The World War II “Flying Tigers”

Kun Shi

The World War II “Flying Tigers”, or Fei Hu in Mandarin Chinese, was a highly respected group of American pilots, the American Volunteer Group (AVG), that was recruited by the Chinese Nationalist government to fight the Japanese in the early years of the war. In the summer of 1941, about 260 AVG members (including 110 pilots and 99 P-40 fighters) reached southwest China under the command of Claire Chennault, as part of the Chinese Air Force. The P-40 fighters of the AVG were originally painted with the design of a shark’s mouth. To the Chinese in southwest mountainous region, that image of “flying tigers” was the ultimate power and ideal symbol to fight the enemy. Thus was born the nickname and the legacy of Flying Tigers, including the Disney designed insignia. 

 Read more

Arming Teachers: A Personal Journey

Don Menzel

Mass school shootings in the U.S. have left 169 students dead since April 1999 when two Columbine students killed 12 of their peers and one teacher at the school in Littleton, Colorado, and injured many others before killing themselves. Chants of “thoughts and prayers” abounded then and today over the horrible killing of nineteen fourth grade children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas.

There are many proposals to stop the carnage, with many focused-on-gun policies such as requiring background checks, regulating the sale of guns at gun shows, and passing “red flag laws” that allow police agencies, family members and others to petition that a gun to be taken from someone they believe has become dangerous. Proposals to reform gun policies are neither new nor few. There are currently over 110 gun bills on the desks of members of Congress.

Read more

The Last Sail of the Mayaguana

Neil Cosentino

For reasons I no longer remember, I decided that day to move the Mayaguana to a new location. Was it luck?  Fate?  I’ll never know.

The boat had been neglected and unused for years, an old all-wooden sloop built on Man-O-War Cay. At 37 feet from stem to stern, she had a small cabin and had been used in the early days as a government mail boat.

It was a hasty decision to leave Salt Cay, Nassau, in the Bahamas for our destination: Treasure Cay Resort in the Hub of the Abacos. I decided to take Tete along with me. He was a Haitian employee who had sailing experience.  As the company pilot, I often joked that I knew only two things about boating: keep the pointed end in the direction you are going and keep water out of it.

 Read more

Cousin Vince and the Kindness of Friends

Diane Henrikson Russell

Author’s Note: I was inspired to write this memoir after taking John Grant’s OLLI class titled, “Life and Death Documents Everyone Should Have.”

I had insomnia on Memorial Day weekend of 2016 and disregarded the advice not to check my phone.

I instantly regretted it when I saw a text message from my second cousin, “Joe.” Our dads were first cousins who were as close as brothers. We both grew up in Des Plaines, Illinois and went to the same church. We had bonded lately over fond memories of our dads.

He reported that Vince, his uncle and my first cousin once removed, had had a stroke and lung cancer. Since he was losing his vision rapidly, he hired a neighborhood woman to be his assistant to communicate with his friends.      Read more

Perfect Day at Circle B Bar Reserve

Diane White

The OLLI-USF Outdoors “hikers” explored one of their favorite places, Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland, on a beautiful day in March. We would like to share it in words, but mostly pictures, with OLLI Connects readers.

If you are looking for a great place to take your out-of-town visitors, or just go for a stroll to take in amazing wildlife, this is the place to go. One of our members, Sheryl, wrote, “With the exception of the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel, Circle B Bar had the biggest variety of wildlife I’ve seen of all my hikes in Florida.”

What will you see? In many places you will see birds on the left, birds on the right. You might see a great blue heron and gator face off.  View more

My Day at Circle B Bar Reserve

Mary Satterwhite

Recently I went with a few friends to hike and take photographs at Circle B Bar Reserve near Lakeland.  It was a LONG drive there but well worth it.  It is a very large park of more than 2,000 acres. We hiked four and a half miles and saw not even a quarter of the park.  We took Marsh Rabbit Run (where we were stopped by a large alligator blocking the trail) and Alligator Alley which was my favorite. The large trees shading Alligator Alley are lovely.     View more

You may be wondering why you received an OLLI Connects email for a story that isn’t yet available over this weekend.  We have to chalk that up to an unfortunate misclick during the editing process for an upcoming piece.  Please disregard that notice–for now– and enjoy this week’s two offerings focused on the splendid photos produced by the hiking and nature SIG members.  And, check back with us in early June for the “Flying Tigers.”–Editor 

The Prom Dress

Ceci LaDuca

I was dusting off some photo albums the other day, and came across a faded color pic of me taken almost sixty years ago, posing like a model, trying to look cool and sexy. “Tuff,” they called it back then. Suddenly, I’m back in May 1965. Puerto Rico. Ramey Air Force Base, where my dad was stationed. I’m seventeen and shopping for a dress for my Senior Prom.

There I was, with my whole family, in a charming little dress shop in a charming little town called Isabela, outside the base.       View more

The Case of the Time Traveling Amoeba

Marilyn Myerson

I am an amoeba.

You might think this makes me simple, but the truth is that I am a math whiz – spending my days dividing and multiplying. And no chalkboard or calculator for me – I just do it!

I am never lonely – my family is all around me; indeed, I create new family as often as I like. Life is good. I’m smart and I’m gregarious, and food and water are in plentiful supply.

As for my looks,  I may look like a blob but… View more

 

The End of the Liberal World Order?

Don Menzel

“America,” former Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, in his later years proclaimed, “is the locomotive at the head of mankind, and the rest of the world the caboose.” The new liberal world order fashioned together after WWII was the “rules-based order” led by the United States. The alternative, Acheson believed, is an international jungle with no “rules, no umpire, no prizes for good boys.” Does Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military incursion into Ukraine signal a return to the jungle and an end to the liberal world order? View more

Reading Aloud is Encouraged

Victoria Dym
Joyce Carpenter

Not everyone dresses up to read poetry aloud, but we have to say that we admire the touch of elegance it adds.

Last week we let Nick Graves and Gianna Russo share both their poetry and their writing process with you. This week we have two more poets to share: Victoria Dym and Joyce Carpenter.  We’d tell you more here, but we’d just be cribbing from their own self introductions.  Click the button to get right to the good stuff!

View More