A Visit to the Mary C

By Lynda A. Lynch

Mary C Building

Twenty-three members of the Gulf Park OLLI met at the Mary C O'Keefe (Mary C) Cultural Arts Center to attend the “Lunch and Learn Series” featuring Chef Cheri Heirs and to tour the rest of the Mary C. Chef Cheri is well known on the Gulf Coast as the Culinary Arts Director at the Mary C where she teaches Lunch and Learn classes on a weekly basis in addition to hosting workshops and other events. She is also known as Curious Chef Cheri and does exhibitions of her cooking skills on WLOX-TV.

The lunch for the day was Brown Butter Shrimp Risotto with Garlic Bread and Iced Lemon Cookies for dessert. The Shrimp Risotto consisted of shrimp, arborio rice, mushrooms, spinach and white wine. The students were fascinated with the techniques used by Chef Cheri and were not hesitant to ask questions. She also imparted some useful tips for preparing stock, cooking mushrooms and mixing olive oil with butter.

After the cooking demonstration and lunch, some of the students remained and, guided by a docent, toured the rest of the Mary C starting with the art exhibition in the Duckett Gallery. On display was Red Creek Currents, a Stone County Celebration, featuring artists Sandra Cassibry, Daniel Calcote and Shanna Luke. The group then went upstairs to the Ocean Springs Museum of History to view the Heritage and Heart, A History of Gulf Hills exhibition. The show displays items from the opening of the Gulf Hills Resort in 1927 through its evolution over the years into a dude ranch and now its use as a residential community, hotel and conference center complete with golf course.

The meal was delicious, the center interesting and the consensus was that this class should be added to each OLLI semester.

Clash of Wings:Air Warfare in WWII

By Richard W. Galloway and Marcelle D. Patterson

Tony Rhodes

Were fliers the “knights” of World War II? Could the Allies have won the war without Russia's air support? About 20 OLLI lifelong learners of various ages and backgrounds, including one veteran of the war, recently gathered at the Gulf Park campus to explore the great air campaigns of World War II. The unique course Clash of Wings was taught by Anthony (Tony) Rhodes, a retired Navy pilot who has flown in modern jet combat.

This four-week course was a fascinating history of the aircraft and the men and women who made the war from the air a vital human struggle. Through discussions, photographs and paintings, class participants came to realize the fascinating accomplishments of the aircraft and aircrew who met and fought at high altitude and high speed to contest the air war in both the European and Pacific Theatres. Through Tony's enlightening and exciting PowerPoint presentations, events that shaped the war in Europe, the USSR, the Atlantic and Great Britain were discussed. The presentation also covered what occurred in the Pacific in places such as Guadalcanal, Midway Island, and the deadly island-hopping campaign to push the Imperial Japanese forces back to Japan.

Tony shared statistical charts that showed comparisons among the various countries in areas such as manpower, aircraft production practices, technology advancements (or lack thereof), and casualties in the fight for aerial supremacy. These statistics covered not only Western Europe but also the little-known but decisive Russian front and the vast aerial war over the Pacific Ocean. Many interesting yet little-known facts were brought to light as class members learned more about the tactics, key personalities, particular strategies, and specific causes and effects that led to the winning of the air war.

With his charming personality, extensive knowledge and experience, Tony was a hit with the group with his engaging manner of sharing what he has learned and experienced. His having read hundreds of books, periodicals, and authentic documents, along with his extensive travels and flying adventures, added much to the class. His expertise was impressive, his delivery was delightful, and class participants were eager to gift him with a list of potential future topics. It was an opportunity to learn from a facilitator who has actually been part of the history he teaches.

A Peek into the Supernatural and Paranormal

By Marta Knowlton


A hush settled over the OLLI Gulf Park class as Connie Rainey, retired registered nurse and active paranormal investigator, dimmed the lights. The participants were in for an extraordinary two-hour seminar exploring the possibilities already inherent in science to explain the unseen. Rainey provided plenty of data for use as “food for thought” on how the supernatural and paranormal may be factual.

Rainey explained she has seen, recorded, photographed and spoken with energies known as ghosts for years. The occurrences have challenged her because of her experience in and passion for science. In her opinion, science can find in its disciplines the unifying forces that bind all things together, including the paranormal and supernatural.

She pointed to the theory of a single, infinitely dense point, or singularity, which formed the Big Bang and the universal Oneness, followed by string theory that says, among other things, all objects in our universe are composed of vibrating filaments and membranes of energy. Everything in the universe, therefore, is part of the singularity.

We are only aware of our own dimensions in space—height, depth, and width—but according to string theory, there are eleven dimensions. Think of a vast collection of floating bubbles or membranes. Where do we or ghosts fit into this scheme?

Extrasensory perception (ESP) and brain function were the topics nearest to our everyday lives. ESP includes reception of information not gained through the recognized physical senses but sensed with the mind. So where does this information come from? It comes from the energy we're all made of. Where does it go? It's received as electrical impulses by the brain.

Psychic information, like perceptual information, first enters below the level of conscious awareness. Unless information reaches our conscious awareness, Rainey said, we don't know that we know it. “But all of us can, and actually do, act on unconscious information. Have you picked up the phone and called someone only to hear them say, 'I was just thinking about you.' Their thoughts (electrically) set off the vibration that was in harmony with your own vibrations and you reacted by calling.”

Rainey encouraged the participants to investigate the terms infinity, vibrational harmony, coherence, and space/time as a place to start individual research. The seminar closed with the viewing of two pictures of entities and the sharing of stories of spirit encounters lovingly told. The vibration of love in string theory permeated the room. “We are all made of strings,” Rainey said.



The Curriculum Committee chooses and arranges the exciting classes we have at OLLI. Come and help us do things never done before. Tell the OLLI office you want to join the Curriculum Committee.

Donna & Mask Donna & Mask

I Made a Mardi Gras Mask

By Donna Duvieilh

The Ohr-O'Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi offers year-round art classes and workshops taught by experienced educators and professional staff in a unique setting. The museum serves as a Gulf Coast venue in providing inspiration for artists.

I recently attended such a workshop with other Southern Miss OLLI members. This was my first pottery class. We each created a Mardi Gras mask from clay which was ready just in time for the Mardi Gras holidays. The two hour class went by quickly, and I am looking forward to taking other classes at the museum.

Facilitator Stacey Johnson and her assistant Sister Robertson provided all the materials. Stacey's instructions were clear and easy to follow. She was very friendly and taught us hands-on techniques for creating our own design for the clay mask. I was impressed and felt a sense of satisfaction with my results. The class was very entertaining, and I displayed my mask at my house this Mardi Gras season.

This is a class for those who want to tap into their creativity and at the same time have fun. I would definitely recommend having the class again. The group was great and the event was exciting. I learned some new skills and met some new friends!

Mardi Gras Museum

By Donna Duvieilh


The Mardi Gras Museum is nestled in the historic Magnolia Hotel built in 1847 on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The museum collection includes an assortment of past costumes worn at Mardi Gras events. Stories of the Carnival costumes are enhanced by historical displays of still photos and other memorabilia.

A tour highlighting the Mardi Gras Collection is offered to all and as with the museum entry there is no charge for the tour. The tour provides a general overview of the museum and its current exhibits and is ideal for first-time visitors. Museum educators provide meaningful discussions of the galleries and allow a hands-on approach in exploring what Mardi Gras is all about. A brief history of the museum and the Magnolia Hotel is included in the narrative.

A trip to the museum at 119 Rue Magnolia in Biloxi, is a must while on the Gulf Coast if you want to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Mardi Gras. Laissez les bons temps rouler, “Let the good times roll” conveys the joie de vivre, “joy of living” attitude that symbolizes Mardi Gras.

Museum Museum



Come meet the OLLI party animals. Use your talents and ideas to plan fun social events and meet new friends. Tell the OLLI office you want to join the Social Committee.

Pictures From The Coast without Articles

Friendship Oak

The Friendship Oak next to Hardy Hall on the Gulf Park Campus.


USM's Eagle lands in front of Hardy Hall on the Gulf Park Campus

Majestic .  .  . 


And, not to be triffled with.

Gulf Park's Foodie Tour

Half Shell Oyster House

Wendy Fairley and Jessica Adams of “Tasty Tours of South Mississippi” conducted the Historical and delicious “Downtown Gulfport Foodie Tour” on Thursday, March 9, 2017. It was a perfect Spring day for walking and sampling a variety of taste tempting treats for out OLLI group.

Wendy Fairley

Tour guide Wendy Fairley presents a platter compliments of the Half Shell Oyster House.

Fishbone Alley

Fishbone Alley is a newly renovated alley connecting, restaurants and and bars, while providing an outlet for local artists to practice their craft. It comes alive each evening with musicians and visitors out for a “cool” stroll.

Tonys Pizza

Tony's pizza and Sea Grapes Bar. The historical building was totally renovated after “"Katrina,” using the natural wood and brick of the original building.

Tonys Pizza

Diane Kiser gave Tony's gumbo pizza a “10”!

Triplett Day Drug

The Historical Triplett Day drug store is famous for their French Beignets and hot coffee. Here, Alan Serotta, did his best to enjoy every bite!

OLLI at the Gulfport bicentennial celebration

Bicenntenial 1

Bicenntenial 2

Bicenntenial 3


OLLI Expressions

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