Learning in Retirement with Nina Scott: A lifetime of learning continues

  • Darcy Johnson and her wife, Colleen. Submitted photo

  • Darcy, far left, during a trip to India where she spend time with a large Indian family. Submitted photo

Published: 8/19/2021 1:36:05 PM

Editor’s note: This is part of a monthly series about the offerings from the Five College Learning in Retirement program.

Darcy Johnson and her wife, Colleen, came to this area from their previous home on Plum Island in 2018; Darcy joined Five College Learning in Retirement in the spring of 2020.

We met in a wonderful seminar on “Women Heroes of WWII,” the last pre-pandemic class, and were paired for our presentations. Darcy’s visuals were technologically way more sophisticated than mine, even though I was supposed to “show her the ropes.”

Darcy has a varied and interesting past. She was born in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, home of the world’s third largest shopping mall. She graduated in 1978 with a bachelor’s in business administration and accounting from Syracuse University. She then worked in human services and as an accountant before going to graduate school in an entirely different field: the Chaplaincy Institute in Portland, Maine, from where she was ordained as an Interfaith Chaplain in 2011. In 2017 she graduated with an Master of Arts from Andover-Newton Seminary.

“An unusual combination of business and theological studies,” I mused when she related this. “You know how to pay and to pray — sorry, I couldn’t resist.”

Darcy was an associate director of a nonprofit for 17 years, and before retirement worked for the Office of Public Guardian in Concord, New Hampshire, another nonprofit which provides guardianship and advocacy services to legally incapacitated adults.

When Darcy and Colleen came to this area, where they already had friends, they moved into a two-bedroom condo in Northampton’s Laurel Park, a former Methodist summer camp and Chautauqua retreat. Fittingly, their condo used to be a chapel. Sharing their digs are two cats: Tom and Jerry, who are brothers.

Both women love to travel and are anxious to do more of it once the pandemic is over. They have been all over the U.S., Europe, including Greece and the Baltic countries, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Iceland, which they loved. India and Nepal were fascinating but tough, she said, “... so many kids in abject poverty.” But the food was exquisite and the people marvelous. Darcy shared two snapshots of this trip; the one which resonated with me was of her with a large Indian family who wanted their picture taken with her.

Although she joined LIR only two years ago, Darcy is now on the (time-consuming) Curriculum Committee and has just been elected to the (equally time-consuming) post of Secretary to the Council.

“Well, with all that on your plate I imagine you are only taking one seminar, right?” I asked. Wrong. She has signed up for three this coming semester: “Short Stories to Share,” “Great Supreme Court Decisions,” and “Writing to Remember.”

“You are demented, lady,” I said.

“I know,” Darcy smiled happily.

Nina M. Scott is professor emerita of Spanish from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a member of Five College Learning in Retirement, which features peer-led seminars and workshops for semi-retirees.
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