A story by: Evelyn Marshak | Added: 2012
OLLI Newsletter 5/10 “There is a tide in the lives of men which if taken at the flood leads on to greater things.” This sentence is missing a word or two Let me tell you a little of my pre-OLLI life. I taught for 34 years in an area school system and at the same time I was multi-tasking in a family business - Public Paint. That meant working every Saturday and about 6 days a week during the summer break. By the way I wish I had known the term multi-tasking when I worked with my dad because at times I looked like I was a poster child for the phrase. I managed to squeeze in two master’s degrees and an additional 30 credits and had started volunteering at Waterbury Hospital. The business closed in 1985 and I retired in 2002 but I was still multi-tasking. My number of hours as a volunteer increased a great deal and I started a one woman newsletter which I still turn out, five issues a year. Suddenly my hours as a hospital volunteer ended and I was forced to hire someone to carry my tail around. Things were that upsetting and life was so boring that my tail was dragging. I wasn’t worried about the tide but was concerned about the flood leading me to nowhere. Then my neighbor, Pij Kadish, reminded me again she had been talking a great deal about what OLLI had to offer. So one day I went to the first OLLI meeting of the season and was awed by the friendliness of the people and what courses were being offered. I signed up for Jean McGavin’s initial Story Chip class and suddenly I was busy writing all kinds of things. I saved a great deal of money by firing the person who had been carrying around my tail. I started to meet new people in class and at OLLI café. I found fascinating things to write about by listening to the OLLI café speakers. I began reconnecting with people I had taught with or those who recognized me from my 20 year stint as an emergency room volunteer, and those whose child I had taught in Long River School. I was amazed that retired doctors like Dr. Raymond Sullivan and Dr. Gordon Reed had re-invented themselves as OLLI presenters. My dream has been to travel in Eastern Europe and visit Budapest and Prague. I haven’t made it yet but Diane Stone seemed to put us all on a flight that went straight to Hungary and on to the Czech Republic. When we arrived we knew a great deal which made the trip so much more enjoyable. Now, my first year as an OLLI member is about to end and I want to thank the entire OLLI program for so many things including friendship, compliments from my Supreme Court instructor and classmates and a new confidence that lets me cross East Main Street at the crosswalk without being terrified. It seems that only in this small area of Waterbury do people actually let you cross without fearing for my life.