Have you ever seen a fashion show at Macy’s, read an advertisement for Vanity Fair lingerie in The New Yorker, or dried yourself on a Martex Towel? If so, you might know Plymouth Harbor resident Jane Smiley, who was featured in our June Insights Program. Jane has lived an exciting and active life – working in fashion advertising in New York City, serving as an advocate for women in the workplace, and promoting education and scholarships for youth. Jane shared with us how she broke the barrier for women in top executive positions during the 1950s, and how her journey eventually led her here to Plymouth Harbor.

You can view Jane’s full Insights presentation here:

Insights is a monthly connection where residents can share stories and insights about their lives, careers, and hobbies with Plymouth Harbor employees.  A feature of Plymouth Harbor’s developing employee wellness program, OnBoard, Insights is offered at noon on the fourth Friday of each month.  Open to all employees, lunch is provided, supported by gifts to the Plymouth Harbor Foundation employee assistance fund. Thanks to resident Phil Starr, each Insights presentation is videotaped for viewing by employees unable to attend the live event.

Upcoming Insights Presentations:

July 24                           Senator Marlow Cook:  “Politics are Politics”

August 28                     Ted and Fran Rehl:  “Inspired by Music”

September 25             Walt Mattson:  “Community College & the Newspaper Business”

October 23                         Susan Mauntel:  “Taking Risks and Winning”

By Barbara Leverone

wellnes12Only within the past few decades have scientists begun to embrace the concept of neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Prior to this, it was believed that after childhood, adult brain anatomy was fixed, only changing in the direction of decline.

Dr. Michael Merzenich, considered to be one of the world’s leading researchers in the field today, has repeatedly validated, along with many others, that the adult brain, in response to experience, is indeed plastic and capable of change.

Dr. Norman Doidge, psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, and research faculty member at both Columbia University and the University of Toronto, went wellnes1on to explore this hypothesis. He documented Merzenich’s experiments along with many other leading-edge scientists in his 2007 best-selling book, The Brain That Changes Itself. In Dr. Doidge’s most recent book, The Brain’s Way of Healing, he continues to explore the brain’s highly dynamic ability to heal when stimulated by noninvasive use of light, sound, vibration, and movement. Using everyday language, he writes about successful treatment protocols for numerous conditions including Parkinson’s, stroke, multiple sclerosis, balance issues, and chronic pain.

He devotes a chapter of his book to Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais (1904-1984), a pioneer in the field of neuroplasticity. As early as 1949, Dr. Feldenkrais wrote that the brain could form new neural pathways to organize itself in response to demands of the environment. Dr. Feldenkrais even created a method that uses movement lessons as a stimulus to develop new options for thinking, feeling, sensing, and doing.

Learn to move with ease and efficiency, and also improve posture and flexibility through the gentle, exploratory movements of The Feldenkrais Method. Discover how mindful, novel movements can create new neural pathways, and experience firsthand the power of neuroplasticity.

To read a portion of Dr. Doidge’s chapter on Dr. Feldenkrais, click here.

Credits:
PHOTO CREDIT: Elaine Litherland, Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Doidge, M.D., Norman. The Brain That Changes Itself. New York:
Penguin, 2007. Print
Doidge,M.D., Norman. The Brain’s Way of Healing. New York:
Penguin, 2015. Print.

Beverly Vernon, or “Bev” as most residents know her, was featured in our May Insights Program, along with some help from her husband, Bill. Bev is a gourmet cook at heart, and a columnist second. However, the latter ended up generating a paycheck when she stumbled into the career simply by writing about something she loved. Bev shared with us her journey to the Chicago Tribune, developing recipes for big-name brands like Kraft, and exciting stories of cooking alongside world-renowned chef, Julia Child, and even the Oscar-winning actor, Tom Hanks!

You can view Bev’s full Insights presentation here:

Insights is a monthly connection where residents can share stories and insights about their lives, careers, and hobbies with Plymouth Harbor employees.  A feature of Plymouth Harbor’s developing Employee Wellness Program, Insights is offered at noon on the fourth Friday of each month.  Open to all employees, lunch is provided, supported by gifts to the Plymouth Harbor Foundation employee assistance fund. Thanks to resident Phil Starr, each Insights presentation is videotaped for viewing by employees unable to attend the live event.

Upcoming Insights Presentations:

June 26                     Jane Smiley:  “Style—It is My Life

July 24                       Senator Marlow Cook:  “Politics are Politics”

August 28                Ted and Fran Rehl:  “Inspired by Music”

September 25        Walt Mattson:  “Community College & the Newspaper Business”

October 23                   Susan Mauntel:  “Taking Risks and Winning”

One of the many programs available for Plymouth Harbor residents to attend this month is a special look behind the scenes at the thriving theatre world of Sarasota with guest Jay Handelman, the theater and television critic and a senior arts writer for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

Most of us know already that Sarasota is not the average town of this average size, not too big, not too small. There are more performing arts per capita here than almost anywhere we can consider.  Our guest, Jay Handelman has been following and writing about this arts scene for… he’d hate for us to say this, but thirty years.  Needless to say, if Jay does not know about it, it’s not news worth knowing, when it comes to the arts biz, at least.

This is his busy season with at least 2 opening shows a week, probably more. He is THE theatre critic that all professional and amateur theaters in Southwest Florida care about. He is seen in this photo with Bob Turoff (right), a Broadway veteran who started the famed Golden Apple Theater in town.

Jay is one of those critics that is keen-sensing and sensitive to the needs of his readers and the artists he reviews.  He reviews the big professional productions of the Asolo Rep, the innovative shows at Florida Studio Theatre, community productions at The Players, and many other theatrical performing arts – even the upcoming Circus Sarasota shows!

After nearly five years as a reporter and editor for United Press International’s local news bureau in Washington, D.C., including one year as D.C. NewsCenter Editor, Jay joined the Herald-Tribune in November 1984 as Assistant City Editor, working on local news stories, editing and assigning.

He became THE theater critic when the paper established a full-time position in March 1986, later adding television to his beat in December 1994.

We’re all looking forward to learning more about the craft of theater criticism, as well as the behind the scenes tales that make the arts so intriguing.

Behind the Scenes of Sarasota’s Theatre World with Jay Handelman will be in Pilgrim Hall on Thursday, February 6 at 7:45 pm.

Plymouth Harbor was represented in force at the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce Annual Membership Meeting and Luncheon on November 1.  CEO Harry Hobson was there with members of his senior leadership team.

r-l: Harry Hobson, Nick Gladding, Joe Devore, Garry Jackson, Becky Pazkowski, Tom Hopkins, Plymouth Harbor Board Chair, Gordon Okawa, Tena Wilson, Mary Allyn, Jody Hudgins, Trustee, and Tom Barwin.

Of course, Plymouth Harbor, now celebrating its 47th year serving the community, has been a long-time member of the Chamber, but there was a reason for such an enthusiastic showing at this event.  Plymouth Harbor was honored as one of the Chamber’s Salute to Business “Top 9.”

This is the 2nd Annual Salute to Business where the Chamber recognizes members in three areas: Attaining Milestone Anniversaries of Service (years in business), Investing in the Future (capital investments to facilities), or Hiring Our Neighbors (hiring within the past year).  Plymouth Harbor was recognized for Investing in the Future as one of the top 3 in that category.  “Plymouth Harbor is known as a top quality residence,” said Steve Queior, Executive Director of the Greater Sarasota Chamber.  “We are proud to be able to honor such an excellent community for having the foresight to continually invest in its facility at its beautiful location to nurture its well-deserved reputation for excellence.”

Gratefully accepting the award, Harry Hobson stated, “I believe that there is greater risk in standing still than moving forward in this competitive environment, because standing still clearly translates to taking steps backward and jeopardizing your future.”  He went on to point out that, “In our field, expanding our wellness programming and developing a new assisted living/memory support center are two prime examples of how we choose to embrace and ensure Plymouth Harbor’s future and stay in a leadership capacity.”

A video highlighting Plymouth Harbor’s commitment to the future was shown to over three hundred business and community leaders from across the country gathered at the luncheon that day.  It was a proud day for Plymouth Harbor, but in terms of our mission, nothing out of the ordinary for this extraordinary community.

By Don Wallace

The scene:  a parlor in a Portland, Maine, church.  It is a Sunday evening in the early 1950’s; the pastor is opening a social meeting of a group of young people in their late teens and early twenties.  As they sit in a quiet circle, the pastor starts the proceedings by stating that formal introductions are probably unnecessary since they doubtless know one another by now.  However, one young man raises his hand, points across the room and says, “I don’t know that girl in the red dress,” which was the way the lives of Walter Mattson and Geraldine Horsman became entwined.

It turned out that they had gone to the same high school in Portland, Walt having arrived in town for his senior year after a much-traveled youth.  Along the way he had shown an obsessive interest in newspapers and the printing business, delivering papers, working as a printer’s devil (one step below an apprentice) at his uncle’s weekly newspapers in Pittsburgh during the summer vacations and, after arriving in Portland, had landed a job at a commercial printing plant, with time out for active duty in the Marines during the Korean war.  Once out of the service, and after he and Gerry had married, he attended college while working full-time nights as a linotype operator at the Portland Press Herald and she worked as a legal secretary with the lead lawyer in the largest firm in Portland.

After he graduated, they moved to Pittsburgh, where Walt worked as advertising manager of two weekly newspapers while attending Carnegie Mellon University at night and Gerry worked for a lawyer in the city.  After that, they packed their bags and moved to Boston where Walt became assistant production manager at the Herald Traveler and attended Northeastern University at night where he earned an electrical engineering degree to go with his business/accounting degree.  For extra money, Gerry typed theses and papers for Harvard Law School students.  Then in 1960 came the big break: a job as assistant production manager of the New York Times.  From then, the promotions came in quick succession until, in 1979, Walt was named president of the New York Times Company.

All this time, when she wasn’t busy packing and unpacking, Gerry was involved with their growing family, working as a school teacher and as a legal secretary—until they settled in Stamford, Connecticut, and eventually built a home complete with a tennis court and swimming pool.  When the children were a little older, Gerry finished her work on a BA at the Stamford branch of the University of Connecticut.

Their introduction to Sarasota came in 1982, when Walt was involved in negotiating the purchase of the Sarasota Herald Tribune on behalf of the Times.  In 1983 they bought a condo on Longboat Key, where they spent half of the year until Walt retired in 1993.  The Mattson’s are the parents of three children, Stephen, William and Carol and have 11 grandchildren.

(A personal note: as a Times reader for some 65 years, I approached this biography with considerable trepidation, but found Walt and Gerry to be gracious, informal, plain-spoken and totally approachable.  And so will you. – author, Don Wallace)

With Plymouth Harbor located just on the other side of the lovely arching bridge from downtown Sarasota, nothing could be more convenient than a short drive to any number of distinctive downtown dining locales and then a evening at the theatre or opera within a couple blocks walking distance.

Florida Studio Theatre, known simply as FST, is hardly a block from the bay and is a favorite of many Plymouth Harbor residents.  On Thursday, October 17, 2013, the Acting Apprentices of FST are coming right here to perform in Pilgrim Hall at 7:45 pm.  It’s an even more convenient evening’s pastime after a fine dinner prepared by Chef Rene in the Mayflower Dining Room.

2012-13 Acting Apprentices

FST’s “Moments of Discovery” offers an array of theatrical forms including  monologues, poems, scenes, and even award-winning plays from FST’s renowned Write-a-Play program which every year recognizes and celebrates young playwrights.  The performers this evening are all actors participating in the Florida Studio Theatre Acting Apprentice Program.

The purpose of the Acting Apprentice program is to help bridge the gap between academic theatre and the professional world and to provide additional training and experience to those individuals who are serious about careers as professional actors.  The program offers practical and educational training in a professional theatre environment and includes classes, workshops, rehearsals and performances such as the one we will enjoy here at Plymouth Harbor.

About Florida Studio Theatre

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) is Sarasota’s contemporary theatre, located in the heart of downtown. It has been in operation in Sarasota since 1973. The Florida Studio Theatre campus is a village of theatres – the historic Keating and Gompertz Theatres, and the Parisian-style Goldstein and John C. Court Cabarets. Near the Sarasota bayfront, FST brings an energy and vitality to the downtown area. Each theatre is small in size and large in impact – providing an intimate and engaging setting for high-quality, professional performances. Hip and historical, entertaining and challenging, we are the theatre where the street meets the elite, where everyone is welcome to come and engage in the art of theatre.

During its history, FST has grown into a theatre with a budget of over $4 million and 25,000 subscribers a year, more than any theatre its size in the country.

FST has modeled itself on the strength of creating the best in contemporary theatre at an affordable price. Overall, FST serves over 160,000 attendees per year through its major programs: the Mainstage Series, the Cabaret Series, Stage III, WRITE A PLAY, Education, and New Play Development.

Plymouth Harbor has been delighting in the semi-annual performances of its resident professional classical pianist, Ted Rehl.  Another concert is open to the public this Thursday, October 18 at 4 pm. Ted has prepared a delicious sounding program titled, “Picturesque Russia,” featuring the music of the great Russian composers Sergei Prokofiev, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Modest Mussorgsky.

Having said that he now practices and performs the music that he wants to perform and particularly enjoys,  Ted has selected a Prelude by Prokofiev, which sounds enticing.  There will also be a total of four more Preludes by Rachmaninoff, including his most famous two, the C sharp minor and the G minor Preludes.

The highlight of the program will be the multi-media experience of Modest Mussorgsky’s  Pictures at an Exhibition. Ted will perform the original version for solo piano, while images of watercolors which inspired Mussorgsky to compose this colorful music in the first place.  Many of us are familiar with the orchestral arrangement of this music by Maurice Ravel that is played by orchestras all over the world.

“This type of thing has been done various other places around the world, but to my knowledge it has never been done in Sarasota,” says Ted.

The musical material of Pictures at an Exhibition are based on drawings and watercolors by artist and architect Viktor Hartmann produced mostly during the artist’s travels abroad. Locales include Poland, France and Italy; the final movement depicts an architectural design for the capital city of Ukraine. Today most of the pictures from the Hartmann exhibit are lost, making it impossible to be sure in many cases which Hartmann works Mussorgsky had in mind. Yet musicologists over the years have pieced together the puzzle and the images you will see are based on their best research.

Mussorgsky links the suite’s movements in a way that depicts the viewer’s own progress through the exhibition. Two “Promenade” movements stand as portals to the suite’s main sections. Their regular pace and irregular meter depicts the act of walking. Three untitled interludes present shorter statements of this theme, varying the mood, color and key in each to suggest reflection on a work just seen or anticipation of a new work glimpsed. A turn is taken in the work at the “Catacombae” when the Promenade theme stops functioning as merely a linking device and becomes, in “Cum mortuis”, an integral element of the movement itself. The theme reaches its height of grandeur in the suite’s finale, The Bogatyr Gates.

“The Pictures was one of the pieces I enjoyed playing during my teaching career,” shares Ted. “I am amazed that it seems easier to play now than it was in my first life!”

Pianist at Plymouth Harbor senior communityAlluding to his first life, Ted means his career as a professional musician and educator and the long hiatus between his official retirement and the re-emergence of his performing life after he moved to Plymouth Harbor.  An earlier post, Life, Love and the Right Piano, tells the story of Fran and Ted Rehl’s life of music together.

Everyone is welcome to attend this concert in Pilgrim Hall, as seating allows.  If you’d like, you can even purchase a CD Ted recorded earlier in the year.  Proceeds of CD sales benefit the Plymouth Harbor Foundation.

Begun in 1966 as a dream of Rev. Dr. John Whitney MacNeil, former senior minister of the First Congregational United Church of Christ of Sarasota, who envisioned a progressive, interfaith, residential community for retired clergy and teachers, Plymouth Harbor today attracts vibrant residents, both nationally and internationally.  Most of these residents, over the years, have made significant contributions to the arts, culture, and education, helping to establish Sarasota as a vibrant and coveted community in which to live and retire.

Today, Plymouth Harbor, a non-profit organization, has become one of the premier continuing care retirement communities in the United States, offering services from independent to assisted living, skilled nursing, long-term care, and short-term rehabilitation, all on one campus.  Essential to its success and outstanding reputation are the nearly 200 employees who deliver care and compassionate services to more than 265 residents daily.

That spirit of caring is also the driving force behind philanthropy at Plymouth Harbor. Over the decades, members of the resident population, their families, employees, and philanthropists in the broader community have voluntarily donated more than $12,000,000 to perpetuate its mission.  Contributions of time, talent, and financial resources are made, believing that service to and support of other people is a worthy lifelong value.

Formalizing the Foundation

In an effort to further ensure appropriate stewardship, develop and implement fundraising strategies that support the most positive aging experience possible, and to provide funding for innovative programs and services for seniors in the region, the Plymouth Harbor Foundation was formalized in 2012.  Their culture of philanthropy is built on three pillars of value – benevolence, fellowship, and a zest for life – and three funds were established for these purposes.

Resident Assistance

True to their founding value of benevolence, resident assistance supports those who have outlived their financial resources, due to unforeseen circumstances, and require support for basic living expenses and medical care.

Employee Assistance

Creating an outstanding living environment depends, in no small part, upon successfully recruiting, retaining, and developing the highest quality work force possible.  This fund supports employees who are experiencing financial hardships or who wish to advance their education.

Zest For Life

This programmatic and capital fund supports innovations and enhancements that improve and preserve the vibrant quality of life for current and future residents.

Making a Difference

We hope you will consider making a gift to advance a positive aging experience at Plymouth Harbor.  Your future is worth supporting.

Members of Girl Scout Troop #121 & Boy Scout Troop #895 copy

Boy Scout Troop #895 and Girl Scouts from Troop #121 in Sarasota recently provided community service at Plymouth Harbor as part of a project that was partially funded by the Bay Partners Grant Program to restore a natural ecosystem on a portion of the campus.  The scouts spent a full day spreading mulch and watering plants that had recently been replaced.

“Community projects like this are an excellent example of what Dr. MacNeil had in mind when he envisioned Plymouth Harbor,” said Harry Hobson, President and CEO of Plymouth Harbor.  “Individuals of all ages coming together to support a positive living environment.  Isn’t that what “community” is all about?”