Student Experience – Husband and Wife Embrace Lifelong Learning by Taking Classes Together – Osher Lifelong Institute

Ed Adda Osher StudentsEdward Sheldon, MD and Adda Sheldon, both 82 (this year), have been married 62 years. Ed, a general practice physician, prior to private practice was a navy flight surgeon – he attended medical school at Loma Linda University and interned at the U.S. Naval Hospital San Diego followed by Navy flight training at Pensacola, Fla. Ed practiced medicine for 50 years and continues to work part time, he also holds a private pilot license.

Both Ed and Adda attended Andrews University (as undergraduates). Adda’s goal of a library science degree was interrupted after two years when they married and started a family. However, when their three children were out of the nest, she resumed school in San Diego and earned a degree in medical records at Mesa College. For 20 years Adda managed Ed’s family practice clinic – today they have three children, three grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

Sharing Common Interests

Interested in writing, Ed created and edited the medical staff newsletter Staffline at Paradise Valley hospital for 26 years. Together Ed and Adda share common interests – travel (they have been to Europe, Britain, Canada, and assorted U.S. sites. And, for 25 years they have been collecting glass/crystal paperweights (totally about 400 weights in their collection, of which about 100 are French antiques). They are members of local and national paperweight collecting groups. Ed also served on the Board of Directors of the national organization Paperweight Collectors Association, Inc. for ten years. That activity has taken them to biennial conventions around the U.S. They are personally acquainted with virtually all of the high-end paperweight glass artists internationally.  Ed took glass flamework classes from an artist in Murano Italy and in the U.S. from a notable artist to enhance appreciation for the art/craft. They also share other collecting passions – antique functional copper objects (most from England, sterling silver sugar sifters). They number over 100 in the collection with ages as early as 1710 (Queen Anne) and origins from a dozen countries. Adda’s special solo collection is cameos. And, if that weren’t enough, Ed also has a collection of miniature saluting cannons.

Taking Osher Classes

Adda has enrolled in Osher classes for several years and has registered regularly for classes in art history, book club, filmmaking, and other eclectic options. She persuaded Ed to enroll several years ago, first fascinated by classes in philosophy from Peter Atterton and Peter Boland. Ed persuaded Adda to also take the philosophy classes. The topical content has enriched and enlightened them in ways that might not have had the impact during undergraduate years.

“Aside from the topical enrichment from classes, the relaxed atmosphere – no homework, no tests, but lots of rich interaction and participation by class members in discussions, is stimulating. Repeated contact in classes has resulted in casual friendships, but also richer friendships that have continued outside the classroom with others,” both Ed and Adda say.

Contributing to a Class

The most recent semester, they both enrolled in the Downton Abby class. Ed adds, “the lecturer, Carl Larsen (with contributions by his wife) visited the castle, engaged the current occupants, and brought life to the subject. The class was also enhanced with coverage of the history of the era. When one of the final classes was to cover the ‘downstairs’ aspect, I shared with Carl that we had objects commonly seen in the kitchen and would be willing to bring to class some of those objects for enrichment. He responded positively and we hauled an array of copper kitchenware to class, as well as a representative number of silver sugar shakers. The class members seemed enchanted with the display and got to handle firsthand and ask questions about them and their uses.”