A Zest for Life Profile

Lest you ever suspect that selling your home and moving to a retirement community like Plymouth Harbor means that life is slowing down, have a chat with Peggy and Don Wallace. A report on their daily activities and active work in the community would leave a 50-year old youngster breathless.  And that’s exactly what happened when I joined them for lunch recently in the Mayflower Dining Room.

From the moment we sat down, they were bubbling with all the reasons they cherish living in the Plymouth Harbor community. But first things first, Peggy and I ordered the seafood wrap while Don ordered a cheeseburger with gusto before we all bolted for the salad bar, one of the best in Sarasota.

We sat down with salad plates heaping and I quickly learned that Peggy and Don had not intended to move into Plymouth Harbor when they did.

“We put our name on a waiting list saying we wouldn’t be ready for another 2-3 years,” said Don.  But when they got a call three months later with the news that a southwest facing apartment on the 12th floor of the tower was available immediately, they put their home on the market and packed their things.  Although it took a year to sell their house just when the marketing dipped, he beamed, “We never regretted it and never looked back.”

In fact, they never missed a beat keeping up with their outside circle of friends and find themselves even more involved in activities than when they had their home on Siesta Key. They keep physically fit by working with Michael in the gym at least twice a week.  Peggy serves on the Library Committee and is getting ready to participate in the project of redecorating their colony common area.  Don is active with the Programming Committee.

“There is so much to do at Plymouth Harbor,” Peggy points out. “If you aren’t active, then you must not want to be!”

Together they are a power couple providing a real professional touch to the annual Plymouth Harbor Players theatrical production. Don is still an active member of the Directors and Writers guilds of America, but doesn’t get paid scale for writing the play for this group of amateur resident thespians.  For the past three years he has written and directed the production.  Peggy had been his stage manager until this most recent production when she was cast in a leading role.

Zest for Life at Plymouth HarborNearly two months of rehearsals for this annual production are an all-consuming business, especially with pros like Don and Peggy at the helm. That professional polish is the result of a life spent in the entertainment business in LA and New York.  Don wrote, directed and produced soap operas such as “The Edge of Night,” “One Life to Live” and “All My Children.”  He was nominated for three Emmy awards for three different episodes of “One Life to Live” and won a Writer’s Guild of America award for an episode of “One Life to Live.”

Both Don and Peggy are musicians; she’s a singer and he’s a horn player.  They sing in the choir at the First Congregational Church and attend the Sarasota Orchestra concerts regularly.  It was great fun to talk about his experiences conducting choirs and our respective views on whether to sing Brahms’ German Requiem in English or the original German.  We could have talked the rest of the afternoon, but not with their busy schedules!

One of their sons lives here in Sarasota, another visited just last month and their granddaughter had just left the day before our meeting after a week’s visit.  Their family enjoys staying at the Lido Beach Resort where Plymouth Harbor residents benefit from a discount rate even during the height of season.

Peggy says that one of the most important factors that make her busy life manageable is the care and attention of all the staff at Plymouth Harbor.  “They take away the little hassles of living,” she shared.  Well, when you are as busy as Don and Peggy involved in activities that feed mind, body and soul, you need every minute you can get for yourself!