Friday, July 24, 2009

Film on Apollo Project brings former President Bush to Thornton Academy

Former President George H. W. Bush, astronaut John Young and filmmaker Jeffrey Roth visited Thornton Academy on July 15 to show the movie The Wonder of It All in Garland Auditorium.
The documentary film uses personal narrative accounts by seven men who walked on the moon to capture their feelings about being modern-day explorers. Roth interviews Apollo astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Alan Bean, Eugene Cernan, Charles Duke, Edgar Mitchell, Harrison Schmitt and Young. They reflect on how they entered NASA, what it meant to be in the space program, and how their professional and personal lives changed after they became moonwalkers.
Former First Lady Barbara Bush and daughter Dorothy Bush Koch were also present to watch the movie. The select group invited to attend also included friends of the Bush family and members of Thornton Academy’s Board of Trustees.
Young, who is friends with President Bush, walked on the moon in April 1971 during the Apollo 16 mission. He flew into space six times from Earth, including the first flight of the Space Shuttle in 1981.
Young and his wife, Susy Roth, and President Bush answered questions from the audience after the film concluded. They discussed NASA’s efforts to return to the moon, life on Mars and environmentalism.
“It was a wonderful evening. We were honored to host the president, the Bush family, the Youngs and the Roths,” Headmaster Carl J. Stasio, Jr. said.
President Bush said he was “pleased and honored” to watch the film at Thornton Academy. He and Mrs. Bush spend each summer at their summer home on Walker’s Point, which is in Kennebunkport.
The Wonder of It All is in limited theatrical release, just in time to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 flight. To learn more about the film go to It will be released on DVD and Blu-ray in September.
TA has an interesting connection to the Apollo program. Stephen B. Garland, a member of the Board of Trustees, is Vice President of Garland Manufacturing Company, which provided Gar-dur plastic parts to NASA for the flight of Apollo 8 and subsequent Apollo flights.
Thornton Academy thanks Arts Department Co-Chair David Hanright and Steve Burnette with the Legacy Theater Company for helping to arrange the event.
Photo caption: From left to right are Thornton Academy Trustee James E. Nelson ‘67, NASA astronaut John Young, Headmaster Carl J. Stasio, Jr., former President George H. W. Bush and filmmaker Jeffrey Roth. (Courtesy photo)

Loving Kindness Sculpture
Unveiled at York Hospital

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
There is a unique sculpture of cradled hands in the lobby at York Hospital, a physical depiction of the hospital’s vision – that of Loving Kindness. The work of art, created by sculptor Sumner Winebaum, was unveiled last week to a large crowd of friends of the hospital and hospital staff.
“Loving kindness is really the foundation of our exceptional patient care,” Michael McGrath, chairman of the hospital Board of Trustees said in opening the ceremony. “Today we unveil a symbol (of loving kindness) that will welcome and greet all of our patients as well as their families when they come to York Hospital. Sumner’s sculpture is a spectacular piece of artwork and will embrace our patients, their families, friends and staff with loving kindness.”
Winebaum said it was a pleasure working with hospital President Jud Knox and the hospital staff. He described the process for creating a piece of this kind, including the work with the foundry and others.
Knox had approached Winebaum with the idea of creating something tangible to depict the hospital’s vision. He thanked him and the Winebaum Family Trust that aided in covering the work’s cost.
Other speakers at the ceremony included staff members Barb Green, Meghan Brandt, Jon Houghton and Mel Barron.
Winebaum collaborated with architect Stuart Dawson and base creator Albert Raitt. Dawson is a principal in the multidisciplinary design firm Sasaki and Associates of Watertown, Mass. Raitt owns A.W. Raitt Stoneyard in Eliot. All were present at the unveiling.
The sculpture weighs more than 3500 pounds, and the process to install it took several people well over three hours to complete.
Winebaum has done more than a hundred portrait commission busts along with numerous other works. A graduate of Portsmouth High School and the University of Michigan, he has pursued three careers: at Young & Rubicam, New York as an advertising writer; president of Young & Rubicam, Italy; and later, Young & Rubicam, France; then as president of Winebaum News, which became the largest distributor of books, magazines and newspapers north of Boston. But always from the earliest, taking evening studies at New York’s Art Students League to his current full-time engagement as sculptor, he has worked to learn this craft.
York Hospital has been providing care to Southern Maine residents and visitors for over 100 years. It is a modern facility known for its cardiology program, emergent care center, extensive inpatient and outpatient services and campus locations in Wells, York, South Berwick, Berwick and Kittery.
Photo caption: Sculptor Sumner Winebaum, center, with Michael McGrath, right, dark suit, with the hands as they were unveiled. (Courtesy photo)

A Pilgrimage to a Long Ago Home in China

By Devin Beliveau
Staff Columnist
(Editor’s note: This is the third and final in a series by columnist Devin Beliveau describing his recent trip to China.)
Lindgren Chyi’s story sounds like a movie. It’s the kind of movie where the father is taken prisoner by a foreign occupying power, and the son is forced to grow up fast. And not only does he have to help his mother care for his younger siblings, but he has do so while fleeing a war-torn country, the whole time deceiving enemy soldiers who are capturing refugees. For Dr. Lindgren “Lynn” Chyi, my father-in-law, this was not a movie. This was his early childhood as he grew up in Japanese-occupied China, then escaped the Chinese Civil War in 1949, and fled with his family to the island nation of Taiwan as an 8-year old.
Chyi’s story has a happy ending. He eventually emigrated from Taiwan to Canada, where he met his wife Lucy. Eventually he found his way to Akron, Ohio, where he became a Professor of Geology at the University of Akron. Settled in Ohio, Lynn and Lucy raised their family of three daughters: Lisa, and identical twins Linda and Debbie. This may be the most important part of the story, as the lovely Debbie is now my wife.
At the end of June, Chyi led a two-week trip back to northeast China to visit his hometown of Shenyang. He brought with him an entourage of 13 family members, including his children, siblings, nephews and nieces. I was lucky enough to be on this pilgrimage, to see firsthand some of the locations that shaped my father-in-law’s childhood.
The trip was a mix of visiting both famous historical sites and places of personal significance. A visit to the largest statue of Mao Zedong in China, for example, would be followed by a visit to an old house where Chyi lived as a child. It was clear at each stop how proud the patriarch was to share his story with his ever-expanding family. “It’s a big group and it’s an unusual trip, but I’m very happy,” said Chyi.
Born into Japanese-occupied China in 1941, Chyi’s childhood was surrounded by war, death and destruction. The Japanese had killed both his grandmother and his great uncle. His family was forced to re-locate often, as his father was an undercover spy for the Chinese nationalists, and his family would be at risk if he were discovered sabotaging Japanese (and later Communist) rule. Chyi’s father was captured by the Japanese in May 1945, and most likely only survived his 3 months of torture due to Japan’s WWII surrender in August 1945. For his family’s safety, Chyi’s father eventually fled mainland China for Taiwan to escape the Communists, and made arrangements for his family to follow him there.
One of the most interesting parts of the trip was an excursion to the countryside outside Shenyang. Armed only with an address, our goal was to locate some cousins who Chyi had not been in contact with since the 1980s. When it was discovered that a local bridge could not support the weight of our tour bus, Chyi flagged down 3 cars to ask for help. At first the drivers wanted top dollar from these “wealthy” westerners who needed an impromptu taxi. But as Chyi explained this was a trip to find old family members, the drivers became very friendly and helpful. The small neighborhood buzzed with curiosity as 14 Americans arrived in this place where tourists do not normally venture. Unfortunately it turned out that the cousins had passed away, and the house had been sold.
A regular highlight of the trip was the food. Each lunch and dinner featured grand arrays of 10-20 entrees on a Lazy Susan in the middle of a huge circular table. Dumplings are the specialty of northeast China, and as such most meals featured several delicious varieties of the popular dish. “One of the best parts for me was going back to the hometown, and enjoying the hometown dishes,” commented Chyi. Peking Duck was another Chinese delicacy. The whole duck is carved into precisely 120 pieces right in front of the table by an expert chef, and then the tender pieces are combined with cucumbers, scallions and plum sauce inside small pancakes. Simply delicious.
At Dongbei University in Shenyang, the school his father graduated from, Chyi presided over an informal memorial service for his parents. After Chyi immigrated to North America, he never saw them again. In a quiet corner of the well-kept campus over some pink flowers, the 14 family members talked of the hard work and sacrifices made by Chyi’s parents so that the family could survive and prosper. “When they’re looking down on us, they should be very happy. We brought a bag of soil from their tomb (in Taiwan), and through this we carried their spirit and sprinkled it on the hometown soil. I think they’re enjoying it right now,” Chyi reflected.
Photo caption: Lindgren “Lynn” Chyi sprinkles soil from his parents’ grave at a makeshift memorial at Dongbei University in Shenyang China. (Devin Beliveau photo)