LifeLong Learning at PebbleCreek

LLL kicks off Premier Lecture season with Andrew Carroll

Shannon Tyree

Twenty years ago, Andrew Carroll set out to preserve wartime letters from every U.S. conflict since the revolution as a means to honor the sacrifices and experiences of U.S. troops, veterans and their loved ones.

Since then, in his quest to collect one million letters, he has traveled to every state and more than 40 countries, collecting some 100,000 previously unpublished letters and emails written from and to battlefields from the American Revolution to Iraq and Afghanistan.

At 7:00 p.m. Saturday, October 27, Carroll brings his story, “Lines of Fire – One Man’s Search for the Greatest War Letters Ever Written,” to PebbleCreek for the first Premier Lecture of the season.

Carroll, the director of the Center for American War Letters at Chapman University, is an author, historian, playwright and the editor of several New York Times bestsellers, including War Letters and Behind the Lines. He will share some of the extraordinary letters from the collection and will also discuss his book, My Fellow Soldiers: General John Pershing and the Americans Who Helped Win the Great War.

While in PebbleCreek he hopes to collect letters you have saved. They might be your letters to your parents and loved ones, or those they sent to you when you were in battle. The letters might be about boot camp experiences, descriptions of combat, being wounded, heroic acts, “last” letters, humorous and funny anecdotes. Letters written by and about women and minorities who’ve served in the armed forces, particularly nurses, or letters written by different generations of troops from the same family.

LifeLong Learning will be collecting the letters prior to the lecture – watch your email and the PebbleCreek Post for details on where and when to bring them. In the meantime, pull down those boxes you’ve moved from place to place and take a trip down memory lane.

Tickets for Premier Lectures are $15 per person and go on sale at 8:00 a.m. October 1. Lectures often sell out, so we suggest buying tickets in advance. Why not take a moment now to make sure your ID and password are working for the LifeLong Learning website,, so you’ll be ready on October 1. You may buy up to four tickets for each lecture either online at or in person at the LLL Center in the Eagle’s Nest Activities Center. Tickets bought online may be picked up at the LLL Center or at the Will Call desk up to an hour prior to the event.

All Premier Lectures are held in the Renaissance Theater.

TED Talks bring art and current events to PebbleCreek

Shannon Tyree

Two of LifeLong Learning’s more recent programs have proved to be popular with PebbleCreek residents who enjoy the arts and discussing ideas that can be serious or humorous but are always thought-provoking.

“The vision for the Sunday Series was to enjoy performing arts in a salon-type setting,” said Phyllis Minsuk, the past president of LLL. “The Chianti Room lends itself to smaller, more intimate gatherings, where the audience and the performers can connect.”

This past season was no exception. In January, storyteller Mark Compton and some of his colleagues told stories based on their personal lives. This coming season, Compton is teaching a class on storytelling for those who want to learn more.

Unfortunately, the February program with Josh Borths leading a discussion of the book and opera Bel Canto had to be cancelled, but the March program with Sean Mireau and the Volcano Island Band, was an exceptional concert, explanation and demonstration of music on steel drums.

In 2019, the Sunday Series will feature the music of three different cultures—watch for details in the Post and in emails. As in the past, there is no charge for the Sunday Series, however due to room size, registration is required.

Once again, TED Talk participants were exposed to a variety of topics this past season. “Each season we search for interesting ideas that we hope are relevant, thought provoking and stretch the participants’ knowledge a bit,” said Shannon Tyree, TED moderator. “The volunteers who vet the talks watch many talks in order to find the right mix.”

Sometimes the chosen TED Talk turns out to be extremely relevant, such as the January session about driverless cars, exploring the moral decisions a driverless car will need to make. Then, just two months later on March 19, a self-driven Uber vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in Tempe. “When I heard the news report, I immediately thought of the TED Talk,” Tyree said.

All previous TED Talks shown and discussed at PebbleCreek are listed on the LLL TED Talk webpage. Three talks are shown per session and these events are held four times per season beginning in November on the second Thursday of the month from 2:00-4:00 p.m. in the Eagle’s Nest Palm Room. Sessions are free, limited to 32 participants and registration is required.