9/11: My Story — Episode II

Beryl Byles

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

   

9/11: My Story — Episode I

Beryl Byles

REUTERS/Sara K. Schwittek/Files

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

Day One

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

Stormy Travel

Jan Vaupel

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?”

  Read more

Life in the Fast Lane: Sun City Center Style

Don Menzel

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.

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Crossing the Andes

Neil Cosentino

We were at 24,000 feet, unpressurized and on oxygen, as we crossed the Peruvian Andes eastbound toward the Amazon basin. I had selected Talara, Peru, to spend the night before the crossing. In the morning I refueled, checked the weather and notices-to-airmen, and filed our flight plan to Iquitos, Peru. Our twin-engine Piper Navajo was running like a Swiss watch, and that was important, for at all points east, beyond the Andes, any aircraft problem would mean very long delays.

We departed, climbing to the northeast, and when we passed 12,500 feet, I turned on the no smoking sign and told the others to go on oxygen. We continued climbing to 24,000, the safe altitude for crossing over the Chiclayo pass, and then descended into the Amazonas to follow the Marañón River to our destination—Iquitos, Peru.
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A Leap of Faith Helped Soviet Émigrés

Diane Henrikson Russell

Watching the news coverage of refugees fleeing Ukraine during the Russian invasion brought me back to 1980, when a leap of faith helped a family to emigrate from the USSR. Here is how it all began.

A middle-aged, well-dressed man approached us outside of a Tbilisi museum in February 1980. We were wary as he said, “Hello,” in English.

My first husband and I were in Tbilisi, Georgia as part of the (more…)

The Balloon Also Rises

Delia Palermo

Dawn, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

The first surprise was the actual pre-dawn hush. There really was “a kind of hush all  over the world,” at least outside of Moab, Utah. Following strangers to a dark van in a dark parking lot could have put us in mind of Scandi noir, but instead we felt the hush; no one in the van spoke on the drive to the balloon, which lay flat and ghostly on the dark ground. Shapes began to emerge into the other-worldly red rock terrain of the canyon although we could not see the tops of the canyon.

The previous night I had read a review that exalted over a balloon’s basket hitting the ground and bouncing up nearly to the top of the canyon, then again (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…)

Welcome to the LBJ Ranch!

Diane Henrikson Russell

In May 1971, I took my freshman-year finals at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. I did not head back home right away, though. Instead, I flew on a one-way ticket from Willard Airport in Savoy, Illinois to Austin, Texas.

The reason? My dad, editorial cartoonist Art Henrikson, decided to bring our family with him to the 15th annual American Association of Editorial Cartoonists’ convention. The convention was held in Austin, Texas to coincide with the opening of the LBJ Presidential Library, adjacent to the University of Texas at Austin.

However, the highlight was a three-hour afternoon visit to the LBJ Ranch in nearby Johnson City.  (More…)

Armchair Traveling with Books

Lucinda Page Knox

In various book group posts, I’ve read numerous requests for recommendations for “beach reads for summer.” There are always the recommendations for authors like Elin Hilderbrand, who sets many of her books in Nantucket. Ditto Nancy Thayer and others who use similar locations. However, why limit the settings of summer reading to the beach? Why not travel via books to an Italian fishing village/resort, a flower garden in Germany, a cottage in the Welsh countryside – or even to a besieged castle?

THE ENCHANTED APRIL by Elizabeth von Armin (born Mary Annette Beauchamp) is a wonderful escape to a “small medieval Italian Castle on the shores of the Mediterranean” for the month of April. Mrs. Wilkins, who finds a newspaper ad for the castle in her London woman’s club on a dreary February  (More…)