Symbols of Mankind

Judy K. Patterson

In 1992 I was a member of the Friends of the Hillsborough Library.  My first project was to see that all the art in the libraries of Hillsborough County was repaired, reframed, and in good shape.  My second project was to get the Board to buy art for the new libraries from the Gasparilla Festival of Arts Show in Tampa in March.  The Friends had ten thousand dollars sitting in a CD for emergencies.  I finally convinced them that the money could be earned and replaced, but the new libraries needed art.  We had a few holdouts but, eventually, we all agreed to buy art each year.  It gives me great pleasure to see new art in the local libraries that I visit.

Looking around for a new project, I heard about the Ybor Library on Nebraska and its damaged mosaic on the front of the building done by Joe Testa-Secca, an artist and art teacher at University of Tampa.  (More…)

Teaching and Learning in Retirement

Don Menzel

[See the special message at the end of this article]

I retired at age 64+, moved to Tampa, bought a new fishing/leisure boat, went to fishing school three times (was a slow learner), and worked on publishing articles and books in my field, primarily ethics in government. Meanwhile, Kay began teaching in the USF OLLI program for seniors. Two years later she convinced the program coordinator to invite me to deliver a few lectures to seniors. That kicked off ten years and 27 classes of learning with seniors. Wow! What an experience.

Seniors who want to learn about new subjects or engage in stimulating exchanges are a delight, with one exception:   (More…)

Manhattan Memories

Robert Strozier

I first visited Manhattan in 1953, when I was 13, the guest of Vandy, my godmother. An avid reader of movie magazines, I asked if we could dine at the Stork Club, then one of the most celebrated nightspots in the world where glittering movie stars and celebrities always were being seen. And so, rather than instructing me in the Nicene Creed, Vandy took me to the Stork Club for lunch.

Everything was as I had pictured it, down to the Stork statuette on the table, and—would you believe—sitting at the next table was raven-haired starlet Piper Laurie with a slick-looking power player of some sort. This was the kind of crowd I’d always dreamed of running with, and I resolved then to move to Manhattan one day. Fourteen years later I made it—staying for another 45 years.

When I first arrived, the only people I knew were an uncle and aunt, and sometimes I’d go over in the mornings and watch TV game shows with her, a ritual that included drinking three or four martinis.   (More...)

The Stranger Diaries

Cindy Knox

‘If you permit me,’ said the Stranger, ‘I’d like to tell you a story. After all, it’s been a long journey and, by the look of those skies, we’re not going to be leaving this carriage for some time. So, why not pass the hours with some story-telling? The perfect thing for a late October evening.’

‘Are you quite comfortable there? Don’t worry about Herbert. He won’t hurt you, It’s just this weather that makes him nervous. Now, where was I? What about some brandy to keep the chill out? You don’t mind a hip flask, do you?

‘Well, this is a story that actually happened. Those are the best kind, don’t you think? Better still, it happened to me when I was a young man. About your age.’

The Stranger Diaries is Elly Griffiths’ delightful homage to Gothic novels. It’s a book within a book, containing a gratifying mix of mystery, suspense, gloomy settings, horror, deaths, supernatural events, a damsel in distress,  (More...)

Chautauqua 2019

Linda Schatz

It’s 1874.  I’m a Methodist Sunday School teacher. I travel by steamship on the calm waters of Chautauqua Lake in southwestern New York and arrive at a small shoreline settlement for a vacation learning experience. I’ll hear speakers on the Bible, teaching methods, science, and social issues. The roads rise gently from the lake and are only wide enough for one horse and carriage.

Wait—it’s 2019, and I’m one of several thousand knowledge and culture seekers arriving by car at Chautauqua Institution. With six of my women friends, it will be a vacation week of thought-provoking lectures, excellent dance, music, vocal and theater performances, and animated political and philosophical discussions.  Oh, and a tap dancing lesson to bring back my fun days of hopping to a beat and flexing my ankles.  (More…)

James Museum

Shelly Belzer

A boyhood love of cowboy movies isn’t unusual, but Tom James, now chairman emeritus of Raymond James Financial, turned his love into a lifetime of art collecting and then founded a museum to house part of the collection that he and his wife, Mary, have amassed.  The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art in St. Petersburg opened in April 2018, holding 400 paintings and sculptures, a bit more than 10 percent of the James collection. (Most of the rest of the collection fills the Raymond James corporate headquarters.)  Word about the museum got around, and one day in August the OLLI Shutterbugs went to see for themselves.  (More…)

A Week in Sante Fe

Joyce Carpenter

It is 5:30 on a beautiful evening in New Mexico, and I am going to the pre-opera dinner at The Santa Fe Opera Theatre, where I will be fed a meal in keeping with the evening’s opera (tonight it is Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte, so Italian wines and pasta will be served). The dinner speaker will tell us about the music, the performers and the stagecraft of this particular production.

Opera goers in Santa Fe dress in anything, from tattered jeans and battered hiking boots to fabulously expensive designer creations that border on the bizarre. I happily take advantage of every opportunity to dress up, and so I am dressed in my favorite opera outfit – a rather posh cream, lace dress and sparkly shoes with high heels.  (More…)

Wait Until Dark

Peter Terzian

Some people love the theater, because it gives them a chance to be on stage—to be the star.  I love it, too.  But I have no interest in being out there in front of the audience.  My place in theater is behind the scenes, creating the world that the stars perform in.

I’ve been doing lighting, sound and projection for theater since I was on the stage crew in high school,  then as a school technology teacher and at Busch Gardens for Howl-O-Scream.

I came across the James McCabe Theater and the Valrico Village Players probably 10 years ago.  It’s just a couple minutes away from  (More…)

Haiku! Gesundheit!

Cindy Knox

Reading for Pleasure — Haikus as Book Reviews

Some of us have begun an OLLI-USF class that requires close, critical reading. The morning and afternoon Winter Great Books classes, facilitated by Kevin Chittim and Patrick DeMarco, are just two examples. The selected texts, none of which could be described as easy, are read and then they are discussed in the group using the “shared inquiry” method.

I am in the afternoon Great Books class and, reviewing what I just wrote, I notice a tendency to yawn.  Why, oh why, did I sign up for this class, I wonder? The answers are that I am a long-time fan of Patrick, I know many of the people in the group, and I also need to exercise my brain after two years of absence from OLLI. These group discussions are stimulating, and I come away afterwards feeling exhilarated and also virtuous. However, there comes a time for each of us OLLI members… (More…)

Gallery Updated

North Carolina Arboretum

We’ve added some stunning new photographs to our Gallery page, and we invite you to come in and enjoy them.

Like the articles you read here in OLLI Connects, the photographs come from OLLI members, just like you, and we urge you to submit your images for publication.  (More…)