By Darla Goodfellow
Have you ever wondered about those strange symbols featured on flags, shields, and coats of arms? Do the symbols have a meaning? Why are there so many different symbols? How important is the placement and direction of the symbols? These were just a few of the questions answered by The Reverend Doctor Harold F. Roberts. A retired Episcopal priest, he became interested in heraldry at a very early age. His uncle gave him the book A Boy's King Arthur, and this started a fascination that has lasted for years.
The OLLI members in attendance not only learned all about the symbols but also the vocabulary that is used in heraldry. Blazon means to formally explain the coats of arms using the language of heraldry. Each symbol has a special meaning; even the direction the symbols are facing is significant. Everything that is on the coat of arms represents some information about the family or person.
Royals, United States presidents, colleges, universities, and clergy may have a coat of arms. You can research your family coat of arms or create your own. After creating your coat of arms, you can register it at the U.S. Heraldic Registry and have it copyrighted.
By Linda McClary-Martin
On the Southern Mississippi campus in Long Beach one recent seminar was "It's a Great Pumpkin" offered by facilitator Brynn Brewington. Painting "the Great Pumpkin" was a creative outlet for all involved. Participants painted their individual pumpkins and there was absolutely no way anyone could mess up. We were encouraged to be eclectic and totally express ourselves.
Brynn was confident and fun to work with; she was able to encourage us to just relax and paint. She was exciting, encouraging and very talented.
We certainly left her class with much more than a pumpkin on canvas, because creative activities are literally therapy for your mind and can improve mental clarity. Activities such as reading, playing or listening to music, writing, baking, gardening or sewing relieve stress, increase and renew brain function, improve one's mood, help prevent Alzheimer's, cultivate social life and especially "put on your Giggle" as many were laughing in this pumpkin painting class.
In the end, each pumpkin was unique to the individual's creative spirit and also a genuine work of art.
By Bettie Lindley-Meek
The "Beautiful swimmer that tastes good" a.k.a. the Blue Crab was the subject of a seminar presented by Aaron Lamey of the Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory Marine Education Center. OLLI members who attended the session at the GCRL Halstead Campus in Ocean Springs thoroughly enjoyed it.
As to the Blue Crab (Callinectes sapidus), the instructor covered the life cycle, growth stages, habitat, importance of blue crabs to the food web, effects of climate warming and reproduction of the omnivore. The GC Research Lab Blue Crab Tagging program was discussed along with the valuable contributions of individuals, corporations and governmental entities which enable the productivity of this program. The person who harvests and reports a Blue Crab with a GCRL tag may collect either $5 or $50. More information at https://bluecrab.usm.edu/.
Lamey described current education and outreach programs of the MEC for students K-12, college students, educators, families and school groups. Aaron showed architectural drawings of the new MEC buildings at GCRL Cedar Point Campus, Ocean Springs. (gcrl.usm.edu/mec/)
After the seminar, Lamey and the team wrapped up the session by preparing a huge Gulf Coast crab boil. The OLLI participants were most grateful and enjoyed the feast!
By Pamela Dupuy
Long-limbed and affable, Dr. Pat Smith has the appearance and demeanor of an incoming freshman although he's taught at Southern Miss for decades. His easy-going manner melds perfectly with the OLLI students taking his two-part class, Muhammad and the Rise of Islam. Like most of those enrolled, Dr. Smith is retired. He well knows that he and those seated before him could have chosen to go fishing or take a nap on the afternoons that they are all sequestered in Room 101 at Fleming Hall. Yet, like their professor, those who signed up for this course are willing to make a sacrifice for learning.
With an MA and PhD in history from Vanderbilt University, Dr. James Patterson Smith has taught courses on third world areas affected by European imperialism, the Civil Rights Movement and other subjects. Acknowledging that he is not a theologian but an historian, Dr. Smith's research on the Middle East and the development of religion in that region prepared him well for teaching a course on Islam.
OLLI members were very attentive as Dr. Smith discussed the founding of this monotheistic faith and its development. Through his knowledge of the Qur'an and awareness of the political situation of both current and past times in the Middle East, he examined the reality of the religion and the many misconceptions promoted by the media today. The students were open and eager to explore a religion that was not as well known to them as others were. Dr. Smith spoke of the complexities of Islam and the simple beauty of its message. When asked why he thought so many had signed up for this course, he said people hear a lot about it and the curiosity was there so people came. That they did. And many asked him to teach a follow-up.
By Carol Ann Lewondo
When you hear "spin that wheel" on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, it can have all sorts of connotations! Our class, aptly named, was centered on a pottery wheel, in the wonderful studio at the Ohr O'Keefe Museum on the beach in Biloxi. Most, if not all, of the participants in our class, had no experience with this type of art and chose this class to experience this medium. And that we did! Our facilitator for this class, Charles Mabry, graduated with a degree in Fine Arts from the Auburn University and completed a two-year apprenticeship as a visiting artist at a multimedia art center, Callanwolde, in Atlanta prior to coming to the Ohr O'Keefe.
There are many things to consider simultaniously when spinning the clay, such as learning to control the speed of the spinning with a foot pedal, while you place and coordinate your hands on the clay to get the desired effect. We had lots of expert guidance from our facilitator, and there was always the recycle clay bin for those pieces where the clay "got away from you" and was not exactly the shape or size you intended. The good news is that all our mistakes could be recycled and used again. All the clay is recycled unless it is fired in the kiln.
Everyone completed the class with at least two pieces that were glazed in our choice of color and fired by Charley and the staff. Many of the participants hope to take another class on the pottery wheel since our two-hour session was just enough to want to learn more.