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.

Move-In Date: September 22, 2011

John was in the gold business. It is tempting to visualize young John, pick axe in hand, but it was his grandfather who was in the Klondike gold rush, struck gold, and later started the Williams Gold Refining company in Buffalo, NY, in 1912. John was CEO of the business, which involved precious metals for the dental business, and highly sophisticated metals for the semiconductor industry, from 1958 until the business was sold in 1986. John got his flying license at the age of 17, butflew his father’s Waco biplane on floats when he was eight on their way up to their summer home on Kawagama Lake in Ontario. He needed three cushions to be able to see out of the cockpit. He continued flying all his life, and owned a series of planes. The last one was a pressurized Cessna P-210 which he and Ann, who is also a pilot, flew all over the US and Canada, and even flew to Alaska on a five-week odyssey.

John met Ann on Kawagama Lake where her father, a professor of geology at Colgate, also had a summer home. John was 20 and Ann was 17 when they met. For three years they were an item until John became an Air Intelligence Officer during the Korean War. By that time, John had earned his BS degree from Yale in Business Administration, having been elected as a junior to Tau Beta Pi, the engineering equivalent of Phi Beta Kappa. John married, returned to Buffalo, and was the father of three children.

Meanwhile, Ann, who had grown up at Colgate University as a faculty kid, graduated from Skidmore College in 1953. She soon married, and supported about-to-be doctor husband. When they adopted two sons and a daughter, she became a full time house mother. With the exception of three stints around Washington, she lived in Columbia, MO, where her husband was Dean of the Medical School of the University of Missouri.

With the end of John’s marriage, he went looking for Ann. It seemed not to have taken much persuading to convince her to move to snowy Buffalo where they stayed until 1986 when they sold the business and moved to Bird Key. The Bird Key canal was home to a series of boats rigged for fishing and traveling, they cruised in the Bahamas for as much as six weeks at a time. With the larger boats gone, they had an electric powered boat for quiet cocktail trips around the Bird Key canals. Both boats and planes are now behind them, but their passion for bridge remains. Cooking for both of them, and for Ann, Mah Jongg, continue to be equally absorbing. Volunteer work has always been important in their lives. Ann’s chief commitment is to All Angels by the Sea. Her long term devotion to health care and to Hospice culminated two years ago as she was given the 20 year award by Hospice.

Can this busy pair work Plymouth Harbor activities into their schedule? They have many, many friends here already. John and Ann say they have simplified their lives so they will be real Plymouth Harbor residents.

We’ve made a few significant changes to the group exercise class schedule:

Starting November 1st

ALL group fitness classes are FREE of charge (This includes Tai Chi and Yoga)

A Great BALANCE Class! A significant number of residents have requested “balance” classes. Did you know that Tai Chi is an excellent form of exercise for balance and coordination? Are you not sure what Tai Chi is? Come by to observe, come by to try it out. These classes are held on Saturday mornings at 9:00 a.m., and starting November 12th (no class November 5th) they’re FREE, so why not try it?

A NEW yoga class format! By request from several residents, I have asked Ami French (our yoga instructor) to change the current class to incorporate a more traditional class format, one that would appeal to the majority of yoga participants. She feels that she will also be able to tailor the new class to accommodate those who have been doing chair-yoga. So, all can now participate! Please come, starting Wednesday, November 2nd at 9:00 a.m. to try out the NEW yoga class and receive the numerous benefits of this type of exercise.

We hope that this NO-FEE policy for the Tai Chi and Yoga classes will entice more residents to participate in these excellent classes.

Plymouth Harbor, is excited to announce its new arts education and exhibition programs in conjunction with the Ringling College of Art + Design. This partnership is the first relationship of its kind and will kick off with a talk hosted by Dr. Larry Thompson, President of the Ringling College and Chair of the Sarasota County Arts Council alongside Jim Shirley, Executive Director of the Arts Council on Thursday, February 25.

The series of events was inspired by the new mural commissioned by Plymouth Harbor resident Robert Barkley from local artist Jeff Schwartz to adorn the sixteenth “colony” at Plymouth Harbor. Schwartz was impressed by the art-first approach the residents took when bringing him in: “They cleared all the fixtures and everything out of the space and agreed to let the work dictate the feel of the space rather than trying to choose art to match the paint, which is usually the case.”

After the unveiling of Schwartz’ mural, Dr. Ann Albritton, professor of art history at the Ringling College will be hosting a series of talks in March at Plymouth Harbor called “Viewing Modern Art,” followed this fall by an exhibition curated by Mark Ormond of the Ringling College Galleries.

Robert Barkley is a longtime resident of Plymouth Harbor and member of the Ringling College of Art + Design’s Board of Trustees. After a successful career in insurance and benefits, Barkley moved from Indiana to Sarasota in 1992 and began to nurture his love of fine art after experiencing the amenities of the cultural coast. Barkley is dedicated to sharing his passion with the residents of Plymouth Harbor and the Sarasota community.