Untold Riches

Marilyn Myerson

“…and that adds up to 26 dollars”, sighed my mother Nancy. Worry lines played over the soft, beautiful skin of her face as she consigned thin dollar bills into little brown envelopes, each marked with its own label: “groceries”, “rent”, and so on.  Those little packets were the kind you got from the bank, small enough to hide secrets, wrapped securely with rubber bands to keep their precious contents in place, and softened from years of handling.

In the background Ricky, the turquoise budgie bird, chirped along with the RCA Bakelite radio. Maybe it was Kay Starr belting out her 1950 hit, “Wheel of Fortune”; we could have used one of those.
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Celebrating the Lunar New Year

Kun Shi
with a poem by Patricia Antolino

The Lunar New Year tradition is observed in China and several Asian countries, and among Chinese Americans. It normally arrives in late January or early February based on the lunar calendar. In 2023 the Lunar New Year’s Day falls on January 22nd.

Lunar New Year Celebration
The Lunar New Year (Xinnian in Chinese) is often called Spring Festival (Chunjie), because it is the beginning of the spring season on the lunar calendar. It is called Seollal in Korean and Tết in Vietnamese.

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Uncle Willie in Florida

Bruce Zimmerman

It was Christmas vacation time in December of 1945. World War II had ended a few months earlier. I was three months shy of my 18th birthday, and at six foot one and 172 pounds, looked a little older. I had saved a hundred dollars and got my parents’ permission to accept Uncle Willie’s invitation to visit him in Hollywood Florida.

The train fare was sixty-five dollars, round trip. Mom packed me a lunch/dinner, a combination of five or six sandwiches and fruit. My twenty-four-hour train junket started at New York Pennsylvania Station.

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2022 – A Look Back

Theresa Sokol
Al Carlson

We like to end each year with an issue in which we look back at the stories, poems, articles, memoirs, and–well, whatever–that we’ve published during the past 51 weeks.  And we have a staggering variety this time around.

We’ll share them with you in a moment. We want to stress that these are not necessarily “the best” articles in their category–just the ones that stood out for us personally, sometimes for very subjective reasons. We hope that you have a list of your own favorites.

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The Operatunity Holiday Cookbook

Beryl B. Byles
Theresa D’Aiuto Sokol

The Operatunity SIG has provided a fitting and suitably dramatic finale to OLLI Connects’ month-long tribute to holiday foods and recipes.  Originally published in 2020 just for SIG member contributors, Beryl Byles agreed to allow OLLI Connects to reformat the book and share a few recipes for our Act III installment of holiday delectable dishes submitted by our subscribers…..along with appropriate opera selections, of course. And, if you want to delve further into the compilation, the entire updated book is linked to this story. — Editor

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The Linzer Torte

Victoria Dym

I am in the checkout line at the Giant Eagle which is Pittsburgh’s version of Publix. While waiting, I skim an article on Christmas family gatherings: a recipe for a Holiday Ham, glazed with brown sugar and rings of pineapple (the way Mom used to make it), escalloped potatoes, lemony Brussels sprouts, and a Linzer Torte. The picture shows the food deftly plated and arranged on a Christmas tablecloth. There’s a vase with red roses, white lilies and pine.

You want the magazine? The cashier winks at me. Later that night, after my daughter, Sydney’s bath, and of course, her bedtime story, I read to my husband, Larry, in bed from the magazine, The Linzer Torte has two delicious layers of rich and buttery, nut flavored pastry sandwiched together with raspberry preserves. What makes this torte so beautiful is the lattice design of the top crust.
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To Tell The Truth – We Have a Winner

Channeling our inner Bud Collyer, we shared several “true” stories with you in our November issues. Stories written, as always, by your fellow OLLI-USF members. “Honest Abe” honest. Totally truthful.  Except when they weren’t.

We asked you to be our Kitty Carlisle, our Tom Poston, and tell us at the end of each issue whether the author had “told the truth” (and some had) or had tried to bamboozle you (which also happened). And as you voted, we kept score.

Using a complex mathematical formula (that I think we learned in fifth grade), we converted …

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Stollen Chronicles (2022)

Jane Applegate Belzer
Photos by Shelly Belzer and author

The holidays are coming and it’s time for me to challenge my baking skills. I know that sounds dangerous because we all want our holiday treats to be just perfect. So why take on a new project instead of relying on tried and true recipes born from family traditions? I am fortunate to have a couple of friends who are very skilled bakers and they never make the same holiday treats twice. Cookies, pies, breads, cakes and candies that dazzle the eyes and the palates. Impressive. So this year I’m taking my cue from them and I’m baking Stollen or Christstollen as it is called in its German homeland.  View more

For the holiday season OLLI Connects is featuring food blogs and recipes over the first three weeks of December followed by a discussion of our favorite issues on the final Monday of 2022. Deliciousness is on the menu beginning with Jane Applegate Belzer's beautiful Stollen. 
And don't forget to visit OLLI Connects on Thursday, December 8th to discover the identity of the To Tell The Truth competition winner.
— Editors

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  

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