journey to the Pacific Northwest, two of the Eastern establishment’s leading figures, John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson, turned their sights to founding a colony akin to Jamestown on the West Coast and transforming the nation into a Pacific trading power. Author and correspondent for Outside magazine Peter Stark recreates this pivotal moment in American history for the first time for modern readers, drawing on original source material to tell the amazing true story of the Astor Expedition.

Unfolding over the course of three years, from 1810 to 1813, Astoria is a tale of high adventure and incredible hardship in the wilderness and at sea. Of the more than one hundred-forty members of the two advance parties that reached the West Coast—one crossing the Rockies, the other rounding Cape Horn—nearly half perished by violence. Others went mad. Within one year, the expedition successfully established Fort Astoria, a trading post on the Columbia River. Though the colony would be short-lived, it opened provincial American eyes to the potential of the Western coast and its founders helped blaze the Oregon Trail.

Enjoy the book then come join your fellow PCC retirees for a discussion on Wednesday, August 23rd at 11:30 a.m. at Walter Mitty’s Restaurant.

Posted in Book Group, Book of the Month, Calendar, Events | Leave a comment

After Event Report: Zero Cancer Walk

Despite our announcing that the Retiree Network would not field a team for this year’s Zero Cancer Run/Walk, a number of network members both volunteered and participated in the 2nd annual Zero Cancer Run/Walk charity on June 11th.

Five of them (Lynn Brokaw, Jerry Ekstrom, John Pergeil, Greg Wilson and Gary Lesniak) volunteered as course monitors and then made up a team to do the mile walk. The charity run collects funds, over $60,000 this year, to support research, education and patient services for prostate cancer. That disease is the second most common cancer in men and typically appears around retirement age. Thanks guys!

Posted in Events | Leave a comment

Thank You to Walter Mitty’s Restaurant!

The Retiree Network Steering Committee decided at our June meeting that it was high time we got around to posting a big THANK YOU to the folks at Walter Mitty’s Restaurant.

They have hosted the Retiree Network’s monthly book club sessions, lunches and business meetings of the steering committee for well over five years.

If you aren’t familiar with this relaxed, casual establishment located just up hill of the main entrance to the Sylvania Campus, you should check them out sometime. Here’s the link to their menu.  Walter Mitty’s Restaurant.

Posted in Events | Leave a comment

The Pianist of Willesden Lane – Post event review by Gary Lesniak & Betty Kendall

The Pianist of Willesden Lane

An extraordinary experience was shared by fourteen of our PCC Retiree Network members recently at Portland Center Stage, in the form of a stunning narrative, accompanied by music.

The Pianist of Willisden Lane is an exceptional human story of WWII survival and life force performed by the playwright, pianist and author herself, Mona Golabek.  She tells the true life story of her Austrian mother, Lisa Jura, who as a talented teen piano student in 1938 was saved from Nazi roundups of Austrian Jews by the Kindertransport, a program that transported Jewish children to the safety of group foster homes in wartime England.

Her mother eventually ran away from her first children’s home, an austere stressed situation in which piano practice was forbidden.  However, with the support of a new foster parent and her refugee peers at Willesden Lane, she found her way to London’s Royal Academy of Music which recognized her talents and arranged fine music teachers for her.  Eventually, Lisa became a professional concert pianist and teacher.

After the war she married Michael Golabeck, who had been a French Resistance fighter.  They had two daughters, Renee and Mona.

Daughter Mona herself became an exceptional concert pianist and accompanied her narration of mother’s tale with stirring classical pieces. It is no wonder that she is in her second year encore circuit with her one-woman presentation and that her book sales are in there 25th printing.

The Retiree Network, thanks to Lynn Mayer’s suggestion of this event and Jerry Donnelly’s work with Portland Center Stage was happy to secure the group discounted tickets for this experience.

Please watch our announcements for future Retiree Network group outings and come join us!

The Pianist of Willesden Lane

Photos courtesy of Portland Center Stage, copyright Patrick Weishampel/

Posted in Events, Looking Back | Leave a comment

Pinot & Prose Book Club Summer Reading Selection

The Pinot & Prose Book Club will take its annual ‘summer break’ through July and will next meet at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, August 23rd at Walter Mitty’s Restaurant to discuss our summer selection which is Astoria – John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson’s Lost Pacific Empire, A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival by Peter Stark.

Posted in Book Group, Book of the Month, Calendar, Events | Leave a comment

Zero Cancer Run/Walk – June 11, 2017

Sunday, June 11th, 9:00 a.m. Zero Prostate Cancer walk.  The Retiree Network will not be fielding a team this year, but we do encourage individual retirees to support and/or participate in this 1k riverfront walk from Elizabeth Caruthers Park to Downtown Portland.  Elizabeth Caruthers Park (3508 SW Moody Ave, in the South Waterfront District).  For more information contact Gary Lesniak at

Posted in Calendar, Events | Leave a comment