Donna and Ann’s Excellent Adventure: Lions, Hippos, and Elephants, Oh My!

Ann Sofia
Donna McGrew

Escapades and adventures aren’t only the province of the young. While OLLI Connects readers are reveling in the reminiscences of our “salad days,” some of you continue to forge ahead and create new memories of extraordinary experiences. Whether it be snorkeling in Indonesia, journeying around North Africa, touring Southeast Asia, traipsing across France for weeks on end or taking a six month residence in New York City, our OLLI friends are no strangers to living on the edge. Today’s edition summarizes a recent African safari undertaken by Ann Sofia and Donna McGrew. Ann guides us through a daily journal of events describing this once-in-a-lifetime trek to several African safari parks in Southeast Africa and other adventures in Cape Town and Victoria Falls. Donna provides powerful photos of their encounters with the wildlife and the landscape. So take a walk on the wild side and remember, you are as young as you feel! — Editors

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Boyhood Tales

Bruce Zimmerman
Doug Guido

We are thrilled to have received so many excellent responses to our request for stories about youthful indiscretions. Over the next months your contributions will enable us to print a rolling series of memoirs sure to entertain and bring a smile. And if you are still thinking about submitting something, please turn that thought into action. We can never get enough!

Before jumping into your accounts of edgy moments and risky decisions, we are bringing you two true stories of childhood from the point of view of a 6-year-old and an 8-year-old, who grew up in two different eras. Sit back and reminisce about those carefree days and the choices made and lessons learned before judgment played a role in each decision. And….these stories prove that analysis of pros and cons and decisions to act were definitely at “play” long before adolescence and adulthood. So take a moment to read through Bruce’s and Doug’s tales of boyhood adventures. — Editors

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Diane Henrikson Russell

The moment I stepped off my Southwest Airlines plane at Midway Airport, I could feel the electricity in the air. It was Wednesday, November 2, 2016. Millions of Cubs fans, including me, were holding our collective breaths as we waited for the seventh game of the World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians. We were still nonplussed at finding ourselves in this sweet yet precarious position, thanks to the guiding hand of Coach Joe Maddon (who coincidentally coached the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2008 World Series). The Cubs had last won the World Series in 1908.

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Youthful Indiscretions and Inadvertent Adventures

Al Carlson & Theresa Sokol

To all appearances, you are now a mature, sensible adult whose current reaction to adventures might parallel Bilbo Baggins’ when he said, “We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.”

But you weren’t always like that. There’s a twinkle in your eye and just a hint of a sly grin that tells us that you, like Bilbo, have had adventures and have come away the better for them. And we, of course, want to hear about them.

Adventures come in all sorts, and yours don’t have to involve Orcs and dragons. There are adventures you deliberately seek out, such as

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Life Lessons from Sourdough

Jane Applegate Belzer

The pyramids weren’t built in a day, and neither was a loaf of sourdough bread. When I retired, I wanted a baking challenge and decided that I’d up my bread baking game and learn all I could about making sourdough bread. You see, I was born into a family of bakers. No professionals, just good home bakers. We lived with my grandmother, Mary, who passed away when I was seven, but until that time I was in the kitchen with her every day (“underfoot,” as my mother would say). I watched her every move as she rolled out pastry for a pie or whipped, by hand, ingredients for a cake or lovingly made her “light rolls” for Christmas dinner. Occasionally, she would allow me to lend a hand, giving me that tactile sensation of a dough that feels just right. So my passion for baking came early and naturally, and has stayed with me through the years.

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National Poetry Month — Last Impressions

Victoria Dym
 Joan Weaving
Cath Mason
Robert Strozier

This April’s National Poetry Month was enthusiastically celebrated by our OLLI member poets with a stimulating array of poems that we packaged in weekly doses. As a special challenge we asked you for tanka and you came through splendidly, and even added other classic Japanese poetic forms to the mix. And to our request for content involving birds, you sent us thoughtful or quirky pieces dedicated to our feathered friends … and photos as well. Please enjoy our last poetry edition of the monthlong celebration. And….thank you all.

A fresh writing challenge will accompany one of our May blog issues. Spoiler alert! We want to know more about your personal adventures — after all, didn’t we all make some risky or unwise choices in our youth or young adult years? Stay tuned for all the details in an upcoming blog. — Editors

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Poetic Contours

Margaret Ryan
Cath Mason
Evelyn Ann Romano

In ancient and medieval Japanese society chanted, sung or spoken language sprang from roots found in the Chinese art called kanshi or shi. Over several hundred years the foreign impact blended into Japanese language traditions and evolved into a diverse selection of poetic forms, some of which are known to modern connoisseurs of Japanese literature and culture. Today’s blog focuses on tanka (a short form similiar to haiku) and a prose-like narrative form called haibun. — Editors.

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LOL Poetry

Victoria Dym has two gifts for you in this Poetry Month Special Edition of OLLI Connects: a new poem and an opportunity for an enjoyable night out.

We all know that poetry can be emotionally powerful, eliciting feelings of love, loss, despair, and wonder. We often forget that it can also be a hoot. Just ask normally-Mr.-Serious A.E. Housman.

Let’s talk about her opportunity to have some fun with poetry first.

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Subtle Observances

Kathy Winarski
Evelyn Ann Romano
Beth C. Bosserman


“Poetry is eternal graffiti written in the heart of everyone.”

—  Lawrence Ferlinghetti



“April showers bring May flowers.” Here at OLLI Connects April is the month we celebrate poetry in all its forms. Today we feature four poems by three member poets. You will be treated to wit, reflection, and poignant reminiscence. So, grab your herbal tea, morning coffee or espresso and find a quiet place to savor the beautiful expression of these thoughts. Editors

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National Poetry Month 2024

National Poetry Month

Every April OLLI Connects celebrates National Poetry month by informing you of poetry related events locally and nationally (more on that below) and by sharing with you poetry written or read by OLLI members.

Last year we gave you the opportunity to write and share haiku with us, and we received poems ranging from the sublime: 

Like giant sails of ships
The plump rain-filled clouds approach
Frogs waiting to sing.
-— Morrey Grymes

to the silly:

Faces float before me.
Vague. Dim. Difficult to see.
Damn! A Zoom meeting!
-— Roger Burr

This year we’ll offer you two ways to share your creative spirit with your fellow readers. 

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