Know Your Neighbor

The CRTN residents featured here have been highlighted in The Tower News since it began publication in August of 2018.  In an ongoing effort to become better acquainted with our neighbors, we are repeating the articles here.  Enjoy getting to KNOW YOUR NEIGHBORS!   

James Achterberg #105

By Margie Geasler #105
Published May 2020 The Tower News
 
How does a tap-dancing young boy from Peoria IL go to Hollywood, where he waits on Eleanor Roosevelt and Eddie Fisher, end up as a Headmaster at Abington Friends School in Philadelphia PA, and finally a resident in CRTN?  It’s a great story.
 
I know we won’t run out of interesting stories of CRTN residents, but this month was a bit of a challenge since we are all self-isolating in our units and it was difficult to conduct an interview, get photos etc.  So, go with what you know, right!  This story is about my husband, Jim Achterberg #105.  
 
Jim and I moved into CRTN in November 2016. We both had long interesting lives before we met in 1996, but Jim’s story has always intrigued me.  I think he should write a “tell all” book about his experiences.  But, I guess he is too much of a gentleman to do that.  He won’t tell people about his Hollywood experiences without a lot of prompting and a bit of alcohol for lubrication.
 
Jim moved to Hollywood with dreams of stardom after graduating from Manual Training High School in Peoria in 1952.  He took a bus to Hollywood where he had a friend from Peoria who worked in the Beverly Hills Hotel.  It was through her that Jim managed to get a job as a busboy.  This, of course, was just until he “made it”.    
 
As a child, Jim had several chances to practice his talents.  He played the youngest child in “Father Knows Best” at the local Peoria Players where his most vivid memory was bleaching his auburn hair white so it could be dyed a vibrant red. He performed on “Juvenile Theater”, a  WMBD radio broadcast every Saturday morning singing and dancing in front of a live studio audience. It was kind of a down home version of The Mickey Mouse Club that many of us can relate to.  Given his love of movies, and movie stars, along with his performing skills, it is no wonder Hollywood was calling to him. If you live in Peoria in 1952, Hollywood is at the end of the rainbow.
 
His first day as a busboy at the Beverly Hills Hotel was the breakfast shift in the Polo Lounge. His job was to put 3 ice cubes into the customer’s glass and then fill the glass with water from a silver pitcher. He had decided he wouldn’t look at anyone while he did his work, so he wouldn’t be distracted by the famous people he was waiting on.  Things were going well at his first table until he recognized the voice of the person he was waiting on while he was pouring the water. It was Arlene Dahl, the most beautiful woman in the world to his 17 year old self. He couldn’t help himself; he looked up at her and sitting next to her was her boyfriend, Lex Barker (he played Tarzan, if you are too young to know). The next thing you know, the water was overflowing. Thankfully, Dahl and Barker thought it was cute and just laughed. They saved Jim’s job.  
 
Evenings, Jim worked in the Lanai, the main dining room, where Harold Stern strolled the room playing his Stradivarius violin for dinner guests.  Red Skelton, Lana Turner, Debbie Reynolds, Hedy Lamarr, Marilyn Monroe, Gary Cooper, Randolph Scott, Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, Howard Hughes, Tony Curtis, Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Danny Kaye and Audrey Hepburn were among the customers he remembers waiting on. He has interesting stories, but two of the most interesting follow.
 
John Wayne was one of Jim’s regular customers.  He would give Jim $5 to get him a pack of cigarettes (a pack was 25 cents at the time).  One day Jim was driving on Hollywood Boulevard in his used Studebaker coupe when a car tried to merge in front of  him.  Jim finally let him in. It was John Wayne! Later, Wayne saw Jim from across the lobby and laughed and bellowed “You little shit”. He knew who had almost cut him off.  
 
Jimmy Stewart, who Jim describes as being warm and friendly just like the roles he played in the movies, was a regular customer of Jim’s.   One day Stewart cleared it with Bruno (the head waiter) for Jim to sit down with him so they could have a chat. Stewart wanted to know what Jim’s plans were for the future.  When Jim told him that he wanted to be an actor, Stewart asked if he had a back-up plan in case that didn’t work out.  He suggested that Jim might want to go to college. No one in Jim’s family had gone to college and he hadn’t even thought about it until then. With Stewart’s encouragement, he got a few college catalogs and started to think about going on to school.  
 
As it turned out, Jim enrolled at College of the Pacific in Sacramento CA (because of their great drama department) that next fall.  He had made such good tips working at the Beverly Hills Hotel that he had enough money for his freshman year.  Tuition and room and board at the time was $600 per semester.  Scholarships paid for the rest of his years there. Jim performed in several productions at College of the Pacific.  In the photo at the right he is playing Iago in Shakespeare’s Othello. While in college Jim met his first wife who was also an actor.  When they graduated, they married and left for NYC where they were going to be on Broadway.  
 
An unexpected baby arrived and changed everything.  Living in a cheap NYC apartment with who knew what kind of vermin, they decided that Jim needed a job that made enough money to have a better place to live.  With his college degree in hand, he was able to get a job at a private school teaching reading. He earned a Master of Arts and continued in the private school business, becoming an administrator and finally headmaster.  Thank you, Jimmy Stewart!  
 
 

Jutta Bove #309

As told to Charlie Isola #402 and Margie Geasler #105
Published October 2019 The Tower News
 
We had little knowledge of the Camino de Compostela, a pilgrimage route leading to the
cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in NW Spain, until we talked with Jutta Bove. Jutta did the French Camino route during the summer of 2019. This route starts at Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port in the southwestern most part of France at an altitude of 200 m in the Pyrenees. It ends at Compostela, 500 miles later after traveling up and down “hills” reaching to 4550 feet at one point! She was happy to acquaint us with the walk and to share the challenges and emotions she experienced while on the walk. 
 
Many think of a “pilgrimage” as having a religious purpose: to atone for sins, to thank God for favors granted, or to beg God for protection. Jutta made clear that she walked it, not for religious motives, but because it was there: a challenge that she dreamed of since she was a young girl living in East Germany. Her reason brought to mind Mark Twain’s comment on attending the Bayreuth festival in 1891, among the “true believer” Wagnerites, “...a pilgrimage is what it is.” 
 
In 2018, she decided to do something about that dream. She and her sister and brother-in-law signed up for a 7-day Backroads “Taste of Camino de Santiago” tour . The taste turned into a desire to experience the entire 500 mile route. Ask her why and she will tell you “It’s there, I’m 80 years of age, and I’m here. So why not?” 
 
Jutta’s preparation for the trek began in September, 2018. Every Sunday for 9 months she walked A1A 9 miles or more with an 8 lb. knapsack on her back, the bare minimum  of gear, water, snacks, extra shoes etc.. On her route, it weighed 12-15 lbs. She trained for the hills by climbing the stairs, even up to the 17th floor and took 3 or 5 mile walks during the week.) 
 
Her adventure was well planned. She engaged a company, “Walk the Camino” , that specializes in obtaining hotels (with showers) and carrying luggage from point to point on the route. Caroline Diaz was Jutta’s contact in case you want to plan the walk for yourself. Jutta told them how many miles she wanted to walk per day and how many rest days she would need, and they did the rest. They reserved hotels and shipped her luggage (which she says was superfluous because she overpacked) from hotel to hotel. The entire plan would take 40 days. 
 
June 6, 2019, she began her camino, with thoughts and emotions as her only companions. The first two days were the hardest: she had to get to the top of the Pyrenees at 1400 m (4200 ft), with more up-than-down hills, on a very uneven surface and then descend the same day, to get to the next stop: Roncesvalles in Spain.. She breathed hard, taking short breaks, while the younger “peregrines” (pilgrims) ‘breezed’ (get it?) past her. That first day took 11 1/2 hours. By Day 3, she had settled in and walked about 15 miles per day. Each day she would start early and end in the afternoon or early evening. 
 
Most of the time, Jutta walked alone, taking in the scenery and experiencing the walk. Occasionally she would walk with another “pilgrim” for a few hours. When she arrived at the evening’s hotel, she would relax, massage her feet, do some sightseeing, have a bite to eat and drink the region’s wonderful wine. Then early to bed. Sometimes she would attend a Pilgrims’ Mass, available in several small towns. She was even a lector for one of the Masses. 
 
Jutta was born in East Germany. When she was 14, she, her mother and her two sisters escaped to Berlin where they lived in a refugee camp. After several moves within West Germany, she arrived in New York City. There she took English lessons, earned her GED and worked as a secretary. 
 
She and her late husband Ernie came to Lauderdale-By-The-Sea in 1983 where together they started a small business creating blown glass objects d’art w hich they sold in three malls. She and Ernie moved into CRTN in 2005. 
 
Jutta talked about walking the Camino as a challenge: an opportunity to be more open, to admit weaknesses and to face them. Seems to us that there have been quite a few challenges that have been met and overcome. She has a 5-year plan that includes 2 trips next year: a January trip, a trip to Italy, and maybe another challenge. So why not? 
Oh, by the way, Jutta cleans the tiles around the pool too! 

Len Constance #705

By Charlie Isola #402 
Published April 2019 The Tower News
 
When I was a kid in Astoria, NY in the 50’s, every car parked on our block was made in America. There were lots of Chevy’s (my family’s first was a two tone BelAir sedan), Dodges, Plymouths, an occasional Buick, a very occasional Lincoln or Oldsmobile, but never, no where, was there a Cadillac to be seen. Well, you would see them in a wedding or funeral procession, but no one we knew owned a “Caddy.” 
 
I’ve never owned one, but Len Constance has. Len and his wife Gloria, apartment #705 have owned Cadillacs - many of them - and you may have seen one of their Cadillacs “under wraps” in the parking lot. It is a 1990 Cadillac Allante. I had the chance to take a look at it and it is quite the Caddy - a sleek two-seater, with a body designed and built in Italy by Pininfarina. The Allante was flown to Detroit in specially outfitted 747’s, 56 at a time. (You can read more about that beautiful car on Wikipedia.) 
 
Len grew up in Flint, and later in Detroit in what he described as a “GM family.” His dad worked for the A.C. Spark Plug division of GM, and was able to get a new Cadillac every year with his employee discount. Len was a Cadillac person from his earliest years. He was also a visitor to CRTN - his parents retired here in the 80’s, and knowing how much he loved being here, his dad left the apartment to Len. 
 
After high school, Len had considered getting into the car business as a designer, since at that time, the car designer was the driving force in car production. (Remember how in the fall of the year, each car division would introduce its new models with lots of hype - and each year car designs would change, sometimes radically?) 
 
But as the design of the car began to become less important, in the late 70’s, Len decided to focus his interest in building and design of structures, and became an architect, designing and renovating many hospitals. He retired in 2017. 
 
His work was in architecture, but his hobby was always cars and his main interest in cars was always the Cadillac marque - and its emblem which always looked so impressive. That’s because its beginnings go back to the French founder of Detroit - the original Cadillac emblem was the family crest of Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac. The crest has been modified several times, and for more info on that, check out jalopnik.com . 
 
Cadillac lost some its luster (maybe more than “some”) in the early 80’s when GM downsized the car, and made parts that were interchangeable among its then five divisions. Its high-end allure, meant to attract older, richer customers faded, and that niche was filled by foreign models. Today, Cadillac has a smaller share of the prestige cars than it had in its heyday, but its status as a stylish and prestigious car is on the rebound - especially among its SUV models. 
 
Keeping the Cadillac history alive has been on Len’s radar for years: he is the past president of the Cadillac and LaSalle Club, Inc., in Detroit and S.E. Michigan. The club was founded in 1958, and is dedicated to preserving and enjoying Cadillacs and LaSalles. He is now working with the president of the newly formed club for the South Florida region. (Check out the club on Facebook, or go to CadillacLaSalleClub.org .) You don’t have to own a Cadillac or LaSalle - or any car to be a member. Oh, and if you just love cars in general - check out the woodwarddreamcruise.com 
 
The need to keep history alive seems more important to me than it did five years ago. Today, we have a lot more brands of cars to choose from, and “loyalty” to a brand (or to a job) is not the same as it was twenty years ago - don’t know whether that is good or not. But it is always good to know and remember what things were like - “back in the day.” Thanks, Len for helping to keep American car history alive.

Frank Ennis #1701

By Charlie Isola #409
(Published in The Tower News October 12, 2020)
 
Frank and his wife Anne bought #1701 in 2000. They found CRTN by chance when they visited Anne’s friend, Anna Foley, #1711. Our location and our pool convinced them to buy here.
 
Frank has had a long and distinguished career dedicated to the science of infectious diseases and vaccines. He has worked in medical schools, hospitals and with federally-funded agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO). He’s had his hand in research and clinical trials that have produced vaccines we’ve all benefited from - smallpox, flu, MMR, ​e.g​., - whether inoculated or not.
 
Frank began his medical career with the intention of practicing either internal medicine, or specializing in pediatrics, but a detour led him into public health. He was about to be drafted in 1966, when he was recruited by the National Institutes of Health where he was involved with research on vaccines. Two years later, he moved to Cornell and his research evolved into a focus on severe viral infections, the area that would interest him for the rest of his career.
 
After many years of moving between different research centers, and with the addition of a fourth child, Anne ​strongly suggested that he settle into one institution, so the family could settle into one house. Consequently, he accepted a position on the faculty of Boston University School of Medicine, where he started his own research lab focused on immune responses to flu and herpes simplex viruses.
 
Three years later, the NIH asked him to return to be the Director of Viral Vaccines in the FDA. He served as administrator for 8 years while continuing his own research on improving vaccines. One of his studies focused on answering the question: “What is the best age to vaccinate young infants with the MMR vaccine?” by measuring antibodies to German measles and mumps in vaccinated young children. 
 
The study showed that the presence or absence of an epidemic was the influencing factor. In the U.S., it was best to wait until 15 months before inoculation. However, children in African countries needed to be vaccinated earlier because of the presence of epidemics. This study of the MMR vaccine proved particularly important to preventing the disease worldwide, and keeping everyone safe from these diseases.
 
In addition to his work with the CDC and NIH, Frank conducted Dengue fever research in SouthEast Asia with colleagues from Thailand. As part of a team from Walter Reed Medical Research Center, he worked to develop a vaccine for Dengue fever. That re- search continues into its 32nd year in Thailand. Frank traveled there twice a year to participate in and review clinical and laboratory research programs.
 
Frank joined the faculty at the UMass Medical Center in 1981 as Professor of Medicine (Infectious Diseases), retired in 2016, and now continues an affiliation as Professor Emeritus. He returned to academic medicine because of his interest and enjoyment in training young scientists and physicians in research. Several of his students have become internationally recognized leaders in the fields of virus disease and vaccines and he feels they are his major contribution to the field. He still keeps his hand and mind in “the business” since he reviews research papers for former colleagues, young scientists and scientific journals.
 
Currently, Frank and Anne are hunkering down in their house in Rockport, MA. How are they keeping safe during the pandemic? They have not gone out since March 14 when they mailed in their tax returns. All of their shopping is done on-line and if family comes to visit, masks are ​de rigueur i​n the house. Their return date to Florida is uncertain right now, but when the vaccine comes out, Frank will be one of the first to roll up his sleeve.
 
 

Ellis Guernsey #1504

By Charlie Isola #402 
Published March 2019 The Tower News
 
Ellis Guernsey #1504 lives with his parents, and is probably the only resident who is working towards his Bachelor’s degree in science, teaching tennis and training to become a professional tennis player. 
 
He explained that being engaged in two very different fields: learning how intermolecular forces bond atoms together and learning how to become a ranked tennis player, gives him insights needed to balance the demands of both fields and excel in both.  When I met with Ellis a few weeks ago, he described a typical day: 4 hours training; 2 hours teaching tennis; 3-5 hours attending classes; and 3-5 hours studying. (I listened with that nostalgia that comes from memories of the “good old days” — then remembered the good old days are now.) 
 
Ellis grew up in Poughkeepsie and now attends Florida Atlantic University five days a week, class of ‘21, . He is a science major and is not sure if his post grad work will be in pre-med or chemical and biological research. He wants to keep his options open if he continues in the field of science. 
 
And then there’s the world of tennis. His father and brother are tennis players, and Ellis’ interest in the sport kicked in big time when he was 15 years of age. (He’s now 20.) Up until then, baseball was his favorite sport; but a dislocated thumb kept him in the dugout and pushed him towards tennis. He thinks he got the tennis “bug” at the right time: the strongest players - physically and mentally are in their 20’s. 
 
He still enjoys baseball, but tennis gives him the challenge of being solely responsible for the game’s outcome: it is up to him alone to focus on controlling his game emotionally and physically in serves and volleys. 
 
Ellis explained that control, the ability to execute a shot consistently, is fundamental to winning a match. Control comes from hours of practice, repetition of serves and returns, and from the ability to enter an internally quiet place before walking onto the court. He finds that quiet place every day with a period of meditation and visualization. The “place” he finds in those exercises is where he “goes” before he walks onto the court and during the game. With other matches going on during a tournament, he uses his meditation technique to block out distracting noise and focus on his game on his court. 
 
Ellis has achieved the balance he wants by careful planning: he graduated high school a year early, took a gap year before starting college, and played and practiced full time. 
 
That old Latin saw, mens sana in corpore sano (a sound mind in a sound body), is inherent in Ellis. 

Jeffrey Hansen #412

ONE THOUSAND SEVEN HUNDRED AND EIGHTY-FIVE DAYS AT SEA
By Charlie Isola #408
Published July 2020 The Tower News
 
If you’ve been interviewed by a member of the CRTN Screening Committee (and who hasn’t), Jeffrey Hansen, #412 was probably in on the interview. 
 
He moved into CRTN in 1989 after having lived in various cities in South Florida for 10 years.  Originally from New Jersey, Jeffrey worked in real estate investing, and retired when he moved to CRTN.  
 
But he continued working: he served three three-year terms on the Board of Directors (1991-1999) and was appointed for another one year term, for a total of ten years.  In addition to his BOD service, he has been on the screening committee for 25 years - its Chairperson since 2001.  He also co-ordinates parking space changes - another volunteer position he has held for 25 years!
 
“Impossible” to know how many residents he has met, but he did screen all nine current Board of Directors members. How many hours volunteered at CRTN?  “Impossible” to count.  Obviously, he has no outside life.  But wait - there’s something about thousands of days relaxing at sea… 
 
Before moving to CRTN, he dipped a toe into what would become a passion: cruising.  His first cruise was in 1985, on a cruise line no longer in existence.  As of this writing, he has been on one hundred and seventy five cruises (yes, 175!) on various lines.    
 
As enjoyment in cruising increased, Jeffrey began choosing Norwegian Lines for the majority of his trips (Norwegian cruises usually leave from either Miami or Port Everglades).  In February of this year, 2020, Norwegian honored him for having achieved the distinction of being, not just an Ambassador level guest, but one of its most valued and loyal guests.  
 
That February cruise was his favorite, until he reached a level that no other Norwegian traveler  has reached: 101 cruises.
 
When he works, he works.  When he travels on Norwegian, he travels “like royalty,” according to him. These pictures certainly do attest to that: this is how Norwegian celebrated his birthday last June.  
 
Each of Jeffrey’s 175 voyages has been with David Sensky, who lives in the East building.  Jeffrey’s sister and brother-in-law, Ronny and Richard Kadash #1610, (residents since 1992) have taken many cruises with him, but never on Norwegian Cruise Line. 
 
Will there be other cruises?  Ten were already booked for June 2020 through October 2021 before the coronavirus pandemic. His June birthday cruise and one other have now been canceled.  The rest?  On hold, as is everything else.  

Eugene Leary #1112A

By Charlie Isola #408 
Published January 2020 The Tower News
 
What do you do with some “down time” you find at your job? Especially when that is usually sandwiched in between hi-pressure hours that entail making quick decisions involving multiple agencies and sometimes hundreds of people? Eugene Leary, apartment 1112A, found a relief valve which still occupies his time in retirement, and brings excitement to the kids in his family.   
 
Gene and his wife Georgette are snow birds who travel back to Edison, N.J. in the summer. They met at Cabrini Hospital in New York where they worked as radiographers prior to his work with the PAPD (Port Authority Police Department) of New York and New Jersey. 
 
Eugene was Desk Sergeant, Central Command, midnight to noon shift, for the NYPD for 27 years. Any type of problem related to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PATH), the organization that runs three international and two regional airports, four bridges, two tunnels, and a bus terminal at 42 Street and 8th Avenue in NYC, would find its way to his desk during his 12 hour shifts. He was the guy responsible for finding personnel to help a woman giving birth at the 42nd Street bus terminal, while a robbery was on-going at the same location, to dealing with the horror of 9/11.  
 
After working the shift for months, he realized that he could do something with his “down time” at his desk; so he began painting model soldiers in authentic period colors. It was solitary work that took the same attention to detail and focus that his “all hands on deck” work as desk sergeant required. 
 
When he talked about creating these worlds (where the soldiers are 1/72 in scale), there was a clear sense of excitement - the same excitement he described in the faces of his nieces and nephews who get to travel to periods of history thanks to his love of history and his ability to make it come alive. 
 
This is the part where one picture is worth a million words, so enough with the words; take a look at two of his dioramas. 
 
 
Battle of Waterloo - 1815 Rorke’s Drift         
 
 
 
 
 
The Anglo Zulu War - 1879 

Maddy Lombardy 1412A

By Charlie Isola #408  
Published November 2019 The Tower News
 
Meet Maddy Lombardi, apartment 1412A, a CRTN resident since 2016.  If, on one of these Tuesdays, you’re in the mood for some good Dixieland Jazz, replete with brass, winds and accordion, served with some of the best BBQ in Broward, head north to Pompano Beach’s “Spanx and the Hog”  at 147 S. Cypress Road.  You’ll find Maddy there, playing banjo and sometimes singing, with the Gold Coast Banjo Band, from 7:30 - 9:00 Tuesdays.  Click on this link to hear Maddy play and sing that always popular song “Crazy”.  
 
She also performs with the Broward Mummers, a string band, which invites everyone to sit in on their rehearsals on Thursdays at the Moose Lodge, 6191 Rock Island Road. The Mummers play for special events, and usually donate any money raised from their performances to charities.  (The Broward Mummers allow women; but the Philadelphia Mummers is still an all-male group).  
 
Maddy, a native New Yorker, worked in the garment district as a production manager for a dressmaker back in the day when women were employed in the industry as sewers  - but never as a manager.  She began as a secretary and through lots of grit, succeeded in the industry for twenty years. The owner of the company saw two qualities in her that he knew would serve him and the company well: drive and honesty.  
 
When she and her late husband both retired to Jacksonville, he encouraged her to find something to do.  She had always liked the sound of the banjo - a “happy sound”, so she started taking lessons and joined the Gold Coast Banjo Band.   
 
I saw four beautiful banjos in her apartment. The B and D Company produced banjos from 1887 - 1939, when a fire destroyed its factory. The Gresch Company bought the pieces that survived the fire.  The Gresch Company’s banjos became known as “Sweep the Floor banjos” because they were made from the remnants of the B and D company that could be “swept up.”  
 
Photos on the right show the front and back of the original B and D Banjo.  It has a beautiful finish, great hand crafting on the frets and elegant mother of pearl inlaid design on the back.
Maddy wanted to be a commercial artist, but her Dad didn’t think that would be in her financial interest.  She never let go of her art, however, and several of her sketches and colored pencil drawings grace the walls of her apartment. 
A necessary ingredient for life after work: Follow your passions, now that you have the time.  Maddy does!

Nancy Loughlin #1507

By Charlie Isola #408
Published December 2019 The Tower News
 
The holidays.  Time to look back over the past year and its changes, and then (maybe) make some plans for the upcoming one.  This column looks back a little longer than a year, and focuses on the building we live in, and changes in the way we live.  
 
That was the plan when I met with Nancy Loughlin, #1507.  During our conversation though, something happened which gave me an insight as to why I enjoy being here more and more.  But to that insight later.
 
Nancy has been coming to Ft. Lauderdale since 1968 to visit her mother-in-law, who bought the apartment she now occupies, in 1966.  During those visits she would stay at either the Galt Ocean Mile or the Beach Club Hotels which were situated where L’Hermitage now sits on 12 acres.
 
The Jets stayed at the Galt Ocean Mile Hotel when they won the Super Bowl III in 1969 - and Nancy met them and their coach.  (Remember Broadway Joe?)
 
She remembers that many things were different at CRTN in those days: 
 
Our building had a path to the ocean. (Wonder where it was exactly?)   
 
We did not have a club house on the beach, but did have first “dibs” on what is now the East Building Club House located directly to our north.  Our building passed on the purchase, so the East Building bought it.  
 
Dress styles were very different too, going out for dinner in the evening meant dressing up: dresses for the ladies, and suit jacket and tie for the gents.  The fashion label of choice for men and women was Lily Pulitzer which featured lime green and bright tropical colors, and linen slacks for the men.  
 
Amenities of CRTN included valet parking.  When you pulled up to the lobby, an attendant would park your car in its assigned spot, and hold the keys. When you needed the car again, he would drive it to the front door.  
 
Rules were strictly enforced - often by Maybelle who was the building’s secretary.  When you returned to the building in beach wear, entry to the freight elevator was via the doors at the north or south end of the building, never the lobby.
Swimmers with long hair had to wear swim caps in the pool - and if Maybelle saw you not properly “dressed”, she would demand that you get out.  Sounds a little draconian —- but I bet the rule helped keep the drains clear.  
 
As we talked, there was a knock at the door.  Two of Nancy’s friends came in;  just to check and see that she was OK since they noticed that her car hadn’t moved in a couple of days. Then the conversation turned back to the building and their memories and thoughts about it.  (I began to wonder about an oral history project of CRTN…) 
 
But to go back to change, there was a time (as late as February 2001, when I was approved by the screening committee with my now-official husband) that I would have considered their knock on the door intrusive.  On the day of the interview with Nancy, however, I considered it thoughtful and neighborly.
 
It made me realize that their knock at the door may be one of the reasons I enjoy spending more time here.  Besides the ease of getting around, it’s about the neighbors and the community we’ve made, and continue to make, in the building: something that never occurred in the six co-ops Dan and I have had in NY. 
 
Change.  It’s a funny thing, and the more things change, the more they change
 

Dermot Meagher #302

By Charlie Isola, #408 
Published January 2019 The Tower News
 
Dermot Meagher (#302) was a judge of the Boston Municipal Court of the Trial Court of Massachusetts from 1989 to 2006. Two issues ago, you were introduced to Bill Walk, a judge of table tennis at the Barcelona Olympics among other venues. Dermot Meagher is another judge in a different kind of court. 
 
Governor Michael Dukakis was the first person to interview Dermot for a judgeship in 1983. Neither at this interview, nor those that followed, did Dermot hide his sexual orientation. So, when he was eventually appointed in 1989, he was the first “out” gay Judge in the Commonwealth - no small accomplishment. 
 
Dermot graduated from Harvard College and Boston College Law School and later received a Masters degree in Public Administration from the Kennedy School at Harvard University. In 1970 he was awarded a Ford Foundation funded Fellowship to the Center for Criminal Justice of Harvard Law School. 
 
He began his professional work as an Assistant District Attorney in Worcester County, Massachusetts. He taught Criminal Constitutional Law to police officers, and in 1970 co-authored his first book, Drugs and Youth, with Robert Coles, M.D., and Joseph Brenner, M.D. The authors addressed the problem of drugs and addiction from both a legal and medical science perspective. I have not read the book, but based on my social work background, it is the necessary way to look at addiction and sentencing issues. In his free time, he did volunteer work on addiction, sentencing guidelines, and equality issues. 
 
Dermot hails from Worcester, MA., where the Meagher family can trace its roots back to a time just after the Great Hunger in Ireland and before the American Civil War. His great grandfather, after being mustered out of the Union forces, opened a tavern. Subsequent generations have worked in the law, as trial lawyers and judges. 
 
In addition to scholarly legal works on Bail and Human rights, Dermot wrote several stories about his time as a judge that were published in Boston Magazine and Doubletake Magazine . Those stories became a book published in 2010: Judge Sentences/Tales from the Bench (available for sale at Amazon). I read some of them for this article, and while they are all based on actual events, they resonate with the humanity, insight and warmth that is a big part of the first openly gay judge in the history of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 
 
Dermot has written two novels, two books of poems (available at Amazon), and two books comprised of his drawings. He has shown his art at museums and galleries in Florida and New England. For more information on his work click here . 
 
Dermot retired from the bench in 2006. He and his husband Renato Cellucci moved into #302 in 2017. They spend the summer in Boston and Provincetown. 

Rosemary Meskiel #1201

 
BLESSED YESTERDAY; BLESSED TODAY; BLESSED TOMORROW
By Charlie Isola #408 
Published March 2020 The Tower News
 
When I reread the notes I took during a fascinating and busy 90 minutes I spent with femme engagée, Rosemary Meskiel of #1201, Candide’s final words in Voltaire’s eponymous novel came to me:  one has to “tend to one’s own garden”: tend and nurture the people and places near and dear to one’s self - help others grow, and grow with them.  
 
That’s something which Rosemary Meskiel has been doing, whether in her hometown of Niles, Ohio, where she was born on March 26, 1921, or in any of the fourteen places she lived with her now deceased husband of sixty years, John Francis, and her three children. I have the sense that whomever she meets, no matter where, she helps that person grow, on that person’s terms, and a friendship is established.  
 
As mentioned, Rosemary is a widow, but her husband entered the conversation as soon as I walked into the apartment.  A beautiful needle-point doorstop moved as she closed the door.  I commented on it, and she noted that her husband had done it, and that he had created kneelers for their church, All Saints Episcopal, in Fort Lauderdale. 
 
Rosemary and John Francis were married September 16,1942, and in their sixty years of marriage, he always reminded her and their three children that the guiding principle of life was the need to nurture “Family, Friends, Faith.”  Her love of family is evident in the pictures in her apartment and the way she spoke with pride about the achievements of her three children, her seven grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren. 
 
Her constant granting of friendship  was evident in her actions, taught by her family from an early age.  She grew up during the Great Depression, and her family was “blessed” to have a bit more than most.  Many mornings there would be homeless men sleeping under a large tree near her house; her mother would tell her to go to the men, tell them to wash up at the pump, and then come in for breakfast.  Eventually her dad put a bathroom and shower in their basement for them. 
 
She described her young self as something of a “tomboy,” and she loved being active and playing sports: she earned Varsity Letters in basketball, baseball, swimming and hiking in her Sophomore year - two years earlier than usual. But she did not get to play football or join the aeronautics club.  The football boys devised a fail-safe strategy to keep her off the team: they piled on her and made sure she gained no yards.  When she showed up for the flying club, the pilot “welcomed” her by having her experience all the dare-devil stunts he knew. It was the first and last flight she took with the club.  She seemed to enjoy telling the story - she gave it a good try - trying to break other  “glass ceilings.”
 
Her volunteer work created - and continues to create - more lasting friendships and blessings.  After 35 years, she still answers the phone at All Saints on Mondays.  She ushered at the Broward Center, Lower Left Orchestra, for 26 years - but her children encouraged her to stop when she turned 95 - driving late at night was a concern;  At the Portland Art Museum, she was trained to be a docent for an exhibition of Japanese Internment Camp photos; she continues to teach Bridge on Tuesdays, makes it a point to have her church friends in for dinner - and keeps a bottle of liquor especially for one of her priest friends.
 
Rosemary was the first president of the Federated Club of America in Poland, OH (a philanthropic educational organization founded in 1869), was president of the Banyan Club in Florida two times, and started Women’s Clubs in most cities she lived in.
 
“Blessed” is a word that she used many times during our talk.  It is a word I am not always comfortable with - too religious-sounding maybe.  But I am very glad - maybe grateful - that I had the opportunity to get to know this engaged woman who had the table set when I walked into her apartment: cheese, crackers, fruit, coffee: friendship.   
 
Oh, and in case you wondered about the highlighted date in the second paragraph:  She turns 99 on March 26 [2020].  Happy Birthday, Rosemary, and thanks for pointing the way to be.

Patricia Myles #1115

A MANY-CAREERED WOMAN
By Charlie Isola, #408 
Published February 2019 The Tower News
 
If you haven’t been in the library/game room on the first floor, take a look. It was designed, paid for, and given to CRTN as a gift by Pat Myles. Pat is ending six years on the Board of Directors Feb. 19, and if the past is a paradigm to predict the future, she’ll still be busy. Take a read. 
 
Pat and her late husband bought #1115 in 1998, and decided to renovate. On their drive back to Virginia, they wondered if they would have the money needed to do the work and design new furniture for the apartment. Their answer came quickly. In a  true “deus ex machina” moment, the Wheel of Fortune program showed up at the Potomac Mills VA Mall where the show invited people to try out as contestants. 
 
Pat was one of thousands who showed up. First she was selected at random, then, got called, won the rounds, went with 99 other contestants to the Mayflower Hotel in D.C., won again, went to Constitution Hall to film the show with 2 other contestants and won again. This time, she won big: 7K in cash AND an Audi sports car, totaling $52,400. 
 
Pat was working in her second career as a licensed interior designer by this time so they didn’t have to look for a designer for “the house that the wheel built”. Renovations and furniture designs went forward, and the winning results shine in #1115. 
 
Her first career was as a Washington D.C. police officer. Pat was a true pioneer when she joined the force. It was still a requirement to have a B.A. and women on the force were segregated from the men’s force in the “Women’s Bureau.” 
 
Later, the Women’s Bureau was integrated into the male force, and Pat worked in the youth division which handled arrests for minors under 18. “How does it feel having to deal with youth who committed felonies?” I asked. “No problem”, she said; except for one time when a minor was told that he couldn’t go home until the next morning. He suggested that he would find her where she lived when he got out and her response was that there would be a .38 on the other side of the door. He never showed up! 
 
After working on the police force, Pat put her interior design license and expertise to good use. She designed many houses and apartments and was careful to incorporate her clients’ interests, tastes and uses of their homes into her designs and choice of fabrics. And that’s what she did with her design for our library/game room. 
 
The library is a small room that had collected lots of books, mismatched bookshelves and game tables before her makeover. Pat’s goal was to design a room neutral in design that would complement the new hallway design. Since the room would function as both a library and a card and game room, there needed to be space for walkers and canes to maneuver easily around the card and puzzle tables. This was accomplished with custom built shelving for books. I wondered what had made her decide to give us the new room. “I just love puzzles and card games, and a well designed space just makes me feel good. I wanted to give that feeling to my neighbors in this building.” We agree, she attained her goal. 
 
Pat is a snowbird, and when she heads back to Virginia in the spring, she’ll be ready to head back to work - not as a police officer or interior designer - but as a substitute teacher, something she has been doing for thirty years. (During some of those years, Pat also worked as a real estate agent.) Oh, and by the way, she is still on the board of her VA townhouse complex. Born under the sign of Gemini, with Pat, there is never a dull moment. 

Sue Neff #303

Meet Sue Neff # 303
By Charlie Isola #408
Published November 2020 The Tower News
 
Sue Neff and her husband Thom (who contributes to the newsletter) moved into CRTN ten years ago and still maintain places in Sandwich and Boston MA.  Like many residents here, the Florida apartment was seen as a place to spend a few months away from New England winters.  (Anyone else remember the blizzard of 1978?)
 
They got here via a more circuitous and adventure-filled route than many of us have.  And Sue has had in her experiences, four very different “jobs:” (1) a mother in Boston, Portland and Churchill Falls, Labrador; 
(2) a social worker in a Boston-based agency for abused children; (3) a psychotherapist in private practice, and (4) a painter of botanical art.  
 
Thom’s studies and work made for a peripatetic life - living in four different states - when their three children were younger.  While Portland, Oregon was a long way from Boston, and where Thom was a professor, their most adventurous move was to Churchill Falls, Labrador.  Thom was a geotechnical engineer working on a project to dam a lake, and it was there that he, a pregnant Sue, their 2 and 3 year old lived for two years in a trailer 12,200 miles from Montreal.  Her memories of those days: 50 inches of snow a day; a shovel always at hand; no stores; a weekly wine run that meant meeting a plane that had flown in from Nova Scotia with groceries - and wine. I Wikipedia’d the place, and even with the amenities described, I don’t think I’ll be visiting anytime soon.  
 
As their children reached their teen years, Sue felt the need to do something more, so she enrolled at Portland State and received her Bachelors of Social Work (BSW) in 1980.  When they returned to Boston, she enrolled at Boston University at night and received her Masters in Social Work (MSW) in 1983.
 
Her first job was at a residential school for emotionally disturbed children, dealing with the effects of their having been sexually and physically abused.  As her own children became more independent, Sue began seeing private patients in the evenings, and her practice grew into a very full  25 patient hours per week.  She worked in traditional talk therapy and the newer and very powerful EMDR therapy.  She loved the work, in spite of the fact that the majority of her private patients were dealing with having been sexually abused.  It was, she said, both very rewarding and emotionally draining work.  
 
As Sue and Thom began spending a longer amount of time in Florida, she started seeing patients on FaceTime or on the phone, and found that since either one was as efficacious a modality as face to face therapy,  she decided to close her office.   One might say she was a trail blazer…now, with coronavirus concerns, most therapy work is being done via screens, and she continues to see patients virtually while she is here or on the Cape.  She has no plans to retire, and enjoys the flexibility that virtual meetings give her - and her patients.
 
But…with fewer patient hours…more free time.  That free time led to yet another practice which demands great concentration: a watercolor artist.  
 
When she turned 70, she returned to drawing, and took a class at Wellesley in botanical illustration.  That led to enrolling in a four year program and her being awarded a Certificate for Botanical Art and Illustration from the Wellesley Botanical Garden.
 
Sue is currently a member of the New England Society of Botanical Artists; to see some of her finely detailed and beautiful work,  click here.  One of her watercolors takes between 20 and 30 hours of intense concentration and she describes the time she gives to her art as a  sort of meditation.  It demands fine brushes and detail, she explained, so the work comes to fruition in small increments - something akin to the process of doing or being in therapy. 
 
If you haven’t met Sue in person, you’ll now recognize her from the photo at the top of the article or in the photo below while she is at work.
 
And, if she ever stops seeing patients, what will she do with that extra amount of time?  
 

Richard Passmore #1715

By Charlie Isola, #408
Published November 2018 The Tower News 
 
Richard and Susan Passmore, # 1715, have been full-time residents at CRTN for two years after snow-birding for ten years. Richard was a dentist with a private practice in Macomb, Illinois where he and Susan lived with their three children. 
 
In August, 1980, at the age of 38, he was piloting his private plane when it crashed a mile from the airport while landing. His injuries were so severe that doctors believed he would never work - or walk again. He proved the doctors wrong, and during the five months he spent in the hospital, he did all the rehab (and more) that was prescribed for him. He walked again and regained the use of his right hand. 
 
Once he was strong enough, he traveled to New York for special courses to help him get ready to return to his dental practice that was kept open by friends. During the course, he learned strategies for continuing to work and even originated techniques that would be passed on to others. Primarily, he learned how to use his right hand and have dental assistants to do the work of his left hand. He returned to his practice 12 months after the accident and treated patients for the next thirty years. 
 
His “disability,” didn’t slow him down. He was a Rotary member for 25 years, district governor for 4 and traveled to Nigeria where he distributed polio vaccine to children. Sometimes, you just d o things. 
 
In May, he fell while making the bed, ripping the tendon in his upper muscle. He needed surgery; during rehab he could not bend his knee for two months. Rehab continues in the apartment - both physical and occupational. He is convinced that he will be walking again, with the continued encouragement and support of his wife of 52 years, Susan, (add seven years as high school boyfriend/girlfriend.) 
 
I’d bet money that this Navy veteran will do just what he plans to do. He is convinced that his purpose on earth is to work hard and inspire others. 
 
Personally, he inspired me to not focus on my own neuropathy problems...but do a little more exercise, and keep moving. Thanks Richard. 

Bill Walk #1710

By Charlie Isola # 408 
Published October 2018 The Tower News
 
Have you ever -
officiated at an Olympic event? 
won state championships when you were 40, 50 or 60? 
been invited to the White House? 

Bill Walk, #1710, can answer yes to each of these questions! 
Bill and his wife, Marilyn have lived in CRTN since the mid 90s. He started playing table tennis (AKA ping pong, as it was called by Parker Brothers) in the basement of his family’s home in Pittsburgh when he was 11, and played in his first tournament when he was 17. Bill has won state championships in Pennsylvania in his age class (40s, 50s & 60s) and made it to the national semi-finals for players over 70 in 2006, and over 75 in 2010. 

During his table tennis career, Bill became an accredited umpire and in 1972, umpired matches between the US and China teams, and then was invited to the White House, along with both teams, to meet President Nixon and his National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger. Those games, coined “ping pong diplomacy”, and his White House visit are among his favorite memories. In 1992 he umpired at the Barcelona Olympics and was inducted into the USA Table Tennis Hall of Fame in 2010. 

Locally, Bill has played at the Broward County Table Tennis club in Davie, a professional venue with regulation tables (6 feet by 9 feet) and 40x20 rubberized flooring under the tables. Bill, 82, is still an international referee, but has had to take a break for surgery to fix a spinal stenosis problem. He plans to return to the sport once rehab is done and he and Marilyn return to Fort Lauderdale in January. Thanks, Bill for letting us share your story with the CRTN community. 

Kevin Winkler # 1416

A LIFE IN THREE ACTS - SO FAR.  
Meet Kevin Winkler, Apartment 1416.
By Charlie Isola # 408 
Published September 2020 in The Tower News
 
Prologue:
Kevin was born and spent the first 16 years of his life in rural Oklahoma.  He was a junior in high school when his family moved to San Diego.  He had always wanted to dance, and the move gave him the opportunity to begin studying professionally.  He majored in theater in college and did summer stock through his college years.
 
Act I - Dancer
He  moved to New York after college and danced professionally until his mid 30’s in Broadway shows (Little Me revival, Wind in The Willows), summer stock, regional theaters, industrials, and the national tour of Cats.  (See photo below).
 
Act II, Scene 1 - Librarian
In his mid 30’s Kevin made a career change and enrolled in the School of Library Science at Columbia University, which at the time was the oldest library school in the United States.  His was the next to last class to graduate from the school before it closed.
He described the experience as one akin to being “shot out of a cannon.”  While dancing takes an incredible physical discipline and stamina, he had to regain the discipline of being back in a classroom after so many years. 
 
He was able to marry his passion for theater and the arts during his internships, and worked at the Film Study Center at the Museum of Modern Art in New York where he was responsible for cataloguing a collection of materials from Martin Scorsese’s early career. 
 
Upon graduation, he took a “slight” detour from the arts and joined Citibank as an entry level research librarian.  While the subject matter was far different from that at MoMA, he enjoyed working with corporate research materials.  It was also the dawn of online database searching, which his job required, and something he particularly relished.  
 
Act II, Scene 2 - Librarian/Author
In his second year at Citibank, Kevin applied for an opening at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.  So, another marriage: his interest in musical theater and research.  There he found himself inside a library with a rich collection of all things theater.  He held a series of archival and administrative positions at the library, and for several years taught a popular class on performing arts librarianship as a visiting instructor at the Pratt Institute’s library school.  
 
While working at the library, Kevin wrote and presented a conference paper on Bob Fosse.  An editor for Oxford University Press was in the audience and asked if he were interested in writing a biography of Fosse.  Fosse created such memorable shows such as The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, Sweet Charity, Pippin, Chicago, the movies Cabaret and All That Jazz, and Liza With a Z for television.  
 
He thought, why not do some research on a giant in the musical theater world for a prestigious publishing house?  Kevin started work on the book in 2010, the same year he was promoted to Deputy Director for all New York Public Library branches.  
 
Act III - Author
Kevin retired from the Library in 2015 and was able to concentrate on the biography, which was published in 2018.  Kevin was determined the book would not focus on the sensational aspects of his life.  (If you’ve watched Fosse/Verdon on HBO, you know what he’s referring to.)  The most rewarding part of his research was going through Fosse and Verdon’s business and personal papers at the Library of Congress.  His mantra is, “The archives never lie.”  People may lie, or forget things, but the archives always tell the truth.  And Fosse’s papers revealed unexpected aspects of his personality.  For instance, Kevin discovered many letters from dancers thanking Fosse for the generous spirit he showed them during auditions.  The book is titled Big Deal: Bob Fosse and Dance in the American Musical, and is available in hardcover, paperback, on Kindle, and as an audiobook.  
 
As a result of his work on the book, Kevin was invited to be an on-camera commentator for the recent documentary, Merely Marvelous: The Dancing Genius of Gwen Verdon, available via Amazon Prime.  
 
Next up: Kevin is working on a book about 5’18” Tommy Tune (The 6’ 6” Tune’s description of his actual height.)  As Kevin explains, Tune is a transitional figure between the great director-choreographers like Agnes de Mille, Jerome Robbins, Bob Fosse, Gower Champion, and Michael Bennett, and a new generation of director-choreographers now working on Broadway.  
Kevin and his husband Richard Schneider (a singer and member of a European tour of Evita) moved to CRTN in 2019, are now Florida residents and plan to return to their apartment in New York during (normal) summers.
 

Greg Zorbas #1112

From Near Nothing to the Hall of Fame 
By Thom Neff #303
Published February 2020 The Tower News
 
Unit owners at CRTN are extremely fortunate to have many unusual and eclectic neighbors.  These special people do not automatically reveal themselves, but if we pay attention, mingle and talk with each other, great surprises result.  Greg’s story is special.  Greg and Suzanne Zorbas are Canadian snowbirds from Toronto who reside in Unit #1112.  Greg and Suzanne have three married sons, two live in Toronto and the third in Saskatoon.  Their sons’ families, including 9 grandchildren visit annually.  Greg and Suzanne are active in the social life at CRTN and in the many programs at Saint Demetrios’ Greek Orthodox church in Ft. Lauderdale. They have been coming to Ft. Lauderdale since  2008, and purchased at CRTN in 2013.  
 
Greg’s story begins in 1944 in Zevgolatio (Corinthias) Greece.  WWII was ongoing, and Greece was occupied by the German army.  Greg was the last of 6 children (3 sisters and 2 brothers), the oldest 15 years ahead of Greg.  There were no jobs, no money, and little food. In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s many Europeans immigrated to the US, Canada, Australia and other countries to pursue a better life for themselves and their children. Two of Greg’s sisters used the sponsorship program in 1954 to get to Canada, his brother followed in 1955, and the other sister in 1956.  Greg and his two parents followed in 1958, and settled in Belleville, Ontario, about 80 miles east of Toronto.  Greg was 14 years old and spoke no English.  But, he had one passion: soccer.  Growing up in a very poor country where the only sport for people was soccer, he played barefoot with a tennis ball sent from Canada by a relative - and he was hooked.
 
Greg worked in a diner run by his parents and organized, played on and coached his high school soccer team (which won a championship).  After high school, he went to Ryerson University where he studied business and played for the varsity soccer team which won two championships.  After he married Suzanne, he took a job at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario where he coached and played on their newly organized soccer team.  Greg finished his BPHE and MA degrees in Physical Education, and coached the soccer team for 28 years.  
 
His teams won 12 Ontario (state) championships, 2 National championships, and 3 national  bronze medals. The team made the playoffs 24 consecutive years and ranked in the top 10 nationally most of the time. Many of his players were named All-Canadian and pursued professional careers. 
 
Suzanne was a key part of Greg’s success; she supported him in raising three sons who played on the varsity soccer team.  She also invited the team, family and friends for home-cooked meals on Sunday nights while maintaining a full time teaching position. This was part of Greg’s recruiting approach as he would promise potential players, and their families, that they would find a second “family” with his team.  Recruiting was not easy as they had no scholarships for soccer!  Greg achieved much in academic roles: in addition to teaching full time, he served as Director of men’s Athletics, Director of Sports Administration, and instructor for coaches and managers across Canada.  He was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame at Ryerson University, Laurentian University, the City of Sudbury and named coach of the year on numerous occasions.  There are many other awards and achievements, but one would have to conclude from reviewing just what’s noted here, that Greg’s “story” falls into the category of, “You can’t make this up!”
 
What a community we have here at CRTN!!!
Thank you to the residents who have shared their stories with us.  We would like to tell your story too.  Contact Charlie Isola in #408, or use the Contact Us form on the Home Page of the website to submit your suggestion.