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.
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.