Isabel Boardman – Wisdom Goddess Project Participant

Isabel Boardman


Isabel Boardman was a Classical singer who performed with her husband Roger Boardman, pianist, in the New York area as well as abroad in Vienna and Salzburg, Austria. They both taught at New York University where they met; he as the head of the Piano Department and she in her capacity as the head of the Voice Department. A Match made in heaven.

Isabel has a daughter and two granddaughters living in Monroe, CT.

She lives in Westport, CT.

Right now, she is totally passionate about Yoga and Tai Chi.

Sheis 96 years young.

Here is a direct quote about how these activities make her feel.

“I find it hard to describe the feeling of Chi (energy) when I practice Tai Chi.
The movements of my hands gather energy from the air transferring it to all parts of my body. I find that I can move more easily, gracefully and in a more balanced way.

I suggest you try it as well. Tai Chi has many more benefits. It is an active form of meditation and concentration which relieves stress.
Tai Chi is my passion.”



Dr. Dee Unterbach – Wisdom Goddess Project Participant

Dr. Dee Unterbach


How prescient of Suzanne Sheridan to create a photo essay on older women. This project comes at a point in our lives when one of our DEVELOPMENTAL tasks is LIFE REVIEW, which Bernice Newgarten labeled young-old (65-74), middle-old (75-84) and old-old.

As a kid, my passion and talent was playing sports. I enjoyed working hard. Training and practicing would hopefully give me a head start.

After co-founding a residential therapeutic community for teens (VERITAS), I began working in the then-emerging field of gerontological social work: first, in-home care matching poor older woman with poor younger, often immigrant, women of color; then we founded the first geriatric mental health clinic (SPOP) in New York City.

My good fortune came when my mentor, Dr. Rose Dobrof, invited me to join the training faculty of Hunter-Brookdale Center on Aging. We developed training for senior center, home care and nursing home workers.

As an athlete, I figured I would get a good head start at 25 learning from those aged 85. I’ve learned that our time on earth is brief and therefore we have earned the right to use our time as we uniquely desire.

Now that I’ve aged in Aging, and treat older people in supportive psychotherapy, my purpose converges. I work, in part, to counteract the stereotyping and isolating reductionism of the social pathology of Ageism (see “Why Survive” by Butler).

As I retrospect, introspect and prospect the goal of conserving my energy to invest in Freud’s suggestion, “to work and to love” becomes more underscored.

Hopefully I’ll do both in my 8th decade as a gerontological social worker in Wilton, CT, and in all of my personal and professional relationships.


Thank you, Suzanne, for your artistry and activism.



Marjolijn De Jager Wisdom Goddess Project Participant


Marjolijn de Jager


Marjolijn was born in 1936 on Borneo, Indonesia—then still a Dutch colony known as the Netherlands East-Indies—where her father was a young engineer with Royal Dutch Oil (Shell). After brief travels to the Netherlands and the USA, the family returned to Java in late 1941. The Japanese invaded the country in March 1942 and Marjolijn and her mother spent the next 3 ½ years interned in three separate Japanese POW camps.


After almost a year in Melbourne, Australia, where her mother spent 6 months in the hospital recuperating from the war years, they went to Amsterdam, the Netherlands in October 1946. Elementary and secondary school were the highlights of her young life. To this day she has two close friends left from that happy era, in addition to her oldest and dearest friend with whom she shared the war years, all now in their early eighties.


With her mother and stepfather’s new family she emigrated to the USA in June 1958.


Marjolijn earned a PhD. in Romance Languages and Literatures from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1975 and isnow retired from a 35-year long teaching career (both secondary and college levels). She misses teaching, one of her passions, but continues by tutoring ESL at CIRI (CT Institute for Refugees and Immigrants) in Bridgeport.

She is self-employed as a literary translator of fiction and non-fiction from the French and the Dutch, while Francophone African literature has a special place in her heart (for details see


From her first marriage, which ended in divorce, she has a son and a daughter, both warm and caring adults and highly accomplished professionals. In addition, the family consists of five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.


Other passions are her grandchildren, reading, knitting, travel, and her cats.


She lives in Stamford, CT, with David Vita, her husband of 36 years.

Listen to Marjolijn De Jager