A Zest for Life Profile

Phil Starr was introduced to dancing when he was 16 years old, by his wise mother. He suspects that her motivation was to ensure she always had a dance partner. However, in her infinite wisdom she raised a young man who would make his dancing-inclined wife very happy one day.

Phil and Barry Starr

Phil and Barry Starr

That day came 55 years ago in 1958 when Phil was asked to teach his younger brother and his fiancé how to cha cha before their wedding in 1959. Friends–and their girlfriends–also wanted to learn, which left Phil the only person in the group without a partner. A friend’s younger sister, Barry, was asked to be Phil’s blind date. Even though Barry brought to the dance lesson her college roommates, she was the one who had the dance talent who caught Phil’s eye, and his heart.

Phil’s father was active in insuring the Ringling Brothers’ Circus, which required frequent trips to Sarasota and on one trip he acquired several homes on Longboat Key as an investment.

Phil and Barry danced their way through the courtship and Phil popped the question while attending a chaperoned house party at his parent’s home on Longboat Key.

After their marriage in 1960 Phil and Barry lived an active life in their Kansas City community, participating in their childrens’ school, their church, and the Boy Scouts. Phil was awarded the Silver Antelope, the highest volunteer award given by the Regional Board of the Boy Scouts of America. As an Eagle Scout Phil enrolled his sons in the Boy Scouts when they reached the proper age, and both sons and three grandsons also became Eagle Scouts.

Life happened, their children grew, and they began to find other ways to share their love of dancing. They started teaching foxtrot, waltz, tango, rhumba, and swing to a group of 10 friends in their basement. What started as a small group ended up as a group of 30. They added sizzle to the experience by capping off a 10-week course with a black tie dance party with live music at their country club.

Phil and Barry Starr ready for a dance competition.

Phil and Barry Starr ready for a dance competition.

In 1982, after a severe bout of pneumonia, Phil and Barry followed doctor’s orders of sunshine and relaxation by spending a month at the beachfront home of his parents on Longboat Key. After their return to Kansas City they enrolled in serious dance classes with a professional dance teacher couple John and Diana Berry. Lessons three times a week gave them plenty of exercise and eventually they entered dance competitions around the United States including the Sam Sodano’s Ohio Star Ball made famous by the annual PBS TV show. At one point they were coached by an English ballroom champion when he visited the Berry Dance Studio in Kansas City.

Phil retired in 1991 and he and Barry changed their legal residence to Longboat Key Florida in 2000. When friends moved into a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) in 2011, they were urged to do the same. Although they didn’t think they were ready for such a place, their minds changed when they met current residents and sampled the many programs at Plymouth Harbor. They took the plunge. And “we haven’t looked back” says Phil. There is more to do, but freedom to do nothing, and the food is like eating on a cruise ship–all you need and then even more.

Of course their activity is not confined to within the campus of Plymouth Harbor. The Starrs enjoy dining at Euphemia Haye on Longboat Key, the Salty Dog on New Pass, and Andrea’s on Siesta Road. They make it a point to visit Mote Marine Aquarium as well as to attend the ballet, the opera, and the symphony–all very close to Plymouth Harbor.

Art is a particular interest of theirs as they are avid collectors of glass sculptures–and we don’t mean just nice paperweights. They have become acquainted with and have collected work by some of the most renowned glass artists of our time. Their apartment is beautifully designed to show off each work of art and they enthusiastically share the story behind each treasure with joy.

Two of the Starr's beloved glass sculptures.

Two of the Starr's beloved glass sculptures.

The Starrs say they couldn’t be happier with their lives at Plymouth Harbor. They are looking forward to more dancing opportunities in the near future as a new dance floor is planned for the updated Wellness Center and funds are being donated to buy a portable dance floor for various locations, including the dining room and the outside pool area. All this dancing must be modified as Barry had two back surgeries, which have disturbed her sense of balance. But dancing skills, like riding a bicycle, aren’t easily forgotten. Phil and Barry believe dancing is a good exercise activity and they hope to participate fully.

On Thursday evening, March 28th, four illustrious “Aging Industry” leaders presented a panel discussion on “The Art of Aging” to the toughest audience imaginable—residents of Plymouth Harbor.  One might assume that if anyone knows something about the “art” of aging with dignity, courage and panache, you would find them here.

Undaunted, Dr. Nancy Schlossberg, a nationally renowned scholar and author of numerous books on aging and retirement, and three panelists shared their well-considered thoughts with each other and the audience gathered before them.

The opening question, “It has been said that demographics are destiny.  How does that apply to Sarasota?” was fielded first by Tom Esselman, the Executive Director of Sarasota’s Institute for the Ages.

Art of Aging Industry Experts at Plymouth Harbor

Harry Hobson, Nancy Schlossberg, Tom Esselman & John Overton

Pointing to the demographic reality that gives Sarasota County the distinction of having the oldest average population of any large county in the U.S., Tom declared, “Our destiny is leadership.  As the world wonders what it will face in the future with the dramatic growth of an aging population, we are experiencing that future now.  Our destiny is to embrace new ideas and provide lessons of learning and leadership.”

John Overton, CEO of The Pines of Sarasota, chose to reflect on the demographics of dementia that he sees as a leader of a skilled nursing residence.  “Our challenge is to demonstrate the leadership learning about the disease, examining the lessons of the last 20 years and seeking innovative ways of providing care in the home for this growing population.”

“Appreciating the Mecca of older adults that we are,” reflected our own Harry Hobson, “we are truly a microcosm of the future of our country.  We will be challenged for some time with dementia, and we are called to emphasize preventative health care and wellness.”

When asked, “What do you see as the hot button issues around aging?”  John Overton pointed quickly to a difficult dilemma.  There is the need to care for more people who are acutely ill and have outlived their income, while at the same time funding, such as Medicare and Medicaid, is increasingly restricted.  His was a call for more access to care.

Harry noted the shift of language from “care for the rest of life” to “aging in place” saying that the challenge is having access to the new technologies that enhance our lives as we age.  “The question is ‘How will we bring affordable technology to a caring bedside manner?’.  It’s a matter of aging in the ‘right’ place,” he added.

“Business and industry are too often seen as the bad guys,” said Tom Esselman, who wants to change that dialog around aging to encourage businesses to tap into the value of older adults to drive innovation.  This is an area of great promise and opportunity.

The panel went on to discuss their observations of age bias, the marginalization of older adults and whether or not we all get happier with age.  It was clear that bias and marginalization exist, but are muted in the vibrant senior-centric community of Sarasota.  Local philanthropies benefit from senior volunteers and there is great intergenerational value in the active involvement of retirees on many levels.  The Institute of the Ages is mobilizing older adults for meaningful involvement with research and product testing to support businesses developing new technologies.

Nancy Schlossberg pointed out that the Stanford Longevity Institute, AARP and Pew Research all have data showing that happiness increases as you age in the seventies and eighties.  Is it true?  For the most part, yes, they all agreed.  John Overton mused that many centenarians he knows are very happy.

“The human spirit is amazing in its capacity to find silver linings,” Tom quoted Hugh Downs.

Harry added, “There are many moving parts to aging and being happy.  The two most important factors are physical health and financial health.  I’ve seen that staying connected is a huge factor.”

Many in the audience agreed that optimism and actively reaching out to others were of great importance to them.  Some questioned age bias in employment and expressed some frustration with keeping up with the constant changing technologies around us.  There was obviously energy to continue these conversations for some time into the future, be we can focus on the panelists’ concluding statements about aging.

Harry Hobson — “Embrace it.  Let go of frustration.  Welcome new ways.”

 Tom Esselman — Quoting the title of a favorite song by artist Jesus Jones, “Right Here, Right Now, There’s No Place I’d Rather Be.”  Or simply, “There’s no better place than Sarasota.”

 John Overton — “Life is not a dress rehearsal.  Experience it now.  Live it now.”

And one last word from Art Linkletter, “Things turn out best for people who make the best of the ways things turn out.”

The “Art of Aging” panel discussion was also the featured program at the Tiger Bay Luncheon on Monday, April 11 at Michael’s on East.   

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!

Henry and Janet Jacobs

It’s never too late for love!  New residents Henry and Janet Jacobs proved it when they were married onFebruary 11, 2013, in Plymouth Harbor’s MacNeil Chapel.

The newlyweds first became acquainted 35 years ago when they were both members of the ‘Swedish Walking Club’ in Maryland.  Janet lived in Timonium and Henry resided in nearby Towson.

Years passed and their lives converged again about 25 years later.  According to Janet, “things got a little more serious” between them during the past couple years.  They decided to marry and Henry made all of the arrangements in just seven days.  He said, “There was never any question as to where we’d have the wedding; the chapel is beautiful!”

Twenty-six guests joined the happy couple — friends and family from Michigan as well as several cities throughout Florida.  Henry’s 18-month old great-great niece, Reese Rose, served as flower girl.  The ceremony was followed by a dinner in the private dining room.

 

Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay is proud to present Black Orchids, an exhibition of photographs by Ellen Gottlieb Steele, in the Mezzanine Gallery, March 12 – April 22, 2013, with open reception Tuesday, March 12 at 4:30 – 6:00pm.

Ellen Gottlieb Steele has been a printmaker-photographer for many years. Her works hang in many private collections throughout the United States and Europe. In 2006, one of her photographs was chosen to be shown in the S. Dillon Ripley Center at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C.  Steele has had two one-woman shows in New York and this is her second show in the Mezzanine Gallery at Plymouth Harbor.

All of the images in this show are photographic. None of them have been altered by any computer-generated process. Their abstract nature is a result of the actual printing process itself. Some of them have been enhanced with the application of watercolor. The photographs were taken in Sarasota at Selby Gardens in 2012.

Black Orchids, an exhibit of photographs by Ellen Gottlieb Steele – at the Mezzanine Gallery at Plymouth Harbor, March 12 – April 22, 2013. Open reception, Tuesday, March 12, 2013, 4:30-6:00pm.

It’s not Broadway, Off or even Off-Off Broadway, but the Plymouth Harbor Players is on a streak of smash hits with this latest production,” The Bride on the 17th Floor.”  This is the fourth in the series of Don Wallace’s “..on the 17th Floor” adventures with residents at, ahem, ‘Puritan Cove,’ where there’s always a bit of humor, and this time, a who-done-it  with some suspense. Did the ending take you by surprise?

The Plymouth Harbor Players - The Bride on the 17th Floor

The Courtroom in "The Bride on the 17th Floor"

The charm of community theatre on any stage is the courage shown by amateurs in the spotlight. Some of the actors in “The Bride…” courthouse scene had to memorize 20 consecutive pages of script and lively dialogue.  That’s a tough assignment, even when you have the safety net of an off-stage prompter.

Those stars included Bill Brackett  as Lionel Willet, the defense attorney, and Arnold Freeman as Philip Bostwick, the accused gold-digger or mourning newlywed, take your pick.  The ornery Judge Stanley L. Bernstein got some extra laughs with Bobby Broderick’s characterization. Heather Shaw played the sharp prosecuting attorney, Leslie Giles.   Stage Manager Jeanne Nunn also provided advice to keep the courtroom scenes realistic.  Former stage manager Peggy Wallace had some fun this year as the ingénue, the lovely and well-to-do Virginia Brown who married Phil and then disappeared on their honeymoon cruise.

Over 25 residents were involved in making this production a success, many of them behind the scenes.  Naomi Wittenberg pulled things together as the producer and several volunteers created sets, managed props and assisted costume changes with limited space and resources.

Plymouth Harbor Players on Stage

Congratulations to the cast & crew!

Anyone involved would quickly credit their success to the inspiring professionalism of the show’s writer and director, Don Wallace, who’s done a bit of this before.  He started working with soap operas on radio and television after WWII. Perhaps you saw his early directing on The Edge of Night,or the two shows that he helped create, All My Children and One Life to Live.

Don says writing the story is not so tough, but directing is exhausting!  There were three rehearsals a week since early January and auditions just before the holidays.

“Our amateur actors have something in common with all the professionals I’ve worked with,” says Don. “As soon as they get the script, they have changes to suggest!”  But seriously, he says it is very meaningful to work with the Plymouth Harbor Players.  Urging them to keep up the pace of action is more of an issue than acting skill or lines, but that’s not the reason this is important.  Both he and his wife Peggy were in agreement, the stimulation of acting keeps everyone young and it’s often a much needed escape from all other daily worries.

Does Don have something in mind for “something on the 17th Floor” for next year? “Perhaps,” laughs Don, “If we’re not on a cruise to Antarctica!”

The Cast

Barry Dobson, CEO – Harry Hobson
Samantha Tobin –  Ann Williams
Lionel H. Willett – Bill Brackett
Philip Bostwick – Arnold Freedman
Chiquita Mathews – Francie Jones
Virginia Brown – Peggy Wallace
Millicent Murgatroid – Anne Moore
Leslie (Les) Giles – Heather Shaw
Bailiff – Louis Schneider
Honeybunch – Carol Lawrence
Jury Foreman – George Spelvin

Kudos to everyone ‘behind the scenes’ as well!  Residents: Naomi Wittenberg, John DeJongh, Bruce Wallace, Peggy Wallace, Jeanne Nunn, Alida DeJongh, Robert Lawrence, Pauline Thoms, Bev Wright, Nancy Gross and Norma Schatz.  Staff:  Maryanne Shorin, Karen Smith, Hugh Kelly and Jeanne MacArthur.

Plymouth Harbor resident Ann Brackett has spent a lifetime believing in the unlimited potential of girls when given the opportunity to grow.  Not so long ago, she was attending the annual Boys & Girls Club Luncheon, one of the largest and most inspiring fundraising events of Sarasota’s very busy “season.” She found herself sitting next to Sue Stewart, who was there representing Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida. Before long, they were sharing their mutual love for the tradition of scouting.

Ann Brackett Donates her Girl Scout uniform

Ann Brackett donates her vintage Girl Scout uniform to the Girl Scouts.

You see, being a Girl Scout when she was a child was so important to Ann that she had kept her uniform, proudly decorated with numerous badges to mark her achievements, in a keepsake box all these years.  An idea sprang out of her chance meeting with Sue: why not donate that uniform, now considered a rare vintage treasure, to the local Girl Scout council?  It was an easy decision to make and before she knew it she was visiting with current Scouts and sharing stories with them while they gazed at the proper dress uniform so different from the simple vests the girls wear today.When Ann was a child, there was a local Girl Scout troop meeting regularly at her church, which was right next to her school in Newton, MA. This made it very convenient for Ann to get involved.  Being an only child, belonging to her Girl Scout troop gave Ann the social interaction she craved. She enjoyed the opportunity it gave her to work with and become friends with girls beyond her circle from school or her neighborhood.

“In Girl Scouts it doesn’t matter what color you are or how you look. You are part of a family and everyone respects you,” adds Ann. “This outstanding organization has made our nation a much better place. Girl Scouts present positive role models, endless possibilities, and a clear path to making dreams come true. The positive influence of Girl Scouts has lasted a lifetime for me.”

Girl Scout uniforms

Over time transformations of the Girl Scout uniform.

Ann was an enthusiastic scout and some of her fondest memories were of summer camp. Each merit badge earned built her confidence and inspired her increased involvement over the years.  She feels it was Girls Scouts that prepared her for an unexpected challenge later in her life when she was called upon to care for her aunt diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

“Girls are strong when they help other people. Girls need to feel a responsibility to care for others and experience the joy that goes along with it,” she comments.

Ann was unexpectedly reunited with her Girl Scout leader, Edna Hockridge, 40 years after her scouting days. She was with her aunt at the doctor’s office, when Mrs. Hockridge, also in the waiting room, recognized Ann’s laugh. It was one of those unexpected, sweet moments to reminisce with her Girl Scout leader all those years later. “I guess I never lost my unique laugh!” exclaimed Ann.

“The staff and current Girl Scouts were thrilled when Ann offered to donate her beautiful, pristine, vintage Girl Scout uniform to Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida. Her gift serves as a reminder to all our girl members and Girl Scout alumnae that Girl Scouting is a lifelong circle of friendship, with shared ideals.

Girl Scout Vest

This junior vest is the Girl Scouts' uniform today.

“The powerful values – courage, confidence and character – are as relevant today as they were in Ann’s day. The insignia, badges and achievements proudly displayed on Ann’s uniform show girls today that what they do matters, and that they can take action to make the world a better place,” shares Sue Stewart, CEO of Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida.

As a result of Ann’s recent connection with the Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Plymouth Harbor is now partnering with a member of Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida who is interested in fulfilling her Gold Award by rebuilding the Butterfly Garden, a special feature of Plymouth Harbor’s beautiful campus grounds.

Ann’s story is not unique.  In fact, many of the women living at Plymouth Harbor were Girl Scouts. It seems as if everywhere you turn, you meet women excited to share their memories as a Girl Scout. Whether it’s a fond reflection of their time at camp, a friendship formed fifty years ago that is as strong today as it was then, or the recent memory of a college student whose passion was ignited as a Girl Scout – the stories are everywhere.

We recently received an email from Plymouth Harbor resident Lou Newman with the following note:

I would like to introduce you to “Hootie” and “Hooter”, the two new resident Great Horned Owls at Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay.  Although frequently heard, the owls are rarely visible because they have taken up residence high in the large Banyan tree at the northeast corner of the building. They likely have a nest in this tree; however, it is completely obscured by the dense foliage.  Is Hootie “pregnant? ”Only time will tell!”

Hooter & Hootie are resident Great Horned Owls at Plymouth Harbor.

Image by Lou Newman: Hooter & Hootie are resident Great Horned Owls at Plymouth Harbor

This little note accompanied by a stunning photograph that looks like he was in the tree with the owls is just another run of the mill day for Dr. Lou Newman, retired large animal veterinarian, now professional nature photographer.

Loy Newman with bear

Lou Newman photographing bears in the wild

Lou developed a curiosity about photographic techniques as a teenager, which evolved into a lifelong calling.Photography was a significant activity throughout his years as a rancher and veterinarian in Montana, and became of major importance when he left practice to become a veterinary college faculty member and pursue an advanced degree.  Photography was important in his roles as professor, pathologist, diagnostician, research clinician, and administrator.

During the 1990’s Lou prepared for a photographic “career in retirement” and the change to digital imaging.  Large animal medicine/surgery and wildlife studies had always been major interests and reinforced the progression to wildlife photography.  Lou’s passion is photographing the wildlife and birds of the Florida coast.

Of course, with Plymouth Harbor being situated on Coon Key in the midst of a natural bird habitat, Lou has become the photographic chronicler of many of nature’s dramas in our midst.  Here he alerts us to a potential nest of baby owls in our future and not too long ago, he played an even more active role in protecting our wild fowled young ones.

A Heroic Rescue for Stranded Chicks

In May 2012, Lou was on hand to rescue and document an entire Black Skimmer colony on Longboat Key that was threatened by Tropical Storm Debby. The storm had pushed coastal waters two to three feet above normal and large waves carried the water over the colony of over 400 birds with more than 100 active nest scrapes. The adult birds were all standing facing the wind in the lee of the buildings at the top of the beach; none were with the stranded chicks.

Willie Least Tern feeding its chick

Willie Least Tern feeding its chick

In his own words, “My initial reaction was to hope the adult birds would seek out their chicks. When this did not occur I returned to my vehicle to call beach monitors and bird rehabilitators for advice. When I returned to the beach half of the chicks had disappeared. Chicks were being buried by wind driven sand; and Laughing Gulls, and even a few Royal Terns, were gorging on stranded chicks. I saw only four chicks that somehow made it up the beach to the adult birds (and I hope were reunited with their parents). There were perhaps 50 chicks remaining at this point.”

“The stress of the day-long storm, flooding, relentless wind gusting to 40mph, biting wind-driven sand and opportunistic raiding gulls took a toll as I watched. It made no sense to stand by and watch remaining chicks perish this way. With help from others who arrived, it made sense to try to rescue the surviving chicks. We were able to find and pick up 32 live chicks. Gail Straight from Wildlife, Inc. on Anna Maria Island came to help and took the chicks to her wildlife education and rehabilitation center.”

Willie Least Tern with a Ghost Crab

Willie Least Tern with a Ghost Crab

Not surprisingly, Lou is active with the Sarasota Bay Estuary Program and has volunteered as a veterinary pathologist at Mote Marine Laboratory, as a veterinary surgeon at the former Pelican Man Bird Sanctuary, and as an Emergency Veterinary Medical Officer in Great Britain during the Foot and Mouth Disease outbreak.

Lou is an active member of the North American Nature Photography Association, National Association of Photoshop Professionals, Dimage, Digital Photo Artists, Sarasota Audubon Society, and Sarasota Bay Estuary Program Citizens Advisory Committee.  His work is held in several private collections and is on permanent display at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, Pines of Sarasota, SMH Institute for Advanced Medicine, Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, and Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay’s Smith Care Center.  He frequently participates in regional art gallery and photography exhibits. We’re proud he shares this wealth of photography with Plymouth Harbor on a regular basis.

A “Zest for Life” Snapshot

This Fall the Asolo Repertory Theatre kicked off its American Character Project, which runs from 2012 – 2017.  The project  opened with  the Tony-award winning musical “1776,” which brings to life the Second Continental Congress, and its work in declaring American independence. It was must-see for any lover of American history.

One Saturday night, Brian Becker, a Riverview High School student and member of the local CAR (Children of the American Revolution), escorted Plymouth Harbor resident Joanne Hastings to the Asolo Rep to see the show.

When asked about his evening with Joanne, Brian enthusiastically answered, “I feel that there is still so much more to learn from Joanne. She is truly a fascinating person who has a lifetime of experiences to share.”

Joanne Hastings

A Zest for Life

Joanne was equally impressed with her new young friend.  “I felt an incredible rapport with Brian,” exclaimed Joanne, “We had great discussions – Brian’s interest in Germany, and mine in France. We share interest in European culture and languages.”

Joanne was a long time member of the Colonel David Hall Chapter of the DAR in Delaware and remains active with the local Sara De Soto DAR chapter, which arranged this intergenerational outing.   “As a Delawarian, I felt Caesar Rodney was portrayed beautifully in the play,” Joanne confirmed. “He rode 70 miles on horseback July 1, 1776 in a blinding thunderstorm in order to cast the breaking vote for the Declaration of Independence.”

One of the distinguishing qualities of the residents of Plymouth Harbor is their drive to remain active in the community and follow their passions.  It’s what they call their “zest for life!”   Joanne is no exception as she has always sought to explore and enjoy life and the company of friends.

Joanne moved here from Delaware 8 years ago, first to The Glenridge to join friends Dr. Russell and Fran Seibert.  Despite the many attractive assets of The Glenridge, she felt drawn to Plymouth Harbor and now enjoys what she calls the “million dollar view” from her home on the 16th floor.

Prior to moving to Sarasota, Joanne lived in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware – where she and her husband retired after their careers. She had been an interior designer at DuPont  and he had been an engineer at Hercules, another of the chemical giants that make Delaware the capital of the world’s chemical industry.

An artist from her youth, Joanne studied at the Philadelphia College of Art and enjoyed a long career with DuPont as one of the pioneers in corporate interior design.  She says one of the highlights of her career was managing the restoration/redecoration of the Hotel DuPont using all the new DuPont nylon fibers and fabrics.

She and fellow resident Vera Kohn , both devoted Francophiles and members of the Alliance Francaise, have organized a monthly brunch where only French is spoken. Joanne has always enjoyed cultural interactions, a pastime she recalls fondly from her Delaware days where a group of couples met regularly for gourmet dinner and lively discussion about the arts. They called themselves “The Eclectics.”

No wonder Joanne feels so at home at Plymouth Harbor!  Would you care to guess how soon we’ll see a renaissance of The Eclectics at Plymouth Harbor? If Joanne has her wish, it’s right around the corner.