Couples and conversation

  • You won’t need conversation heart candy for Valentine’s Day if you have real conversations with an OLLI class. pixabay.com

For the Monitor
Saturday, February 03, 2018

Thank goodness somebody had the good sense to interrupt that dismal, ugly, thankfully-short month of February with a day of love, plunked right smack in the middle on Feb. 14.

While Cupid seems to point his arrow at young lovers who celebrate the day in ways that most Osher Lifelong Learning Institute members remember fondly but distantly, maturity brings its own rewards to the love equation.

OLLI at Granite State College offers couples opportunities for togetherness enjoying shared interests or widely divergent interests.

Not part of a couple? Love, friendship, togetherness comes in all forms in OLLI where loneliness is a choice you would have to make, because you can always find congenial company among your contemporaries.

My husband and I are one of 165 married couples in OLLI at Granite State College. Several of these couples are very active in OLLI.

In our case, serving on two committees together and one each apart, OLLI offers us spirited “discussions” about how the organization should run, a shared goal to inform our fellow senior citizens about this wonderful organization and activities by which we can spend time together or get away from each other for a few hours.

We rarely find ourselves in the same classes: he loves politics while I love literature and he enjoys history while I’m taking guided nature walks. At the end of the day we come home to exchange stories of our very different experiences adding variety and fun to our retirement lives.

Jen and Brian Graf of Bow are also very active and rarely seen apart at OLLI events. Together they contribute to the extremely important Curriculum Committee, which is responsible for coming up with the fabulous variety of courses offered at the Concord site and, whether attending classes or social events, they are side by side enjoying their time together.

Phyllis and Herb Benoit are both members; Phyllis is an active partner, serving on several committees, while Herb is content to enjoy classes. That’s not to say Herb doesn’t volunteer at OLLI events, as Phyllis offers his services on a regular basis. (Probably some spirited discussions in that household, too!)

OLLI friends and acquaintances who are not part of a couple credit OLLI with overcoming a tendency to vegetate in front of the television (by attending a class, a game day or a local tour), with providing an outlet for their talents (by volunteering or teaching a class), and with discovering an affable community of people with shared experiences from the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s.

Recent retirees often laugh about being back among people who remember where they were when John Kennedy was shot rather than at their former workplace where colleagues read about that event in history class.

So, you can experience conversation through those little imprinted candy hearts  or you can join OLLI for real conversation with real people who, like you, who make the choice to enhance the lives of others and find their own lives enhanced at the same time.

Courses starting in Concord during the first month of the term include topics from nature such as Karner Blue Butterfly and bobcats, history such as Lincoln and his generals, D-Day and an alternative view of Benedict Arnold, arts such as Epic of Monkey and Zentangles, tours such as the N.H. Correctional Facility for Women and Granite State Candy. With 70 courses in Concord and 147 more in OLLI’s Manchester, Conway, Portsmouth and Rochester locations, there is lots to talk about.

For more information, visit OLLI.granite.edu or call 513-1377. The next term starts Feb. 19. Registration started Thursday and goes on throughout the four-month term.