Favorite Memory of Mom

Ray Ann Favata

My favorite memory of Mom was her ability to produce beautiful wearable items sewn by her hands and heart. She was a good seamstress. Not great, because she could not design and cut out a garment without a pattern like the contestants on Project Runway. She was good because she could purchase a Simplicity (her favorite) pattern, select the fabric and create an outfit anyone would be proud to wear.

She mastered the pinch-pleated skirt. It was always made from a colorful printed fabric rescued from the bargain basement at the local Woolworth 5 and 10¢ Store. Imagine, with just two yards at 25 cents a yard, I had a skirt for a few dollars.

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Two Artists in Residence

Judy K. Patterson
M.A. Sinnhuber

This week we have chosen to highlight the artwork of two talented female artists, Judy K. Patterson and M.A. Sinnhuber. The vibrant colors and unique design quality of their work is showcased in two separate slideshows for your viewing pleasure. But before you get to that, enjoy Judy’s heartfelt portrait of her life as an artist. A brief excerpt follows here. Click the icon for the complete story and the artists’ galleries. –Editors

…Now, being So Old and excited to be entering a new and hopeful stage of life that requires new questions, new answers and a quiet courage, I continue my quest for meaning, identity, possibilities and self-realization. I’m finding excitement in being So Old; it’s a fierce ride with an acceleration of time left.  I am a little ashamed of my years, afraid my independence will decrease as I get older.  Aiming as high as I can, I weave the tapestry of life in my artwork….
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Gratitude

Marilyn Myerson

Xerploo and Zanyplex were relaxing in a secluded greenery bower. They were of the opinion that the gardens on planet P-56 were much more lush and the breezes sweeter but here they were, currently assigned as celestial guardians to Earth. Given the relatively immature character of this planet, their work was cut out for them and they dare not rest for long.

Their mission was to maintain the existence of this orb, which daily seemed under threat from secular and religious discord. Our guardians believed…   

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The World War II “Flying Tigers”

Kun Shi

The World War II “Flying Tigers”, or Fei Hu in Mandarin Chinese, was a highly respected group of American pilots, the American Volunteer Group (AVG), that was recruited by the Chinese Nationalist government to fight the Japanese in the early years of the war. In the summer of 1941, about 260 AVG members (including 110 pilots and 99 P-40 fighters) reached southwest China under the command of Claire Chennault, as part of the Chinese Air Force. The P-40 fighters of the AVG were originally painted with the design of a shark’s mouth. To the Chinese in southwest mountainous region, that image of “flying tigers” was the ultimate power and ideal symbol to fight the enemy. Thus was born the nickname and the legacy of Flying Tigers, including the Disney designed insignia. 

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Arming Teachers: A Personal Journey

Don Menzel

Mass school shootings in the U.S. have left 169 students dead since April 1999 when two Columbine students killed 12 of their peers and one teacher at the school in Littleton, Colorado, and injured many others before killing themselves. Chants of “thoughts and prayers” abounded then and today over the horrible killing of nineteen fourth grade children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas.

There are many proposals to stop the carnage, with many focused-on-gun policies such as requiring background checks, regulating the sale of guns at gun shows, and passing “red flag laws” that allow police agencies, family members and others to petition that a gun to be taken from someone they believe has become dangerous. Proposals to reform gun policies are neither new nor few. There are currently over 110 gun bills on the desks of members of Congress.

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The Last Sail of the Mayaguana

Neil Cosentino

For reasons I no longer remember, I decided that day to move the Mayaguana to a new location. Was it luck?  Fate?  I’ll never know.

The boat had been neglected and unused for years, an old all-wooden sloop built on Man-O-War Cay. At 37 feet from stem to stern, she had a small cabin and had been used in the early days as a government mail boat.

It was a hasty decision to leave Salt Cay, Nassau, in the Bahamas for our destination: Treasure Cay Resort in the Hub of the Abacos. I decided to take Tete along with me. He was a Haitian employee who had sailing experience.  As the company pilot, I often joked that I knew only two things about boating: keep the pointed end in the direction you are going and keep water out of it.

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Cousin Vince and the Kindness of Friends

Diane Henrikson Russell

Author’s Note: I was inspired to write this memoir after taking John Grant’s OLLI class titled, “Life and Death Documents Everyone Should Have.”

I had insomnia on Memorial Day weekend of 2016 and disregarded the advice not to check my phone.

I instantly regretted it when I saw a text message from my second cousin, “Joe.” Our dads were first cousins who were as close as brothers. We both grew up in Des Plaines, Illinois and went to the same church. We had bonded lately over fond memories of our dads.

He reported that Vince, his uncle and my first cousin once removed, had had a stroke and lung cancer. Since he was losing his vision rapidly, he hired a neighborhood woman to be his assistant to communicate with his friends.      Read more

Perfect Day at Circle B Bar Reserve

Diane White

The OLLI-USF Outdoors “hikers” explored one of their favorite places, Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland, on a beautiful day in March. We would like to share it in words, but mostly pictures, with OLLI Connects readers.

If you are looking for a great place to take your out-of-town visitors, or just go for a stroll to take in amazing wildlife, this is the place to go. One of our members, Sheryl, wrote, “With the exception of the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel, Circle B Bar had the biggest variety of wildlife I’ve seen of all my hikes in Florida.”

What will you see? In many places you will see birds on the left, birds on the right. You might see a great blue heron and gator face off.  View more

My Day at Circle B Bar Reserve

Mary Satterwhite

Recently I went with a few friends to hike and take photographs at Circle B Bar Reserve near Lakeland.  It was a LONG drive there but well worth it.  It is a very large park of more than 2,000 acres. We hiked four and a half miles and saw not even a quarter of the park.  We took Marsh Rabbit Run (where we were stopped by a large alligator blocking the trail) and Alligator Alley which was my favorite. The large trees shading Alligator Alley are lovely.     View more

You may be wondering why you received an OLLI Connects email for a story that isn’t yet available over this weekend.  We have to chalk that up to an unfortunate misclick during the editing process for an upcoming piece.  Please disregard that notice–for now– and enjoy this week’s two offerings focused on the splendid photos produced by the hiking and nature SIG members.  And, check back with us in early June for the “Flying Tigers.”–Editor 

The Prom Dress

Ceci LaDuca

I was dusting off some photo albums the other day, and came across a faded color pic of me taken almost sixty years ago, posing like a model, trying to look cool and sexy. “Tuff,” they called it back then. Suddenly, I’m back in May 1965. Puerto Rico. Ramey Air Force Base, where my dad was stationed. I’m seventeen and shopping for a dress for my Senior Prom.

There I was, with my whole family, in a charming little dress shop in a charming little town called Isabela, outside the base.       View more