September 1, 2020 Newsletter 
Jane Lee
Dear Friends,
Thank you for being so faithful during this most unusual time in our lifetime. All our board members appreciate your support and your willingness to stay with us. We are trying something new this month. We are going to try to have a ZOOM meeting on our regular meeting day which is September 19 this year. It is scheduled for 2:30 pm, the time that we would meet at the college. One of our members, Ruth Whitney, is a retired college professor of Women's Studies and Religion. Ruth will talk to us for about 15-20 minutes about Women's Suffrage since this is the 100th anniversary. You can read about Ruth's credentials and find the ZOOM meeting number in this newsletter. We invite you to join us and to get to know one of our members through this talk. There will be time for questions and answers, as well as time to get to put members' names with faces. You might want to bring a glass of wine or favorite beverage with you, as you sit and listen to Ruth.
       You are being asked to renew your membership at this time, and this is so important. We know that travel with our club has come to a standstill; however, Friendship Force International still has staff to support. I have joined in some of their Virtual Tours and Talks that they have put together, and I have thoroughly enjoyed them and learned from them. They are trying their best to keep the club going during these trying times. Our club still has bills to pay as well. We are reinventing our directory after ten years. Software changes and gets updated all the time. We were fortunate to use the same for ten years, but it is no longer available. This year we have this update facing us. You must admit our annual dues of $35 is a bargain. Our budget, click here to view, has been prepared this year with the dues as most of our income. We send FFI $20 of that dues, and we keep $15 of the dues to run our club. We need 90 members to break even. Our new Board begins this month; some returning, some new. Ladies and gentlemen, you are so fortunate to have 23 members working hard for you. So many ideas are floating around to keep you entertained and busy once we can meet in groups again. Hang in there and, of course, keep healthy. You are important to each and everyone of us. It takes a Village.      Jane Lee, President
Membership Renewal Time
Your annual membership dues are $35.  Please make your check payable to Friendship Force Florida Suncoast, and mail it to our treasurer at:
Teresa Farr-Klinger
8318 78th Avenue N.
Seminole, FL 3377

Your dues must be paid by November 30th to be included in our Membership Directory. 
Art Worth is a Director-at-Large appointed by our club president to serve on our Board.  This is his profile.
Art Worth  
We moved to Florida in 1972
.  I have had multiple careers and am still working two part time jobs.  This will be my fourth year teaching woodturning at the Dunedin Fine Art Center and my ninth year as the General Manager of a small private equity fund.  In addition to woodturning I build custom cabinets and furniture.  We learned about the "secret" organization known as Friendship Force from Gretchen's cousin years ago, and Jane Lee connected us to the Florida Suncoast Chapter.  We have been Home Hosts for three couples on three incoming Journeys, and Gretchen and I were Journey Coordinators for the Raleigh group when they visited last year.  
Attend Our September Program ... 
On ZOOM    
Join Us on ZOOM

Saturday September 19 at 2:30 pm

The Long Battle for Women's Suffrage
Presented by Ruth Whitney, PhD
 Ruth Whitney  
Ruth retired after teaching Women's Studies and Religion for over thirty years at a number of schools, including Rutgers University and University of South Florida.  As she continues her lifelong activism, she is the author of Feminism and Love:  Transforming Ourselves and Our World and The Heart of Jesus' Teaching: The Key to Transforming Christianity and Our World.  Ruth joined our club in 2010.  

Join ZOOM Meeting Invitation (hosted by Bill Lee)

Any changes since last year?

Have you moved? Changed your email address? Added or deleted a phone number? If so, please take a minute to email your revisions to Sue Olnick at Sue will then
be able to publish your updated information in the 2021 Membership Directory, which will be published in January.

NEED ZOOM HELP? WITH ZOOM?  Go to: or play this YouTube video. 
Joining a Zoom Call for the First Time; Fun and Easy Online Connection
Here is why Rock n Roll will never die!!!
We ZOOM'd for the 1st Time................ 37 of us!           by Gena Cameron

During these "Covid" times we are all missing traveling and our FFFS friends. Recently we had our first ZOOM meeting and it was so great to "see" so many of our friends.  We had 37 members attend. Jane introduced our new officers and team leaders, and everyone shared a little about what they have been doing to keep busy. Most of us are all go-go people who like to travel, so it has been a little hard. Many of us had to cancel some great trips. But we are a resilient bunch, and we always have great travel memories to carry us through. Hopefully soon we can all get together again and start planning some great trips. We're hoping the Montana FF club can come in the Spring, and we have that to look forward to. Below is a screen shot of some of our ZOOM crowd.   Not everyone is visible on this screen. The 37 who joined in:
Rita Becchetti, Laurie Bunn, Anne Burnham and Gunther Manczur, Gena Cameron, Marsha Colin, John and Catherine Conover, Gil and Carol Davis, Karen Doliber, Connie DuBois, Geri Espy, Pearl Gershon, Petra Gonzalez, Sandy Gourdine, Ellen Henderson, Teresa Farr-Klinger, Jane and Bill Lee, Jan Means, Chris Michalek, Linda Mills, Betty and Chuck Oldanie, Sue Olnick, Helen Retter, Judie Ritter, Ann Scott, Karen Sherrets, Francine Silberman, Sharon Swallwood, Nancy Warner, Marilyn Whelan, Bonnie Wright, Art and Gretchen Worth.
Getting to Know Our Members
Do You Know Our 
Mystery Member?
I grew up on a farm in North Carolina where I helped with many chores. Upon attending Business College, I had the opportunity to travel with fellow students to Europe - London, Paris and Rome in 1968.  That started my addiction to travel to foreign lands.  In 1970, I lived in Germany for one year on a military base in Kaiserslautern, Germany.  
In August 1974, I moved to Florida.  On Feb 14, 1977 I saw Elvis Presley in concert at the Bayfront Center which was amazing.  In 1985, I attended a Righteous Brothers' "come back" performance at Las Fontanas in Clearwater (since torn down) with only 10 people in the small room.  I graduated from USF with degree in Specific Learning Disabilities, taught Pinellas SLD students, and later became Curriculum Resource Teacher with Chapter I.  While teaching, I attained a Master Degree in Administration.  
       I left the school system after 15 years as I longed to be an entrepreneur in real estate.  I have bought, owned, flipped and sold over 200 properties including single family houses, mobile homes. vacant lots, including a log cabin in a Nudist Colony in Pasco County (I'm not nudist, far from it!), and I developed a mobile home park.  I was also active in leadership positions with professional real estate organizations for almost 20 years. I married the most wonderful man of 45 years, and we have traveled to 65 countries. We have many more places on our bucket list.  My physical activities are yoga and walking. Thank you Sandy Gourdine for introducing me to FF.   I joined in 2011 but real estate limited my participation. I am now ready for our first Journey with FF ... Go away Covid 19!  Who Am I?    Click here for answer
Meet Lois Bircher 
A Member Profile by Sue Olnick

Lois Bircher
Lois and her husband belonged to a group in the Rochester, NY area who called themselves the argonauts and took a trip with them every year. The couple was always on a quest to explore and purchased an RV to travel around the country. Lois has slept in every US city, and when her husband passed away, Lois continued to travel in the RV with her dog. Lois has traveled to many countries, and she has been on 11 European riverboat cruises. Lois hopes to one day go back to Norway and cruise along the coast to the North Pole. One of her memorable trips was to the home of Albert Schweitzer in Alsace where she was treated to a tour of the beautiful botanical gardens.  Lois continued her interest in botanical gardens over the years, and she led a group of seven to create a half-acre botanical garden at her mobile home park. Along with gardening, Lois has always had an interest in photography. She worked for Eastman Kodak, and the company sent her to photography school. Lois continues to take a lot of photographs today and once took a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains just to take photos. She has climbed the Andes Mountains and searched records in Wingen-sur-Mode to research her ancestors; however, she says if someone has just one place to travel, she would advise them to go to the Atlantic Coast of Ireland. Lois has been a member of our club for 15 years.
Community Service
Mr. Jim's Little Neighborhood Library.
Kudos to our member Karen Sherrets.
Karen Sherrets
Thanks to a community service project she led, youngsters of the Ridgecrest/Rainbow Village neighborhoods now have their own Little Free Library where they can "take a book, enjoy, share, return and repeat." There are quite a few of the small book exchanges throughout Pinellas County, among more than 100,000 in over 100 countries, but this may be the only one in this area that is exclusively for young readers. As project leader, Karen coordinated the involvement of community volunteers and the support of Friends of the Largo Library, Habitat for Humanity, Friends of  Ridgecrest and the Rotary Club of Seminole Lake/Ridgecrest.
The Little Neighborhood Library was named for Jim Dyson ("Mr. Jim"), a Largo resident who established a reading assistance program for the children five years ago. Dyson was honored for his career long commitment to the families of the Ridgecrest/Rainbow village communities. 
News From Our Members 
It's important we keep in touch, so we're happy to pass on to you the news and musings of our fellow members. Of course, we'd love to hear from you too!
News About Carol Fitzsimmons  (from Gena Cameron with Carol's consent)
Carol Fitzsimmons
Carol had a stroke in early March.  She contracted Covid-19 at her first rehab facility, but she has recovered well.  She is able to speak, as clearly as she ever was, and we had a great half hour phone conversation.  She is able to walk by herself, just a little weak from lack of exercise.  She is unable to read and is working with flashcards one of her friends sent her, hoping for reading therapy.  She wants to get home soon with the help of a health aide during the day.  She thanks everyone for the lovely heartfelt cards, but is sad because she can't read them.  She can't have any visitors (in, out or window), none.  Please feel free to give her a call, I know she would love to hear from friends. 727-742-9820      Note: We never publish health information without a member's consent.
Chuck & Betty Oldanie
Chuck & Betty Oldanie did not need anything more for their 52nd wedding anniversary, and they wanted to support their favorite violinist, so they pondered unique ways to bring pleasure to their friends and neighbors, whose socialization had been limited for nearly six months.  When they learned their favorite violinist, Cal Morris, had begun traveling to people's homes and serenading them with his violin, the Oldanie's engaged Cal to play outdoors in their courtyard, where he and his beautiful music were a huge success.
Ann Scott 
Anne says she has been pretty much quarantined, but she does go out for dinner about once a week to restaurants she considers safe. She reads about three books a week, cares for her tropical plants, and recently hired an environmentally-friendly expert to prevent further erosion around the pond on her property. Her big news is that her daughter just got married (after not dating for ten years) and now owns a beautiful home in Baja that has a one-bedroom guest house - so guess where Ann will be visiting once it has cooled down and the pandemic is over.

A Poem From Catherine Conover

I wrote this poem after a
visit to Southern Africa. We were staying in Zambia. on the shores of the Zambesi. We walked to the hotel next door, where a combo was playing.... 

The Southern Cross
We cannot find them. The city crowds in.        
We traveled so far to see them, and now, Nothing but blackness and the teasing lights    
Of planes as they come in  
To land at Sydney Airport.                                  We must wait two years and travel                    
To another continent before we see                
The five bright stars                                        That form the Southern Cross. 
We see them every night  
In Zambia on the shores of the Zambesi river. Where people with their illuminations are scarce. The two brightest stars, Acrus and
Point the way to the south pole,                        Just as they have for eons, and will continue    Long after we are stardust.                              And on the last night, we danced.                   
We danced under the sparkling stars of the
    Southern Cross. 

Websites & Links Recommended by Members

Linda Mills recommends this site where with various lists of travel sites or life experiences that you can check off if you've completed:

Anne Burnham recommends this site to learn more about volunteer opportunities in Peru:
DJI - Trolltunga, Preikestolen and Kjeragbolten 2017 - Drone Video
Art Worth
recommends incredible photos of the Finnish fjords, never possible before the invention of drones. He says they are guaranteed to make your day. Be sure to use full screen.  View video here or visit:

Friendship Force Pen Pals
Get matched up with another FFI member based on your common interests, shared hobbies, a  specific region or city, or a foreign language you'd like to practice. Or simply be surprised and get matched randomly! Then sit down and start writing - all you need is a pen, a piece of paper, an envelope and a stamp. Click here for details and signup..
Food From Around The World
Experiencing new foods and flavors is one of the joys of travel. Anne Burnham suggested we feature favorite recipes inspired by our travels or simply our taste buds.  If you'd like this feature to continue, send your recipe to

Peruvian Appetizer
serves 6-8

From Guenter Manczur

1 lb. shrimp
1 lb. firm white fish
8 limes
1/4 cup sweet or red onion
3 tomatoes
1/2 cup sweet red peppers
1/3 bunch cilantro
1 tbsp. capers
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. salt & pepper
1 splash Tabasco
Dice shrimp and fish into small pieces (about 1/2"). Place in deep dish and cover with lime juice. Refrigerate at least 8 hrs or overnight. Add remaining ingredients; refrigerate at least several hours more. Drain, reserving liquid for any leftovers. Serves 6-8.
 Travel Memories From Our Members
We're all itching to travel again. Until then, let's share in each others' travel experiences. Please submit a favorite photo and memories from one of your past trips, and it will appear in a future newsletter. Send it to Sandy at   
Sandy Gourdine   
In 2007, Terry, Ruth Whitney and I took a 10-night African safari that included four nights camping in the Serengeti amidst the greatest concentration of wildlife in the world.  Each night we fell asleep to sounds of distant kills and animals in our campsite, sometimes brushing against our tent.  The experience was awesome and had fed our adventurous spirit, but I was extremely anxious to move on.  At the crack of dawn on our last morning, I unzipped the tent, stepped outside and scanned the misty horizon. Then I saw it - a lion - only 30 feet in front of our tent, head erect, looking directly at me. I gingerly stepped back into the tent, zipped the door and cried  "Oh, my God, Terry, there's a TIGER out there." He dryly responded "Sandy, there are no tigers in Africa" and then peeked out to see the cause of my alarm. Now, there were TWO lions staring at our tent!  Frantically, we grabbed our whistle and machete (our tent's unique camping amenities), blew the whistle and peered anxiously from our tent as staff appeared in a vehicle. After a flurry of excitement and apparent relocation of lions, we broke camp after breakfast.   As we departed the camp site, we looked back from our safari vehicle and saw three lionesses and cubs lying in the deep grass patiently waiting our departure.  Our safari stories were now complete. We couldn't wait to tell the grandkids.    Email Sandy 
Anne Burnham  
In 2010, I joined three women friends on a 3-week DIY tour of Peru. The trip was filled with awesome sights and experiences, but the final week as a volunteer at a small hillside school was surely the most meaningful part of my journey to the land of the Incas.  After my traveling companions returned home, I remained in Cusco, shared a room in a home stay with another volunteer, and spent my days at the San Gabriel School founded by Rosa & Mario Diaz in a very poor, remote community that had no public education. I remember the cold nights, the rickety minibus overloaded with locals, wandering along dirt roads with no signage, and gratefully finding the trail that led up the hillside to the small school with two classrooms but no plumbing.  My fondest memories are of the young smiling faces of the children, engaging them with simple songs and little English lessons, and the wonderful people who worked hard and managed to accomplish a lot with very little means; and - as with Friendship Force - the takeaway was that it was most of all about cultural exchange. Email Anne


Need A Hug?  This video is just the right medicine!

Babies Can't Stop Hugging Each Other
Babies Can't Stop Hugging Each Other

Hop Hop: Touch Wood! (Fantastic joke)
Hop Hop: Touch Wood!   (Funny joke)

For Funnies from 
Art Worth, 
Club Leadership & Click On Links
Jane Lee
Marilyn Whelan
Betty Oldanie 
Teresa Farr Klinger
Connie Dubois
Gena Cameron

Board Members

Geri Espy
Chris Michalek 
(Past President)
Betty Oldanie
Sue Olnick
Art Worth