Elizabeth Dunn, Secretary

I normally feel like a 27-year-old, although that illusion fades when I look in the mirror or focus on the fact that I am 40 years older than the Duke undergraduates with whom I interact every day and a two or three decades older than most of my library colleagues. Still, at 59, I am blessed with good health, few aches, and a reasonable amount of energy. Another great blessing is my long cultural memory. These feel like dark times: the climate change crisis, racial and religious conflict, gun violence, and free-floating anxiety about unpredictable terrorist acts. The thing is, America has been here before.

At my age, I can remember the way the Vietnam War divided the country—Hawks from Doves, parents from children, ROTC members from hippies. Zero Population Growth preached the imperative that families limit themselves to two children, lest the planet run out of food. When the environmental movement began, people routinely chucked trash out of their car windows, some midwestern rivers were so polluted that they caught on fire, and the smog in Los Angeles was suffocating. Casual racism was endemic, as was institutionalized prejudice in every aspect of life. With Cold War came the constant threat of nuclear winter and there was free-floating anxiety about both domestic and international terrorism.

So, please take heart as we move into a new year. The world is, indeed, a troubled place, but we have made progress in my lifetime. A blessing we all share is our spiritual home. Look to ERUUF as an oasis where you can find loving friendships, respectful attitudes, compassionate guidance for your children, and ample opportunities to work toward justice for all our brothers and sisters and responsible stewardship of the earth’s resources. It is a wonderful community to be born into, grow up in, and grow old in—even for someone like me, who is really 27 on the inside.

If you have questions or comments about ERUUF or would just like to get to know us better, please look for Board members during coffee hour or contact us at .