By Isabel Pedersen
The Schwartz’s beautiful apartment should have been the tipoff. The decorator had to have been a professional—and, of course, she was. Helen spent her adult years as a decorator, designing both homes and offices. She graduated from Pembroke College (now part of Brown University.) A New York City gal all the way, she did not want a conventional 9-to-5 job so she studied at the American Institute of Interior Design (ASID) and found a profession she loved.
Harold’s story intersected Helen’s in 1949 when they met, in New York, of course. Harold was born in the Bronx, son of an immigrant father who had developed a good tannery business. After studying mechanical engineering at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, the Army sent him as an engineer to build Treadway Bridges across Europe. After the war, Harold finished his education, later adding a Master’s degree. He chose a college in Newark, New Jersey, partly because the family tannery was there. It was there because Newark had the pure water necessary for the tanning process. It also is vital for brewing beer. The joke was that there was so much beer made in Newark that you had to check when you opened your faucet. It might be beer that day.
His family business was primarily manufacturing suitcases. The company was sold to a conglomerate which sent him to run the luggage division in Virginia. His final job was as president of a distributor of equipment for the tanning industry. Through all this, the family lived in South and then West Orange, New Jersey, close to New York for this city family. A major interest, while there, was raising money for the United Jewish Appeal.
When they moved to Longboat Key, they rented for several years before settling on Promenade. Retirement meant more time for golf and tennis. The tennis has now gone by the boards but golf, for Harold, is still fun.
Their three daughters are, not surprisingly, interesting. The oldest is a lawyer and Secretary of American Express. The second lives in Israel with her husband, and the youngest and her husband have retired, splitting their time between France and Manhattan.
You will enjoy meeting this delightful couple. You may even get some ideas for your own apartment.