Jan Sampson earned her BA degree in art from CSULB, and this past winter, as a new OLLI member, she returned to the campus to further her education.
According to Jan, in just her first quarter, OLLI immediately made a difference in her life: the classes met her current needs for information, they opened her eyes about resources for seniors, and they helped her to make new friends.
As a recent retiree, Jan had several areas of interest that she had put off and now needed to tackle, but hadn’t known where to begin. In the OLLI winter schedule, she found four classes that were exactly pertinent to her age, situation, and needs; she enrolled in Financial Security,
Social Security, Advanced Directives, and Estate Planning. Attending the classes and learning from the teachers and other students has helped Jan to move forward with many “life matters,” and she is convinced that the classes were exactly what she needed to accomplish what she had avoided.
Because her classes were held at three different locations––Leisure World, Pine Avenue, and the CSULB campus––Jan also had her eyes opened to other options for seniors. As a result of the classes there, Jan was invited to tour Leisure World and its amenities and is now grateful for a new awareness of a potential future living situation. Through the Pine Avenue class, she also became aware of the vibrant senior community in downtown Long Beach. An additional plus for Jan has been the wealth of new friends she has made who are near her age and experiencing similar situations. She has been delighted to be able to share conversations with other like-minded OLLI students about common issues.
As an artist, Jan brings an interesting background to OLLI. Her CSULB degree in art took her to jobs that she never imagined. She was responsible for drawing computer wiring diagrams, and at Northrup Grumman Aircraft Corporation she worked with designers and engineers to draw fighter jets, the B2 Bomber, cockpits, wheel assemblies, and aircraft parts for instruction manuals. It appears that this “newbie” is here to stay for the “lifelong learning” that OLLI offers.
A Novel Approach to Memoir Writing has no pre-requisites, and American English is not required. Class members have come from all over the world, sharing their life experiences through their memoirs read before their peers and enjoyed by all.
Bruce Bishop is a current member of the class as well as an example of the Renaissance man. He is a native Southern Californian and proudly asserts he was “born in Lancaster on the cusp of WWII.”
Mr. Bishop’s education came from local schools here in Long Beach, including Woodrow Wilson High School. He states, “My higher education was interspersed by trips to the beaches of Cuba (where I met some beautiful women) to the steaming jungles of Panama.” He traveled throughout Europe, resided in Mallorca and southern France.
When questioned during the interview for this piece, he vociferously denied any affiliation with any U.S. governmental agencies. His many careers included renovating private and corporate properties in Mallorca and Southwestern France, doing sculpture, creating ceramics, printing. He worked as a calligrapher as well.
Bruce attained his BFA in Ceramics from CSULB a number of years ago and is currently engaged in writing, hoping to be published in the near future.
Summer in the Sierras
My father was an avid trout fisherman. Dressed in faded jeans and plaid shirt, his face shaded by a stained and weathered Stetson, he became a part of that rugged environment where our family camped in the summer. Rising at dawn, he made coffee, gathered up his gear, filled his creel* with the lunch that Momma had packed the night before, and set out.
Eager to escape a campsite grown monotonous, my brother, Ronnie, and I soon inveigled Dad to let us accompany him. Images danced in our brains of returning to camp like conquering heroes, creels brimming with trout. We didn't calculate the hard work involved. Marching up dusty switchbacks toward the promise of a trout-filled lake was catnip to Dad. The thin air and angle of ascent didn't seem to bother him, but Ron and I struggled to match his stride, puffing through the thin air. I rejoiced whenever I found him, in the shade of a boulder or beside a stream, waiting for us to catch up.
Once arrived at the chosen lake, we kids sprawled in the shade to recoup our energy while Dad laid out his leaders and lines and tied his hooks. He always kept a jar of salmon eggs in reserve. The eggs were bright orange, smelly, and slimy to the touch. They fascinated and repelled me. Yet they were sometimes favored by the temperamental trout. But grasshoppers comprised Dad's favorite bait. Therein lie the only times I ever saw my father look comical. These crusty mountain grasshoppers could grow as big as
a thumb, but they were camouflaged, dun and motley as the scrub they lived in. They were also fast, whizzing from their hidden perches like zigzagging helicopters. Whether crossing the high meadows or in the dry sage
beside the trails, Dad kept a sharp eye out for his prey. Walking along behind him, I would see him suddenly spring forward and slap the ground with his hat. If a loud whirring announced he had missed, much crash, crackle and spray of brittle branches followed as he vaulted and leapfrogged among the bushes, hat in hand, walloping the air or whacking it on the dirt.
In the end, despite stirred-up dust and sweat streaking his cheeks, he rarely failed to tuck a grasshopper, buzzing and scrabbling, into his tin pill box with a satisfied grin. This routine contributed many a trout to our table and considerable character to his Stetson.