My Quest to Deliver Women Rowing North

Diane Russell

During the Fall 2020 term, I took the OLLI-USF class led by Ara Rogers and Jane Applegate based on the book, Women Rowing North, by Mary Pipher. The book encourages women in the last third of their lives to explore ways to make their lives more meaningful. It was especially helpful to bond with my classmates through Zoom. We discussed our pasts and how we planned to thrive during and after the pandemic!

I view Women Rowing North as an ideal reference book for women in my age group, so I decided  (More…)

Your Assignment, Should You Decide to Accept it…

Marilyn Myerson

Marilyn Myerson leads and mentors creative writing groups, encouraging them to push the envelope of their imaginations while staying in control of the theme.  She frequently has them to write short stories that explore a specific idea.  And she leads by example.

Today’s two stories are both by Marilyn.  One puts a twist on a hoary cliché.  The other speculates on what could happen, if the leader of a creative writing group were not quite who she seemed to be.  –Editor


Cliché: A Shaggy Dog Story

Myrtle van Crapen, resident of Tampa, Florida, shared her abode with three dogs. Two of her canine housemates were Bucky and Bolty, Heinz 57 mutts who nonetheless spoke quite passable English.  (More…)

La Serenissima

Lynne Sebastian

We decided to walk back to the hotel rather than take a vaporetto.  For one thing, it was a lovely spring evening, and besides, no place in Venice is really all that far from any other place in Venice.  Once the mobs of day-visitors return to their hotels and caravans on the mainland in the late afternoon, Venice becomes a different place – quiet, elegant, sophisticated, ancient, and haunted. Straight-line routes are nonexistent here, so we wove a circuitous path along the narrow passageways that serve as streets and over some of the multitude of footbridges that arch across the narrow canals.

We walked beneath iron-railed balconies overflowing with flowers, the air hinting of roses, lilies, and geraniums.  We admired the (More…)

And Now for Something . . . a Little Bit Different

Theresa D’Aiuto Sokol

OLLI Connects is almost three years old, and in its short lifetime, we have shared a wide variety of your fellow OLLI members’ contributions: powerful  stories, rich personal experiences, fascinating nuggets of history, and humor.  We’ve taken you on trips to other parts of the United States and journeys to other parts of the world.  We’ve shared technology, book reviews, poetry and more.  We’ve had posts that were all photographs with no more words than were needed for context.

But we’ve not had a post that was almost all video.  Until today.

Theresa D’Aiuto Sokol has shared two of her blog posts, and now she shares some of her video work.   (More…)

Taking the “Y” in the Road

Don Menzel

Yogi Berra once advised: “when you get to a Y in the road, take it.” So that’s exactly what Kay and I have done. Oh, you say—but how do you know where you will end up? We don’t, and of course, that’s exactly the point. Our Y in the road was the decision to relocate to Colorado and take residence in a brand-new sparkling co-operative. So, if you are not sure what life in a cooperative is about—neither are we, but we are going to share with you what we know in this essay.

First, the basics—a co-operative is not a condo nor an apartment complex, although it is close quarters living. You don’t buy or rent your living quarters—in our case 58 units in a three-story building. Rather, you become a member by purchasing a share in a mortgaged building. You are not an owner. Okay, I know that is difficult to grasp—think of it as an investment. Over time, your share will  (More…)

Reflections of a Former Joke-Writer for Joan Rivers

Robert Strozier

Now that I’ve reached the age of 80, a milestone year if ever there was one, I thought it’d be a fitting time to revisit some moments from my life as a writer—for better or for worse.

Let’s bypass the rave reviews I received from my parents for a play I wrote and starred in at nine, Detective Dick, and skip along to 1964. I’d just graduated from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in Humanities and was living with a friend in Berkeley, California.

I decided to launch my freelance career by writing poems and greeting card ideas—two surefire money makers. Some poems got published, most suffered a less happy fate. As in: “Sorry we won’t be able to use your poem, but we did like parts and particles of it.” The word “the” in the second line of the third stanza, I surmised, the third syllable of the eighth word in the fifth line of the second stanza, the…  (More…)

How Sweet It’s Been!

Theresa D’Aiuto Sokol

Late winter holidays provide the perfect excuse to gorge on sweets, treats and rich temptations for the palate in order to take the edge off a numbing progression of dark, icy days.

Wait! What? This is Florida, America’s Spring Break playground—sun, beaches, sand, Disneyworld, parks—amusement or nature—the ultimate getaway destination for the winter weary!

Sadly, not this year for the over 65 set….

The monotony of COVID-induced isolation forced us to remain holed up at home. We endured feverish hours refreshing vaccine sites or counting the days until the achievement of full immunity after getting our jabs. Late March ushered in the mass breakout of grateful grandparents sporting newly minted silver coiffures and COVID-padded waistlines.  (More…)

America the Beautiful: My Personal Story

Teri Dreyfuss-Gray

What does it mean to be an American?  To me it means everything.  What it means goes beyond my place of birth.  For me it goes back to when millions of Irish people, Italians, and Eastern Europeans crossed the Atlantic Ocean in search of a better life.

My mother’s parents were refugees who came to this country from Russia.  They fled religious persecution as the pogroms claimed the lives of their families.  They made a good life for themselves in the safety of Coney Island, owning a dry goods store.  They never talked about the old country:  only about how lucky they were in America,  the land of freedom.

My father’s father left his family in Romania as a young adult, because they were poor.  Once in America, he pursued his dream, became a chef and made a future for himself.  My father’s mom was born in Palestine.  She was the oldest of ten children and was sent to America to find opportunity and a better life.  She often talked of her pride in living in America and loved to sing the song, “America the Beautiful.”  My grandparents felt lucky, blessed, and safe to raise their children in the freedom of this beautiful country.  (More…)

Baseball and the Atomic Bomb

Bharat Pathakjee

While researching for my class on the Atomic Age, I came across a little-known human interest story about a man named Moe Berg. The son of a Jewish pharmacist, he was born in New Jersey in 1902.  He loved baseball and was quite good at it, much to his father’s displeasure. He excelled at his high school, won a scholarship to Princeton, and played ball in the Ivy League. He majored in Romance languages and became fluent in no fewer than six.

After Princeton he was recruited by the pros—the Brooklyn Robins–for $5,000 a year ($71,000 in today’s money). More success was soon to follow, and in 1926 he earned $50,000 ($700,000 in today’s money) playing for the Chicago White Sox.  (More…)

National Poetry Month 2021 – The Finale

We hope you’ve enjoyed the poetry we’ve been able to share with you in our past three issues.  National Poetry Month for this year is almost over, but you don’t have to give up poetry until next April rolls around.  Check out our Events and Resources page. While April has seen a surge in poetic activity, there are many events and resources that celebrate poetry all year long.

And while you’re being inspired by the poetry of others, we hope you’ll also be “inspired” to write some poetry of your own.  And give us the chance to publish it next year.  We’re OLLI Connects, not the Lithuanian Literary Gazette.  Our purpose is to give OLLI-USF members an opportunity to share their creativity.  Hmmm…, make that your creativity! So, let’s give you a little more inspiration right now.  (More…)