Mr. Abraham Lasting

Junia Ancaya

Any time is a good time to add a new dimension to the mystery of human life.

One blistering Florida summer afternoon, on one of those routine office days of my youth, I entered the examining room to see the last patient.

“Hello Mr. Lasting,” I said to a shriveled old man. He was sitting down, leaning with one arm on a walker. Next to him sat a woman, a heavy-set German-looking matron, twice his size.

He didn’t answer.

“Is it Abraham Lasting?”

I noticed a questioning look in his eyes. Accustomed to Florida’s hard-of-hearing retired patients, I yelled the question.

“Yes Ma’am, Doctor,” he answered.

The man struck me as being vital in his deep base voice and  (More…)

Delp Family Totem

10 Pals foreverAn eagle flies gracefully over the prairie and leads me to animal adventures where I frolic with bears, beavers, squirrels, and porcupines. I bring my young son Gary with me. We go fishing with bears named Blackie, Brownie, and Slicky and collect feathers from the eagle’s mountaintop nest.

It felt natural to take Gary to join other adventuring animals squatting in a circle and wearing beaded vests as we played games and told stories. It was 1959 when we started in the YMCA Indian Guides program in Wilmington, Delaware. We met with other fathers and sons to develop our imaginations in an atmosphere of Native American lore. We made boats, a church and aircraft models in our workshop at home and played in the woods. We adopted animal spirit names. Gary was Diving Eagle. Our motto was “Pals Forever with my Dad.”

Two years later we moved to Bradenton, Florida, and my second son, Bryan, joined us as Hunting Eagle. In addition to meeting in various homes, we occasionally took field trips. Once when camping in Myakka State Park, I set up a large teepee, and we told stories around the campfire. When Diving Eagle and Hunting Eagle graduated to Cub Scouts, my third son, Scott, came of age as Flying Eagle, followed by my blonde-haired David, Golden Eagle.  (More…)

The History of Sex: A Personal Journey

Bharat Pathakjee

I’m currently teaching an online course for OLLI called “History and Science of Sex” which implies that I am an expert on the subject of sex.  This isn’t quite true.

I grew up in a traditional Brahminical culture in post-independence India. Sex education in school was limited to the birds and bees. Nothing about people. Most of the information I got came from older boys and a few racy magazines. Indian laws were, and still are, based on Victorian laws left over from the British Empire.  Ironic for the land that created the Kama Sutra.  I remember reading a banned copy of Lady Chatterley’s Lover and being shocked at seeing the “F word” in print. Most of us (at least the men) grew up reading the articles in Playboy while carefully ignoring the pictures.  (More…)

My Life During “Stay Safe at Home”

Catherine Mitchell

First, I am grateful because all of my friends and family are in good health, and so far they are financially secure. And I am thankful to all the people who are putting themselves in harm’s way to keep things working as much as possible – not only those people in the medical field, but also grocery store workers, restaurant owners and workers, and all of the unsung heroes out there.

I am 80 years YOUNG and cringe every time that I hear or read, “the frail and elderly.”  I definitely am not frail and hadn’t felt elderly until the coronavirus hit. This is a picture of me celebrating my 80th birthday in Italy last year.  All of a sudden, I went from having a full calendar to having an empty one. So far a dental appointment has been cancelled as has  (More…)

National Poetry Month – Final Edition

Poetry is everywhere.  All around us.  But it’s shy, elusive, and difficult to see. Unless you’re a poet.  And they don’t find it easily.  They break a sweat, seeing the half seen beauty around them.  And capturing it for the rest of us with their clever words, sometimes tricking us into thinking that we had seen it all along.  This is our final collection of poems for National Poetry Month this year.  Read them with fierce attention, the way they were written.  (More…)

More Than Meets the Eye II

We introduced you to Blended Learning in Monday’s issue.  Here is a reminder of what our project entailed, followed by some of the artwork it used and the poetry it generated.

The perfect opportunity in the most imperfect moment.

Eighteen participants from OLLI-USF and OLLI at Northwestern recently completed a five-week blended learning course, More Than Meets the Eye: Our Perspectives in Art. “Blended learning” combined two face-to-face sessions (the first one in two classrooms and the final one on Zoom) and three sessions where participants worked through online material in collaboration with a member at the partner university. Halfway through the course, both OLLIs had to cancel their planned Spring programs due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This course continued. One participant described the course as “a beautiful distraction.”  (More…)

More Than Meets the Eye

The perfect opportunity in the most imperfect moment.

Vermeer Art of Painting via WikiEighteen participants from OLLI-USF and OLLI at Northwestern recently completed a five-week blended learning course, More Than Meets the Eye: Our Perspectives in Art. “Blended learning” combined two face-to-face sessions (the first one in two classrooms and the final one on Zoom) and three sessions where participants worked through online material in collaboration with a member at the partner university. Halfway through the course, both OLLIs had to cancel their planned Spring programs due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This course continued. One participant described the course as “a beautiful distraction.”

Some background: The National Resource Center (NRC) for Osher Institutes invited OLLI-USF and OLLI at Northwestern to develop and present this first-of-its-kind blended learning, joint course. Participants in the course investigated different ways to look at art, including art made in response to art.  (More…)

National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month is a celebration of poetry that takes place in April every year.  It was introduced in 1996, organized by the Academy of American Poets as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States.  Their web site is a good place to find information about local poetry events during the month.  Which are pretty thin on the ground this year.   But we’ve got you covered with two small, intimate poetry “events” every week.  (More…)

National Poetry Month

NPM Background 01 Photo by Paweł Czerwiński on UnsplashLike way too much of life these days, National Poetry Month has had to go online this year.  Even this issue of OLLI Connects is an online manifestation of an experience that would be more powerful if you were there, live and in person, hearing both of today’s poets read their own works.  We can’t give you that exact experience, but we suggest–seriously–that you read the poetry in this piece aloud.  Pay attention to the punctuation, the timing, the sentence melody.  Let each poem tell you how to read it.   (More…)

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…)