To Tell the Truth — The Finale

Today’s bonus issue of OLLI Connects will test your evaluation skills with the final two entries in the To Tell The Truth contest. Have you been following along? If not, just scroll back to the beginning of November, read through the stories contributed by all the entrants, and add your assessment in the comments: were they telling a true story or simply spinning a yarn?  Next Thursday, on December 8th, another bonus issue will bring you the big reveal. The winner will claim bragging rights and a special prize created just for him or her. Today’s two stories are: Surprise by Jan Vaupel and Chenawah by Joan Weaving. Enjoy! — Editor
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To Tell the Truth Challenge — Episode 4

Well, we have arrived at Week 4 of the To Tell the Truth Contest. How are you doing so far? Do you think you have correctly sussed out truth from fiction?  Don’t forget to leave your True/False vote in the comment section below the authors’ biographies. After we compile all the responses, we will select the winner and announce his or her name and reveal the veracity of each of the ten entrants in December. Stay tuned for one more bonus episode this Thursday, but for now enjoy Marilyn Myerson’s The Haunting: Ghosts in my Life and Diane Henrikson Russel’s Pet Cards and To Tell the Truth. — Editor    Read more  

The Inventor and The Collector: Yin and Yang

Marilyn Myerson

What in the world might induce a man to invent an instrument of torture? Might it be the lure of riches? Fame for innovative ingenuity? Deeply abiding bloodlust? Or might it be based on some kind of principle?

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We are officially in the "spooky season."  Tonight, little ghosts and ghouls will wander your neighborhoods on the hunt for candy and other treats. But Halloween's traditional roots belong to the observance of All Soul's Day, a remembrance of all those who have lived and passed on. Most recently this cultural rite was enshrined in Coco, an animated Disney opus focused on the "dia de los muertos." Today's blog features two stories featuring the inner human spirit with an emphasis on the contrast between good and evil. — Editor

The Lighthouse Beam Went Off

Bruce Zimmerman

I would normally say, it was a dark and stormy night, but it is likely you have heard that story before, so let me begin with—the sun was rising at Campobello—no, not that one either. The truth goes a little like this. The sun had already risen over the lighthouse at Provincetown, located on the very northern tip of Cape Cod. I estimated it to be about 10 a.m., which should allow ample time to get around Nantucket sound and down into Narragansett Bay. The waters were pretty flat along the National Seashore, but I decided…
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Divine Intervention

Joan Weaving
Diane Henrikson Russell

Sanibel photo by Ben Hendren/Andalou Agency/Getty

Divine intervention is usually a good thing.  “Acts of God” often aren’t.  Ask any insurance company. Or anyone who has just been told by their insurer that “we don’t cover that”.  

We have two stories for you today, both dealing with disasters, though on very different scales, and both reminding us that there are things happening all around us that go beyond our understanding and control.

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The Picture

Patricia R. Antolino

“Just a week or two, maybe less,” I heard my doctor quietly tell Gillian. She walked him to the door, wished him a good day, and came back to me. “You heard that, right Mom?” she asked, sniffling, holding the embroidered handkerchief her grandfather gave her when she was just a tot. And what a bright, energetic girl she was. She grew to be so accomplished. Married well as the old saying goes. Made me a grandmother to three amazing people. Read more

For the Love of Henrikson

Diane Henrikson Russell

Like many girls raised in the 1960s, I dreamed that I would marry and adopt my husband’s last name. I even practiced writing my first name followed by the last name of my latest crush in beautiful cursive handwriting.

It’s not that I didn’t like my name. My parents named me Diane Elizabeth Henrikson. I am the fifth generation of women named Elizabeth on my mom’s side of the family.

I am also proud of my Scandinavian heritage. Bernhardt Henriksen, my Norwegian great-grandfather…   Read more

We have a challenge and an opportunity for you. We want you to tell us a brief story about something you did--or experienced—in the past.  You can tell a true story, or you can make the entire thing up. If your story fools our readers, you'll win a fabulous prize. You will discover further details at the bottom of Diane’s story as well as a link to the official OLLI Connects contest page.

9/11: My Story — Episode I

Beryl Byles

REUTERS/Sara K. Schwittek/Files

This week marks the 21st anniversary of the September 11th attack, a fitting time to publish a memoir penned by a fellow OLLI member. Beryl Byles was a passenger on a return flight from Brussels on that fateful day. Over the course of this week, OLLI Connects will run her story in two episodes. Today’s issue recounts her arrival in Moncton, New Brunswick and continues with a description of the hospitality she received from our neighbor to the north.  On Thursday we will finish her story with Episode 2, including her journey home after nearly four days delayed in Canada until tourists were cleared to fly over US air space. —Editors

Day One

While we each have our own individual story of where we were and what we were doing on September 11, 2001 and beyond, I want to capture my account of being a “stranded yank” in Canada. This effort represents my need for closure, a way to capture the “extraordinary” so that I can get back into the “ordinary” activities of my life. Hopefully, it also will serve as an invitation for you to share your own individual experience.

I had been airborne for just over an hour on U S Air flight #335 from Brussels at the time of the first attack. Four or so hours later, the pilot informed us that we had experienced higher-than-predicted head winds and, although we certainly had enough fuel to reach our destination of Philadelphia, we would be going into our fuel reserve and he did not like to do that. Therefore, we were going to land in (Moncton, New Brunswick) Canada where the ground crew was prepared to take 45 minutes to add the necessary fuel before we would continue on our way. (I think the 45-minute timeframe was geared to allay the anxieties of the majority of the passengers who were scheduled to make connecting flights in Philadelphia.)  Read more

Stormy Travel

Jan Vaupel

The weather that affected my life most recently happened on April 7th on my flight out of Tampa in a lightning-and-thunder filled rainstorm.

I am flying American, not my usual standby, Southwest. I love Southwest. I have their credit card and like their offbeat humor. But I change because my Coast Guard son is flying in from Cali and we want to meet up in Richmond at 4:15 p.m., then drive to Gloucester, our final destination.  On Southwest, I would get in at 11:50 p.m., an unseemly hour, so I find an alternate flight on Black Friday.  Perhaps that should have been a sign. It’s American Airlines, one way, for a great price.

I’m in line outside TIA. I’ve just checked my bag when the lady behind me asks, “Did you hear our flight’s been delayed two hours?”

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Three Odes to Women

Morrey Grymes
Bruce Zimmerman
Peter Terzian


Poetry has the unique capacity to capture our deepest thoughts, whether they be the experience of mounting grief, tender remembrance or even a flight of fancy. With economy, rhythm and the taste of language on the palate, our three contributors present an array of emotions in Three Odes to Women. –Editors

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