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About OLLI E-News

OLLI E-News was created by Rod Zumbro, who served as its editor from 2005 to 2013.

Editorial Staff

Chief Editor/Technical Editor: Irene Osterman
Associate Editor:
Weekly Editorial Team: Paul Van Hemel, Sheri Siesseger, Leslie Vandivere,
Proofreaders: John West, Gordon Canyock, Susan Van Hemel
Backup Chief Editor: Sheri Siesseger

Submissions. Members are encouraged to submit letters to the editor, letters to Ms. Ollie Ettakit (on etiquette matters), OLLI-related news items, articles and photos. Submit material to:
Deadline – 6:00 pm Tuesday for that week’s issue (6:00 pm Monday for letters to the editor); early submissions are greatly appreciated. Please limit articles to about 250 words.
Note: You can view past issues of OLLI E-News on the DocStore. To search the content of issues, use Search Our Site or put your search term in Google followed by “” without the quotes.

OLLI E-News October 24, 2014
Print a condensed .pdf copy of this newsletter, two web pages per sheet of paper.
Special Event 954 on September 24, presented by Christopher Vo, a roboticist at George Mason and Director of Education for the DC Area Drone User Group

October 24, 2014

Editor of the Week: Leslie Vandivere
Table of Contents

Alerts & Notices

Reminder: The OLLI Holiday Party will be Fri, Dec 5 at the International Country Club, Chantilly; $30 per person. Register at your site.

Mason's Center for Global Education has three spring-break trips in March 2015 open to OLLI Mason members: to Costa Rica, to Ireland, and to Jerusalem and Petra. See for further information.

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The Wright Stuff!

By Alice Slayton Clark, Communications Associate

Architecture buffs and aesthetics alike filled the main classroom at OLLI Mason on October 20 to hear the grandson of Frank Lloyd Wright speak about the works of the famed architect and the importance of historical preservation.

Tom Wright, a Bethesda resident who resides in the home his grandfather built for his parents (Robert Llewellyn Wright and Elizabeth), would rather be lecturing on volcanic activity and other areas of geological expertise. Instead, he came to OLLI to promote a more personal passion: “the importance of preserving Frank Lloyd Wright homes.”

According to OLLI instructor Claudia Day, a docent at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Pope-Leighey house in Alexandria, “I invited Tom to my class because I felt that OLLI members would enjoy hearing firsthand what it's like to live in a FLW home.” And that, they did. Wright talked about the challenges and costs of maintaining his hemicycle home of curved cinderblock and wood, which appears as an almond-shaped fortress from the front. Step around back, however, and the house reveals breathtaking walls of glass and woodland vistas.

Because of its historic registry, the house cannot undergo exterior or interior changes and contains many of the same appliances and built-in furniture from its construction in 1958. According to Wright, however, the home remains comfortable and quite functional, with lots of storage space and a “very pleasing aesthetic.” OLLI member Susanne Zumbro remarked that it is “amazing the house retains so much of its original character today.” Upkeep is not cheap, however, and all of the family’s savings go toward preservation. Wright hopes, nonetheless, to pass the house to his children so that it will remain in the family in perpetuity.

Wright also reminisced about the summers of 1949-51 spent with his grandfather at Taliesin East, a “defining period” in his lifetime. Although Wright hardly saw his grandfather, he remembers living and working with all of the apprentices at the house, 
which served as a home, farm, and studio. Taliesin was lively then, he said, with music and foreign movies during the weekends, and an occasional party with “excellent food from around the world.” On Sundays, Frank Lloyd Wright often would provide precious lectures on building design to his protégés.

Though Tom Wright confesses he was never interested in drawing and architecture as a boy, he certainly has come to appreciate deeply what his grandfather did for the world then and today. 

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Bull Run Tour

By Sheri Siesseger, OLLI E-News Weekly Editorial Team

On a beautiful autumn day, 30 OLLI members led by Jim Anderson toured the site of the Second Battle of Bull Run (or Manassas) on Friday, October 17. Jim’s preparation was meticulous, including a trip to the battlefield the day prior to the event to assess conditions in the places we were visiting.

We walked to key battle locations while he explained the significance of strategy on the part of both sides, the impact of political wrangling among the Union generals, and the lack of or misuse of intelligence by Union General Pope. We left with a greater appreciation of the nature of this three-day battle and the narrow escape of the Union forces. It was a day well spent.

The photos depict some of our stops including the Henry House, Brawner Farm, and Chinn Ridge. 






How It Began

By Carol Henderson, Former Reston Coordinator

Lydia Macdonald Colwell, an early and longtime member of OLLI when it was called the Learning in Retirement Institute (LRI), was the leader in the effort to expand LRI to a Reston location. In 1998, membership was capped at 440 due to lack of space and parking at Tallwood campus (sound familiar today?).

As a Restonian, Lydia found space at the Washington Plaza Baptist Church on Lake Anne, where she knew the minister. She says another early Reston booster was Norma Wade, who didn’t want to drive to Tallwood and thought LRI ought to expand closer to her home. Norma helped find the first instructors for Reston classes. Lydia was on the program planning committee, active as both student and instructor, and made presentations to the LRI Board and to local groups about LRI. Reston, she said, “had both parking and toilets” and would help the Institute grow.

In 1998 the LRI Board agreed and approved the expansion. The first Reston classes were held in winter term 1999, and included courses on investments by Shirley Smith, history by George Heatley and Glenn Markus, news media by Stewart Macdonald (Lydia’s husband), poetry by Nancy Gay Dillaman, Russian literature by Maya Hutchins, ethics by Elaine Schwartz, and Tai Chi by Michelle Carlson, among others.

Lydia also began the Literary Roundtable in 1999, a short-story discussion class that is still running today. A few years later Lydia, by then a widow, married high-school friend Howie Colwell and moved to New England. Early LRI presidents Jan Dewire, Michael Styles, Ray Beery, and Ed Mentz were also active and supportive of the LRI expansion. Other early Reston locations used were Reston’s Used Book Shop and the Lake Anne Museum.

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Poet's Corner

Courtesy of the Poetry Workshop

Found, the Perfect Sweater
Just warm enough to span the seasons
Not too heavy, not too light
Smooth to the touch, nothing scratchy
Buttons down the front for cooler days
Or to wear open, swinging
For a younger touch.
Pockets two, so necessary.
Found, the perfect one, after
Searching for several seasons
Haunting shops, boutiques, thrift stores.
At last, there it hung
Nestled between a boat-necked red
And a pale green dancing top,
A charcoal gray cardigan
I could give my heart to
However fickle.
                                    Jan Bohall

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Host an International Student for Thanksgiving


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Arts & Music at George Mason

Performances, next two weeks

By Shelly Gersten, OLLI E-News Staff Writer

For tickets for either CFA or Hylton, call 1-888-945-2468, buy tickets online through the event calendar (see links below), or visit the venue's box office. For more information see the CFA ticket page or the Hylton ticket purchase page.
At the Fairfax Campus Venues

Fairfax Symphony Orchestra
Sat, Oct 25, 8:00
Copland: Quiet City
Stravinsky: Concerto in E-flat "Dumbarton Oaks"
Copland: Appalachian Spring
Stravinsky: Suite 1 and 2 for Small Orchestra
Harris Theatre
Admission: $60, $45, $25
The National Acrobats of the People's Republic of China: Cirque Peking
Fri, Oct 31 and Sat Nov 1, 8:00
Sat Nov 1, 2:00
Pre-Performance Discussion: Wang Dan; Executive Director Concert Hall
Admission: $48, $41, $29
New Orleans Legends: Featuring the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Allen Toussaint
Sun, Nov 2, 7:00
Pre-Performance Discussion: Benjamin Jaffe; Member of Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Concert Hall
Admission: $48, $41, $29

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Mason Student & Faculty Performances
(see for additional student recitals)

The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Fri, Oct 24, 8:00
Sat, Oct 25, 2:00 and 8:00
Sun, Oct 26, 4:00
Biannual event presented jointly by Mason's School of Theater and School of Music.
Concert Hall (Fairfax Campus)
Admission: Adults, $25; seniors, $15
Jazz Combos
Wed, Oct 29, 8:00
de Laski - Room 3001
Admission: Free
The Mystery of Edwin Drood
Fri, Oct 31, 8:00
Sat, Nov 1, 2:00 and 8:00
Biannual event presented jointly by Mason's School of Theater and School of Music.
Merchant Hall (Mannassas Campus)
Admission: Adults, $25; seniors, $15
Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
The classic film with live score by GMU composers
Fri, Oct 31, 9:00pm
deLaski 3001
Admission: Free
University Singers & Chorale Concert
Sun, Nov 2, 7:00
Harris Theatre
Admission: $10


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At the Hylton Center

Nature Visions Photo Expo
Sep 28, - Nov 16
The Buchanan Partners Art Gallery is open to the public Tue-Sat, 10 am-6 pm, Thur., 10 am-8 pm and two hours before performances. Gallery Reception: Thur, Oct 2 from 6:00 to 8:00. For more information about the current exhibit, visit For reception RSVP to
Admission: Free
Swing Machine Big Band: Tribute to Glenn Miller and the Big Band Era
Sat, Oct 25, 7:30
Swing Machine Big Band is comprised of many current and former members of the Air Force Airmen of Note, Army Blues, Navy Commodores, Glenn Miller Orchestra and other professional musicians from the Washington DC area. For more information about Swing Machine, please visit
Gregory Family Theater
Admission: Adults, $29; Seniors, $20
Manassas Symphony Orchestra: Mythus
Sat, Oct 25, 7:30
Edvard Grieg’s Concerto in A major
and music byJean Sibelius and Howard Hanson.
Merchant Hall
Admission: Adults, $20; seniors, $14
John Tartaglia: ImaginOcean
Sun, Oct 26, 2:00 and 4:00
Puppeteer, actor, and singer John Tartaglia takes you through a whimsical trip to the depths of the sea.
Merchant Hall
Admission: Adults, $15; children, $5
Prince William Little Theatre: The 39 Steps
Fri, Oct 31 and Sat, Nov 1, 8:00
Sun, Nov 2, 2:00
Fri Nov 7 and Sat, Nov 8, 8:00
Sun, Nov 9, 2:00
Gregory Family Theater
Admission: Adults, $20; seniors, $17
Deana Martin: A Tribute to Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra
Sun, Nov 2, 7:00
Pre-Performance Discussion: Deana Martin
Merchant Hall
Admission: $48, $41, $29
For further details on any of the above events, please see the CFA event calendar and the Hylton Center event calendar

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Mason Highlights

Other Mason events, next two weeks

By Helen Ackerman, OLLI E-News Staff Writer

Speaker: Tom Rath, author of How Full Is Your Bucket? Tom Rath is an expert on the role of human behavior in business, health, and economics. He has written five international bestsellers, which have sold more than 5 million copies and made over 300 appearances on the Wall Street Journal's bestseller list. Tue, Oct 28, 4:30 to 5:30, and 7:30 to 8:30. Free, but tickets are required. For tickets, click:

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Meetings & Clubs

The following list covering the next two weeks is extracted for your convenience from the master online calendar maintained by the office, with direct web links added when available. The list is accurate as of mid-week but to check anytime for the latest information, please view the latest forecast of upcoming events on our website (News/OLLI Calendar). Note: All OLLI members are welcome at, and encouraged to attend, meetings of the Board of Directors, committees and resource groups, Kickoff Coffees, etc. (bolded below).
Sat Oct  25 10:30am Tai Chi Club–TA-3
Tue Oct 28 10:00am Knitting and Needlework Club–Panera, Herndon
Wed Oct 29  1:45pm Bridge Club–TA-3
Fri Oct 31  9:00am
Recorder Consort–TA-3
Craft and Conversation–Cottage
Homer, etc–Annex
Moby Dick Club–TA-2
Cooking Club–Cottage
Sat Nov 1 10:30am Tai Chi Club–TA-3
Tue Nov 4 10:00am Knitting and Needlework Club–Panera, Herndon
Wed Nov 5  1:30pm
Mah Jongg Clib–TA-2
Bridge Club-TA-3
Special Events Committee–Annex
History Club-TA-1
Fri Nov 7 10:00am
Craft and Conversation–Cottage
Town Hall Meeting–TA-1
Moby Dick Club–TA-2

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