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500 YEARS OF LIVING Memoir Essays by the Men of Salve Regina University's WriteLife Group Edited by Jack Galvin

BOOK OF THE MONTH

Selection by the Redwood Library Book Club

 

 

 

500 Years of Living follows six fascinating men, now in their 70‘s (see bios) as they present vignettes from memorable moments in their lives.

 

Their memories emanate from WriteLife, a memoir writing course in Salve Regina University’s Circle of Scholars program for older adults. Memoir topics were prompted by questions like: How did you learn about hard work? What fight/argument did you win? At a crossroads, what did you lose in your choice?

 

Writers responded to these challenges by creating seven, 3-5 page essays in eight weeks. Their stories appear in three sections: “The Early Years”, ”The Family Years”, and “The Work Years.” Come along on a boyhood bike trip to the cool waters of a swimming area - like the ones we can all recall as a kid. The lens shifts to Aleppo as we learn lessons from a stern father for whom a rule is a law. Meet “Little Lewis” soon to be the best four-legged friend of the policeman who saves him. Join U.S. Navy Lieutenant Heins as he oversees the steady roll of a Vietnamese gunboat off the coast of Phu Quoc island.

 

The settings are familiar or extraordinary with scenes that evoke memories of home or take us to distant parts like Syria, Jordan, Iwo Jima, Vietnam and aboard ships. These essays offer remarkably frank insights by men who assess their lives, then tell their stories well.

 ABOUT THE MEN OF WRITELIFE ﷯BOB BLEDSOE is a United States Navy and Viet Nam veteran who holds a BS degree in Marine Engineering. He and his wife reside in Portsmouth R.I. Bob grew up in Napa California and attended the California Maritime Academy in Vallejo California. Bob developed an interest in writing while attending Circle of Scholar courses at the Salve Regina University. ﷯JOHN BROUGHAN was raised in western Massachusetts, and took his first airplane flight (out of thousands) to Washington, DC, to attend Georgetown University. After graduation he began a short-lived teaching career at Deerfield Academy, and gratefully accepted a position in sales at Pan American Airways in Chicago where he met his wife, and where their three children were born. Having had enough of Chicago winters, he moved the family to Alexandria, VA and the presidency of an incentive and meetings travel company based in Washington, DC. Later he started his own travel company and a software development company specializing in the cruise industry. With retirement came a move to Newport, RI where he can be found planning his future trips and playing with his six visiting grandchildren. ﷯JACK GALVIN has been a writer and teacher of writing for forty years. With Mark Pfetzer he wrote Within Reach:My Everest Story which was honored as an outstanding book for young adults. For many years he was head of the English Department at Rogers High school where he developed and taught composition courses. In summers he was tennis pro at Bailey’s Beach and Carnegie Abbey. In addition to his own writing, Jack works as an editor and writing coach. ﷯RAYMOND HEINS was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Ray graduated from the Naval Academy in 1963. After twenty years of naval service, he retired in Newport, Rhode Island, then spent another twenty- five years working first in the computer industry, then in real estate. Retiring from paid employment at 70, Ray found the Salve Regina University’s Circle of Scholars was an excellent way to keep the mind active. Among many other classes, Ray found Jack Galvin and his Write Life sessions both challenging and rewarding. Now an empty nester, with four kids spread far and wide, Ray and wife travel, study at Salve, suffer with the Boston Red Sox, glory in the New England Patriots, and participate in many civic and church activities.

 

 

  DICK HUNT was born in White Plains New York, graduated from Lehigh University and went to work for Westinghouse Electric in Boston, initially in engineering sales functions. Pushing to get into Advertising, he moved  to became Promotion manager at American Cyanamid Building Products in Cambridge, then to Wilson Haight & Welch Advertising Agency in Hartford, for many years.  He  ventured into publishing, experiencing various roles with Chilton, Thompson, Huebcore,  VerticalNet and Nelson before Gorman and Company and Hunt Associates. He lives in Newport with his wife Anne of 57 years. Dick  has two daughters with five grandchildren in RI and one daughter with one grandson in Maine.“My hobby is still trying to figure out how to write.”

 

GEORGE KASSIS was born and raised in Syria before moving to Lebanon to attend The American University of Beirut, and embarking on a career with The United Nations where he met his American wife, Jill. They had parallel professional careers, taking them on tours of duty to Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, and Yemen before being transferred by the United Nations to New York. Upon his “retirement” In 2009,George and Jill moved to Portsmouth, RI where they continue to enjoy the pleasures of The Ocean State.

 

CAPTAIN GORDON STEWART retired from the United States Navy after 30 years of active duty.  During his service he flew over 130 combat missions in the A-7E Corsair II aircraft.  He has logged over 5400 hours of accident free flight time including 878 carrier arrested landings.  After commanding an A-7 squadron aboard the USS America, he came to Newport for the first time as a student at the Naval War College.  After graduating with distinction, he continued at the Naval War College as a member of the faculty teaching courses in Planning and Decision-Making as well as developing an elective course on War-Gaming.  It was during this time that he earned a Masters’ Degree in International Relations from Salve Regina University.   Captain Stewart also served as the United States Naval Attache to Argentina and was the head of the Western Hemisphere Group on the staff of the Chief of Naval Operations.  After he retired from a post-Navy career as a defense analyst and consultant, Captain Stewart returned to Newport where he presently resides with his wife Nanci.  He has been a member of Salve Regina’s Circle of Scholars for 8 years.