Theirs is another one of those rare stories of young love at first sight. Marcia Freedman recalls “I was only thirteen, but he thought I was older. I graduated from high school when I was fifteen and went straight to Endicott College where I earned my degree in art.”
Arnold Freedman replies, “We waited until she’d graduated from college to get married. I bounced around and ended up at Rider College (now University) in New Jersey.”
Both Marcia and Arnie grew up in Albany, New York, and that’s where Arnie landed his first job at the Times-Union Newspaper. When he learned the salary was $25 a week higher in radio, he stepped into broadcast news and got to provide national radio news coverage of the Eisenhower 1952 campaign and inauguration. But in 1953, television arrived and what young up-and-comer could resist the allure and promises of this medium? Certainly not Arnie!
The radio station where he’d been an office boy in high school got the first license for TV in Albany and he was able to jump right on board from the beginning. “Nobody knew what we were doing. It was all experimental,” he says.
His career at the Albany station, which became a media conglomerate called Capital Cities Communications, lasted 46 years. “I did everything in sales and promotion, news, and management,” Arnie adds. Five minutes before his first on-air appearance hosting a quiz show, the advertising guy rushed in to inform him that his on-air name would be Marc Edwards. Arnie Freedman was just not going to fly.
“What’s my mother going to say?” was the first thing he said, but the name was set and they went live. For many years Marc Edwards reported the weather, news, and provided coverage at major news events. He was part of the team that won a prestigious Peabody Award for their coverage of the 1961 Adolf Eichmann trial in Israel, a noted highlight of Arnie’s career.
During these years Marcia was a working freelance artist, starting with commercial art for department stores, and then on to many other projects. She thrived on the diversity. She was also the mother of a growing family as she and Arnie welcomed two talented boys to the world. “My art work was my life, as well as my family,” shares Marcia.
Interestingly, both boys ended up in the television industry. Why? Arnie recounts the pivotal conversation when his boys observed, “Dad always makes enough to buy hockey tickets, so the money in TV must be good.”
It can be for those as motivated as Arnie. The Albany station manager was also Arnie’s mentor who helped him grow into station management. “In 1981, I uprooted Marcia and became station manager of Capital Cities’ station in Fresno. She gave up a great deal for me,” says Arnie gazing lovingly her way.
Smiling, she replied matter-of-factly, “I didn’t give up a lot. I added to my repertoire.”
That she did, expanding her art by working with ASID interior designers who commissioned her to create murals, art for specific spaces, and the list goes on. During those 16 years in Fresno, Marcia also produced a series of Fresno scenes that adorn the offices of the Central Florida Blood Center and were also used in an award-winning calendar for 1995.
About this time, Marcia had a sobering encounter with a stage four diagnosis of ovarian cancer. Marcia’s oncologist stated his intention, “We are going to make it go away.” And that’s what happened after two years of chemotherapy. When Arnie retired in 1997, they took their cancer-free diagnosis and moved to Longboat Key, Florida to briefly be near one of their sons while he was at a station in Orlando.
The cancer returned with a metastasized tumor behind the chest wall in 2000. This time they turned to the doctors at Moffit Cancer Center in Tampa and there’s been no recurrence since.
“They worked miracles,” says Marcia, acknowledging that recovery from recurring ovarian cancer is indeed rare. Throughout all of these difficult days, Marcia continued to paint exuberantly colorful scenes from her window looking out on the Gulf of Mexico.
After a heart health scare in 2005, both Marcia and Arnie began to consider what might be best for their long-term care and peace of mind for their sons. Finally conducting research on all the comparable continuing care retirement options in Sarasota, they decided that Plymouth Harbor was the ideal choice.
Not that they didn’t have some reservations. Marcia shared she was heartened to learn that Plymouth Harbor had a diversity of faiths among the residents. And although they now have a lovely two-bedroom home on the 10th floor, downsizing all of their furniture and belongings was a nearly overwhelming chore. Luckily, the staff at Plymouth Harbor was there to help.
“We could not have made our move without the care and attention of Liz Sparr from the Marketing office,” says Marcia.
“You hope you are never going to need help, but when you do, we know it will be here,” added Arnie. Knowing that they will not over-burden either of their sons or daughters-in-law means a lot to them.
Arnie concluded our conversation with a phrase we often hear from residents, “This is the biggest gift we can give our children.”