Your Turn to Connect

Al Carlson

You’ve been enjoying the posts in OLLI Connects for a long time now.  You’ve seen short stories, personal reminiscences, humor, poetry, photography, and personal insights into travel, science, and history. And occasionally, just occasionally, you’ve thought “I could write something like that!”  Don’t be coy.  I know you have.

Well, it turns out that now is an excellent time for you to turn that thought into action.  Creative action.  Or visual action.  Or explanatory and analytical action.  Whatever sends that pleasant surge of electricity through your brain cells.

Why now?  OLLI Connects’ editor since its inception three years ago–You know.  That Al Carlson guy–is moving to  (More…)

Remembering 9/11: Twenty Years Later

Diane White

The names on the 9/11 Memorial are etched into marble and our hearts. I touched the names and there was something. An echo or reverberation. Like the experience at the wall at the Vietnam Memorial. Tears. You see people grieving next to you and long to reach out to comfort them. Sometimes you do.

On 9/11, I was with Verizon in the Information Technology department on an early morning conference call. Someone suddenly shouted into the phone (More…)

My Quest to Deliver Women Rowing North

Diane Russell

(A known but obscure WordPress glitch inserted random characters into the link between our ‘teaser” and the full story.  They don’t show in “Edit” mode, so you discover them after you publish a new post.  We think we’ve fixed the issue, but we have to actually publish again to find out.  If the link to the full page fails again, we’ll rebuild it from scratch and publish later in the week.  Our apologies. –Editor)

During the Fall 2020 term, I took the OLLI-USF class led by Ara Rogers and Jane Applegate based on the book, Women Rowing North, by Mary Pipher. The book encourages women in the last third of their lives to explore ways to make their lives more meaningful. It was especially helpful to bond with my classmates through Zoom. We discussed our pasts and how we planned to thrive during and after the pandemic!

I view Women Rowing North as an ideal reference book for women in my age group, so I decided  (More…)

The Quest to Deliver Women Rowing North


Diane Russell

(A known but obscure WordPress glitch inserted random characters into the link between our ‘teaser” and the full story.  They don’t show in “Edit” mode, so you discover them after you publish a new post.  We think we’ve fixed the issue, but we have to actually publish again to find out.  If the link to the full page fails again, we’ll rebuild it from scratch and publish later in the week.  Our apologies. –Editor)

During the Fall 2020 term, I took the OLLI-USF class led by Ara Rogers and Jane Applegate based on the book, Women Rowing North, by Mary Pipher. The book encourages women in the last third of their lives to explore ways to make their lives more meaningful. It was especially helpful to bond with my classmates through Zoom. We discussed our pasts and how we planned to thrive during and after the pandemic!

I view Women Rowing North as an ideal reference book for women in my age group, so I decided to order (More…)

Your Assignment, Should You Decide to Accept it…

Marilyn Myerson

Marilyn Myerson leads and mentors creative writing groups, encouraging them to push the envelope of their imaginations while staying in control of the theme.  She frequently has them to write short stories that explore a specific idea.  And she leads by example.

Today’s two stories are both by Marilyn.  One puts a twist on a hoary cliché.  The other speculates on what could happen, if the leader of a creative writing group were not quite who she seemed to be.  –Editor


Cliché: A Shaggy Dog Story

Myrtle van Crapen, resident of Tampa, Florida, shared her abode with three dogs. Two of her canine housemates were Bucky and Bolty, Heinz 57 mutts who nonetheless spoke quite passable English.  (More…)

La Serenissima

Lynne Sebastian

We decided to walk back to the hotel rather than take a vaporetto.  For one thing, it was a lovely spring evening, and besides, no place in Venice is really all that far from any other place in Venice.  Once the mobs of day-visitors return to their hotels and caravans on the mainland in the late afternoon, Venice becomes a different place – quiet, elegant, sophisticated, ancient, and haunted. Straight-line routes are nonexistent here, so we wove a circuitous path along the narrow passageways that serve as streets and over some of the multitude of footbridges that arch across the narrow canals.

We walked beneath iron-railed balconies overflowing with flowers, the air hinting of roses, lilies, and geraniums.  We admired the (More…)

And Now for Something . . . a Little Bit Different

Theresa D’Aiuto Sokol

OLLI Connects is almost three years old, and in its short lifetime, we have shared a wide variety of your fellow OLLI members’ contributions: powerful  stories, rich personal experiences, fascinating nuggets of history, and humor.  We’ve taken you on trips to other parts of the United States and journeys to other parts of the world.  We’ve shared technology, book reviews, poetry and more.  We’ve had posts that were all photographs with no more words than were needed for context.

But we’ve not had a post that was almost all video.  Until today.

Theresa D’Aiuto Sokol has shared two of her blog posts, and now she shares some of her video work.   (More…)

The Greatest Generation and a Misspelled Name

My husband and I have always taken pride in our fathers’ World War II military service. Both served in the US Army Air Corp (now the Air Force). Bill, my father-in-law, was a gunner flying B-24s over Germany (in the “waist” of the plane, the middle side behind the wings); my father, Murray Zimney, was a ground crew engineer performing maintenance on the same planes before and after their bombing runs.

Bill’s last name was Beasom. My husband Buck Beasom (he says he kept his own name when we got married) is actually Bill Jr., but has been Buck since his Vietnam-era Navy days. Buck grew up hearing tales of Bill’s flying adventures, mostly (but not always) sanitized for the ears of the four children. My father Murray was far more reserved in sharing information about his days in the military. Perhaps, according to the norms of the 1950’s, his two little girls needed to be sheltered from all disturbing things.  (More…)

Back Yard Squirrel Olympics

Diane White

As the Olympics drama unfolds in Tokyo, a lesser known, but still dramatic event is taking place closer to home. Yes, it is the Backyard Squirrel Olympics. I know, you will not find it in your cable guide. Nevertheless, it’s here!

Let me give you some context. When I put up my Covid-19 backyard bird feeder system, I did extensive research about how to deter unwanted critters. What else did I have to do? I read articles. I watched squirrel videos on YouTube where people attempted to deter the acrobatic critters. Based on my research, I measured out distances squirrels can leap with my yellow, Stanley 25’ Lever Lock tape measure. Feeling confident, I installed my feeder system based on expert research.

You can probably see where this is going.  (More…)

Welcome to the LBJ Ranch!

Diane Henrikson Russell

In May 1971, I took my freshman-year finals at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. I did not head back home right away, though. Instead, I flew on a one-way ticket from Willard Airport in Savoy, Illinois to Austin, Texas.

The reason? My dad, editorial cartoonist Art Henrikson, decided to bring our family with him to the 15th annual American Association of Editorial Cartoonists’ convention. The convention was held in Austin, Texas to coincide with the opening of the LBJ Presidential Library, adjacent to the University of Texas at Austin.

However, the highlight was a three-hour afternoon visit to the LBJ Ranch in nearby Johnson City.  (More…)