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The Time of Their Lives: Readings by Osher Members

Sunday, November 9, 2014 (4:00PM - 7:00PM
Continuing Education North Building


The Time of their Lives: A Reading by Osher Members

A series of readings by members of Connie Josefs' Writing Memoir and Writing True: Memoir and Memoir-Based Fiction Classes that ran November 17, 2013.

Member Readings:

Donna Bruzzese - Instructions for the Candidate’s Wife

donna bruzzeseDonna lives in a very large home in Downtown Albuquerque with her husband, four dogs, three grandchildren, and some of their enmeshed adult children. The family listens enthusiastically to her numerous first drafts. In addition to writing about her husband's family and his work as a state legislator, Donna also has a private psychotherapy practice. She and her husband, Jerry, have led delegations from her parish church to El Salvador since 1992.

She was born in Pittsburgh and has lived in Albuquerque since 1965. Widowed at thirty-four, Donna returned to graduate school and became a counselor, working with people who were dying and with those left behind. The challenge of raising four children motivated her to become a family therapist. Donna works with trauma victims and trains other therapists in the practice of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing).

"Writing makes me reflect on what is present and what is lacking in my own life. It requires that I focus on one moment and then share that textured impression with the reader."

Marykay Chapman - The Hat

mark kay chapmanMary Kay is alive and well and lives in Albuquerque.

Bea Daniel - Voulez-Vous?

bea danielBea Daniel has had a checkered past. A more polite description of her previous life could be termed "varied." What follows is a list of who or what she has been over the past eighty-one years: bookkeeper, choir director, choral conductor, computer programmer, key-punch operator, mother to three children and two nieces, musical director, nursery school co-owner, office manager, organist, pianist, receptionist, singer, student (forever), teacher, waitress, wife to three husbands. She has worn one or another of those hats at the same time and/or different times, on the East Coast, in the Southwest and in England and France (six months only as she either couldn’t or wouldn’t learn to speak French). Connie Josefs has been trying to teach her how to write for a couple of years now, with only limited success.

John Daniel - Cruising

john danielThe clipped BBC accent of this Englishman may come as something of a surprise in Albuquerque, and after four years here John is still amused that people so enjoy hearing him talk. Fact is, he likes it here. Married since 2001 to an American, he finally had enough of English rain and headed west to the high desert sun.

His background couldn’t be more traditional: boarding school, military service, Oxford, and a career in teaching leading to appointment as Headmaster to a school with a Royal charter and five centuries of history. But that was then. Now John loves learning to write as a pupil of Connie Josefs, helping kindergarten children with their reading at Bel Air elementary, singing renaissance motets and madrigals with Quodlibet, supporting St Michael’s Episcopal Church, attending New Mexico Philharmonic concerts, and taking care of the swimming pool he and Bea have installed in their yard.

There was one plunge he still had to take: in July he became a US citizen. No taxation without representation. Now, where has he heard that before, he wonders.

Martha Day - Boob Envy

martha dayAn Oklahoma native, I worked for businesses in Oklahoma handling public relations and advertising. After moving to New Mexico, I became involved with numerous community organizations including NM Zoological Society, Albuquerque Civic Light Opera (now Music Theater SW), and the Jr. League of Albuquerque.

I was hired as the first Director of Development at PBS station KNME and launched the community fundraising activities to support the operating budget. I built a comprehensive program that won every national PBS Development Award available and helped coordinate statewide PBS system activities, conducted research and was instrumental in the effort to garner technology funds to convert the station to digital technology. I created a mini-series titled “Where There’s A Will There’s A Way” which addressed estate planning issues. The concept and format were considered for national distribution.

I’m writing my memoirs for me, but also for my son so that he can know me better and as a person, more than just his mom.

Judy Green - I Once Met a Prince

judy greenFrom early on Judy Green has loved music and the spoken word, thanks to a Grandma who read to her, inspiring small “musicals” at the piano. Judy played piano duets with her brother Jon, and accompanied his virtuoso trumpet playing. She was happily indentured in elementary school as church organist and accompanist, and has always taught music, collaborating on multi-cultural arts projects in parochial and public schools. A life wearing black and white opened onto marriage(s ) and family, tried and true friends and mentors.

In retirement she works with Arts in Medicine/UNMH and volunteers in hospice, playing therapy harp. Judy lives in Sandia Park with her husband Phil, AKA “Cosmic Ray,” a physicist turned potter turned fellow writer and acute (a cute) listener. In this incarnation she is indebted to the community of writer/mentors in Connie Josefs’ classes. Connie, thank you for your acuity in finding the “gem” in the rough, and for the constant question, “What does the character want?”

Enid Howarth - Pet Story

enid howarthIn one reality, I was child spy for the French underground during World War II; I rode a donkey across the Khyber pass, surfed in the waters off Fiji, lived in a Zen monastery in Japan, walked across the Himalayas into Tibet. Between adventures, I founded and ran an orphanage in Yemen, helped uncover an ancient temple in the Bolivian rain forest, played starring roles in Joseph Papp's Public Theater. I will retire as soon as I finish writing about my years as the first undercover woman coach with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

And, since 1957, much to my surprise, I have lived in New Mexico. I came from the east coast to find adventure, a job, and a degree in English. I also married, had two children, good friends, many travels. I have been in school much of my life—as student, teacher, founder, and janitor. I’ve written poetry, movie and theater reviews, radio scripts, one book, with Jan Tras, and now memoir and short fiction, happily, with Connie Josefs and a remarkable caravan of fellow travelers.

Fran Hunter - Outcasts

fran hunterFran Hunter has been learning and relearning to write creatively since the 1980s when she participated in Lionel Abraham's writing group in Johannesburg and had her first pieces published in his literary magazine, Sesame.

She has made forays into fiction, memoir and poetry and feels most alive when she is engaged in writing in the company of the muse.

Currently, Fran is giving a final edit to a coming-of-age memoir about a traveling child's life in the former British Empire that she hopes to publish.

Assembling her mainly autobiographical short stories for a collection is also on her agenda. The most exciting and inspiring writing events to come her way in a long time have been Connie Josef's classes in Memoir into Fiction. They have set her free of telling nothing but the truth about her life, given her the licence to embellish and provided her with the new love of her life. And it has been a pleasure to interact with other students of this art and their work.

Verne Lucero - Crepe Suzette’s on Adak

verne luceroNow in his Golden years, entered the work force at age ten. “I had to use a milk case to stand on, in order to reach the scullery sinks to wash dishes,” Verne says. By age sixteen, he had worked at the Old Conrad Hilton Hotel in Albuquerque for four years, at which time, management offered him a full scholarship to attend the Cornell Culinary Institute in New York. He declined, opting to enlist into the service.

In later years, upon retiring from Espanola Hospital as maintenance Supervisor, Verne embarked upon an art career. His awards are numerous, including the prestigious: New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, and three National Veterans awards. His work now displayed in the permanent collections of three principle New Mexico Museums.

More recently, he has taken to writing his memoirs, Though he finds this endeavor quite challenging, he has managed to collect 2 first-place awards for his “Patriotic, self-experience” essays, and the 2013 entry, second place for his “Humorous, self-experience” essay titled, “Crepe Suzettes on Adak”. All of which, comes under the sponsorship of, The National Veterans Creative Arts Festival, and the local VA Hospital.

Evelyn Neil - The Price of Freedom

evelyn neilEvelyn grew up on a dairy farm in a small community in southeastern Wyoming where she acquired a lifelong affection for animals, wildflowers, western landscapes and expansive skies. She began her college career with a major in English and Creative Writing, but changed course along the way and received her B.S. in business education and accounting from the University of New Mexico. Evelyn has served on the boards of People Living through Cancer and the Albuquerque Guild of the Santa Fe Opera.

For forty years, she directed the financial affairs of Kachina Petroleum Equipment Company co-founded with her husband, Don in 1972. She still offers financial consultation to their two sons, who now own the business.

An avid gardener and reader, Evelyn always wanted to write, but only recently found the time to indulge in this passion. The people, animals and places of the past show up in her stories as well as the quail, bobcats, deer and bears she observes around her home in the Sandia foothills. Ever present in these tales are family, her husband and two cats, Sophie and Halle.

Verna Wood - Mi Brizna Pequeña (My Little Wisp)

verna woodFort Smith, Arkansas was home (born January, 1937) until I fell in love with New Mexico while on my honeymoon in 1958. Albuquerque was “home” in my heart from then on even though I didnʼt manage to live here until 1973.

Attended University of Arkansas and Lindenwood University before graduating with B.S. in 1973 from Wright State University in.Dayton, Ohio. Acquired hours for M.L.S. degree but my Air Force pilot husband was transferred to Albuquerque before I could graduate---and I wasnʼt about to miss my opportunity to finally live in NM.

Began work for Albuquerque Public Library in 1975, and worked in a variety of jobs and retired as Administrative Assistant/Liaison to City Government in 1999. Writing is a compulsion, a must do, for me. The Continuing Education Classes are a God send.


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Osher logoMembership in the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at UNM Continuing Education allows adults 50 and over to choose from a diverse set of thought-provoking courses taught year round by current and emeritus University of New Mexico faculty members and renowned experts from the local community. The emphasis of the university-level, day-time, evening and week-end courses is on building an accessible and affordable experience of the best of the University's learning environment. There are no entrance requirements, no tests, and no grades. In fact, no college background is needed at all — it's your love of learning that counts. Your Membership year is January - December 2014.

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