Category Archives: Residents

A Difficult and Courageous Testament

The personal testament that appears below is probably not of the kind that we would ordinarily publish on our website.  However, given the urgency of the topic’s moment, the courage of those coming forward and the importance of our national exploration, we are sharing it with admiration for the author’s strength.

The piece is authored by Collington resident Jane Engle, for whom making her name public is itself an important statement.

I wish to take advantage of this moment in history to share briefly a few stories of sexual harassment and abuse from my life. I do so because it is healing for me to write these stories and, even more so, to make them public. I do so in the hope that other residents and those who read this website will also find healing in sharing their stories in whatever venue is appropriate for them. I do so in fear that residents or staff, who are now experiencing similar situations, have remained silent because they fear dire consequences. I hope they find support from all the stories that are being told and the strength to tell the authorities who can help them. What follows involve a family member, a professor, a doctor, a minister and a friend.

A member of my family sexually abused me. I “don’t remember” these events. They are “secrets” in the family. I’ve never told anyone about these events.

A professor during my university studies who was the chairman of my honors thesis sexually abused me over a long period of time. I discovered that he had abused many other students before and after me. The administration knew of his actions, but he continued to teach until many years later when he retired as professor emeritus. He was held in high esteem by the many professional societies he belonged to.

A psychiatrist sexually abused me while I was a student at another university. I saw him at the student health clinic where he was the only doctor. He told me he could help me if I was in analysis with him. First he told me lie on a couch. (This was actually the usual practice in analysis.) Then he said we should have back-to-back hourly sessions. Then he said walks would help me feel more open in the sessions. And then he held my hand during these walks. In his office he told me to undress so that he could help me feel good about my body. Then he felt intimate parts of my body. (This last sentence is so painful to remember and, even more so, to write.) It was almost a decade before I was told and believed that this was most certainly not done to help me and that it was  abuse. I then reported these events to the appropriate professional society.  A committee of psychiatrists listened to our disparate stories, decided that I was not telling the truth, and told the psychiatrist to continue his practice.

A minister sexually harassed an intern in a church where I was also an intern. I found out that he had sexually harassed previous interns as well as a seminary student who was in counseling with him. With overwhelming guilt, the reasons for which are hard to understand today, I told the authorities. The minister continued to serve at the same church during the year long bungled investigation. He told others who were in his care that the events were consensual. A person from the church where he previously had served knew of his behavior, but never said anything because “this would ruin his reputation.” Twenty years later I learned that he had just been retired.

A woman, who had been in a religious order and who is one of my best friends, told me in front of her spouse that she had been raped by a man who was and remains in a religious order. Her companion was horrified and said she had never heard about this even though they had been living together for many years. I’ll never forget her exact words, “This was just one of those things. It happens all the time.”

My stories are not unique. I am quite sure many women and men who read this have had experiences that have been more harmful and possibly even violent. Some will inevitably throw stones at those of us who speak about unspeakable things. We have only our integrity on the line. This being said, I continue to struggle with the “secret” in my family.

We appreciate Jane’s courage in writing this piece, and hope the community can find ways to support her, and surely others in tragically similar situations.

Richard Zorza’s Legal Blog Gets ABA Award

The American Bar Association Journal now does a Web 100 list honoring “the best of lawyers and the law on the web.”  For whatever it is worth, they have included my (Richard’s) Access to Justice blog this year on their list. Here is the link to the blog itself.

Quoting the blog, they describe it as follows:

“We define access to justice broadly to include innovations in courts, the bar, legal aid and community that make it easier for people to obtain access to justice institutions, and to just results within those institutions.” Posts cover a broad range of subjects, including access to counsel, foreclosures, self-service, law schools and technology.

Remember, all my blogs are listed here.

To whet your appetites, here is the begining of the list of topics covered.

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I know I am not alone in wanting to hear more about other resident’s milestones.

Starting one Week from Tonight!

Take it from me, you will not be disappointed in this hilarious play performed by our very own Collingtonians.  It is really a hoot, or I should rather say a honk.

Three French veterans of the Great War—Gustave, Philippe, and Henri—sit ensconced on their terrace and bemoan the tedium of life in a home for old soldiers. Where are the glories of past campaigns; where are the women; why put up with Sister Madeleine? And what, pray, is so dangerous about February 12th? Why not flee to Indochina, or least have a picnic? And what are the waving poplars across the hill telling them? Perhaps they should join the flight of the wild geese.

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The play will be produced Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, November 15, 16, and 17 at 7:00 in the Collington Auditorium.

Collingtonians Join Tibetan Prayers for Worldwide Peace

mandala 3On Sunday morning I did something rather unusual.  I joined 2 other Collingtonians and went to the Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church in Bethesda.  I was motivated by the opportunity to participate in a spiritual experience that was offered by the Tibetan Buddhist Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery.  The Monastery was reestablished in South India by escapee monks after the Chinese invaded Tibet and killed or imprisoned others.

The monks, endorsed by the Dalai Lama, are touring the country to promote world peace and healing.  At Cedar Lane they laid down millions of vibrantly colored grains of sand to create a mandala sand painting. Formed of a traditional prescribed iconography that includes geometric shapes and a multitude of ancient spiritual symbols, the sand-painted mandala is used as a tool for re-consecrating the earth and its inhabitants.  The monks constructed the mandala between August 23rd and and August 26th.

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The day included an incredibly moving ceremony that included blessings, chanting, a guided meditation, gleanings from ancient and contemporary wisdoms, and a dedication prayer.

 

Perhaps most moving for me was the deconstruction of the mandala. This was done as a metaphor of the impermanence of life. The sands were swept up and placed in an urn. To fulfill the function of healing, half was distributed to the congregation while the remainder was carried to Rock Creek where it was deposited. The waters then carried the healing blessing to the ocean, and from there it spreads throughout the world for planetary healing.  I can say that this was a once in a lifetime experience for me and that it was both mystical and transforming.  The grains of sand I received will always be a reminder of the preciousness of each moment of this fleeting life of mine.

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If you would like more information or would like to see their schedule you can visit their website at https://www.mysticalartsoftibet.org

 

The Collington Pool Table

Note: Thanks, Marian Fuchs, for this great piece.

It’s a fairly sure bet that there are some residents who do not know about a little gem of a room nestled behind some glass cases, behind the library.  The room has a good carpet, some rather inappropriate autumn-leaf wallpaper, and, as of 18 August 2017, a new piece of equipment as lovely in its way as our new grand piano in the auditorium.

What’s the place and what’s the new addition?

The place is the Billiards Room, and the new addition is a magnificent pool table that has to be seen to be believed.  Go see for yourself!

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The table replaces an old one, purchased a decade and a half ago with funds from the woodshop and the hill top garden. Curtis Langford coordinated choosing and purchasing the table.  After 14 years of use, the table needed refurbishing as the rubber on the banks hardened and the cloth wore in ways that the balls no longer rolled true.   The regular players, both from the men’s games and the women’s games, got together to identify and fund a replacement.  The Woodshop provided the bulk of the funds; a handful of residents added to the total, and the old table got a $700 trade in.

The installation was a critical element, according to Bill Colby.  Two highly skilled men worked for five hours to put the table together.  Two hours alone were required to level the three pieces of slate that form the table’s surface. The level the technician used was so sensitive that it detected a dollar bill under one end. The felt, railings, and pockets were added at the end.

There’s another surprise:  the felt is blue. Research shows that blue is the best color for ‘old eyes’, and people with any vision problems.  The table has carved legs, and its pockets are little works of art, replete with fringes and a patterned basket to catch the balls.

At the same time as getting a new table, the company who did the restoration included new balls (resin this time, instead of lighter plastic). Everything is in place for better games and matches!

.The table inauguration

Regular players and some friends gathered in the Pool Room at lunchtime on August 18 to inaugurate the new table.   Marvell Adams was invited to make the first break at the table.  He told the group that he was really nervous. Who wouldn’t be, when inaugurating something that cost almost $1700 after the trade in?   Marvell made a good, hard shot, and the balls scattered all over the table.

Denny Klass, who arranged the inauguration, asked different people to speak about the evolution of billiards at Collington.   Some of the old timers (Herb Anderson and Curtis Langford) remembered the struggles to keep the little room secure for pool. But now, Denny pointed out, playing was becoming more and more popular.  About a dozen men play regularly, and in recent months a group of women (six to ten of them) have started playing.   You can see some of the current players in the people line-up at the end of the article.

Denny also said that the table is a ‘magnet for grandchildren’, and explained that the players were putting together some rules for play by teenagers. The group is looking for more growth; you are invited to visit, look, and stay to play! Most of the current players had not played for many years before they came to Collington, and several are learning the game for the first time.

Who are the current players?

Here are just some of them, and they’re waiting to welcome you.