It was the summer of 1973. A year after college graduation, I was making a life for myself on the gritty upper west side of Manhattan in a run-down tenement building occupied by a motley crew of hippies and disillusioned Columbia University graduates. My boyfriend Fred and I shared a fifth-floor walk-up at 105th Street and Columbus Avenue, adjacent to a building controlled by the local drug dealers. Each evening we were serenaded by salsa music emanating from the bodega just across the street, sometimes punctuated by the click, click, click of dominos accompanying excited comments from local Dominican and Puerto Rican players and onlookers.
In January of this year, through a combination of events that we’ll simply refer to as “divine providence”, Beryl was able to travel with a small, select group, including three Jesuit priests, to the Holy Land. It was a powerful personal journey for her, and she kept a daily photographic journal. She agreed to let us adapt her journal for publication here in OLLI Connects, and we invite you to share it now. — Editors
Quickly now, without any help from Google or ChatGPT, tell me what the following items have in common: Cassadaga, Fairy Walks, hematite and carnelian, Warsaw’s Flying University, a 1903 Nobel Prize, the Paris Pantheon, Tho-Radia beauty cream, and the Radium Girls.
Don’t feel bad if you couldn’t find the common denominator. It will all be explained in Jan Vaupel’s latest “memoir”.
It is a little-known fact that millions of Italian families, whose ancestors arrived during waves of immigration in the late 19th and early 20th century, mark an ethnic and cultural celebration in mid-March. Overshadowed by the overwhelming popularity of St. Patrick’s Day on March 17th, this holiday and other traditional Italian observances are hinted at in films like The Godfather, where an iconic scene features bystanders lined up along a parade route following a statue adorned with dollar bills. On March 19th, Italians commemorate the Feast of Saint Joseph (Festa di San Giuseppe) with parades and processions throughout the northeastern states and in New Orleans. Bakeries and families eagerly anticipate the sale and purchase of special fried and baked sweets native to the cuisine of Sicily and the Neapolitan region of Southern Italy. This week’s blog honors those traditions and sentiments with an ode to Italian ancestry and a recipe for the Italian confection most associated with “the festa,” zeppole, a sweet delight which holds an honored place in the pantheon of Italian cuisine. — Editor
I would normally say, it was a dark and stormy night, but it is likely you have heard that story before, so let me begin with—the sun was rising at Campobello—no, not that one either. The truth goes a little like this. The sun had already risen over the lighthouse at Provincetown, located on the very northern tip of Cape Cod. I estimated it to be about 10 a.m., which should allow ample time to get around Nantucket sound and down into Narragansett Bay. The waters were pretty flat along the National Seashore, but I decided… Read more
After two days in the care of Carol and Merlin, Beryl had yet to receive permission to return to Philadelphia. A few more adventures awaited her before she was cleared to embark on a flight home. Episode II concludes with her personal reflections and a warm story describing the purpose of her trip to Brussels.–Editor
Day Three and the Journey Home The next day, Thursday, Carol needed to complete her planning with three other ministers for a Prayer Service that evening. Merlin also needed to be away and they allowed Joe, Peg and myself to be at their home for what we thought was going to be the morning. The hotline number had been helpful in providing information about departure times, but the delays began to be the norm. Carol came home and suggested that we might like to get out for lunch as a change. As we drove around, I noticed the many flags at half-mast, which felt like a very supportive gesture on the part of our neighbors to the north!
More television that afternoon plus the opportunity to get on email at the home of a neighbor of Carol’s made the time pass quickly. At 6:30 p.m., Carol needed to be at the church for the service. Read more
This week marks the 21st anniversary of the September 11th attack, a fitting time to publish a memoir penned by a fellow OLLI member. Beryl Byles was a passenger on a return flight from Brussels on that fateful day. Over the course of this week, OLLI Connects will run her story in two episodes. Today’s issue recounts her arrival in Moncton, New Brunswick and continues with a description of the hospitality she received from our neighbor to the north. On Thursday we will finish her story with Episode 2, including her journey home after nearly four days delayed in Canada until tourists were cleared to fly over US air space. —Editors
While we each have our own individual story of where we were and what we were doing on September 11, 2001 and beyond, I want to capture my account of being a “stranded yank” in Canada. This effort represents my need for closure, a way to capture the “extraordinary” so that I can get back into the “ordinary” activities of my life. Hopefully, it also will serve as an invitation for you to share your own individual experience.
I had been airborne for just over an hour on U S Air flight #335 from Brussels at the time of the first attack. Four or so hours later, the pilot informed us that we had experienced higher-than-predicted head winds and, although we certainly had enough fuel to reach our destination of Philadelphia, we would be going into our fuel reserve and he did not like to do that. Therefore, we were going to land in (Moncton, New Brunswick) Canada where the ground crew was prepared to take 45 minutes to add the necessary fuel before we would continue on our way. (I think the 45-minute timeframe was geared to allay the anxieties of the majority of the passengers who were scheduled to make connecting flights in Philadelphia.) Read more
The weather that affected my life most recently happened on April 7th on my flight out of Tampa in a lightning-and-thunder filled rainstorm.
I am flying American, not my usual standby, Southwest. I love Southwest. I have their credit card and like their offbeat humor. But I change because my Coast Guard son is flying in from Cali and we want to meet up in Richmond at 4:15 p.m., then drive to Gloucester, our final destination. On Southwest, I would get in at 11:50 p.m., an unseemly hour, so I find an alternate flight on Black Friday. Perhaps that should have been a sign. It’s American Airlines, one way, for a great price.
I’m in line outside TIA. I’ve just checked my bag when the lady behind me asks, “Did you hear our flight’s been delayed two hours?”
Three years ago, Kay and I, along with our family luv “Emmy dog,” left Tampa with a new 4-wheel drive Jeep and hit the trail to the Rocky Mountains, settling in Loveland, Colorado. (Yes, there is a Loveland in the U.S.A.—actually two with Ohio the home of another.)
Excited about living on the “Front Range” in Northern Colorado, we were certain we had found our “forever home.” Alas, three years later, we purchased a small house in Sun City Center, Florida, where sun & fun gush galore. Of course, getting there on I-75 heading south from Tampa is a challenge with 90 mph bumper-to-bumper traffic that turns into “How slow can you go?” when you get off the Interstate.
So, what’s it like living in the fast lane in Sun City? That’s the tale I am going to share with you.