Home

 

Special Features

 

Brag Book

 

Food, Fun & Entertainment

 

Decorating Concepts

 

The Clubhouse Gallery

 

Essays

 

Yesteryear Village

 

Gardening

 

Essays

 

Sports


Out & About

 

Condos of S. Ocean Blvd., PB

 

Fit After Fifty

 

Local News

 

Veterans News

 

Gulf Wars

 

Ask the Lawyer

 

Rembaum's Association Roundup

 

Community Association Counselor

 

Letters to the Editor / Opinion Articles

Classified Ads

 

Real Estate

 

Display Ads


Ad Form

 

Advertising Rates

 

Contact Us

 

Welcome to CN's TCCA News

On This Page:

Last updated 04/21/2021

Golden Lakes Village

Love in Action 

By Ruth Tschudin

(4-8-21)

This is the month that the Lord has made; let’s rejoice and be glad in it! This customization of Psalm 118:24 comes to mind as I bask in the afterglow of the Passover and Lenten/Easter holy seasons and jump with joy into this lovely month of April. It’s so full of promise and hope! The birds are flitting about, searching for just the right materials to build their nests. Annually-flowering bushes are once again in full bloom. The daylight hours give us more bang for our buck. And more and more of us are getting vaccinated. We surely have much to be thankful for!

Here in Golden Lakes Village we’re flitting about, too, with lots to do and many willing hands to help us do it. The clubhouses and Wendy’s Café have kept us safely active throughout the pandemic and every month their services and activities increase. Love in Action (LIA) was active throughout, too, with our Angel Network and email blasts to keep us connected and helpful.

We had a big Gathering last month (the first in over a year). Over 40 members and friends attended the outdoor event which featured a speaker from the Good Samaritan off-campus ER. As our blessings overflow, so does our roster! We have 100+ members so far for 2021—giving generously of their time, talents and treasures. One new member (who prefers to get no accolades) suggested and headed a fabulous food drive to benefit GLV residents who are homebound or facing hard times. A team of 20+ volunteers packed and delivered dozens of bags filled with shelf-stables and some fresh items, too.

Upcoming LIA activities include a piano concert on April 26th for nine masked and socially-distanced guests—to also be Zoomed to those preferring to watch from the comfort of their own homes. Our pianist will be Donald of Donald’s Piano Artistry, who started playing piano at age six as a student of Harris Music on Clematis street, and earned his degree in Vienna, Austria. Next month will be our 2nd Annual Walkathon, organized once again by Kim Morris (our new Vice President). And after that, we’ll honor those who have gone before us with a Celebration of Lives, remembering residents and their close relatives who have died in recent years.

And now, I’m honored to introduce our featured writer for today: the amazing and much-loved Clarence (CS) Stern! He and his wife Alice (married 73 years) have been a major blessing to GLV over the years (and they still are). This will be the first of what we hope to be a series of vignettes from his marvelously lengthy and active life. Over and out, Captain CS!

"On March 3, 2021 I enjoyed my 95th birthday with 17 immediate family members at a ZOOM party. It was a wonderful experience, with all my children, cousins, nephews, and nieces relating and reminding me about past experiences they had with me. I instilled in them what I thought were important values. Among them were intelligence, humor, generosity, responsibility and more. During the party, they gave me great happiness by sharing many details of our many varied experiences. 

"When I was very young, I always had a passion for airplanes. My hobby was building and flying many small model airplanes. I took flying lessons when I was 16, became a pretty good stunt pilot, and got my Commercial Pilot’s license at age 21. I never did accept the occasional airlines’ letters and telegrams offering me additional training.Their offers included $125.00 per month to become an airline pilot, which I considered to be an "airborne bus driver". I always was a bit adventurous, and that seemed too boring for me. 

"During the expansion of our family, I took Alice and our three kids on many exciting and enjoyable trips in my various single engine planes which I purchased; always improving them, and trading up for larger and more comfortable ones for the five of us. The kids especially enjoyed our many day-long outings, from Bridgeport, Connecticut. Most of them included fishing outings at Block Island, Rhode Island, and Atlantic City boardwalk matinee shows, featuring TV’s popular star singers and bands. I even demonstrated weightlessness to the kids, by having them remove their seat belts before I abruptly nosed the plane down. They floated up off their seat and laughed hysterically at their rare experience, usually attained only by astronauts.

"Being a bit adventurous, traveling, cruising, moving to Florida, and changing careers; I always welcomed the changes. We made travel a major part of our family’s life, enjoying new people and new adventures.

Always thinking about our family’s future, I took and saved over 50 small films of our activities, ordinary and/or exceptional from 1960 through 1989; copied the 50 8mm tapes to video cassettes (VCR). I narrated every activity, transferred them to DVDs, and they are now on 2 little flash-drives. We, and each of our children (all now seniors) enjoy 30 full years of our family’s wonderful history. Now, any of us can enjoy viewing all of those wonderful years in our personal "time machines’’!

"To Alice and me, family always comes first. And because we believe planning ahead is usually a good idea. I am so pleased I made the effort that brought about the above results. All our family believe and are rewarded by planning in order to achieve any desire. That is why our family believes in what we call ls "The 5 Ps"= Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance."

A HEARTY GOLDEN LAKES LOVE IN ACTION (LIA) THANK-YOU TO:

Our Featured Writer: Clarence (CS) Stern

Talented, energetic, and big-hearted are three of the many good adjectives that describe this longtime GLV resident and active LIA member. He and his equally active wife, Alice, moved to Ft. Lauderdale in 1972, then to Tampa in 1982 and finally to Golden Lakes in WPB in 1996. For nine years CS wrote the monthly healthy living column called "Help Yourself to Better Health" in our Village Talk magazine. He was also a featured speaker at two of Love in Action’s health-related events. To show his versatility, he also took his generations of home movies from 8mm and VHS into the DVD format—with him narrating them to describe the what, when and where of the treasured memories.

CS and Alice, married 73 years

Here they are, dancing at Phase B's New Year event that welcomed in 2021. The couple has been in charge of GLV's dancing club for the past 10 years and have become close friends with its members. After the lockdown they have been able to get together once in awhile to dance and enjoy each other’s company. They also support LIA activities by reaching out to neighbors, donating to our food and clothing drives, and participating in events (such as when they were elves at the Christmas in July party for kids with cancer).

Clarence in the 40’s

Details on his love of flying are in the accompanying article.

(above left) CS the day after Navy discharge. Flying home, July 1946, during a short stop in Philadelphia. Changing planes used for airborne "hitching" rides to home town.

(above right) Clarence’s 4th airplane: Clarence (guy on left) and two friends—showing off his new airplane. Photo taken during 1949.

The fabulous team of 20+ volunteers that helped to collect, bag and deliver food to special GLV residents

Here are some of the volunteers who sorted and bagged the donations: (l-r) Penny, Joan, Linda, Madeline, Robin and Ann Frances). Dozens of bags were distributed by April 1st. 

The large balloon sculpture used throughout the campaign was made and donated by John Watkins of Balloon Art World (aka the "Balloon Man" who was such a hit at LIA’s 2019 Christmas-in-July party for kids with cancer). He can be contacted at 561-667-5572.

Dave Long (at right) who heard via an LIA email blast that Mark Goldhirsch needed a bicycle. Dave responded with this generous donation. Mark (on left) can now be seen breezing around our village and his bike is often "parked" at Club B where he can be found at the café, the tennis courts or at LIA’s newly-acquired organ in the B Auditorium practicing for his May or June concert.


(3-25-21)

Here now is "the rest of the story!" In our previous column we met Christine Casey, a Golden Lakes resident who describes herself as a lifelong miniaturist and fine-scale modeler. Her interest in collecting and making dollhouse-size people, paraphernalia, pets, etc., was sparked early in life when her Gram gave her a few miniatures as a gift. Her drawing, painting and sewing-crocheting skills, coupled with her innate ingenuity and can-do attitude, have expanded that interest in a variety of artistic directions over the years.

Part I of Christine’s story ended with her leaving her position at the upstate New York Hummel factory due to the toxic materials involved. The next chapter in her life starts with a brief return to NJ, then a move to Kissimmee, FL (in her 50’s) to be near her daughter. Now, with Disney World nearby, her dream of being a Disney animator beckoned her once again. But things had changed by the nineties. There were no more Disney artists’ jobs as described in part 1 of her story. With the advent of digital animation those positions were outsourced to other countries.

Willing to bend her dream a bit, Christine took a costume-related job at the MGM Indiana Jones Stunt Theater. For $4.50 an hour she spent 10 hours a day doing the laundry of the actors in the show. In the massive MGM parking lot she learned how to find a parking spot at odd shifts and do a grandmotherly sprint to the time clock—a minute late and she’d be fired!

It was actually more of a fresh-air job, she explains, helping to set up the outdoor theater and dress up the volunteer guests to take part in what was a superb show. But, despite perks like being able to ride a bike backstage to all the shows, getting free tickets, being able to talk with cast members and seeing "how things were done," this episode in her life was short-lived. The FL sun and heat did her in, and after just nine months her Disney bubble burst (which led, however, to her next adventure!)

Inspired by watching the major marketing of Disney characters with stories, Christine decided to create and market some of her own—ones that combined her bent toward health food with her love of children. And voila! She came up with FoodFriends, a cast of original and copyrighted 3-D sculpted cartoon characters that teach kids good nutrition. She even created accompanying marketing items (just like Disney.) But without a large organization behind her or a hit movie to her credit, it was a tough sell. She still has her CherryPals storyboard (with Chad Pitt as the narrator), on her "back-burner" to perhaps pursue again.

Next, it was on to a job at Tinson Antiques in West Palm—hired, based on photos of her miniatures, to do porcelain figures restoration. For the first three months she lived in a company-owned condo on Singer Island. "A lovely time in my life" she reminisces. "I was working and learning yet more techniques of art and antiques-restoration—and much appreciated for my skills." Beach-combing and watching the sunrise on weekends not only brought back fond memories of her Jersey-shore childhood, but led to the discovery of a new interest: sea glass collecting.

In her search for a place to live, she happened upon an ad for a condo in Golden Lakes Village. She immediately liked the location: "not too near the city hub-bub, gated and close to everything important, and both clean and secure." She bought it from an original 1976 owner in 2002 and, as a younger resident, she enjoyed climbing the steps two-at-a-time to her upstairs unit, taking early-morning walks around the village, then treading water in the community pool for 45 minutes. She enjoyed removing the wall-to-wall chartreuse shag carpeting and gradually renovating her home to make it her own. She became good friends with two older neighbors, one below her (Gloria), a former opera star who sent gorgeous music her way and Sylvia, next door, whose husband died just a week after moving to GLV in 1976. Both are gone now, but Christine remains good friends with Sylvia’s daughter and husband from St. Maarten.

While in GLV she gave up the Tinson job and took on independent clients. One was the upscale Douglas Lorrie Gallery of Palm Beach where she was the only porcelain restorer. Creating a new white flower and green leaf for a life-size parrot figurine is what she considers her best achievement (see photo). Her whole living area became a studio. The gallery staff would bring valuable pieces to her and pick them up upon completion. They included a life-size bald eagle that needed a wing attached, beautifully-sculpted wild cats, antelope, and objects d’art… all to be given undetectable repairs or new parts. Gifted with the amazing ability to match colors, she was able to mix paint to blend and hide the repairs. In 2007 the owner of the Gallery passed on and that job ended. She then worked for a short time at the local library, then onto her present job as a part-time nanny these past ten years.

In August 2020 she needed a new aortic valve, a surgery that scared her, but thanks to the new TAVAR (trans-catheter aortic valve replacement) at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center a skilled surgeon had her home in a day-and a half!) "I’m feeling fine, heart-wise," she adds, "a true miracle!"

With hip and knee surgery on her to-do list, her second-floor condo is not in her best interests. It’s time for her to move closer to family in Martin County.

"I will always be grateful for the 19 years of peace and serenity I found in Golden Lakes," says Christine, who admits that by choice she has led a quiet, private life these last years. With her many miniatures stored away she turned to other of her talents and interests as quarantine art therapy: pencil drawing (see sample in photo), baking artisan breads, promoting her book "The Rock Kids" on Instagram and restoring her beloved Vogue 8-inch Ginny doll from the 50’s.

And when she’s settled in her new location she will start a whole new chapter in her life filled with more creativity. She plans to finish her "Rock Kids" Book II, enjoy her grandkids via Facebook and Instagram, and take a fresh look at the many possibilities and choices surrounding her. She leaves us with these words of wisdom: "We all have God-given gifts. Believe in yourself!" And we send with her our fondest and most sincere wishes for good health coupled with many more new and exciting adventures ahead.

Heartfelt thanks, Christine, for sharing your remarkable story with us!

Christine's "selfie" sent to her family on Mothers Day 2020

Words of wisdom from the Rock Kids!

Christine’s FoodFriends: mini characters teaching children about healthy eating, with Chad Pitt of CherryPals, as a narrator!

The life-size parrot that Christine restored for Douglas Lorrie Gallery of Palm Beach—by making a new white flower and leaf that matched perfectly.

Pace University pencil drawing.

Pencil drawing Reubens

Christine’s miniature tree house, etc. for Book II in her Rock Kids trilogy.

Christine’s miniatures compared to a penny

Update on Cassie, Christine’s granddaughter

Teenage 

Cassie

Cassie, diagnosed at age 3 with Juvenile diabetes, as a poster girl for a diabetes research walk years ago in WPB. She and her family participated in it and this poster was made by Cassie’s mom (photo 1 below)

Cassie with a school project she prepared on the White House. Guess who inherited her grandma’s artistic bent (Photo 2 below)

Poster for Diabetes Research 

Artistic Cassie's school project

Cassie as a child injecting herself with insulin to control the diabetes.

Sneaker art by Cassie


(3-11-21)

Sometimes we find treasures in life—other times, they find us. I was found recently by an unusual but wonderful treasure: a years-old email from my around-the-corner neighbor, Christine, which suddenly popped up on my computer. In it she mentioned that she was putting together a book for children. I immediately sent her a surprise email and learned that her book, written with an eye toward raising money for the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund) is now available on Amazon.

Christine wrote the book ("The Rock Kids") for her seven grandkids, one of whom (Cassie) was diagnosed with diabetes at age 3; she is turning 17 this month. The main character in the book, Tyler, also has diabetes—which makes him the brunt of some bullies. Through reasoning and kindness he turns the bullies (rock band musicians) into friends and together they raise money for a cure to Juvenile Diabetes.

What makes Christine’s book (and the two sequels on her "back burner") so special is that the people on each colorful page are photos of miniatures, approximately 5-inches tall. Their heads are made from smooth rocks washed up onto the beach with holes for eyes already in them. She paints the rest of each face, then sews, stuffs and paints the bodies.

The setting for each scene consists of doll-house-size everything! Musical instruments, furniture, food, tree, fence, wagon, full kitchen, bedrooms, etc. These are things she took from her large collection of miniatures or made using polymer clay and then painting. Many items have special meaning to her, like the miniatures of her own artwork and family photos on the walls, round braided rugs like her Gram made, a little Sorry game and dart board to symbolize the fun she had with her brother as a child, and even a replica of her beloved dog, Zoé. Some items were even made by her children many years ago.

Who is the amazingly creative and talented resident behind this wonderfully unusual endeavor? Christine Casey! She was born and raised in NJ, like me. When I hit her with one of my "Whaddaya think?" questions she surprised me by putting a "Fagedaboudit!" in her reply! She vividly recalls an idyllic childhood in a small patriotic, child-centered community (Waldwick) with streets named for WWI heroes and kids riding bikes everywhere. She played outside till sunset and rode the train to Ridgewood for a movie at the Warner Theater and a snack at the Woolworth lunch counter. And, on summer days, from noon until 8:00PM she’d swim in the community pool. "We had a diverse town with all kinds of people from many countries,"explains Christine. "To this day, I won’t and don’t accept bigotry in any form."

She was a Jersey Shore beachcomber since age five. Her mother and Gram taught her sewing and crocheting. She spent a lot of time at Gram’s antique shop in the early 50’s; and it was from Gram she got her first two miniatures, which sparked her interest and started her collection (Both are in the treehouse which is the centerpiece for one of the book’s in-process sequels which focus on kindness to animals and caring for the environment.).

Creativity has been Christine’s mainstay over the years. She describes it like this: "It’s a tie to the love of nature (for myself, anyway). Those who don’t create can go out in nature and appreciate Creation itself by looking and listening for birds, noticing tree shapes, seeing what kinds of clouds are overhead, being aware of the colors in nature…" As a child in summer church camp, she felt the Spirit most when going to the Chapel in the Pines before breakfast, sitting on rocks overlooking the lake… with huge pines all around.

Her childhood dream (to work as an animator for Walt Disney) was inspired by his fabulous vintage movies and regularly watching his "The Wonderful World of Disney" on TV which showed the artists at work designing frame (cell) after frame for the thousands needed to show the movement. It took a team of artists to produce just one cell (before the digital age)—each with his or her specific job.

Later in life, when Christine took her daughter to Disney World she almost got her wish by connecting with the head of the animation department. She was told what specific supplies to purchase and how to submit her example. She got the supplies and set up a work area in her home, but being a widow managing her house and working full-time she wasn’t able to complete it in time.

After her husband passed, she worked as secretary for 40 IBM engineers but, when she read an article about porcelain-figurine restoration, creativity lured her into that expressive new art form. Photos of her original clay miniature plants and flowers (mini’s she’d sold in NY, NJ and CT for 25 years) secured her a job in the German Hummel factory in Ossining, NY, overlooking the beautiful Hudson River. There she learned about restoration, but only as a sculptor, not a painter. She left that job because working with the sculpting compound was unhealthy—and another of her passions was good health.

Her FoodFriends project combined good nutrition with kid-friendly characters. More on that and this fascinating woman in the next issue of Condo News. We’ll find out about her life here in FL, how her lifelong dream was (sort of) fulfilled when she was in her 50’s, and what she’s planning for the future. We’ll also find out more about her granddaughter Cassie.

FEATURED IN THIS COLUMN:

CHRISTINE CASEY

Christine (above left); All characters, props and scenery in the book are miniatures (above right) (doll-house-size), collected or handmade by Christine.

The book was written with an eye toward raising money for the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund), which is dear to Christine’s heart because granddaughter Cassie (now 17 years old) was diagnosed with it at age 3. Here Cassie sits amid a year’s supply of diabetes supplies.

Christine and her dog Zoé with Cassie. A mini of Zoé is in the book. Cassie wanted a girl in the story, so the character Madison was included.

Tyler, the lead character in the story is reading his own book. Let’s join him by going to Amazon.com and getting our own copies!

The children's book she wrote (available on Amazon).


(2-25-21)

We’re off to a great start for 2021! We have more members and donations than ever before, and our village is filled with all sorts of kindnesses: neighbor-to-neighbor ones, random ones, beyond-what’s-expected ones, in-secret ones, who-cares-who-gets-the-credit ones and here-I-am-what-can-I do-for-you ones. Social activities are up and running in both Phases (with distancing and masks, of course) and our next Love-in-Action (LIA) Gathering is outdoors at Club B on Tuesday, March 2 at 2:00 PM—the first one since last February.

In addition to all that good news, we have two guest writers for this column: Diane Aiena (a former LIA friend who just became a 2021 member), and our master artist Vincent Daddiego, who will tell us another entertaining story—a true one this time, believe it or not!

 

TO YOU FROM DIANE AIENA

Golden Lakes has been my home for a few years and each day here in Florida I find myself enjoying more and more the serenity and beauty of the nature that surrounds us. The senior lifestyle is definitely different than the lifestyle we enjoyed in our earlier years. Golden Lakes and other 55+ communities offer a variety of activities to enhance our daily lives. Keeping busy and wanting to embrace a hobby while enjoying retirement helped to inspire my artistic endeavors. Viewing the vibrant Florida sunsets and having the desire to put them on canvas placed me in Vincent Daddiego’s art group. Discussions and helpful hints pointed me in a direction of creativity, peace and joy that has forever changed my life.

Painting (in watercolor and acrylic) my renditions of brilliant Florida sunsets, tropical seascapes and landscapes, beautiful butterflies and many varieties of birds bring joy to recipients of my artwork. Looking for more ways to share nature with more folks, I expanded my hobby into card making. Using a camera and computer, my artwork is now available on note cards for all occasions and is representative of Florida’s natural beauty.

The creation of art is never enough when there is need for assistance all around us. Participation in various Golden Lakes art fairs and flea markets introduced me to Love in Action and the needs of many of our residents for various types of assistance. Several residents no longer drive and, with this pandemic, are concerned about riding with strangers in cabs or buses. Another way for me to share joy in life is for me to assist our neighbors by offering driving services for trips to doctors, grocery stores, pharmacies, libraries, and other local errands. Please feel free to call or text me at 561-542-6484 or email me at butterflycandd@bellsouth.net for art, note cards and/or driving services. 

 

TO YOU FROM VINCENT DADDIEGO:

"PINZOLO’S PRIZE PIZZA"

Pinzolo and I have been close friends since our grammar school days on the Lower Eastside of Manhattan. He supplied the answers to the math test questions, and I supplied him with the answers to the history tests. Hey—what are best friends for?

As we grew, I had a strong suspicion that Pinzolo was destined for some measure of fame. His notoriety, not surprisingly, came in the form of his ownership of a famous pizza parlor—one in each of the boroughs of New York.

I say "not surprisingly" because Pinzolo was devoted to Italian Cuisine, especially pizza. He was obsessed with the thought of becoming the Michelangelo of pizza chefs, celebrated throughout America as the creator of the most delectable pizza imaginable.

Here’s how Pinzolo did it…

Several years ago Pinzolo visited his family in Catania, Italy. And I repeat his revelations forthwith: "So I go to Catania; uncles, aunts, a grandma and grandpa. And a very special cousin—Angelina, a dead ringer for Sophia Loren. My hand to God!

"On my first night there, the women put out a spread of Sicilian dishes. Angelina makes the pizzas. Glorious. Celestial! After dinner we walk out in the garden and, naturally, I ask her to tell me the secret of her fabulous creations.

"Angelina points to a well at the center of the garden, and explains to me that the water she uses to make the pizza dough is the key ingredient. The heavens opened up before me!

"Sure, I know that the water you use is a vital ingredient in all cuisine. But after sipping a cup I knew her’s was pure nectar.

"So here’s the deal," concludes Pinzolo. "Angelina agrees to ship a half dozen five-gallon bottles to me in New York—the kind of bottles used for office water coolers.

"Every month I ship the empty jugs back to her and, like clockwork, she sends the full bottles back to me. Brilliant, brilliant!"

At present, Pinzolo’s Prize Pizzas are sought after by a stream of dedicated and affluent fans; all observing COVID precautions. Pinzolo explains that he uses the water sparingly—just enough for that unique fabulous taste. And he charges $42.00 for a medium-sized miracle. No slices for sale.

P.S. Did you believe Vincent’s pizza story in this current column?

Or is it full of pie in the sky?

LIA GUEST COLUMNIST: DIANE AIENA

Diane was born in Pittsburgh, PA, and lived in NJ for 60 years (Metuchen, Edison, and West Orange) before moving to Florida in 2005 to Royal Palm Beach. She moved to Golden Lakes in Spring of 2017. She worked for many years as an Executive Assistant at Engelhard Corporation. Interests have been tennis, snow skiing, swimming, gardening, and raising her family (two sons).

Diane at GLV Art Show 2019. 

She also took part in the 

February 2020 one.

Diane (third from left, seated) 

with her art class.

 Vincent of LIA, 

organizer and mentor, 

is standing at the far right (2019).

Diane (left) selling her cards at the Hippocrates fair, with friend and fellow artist, Pat Fuino.

Left

and

right:

 

Samples

of

Diane's 

artistry: 

 

MASTER ARTIST AND STORYTELLER:

VINCENT DADDIEGO

Vincent uses his love of painting to refurbish and add new life to old, worn-out furniture—sharing proceeds with LIA. The old stool shown in the last issue of Condo News is now vibrant and bringing much joy to owners, Jessica, Dionisio and admiring doggie, Angel, pictured below. The underside is also painted—and signed by the artist himself! To contact Vincent regarding his wide variety of artistic products, call or text 201-785-6481.

Here is an official "Believe It or Not" story featuring Hugo Tschudin, Ruth’s husband, a ‘"few" years ago. Not unusual today… but incredible at the time!


(2-11-21)

We’ve "hit the jackpot" this time! We have two great guest writers. We’ll laugh as we enjoy Vincent’s imaginative "rest of the story" and we’ll be inspired by Penny’s thought-provoking musings…

 

Whatever Happened to Ebenezer?

by Vincent Daddiego

Unless you live on a mountain top in Outer Mongolia, I dare say you are acquainted with the iconic holiday tale "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens. Indeed, the story has been republished countless times, and a dozen films have been produced (fortunately none of them featuring Robert DeNiro as Scrooge!)

With the holiday tucked away, we can finally learn what happened to Ebenezer—the villainous, miserly skinflint after he was redeemed by the hideous ghost of Jacob Marley and the timely intervention of the three spirits.

This confidential information comes to me from my close friend, Reginald, who is a prominent Dickens scholar living in London. He has shared excerpts of Scrooge’s personal diary which sheds new light on whatever happened to Ebenezer, and I generously pass them on to you.

Scrooge’s words: "Yes! Marley and those three spirits did their work very well—turning me into the benefactor of the Cratchit family, especially Tiny Tim. I progressed, hence, to a Mr. Nice Guy, a willing philanthropist to the destitute families of London.

But, after a year, the boredom of their gratitude had me in tears. The three spirits had taught me to loosen my purse strings—and I did it with a vengeance. My friend, Lord Bindley, sparked me with the idea of visiting Venice, and ‘twas there where I became a philanderer, gambler and renowned Good Fellow! My money flowed like water—and it felt heavenly. Ebenezer the Bon Vivant!

I bought a palazzo, purchased my own gondola and filled it with enchanting women—then one fatal night Marley’s ghost appeared to me… and he had me twitching like a landed trout when he announced to me that I had spent my entire fortune! And that Bob Cratchit owned my business!

The final insult? I returned to London and became Bob Cratchit’s clerk! God bless us one and all—especially Tiny Tim."

 

Ponderings

by Penny Hyde

Penny Hyde

As I reflect on the events of the past year, I wonder how I and everyone else will now move forward. This has been one of the most difficult and traumatic years we have ever experienced. We have all been affected by it: each of us personally, our loved ones and friends, our community, our country and, in truth, the whole world.

We may feel we are ready to move on, but our fears and worries are far from over. People are still filling up beds in hospitals, and more families (even in our own village) are grieving lost loved ones. Our rules and restrictions remain in place: wearing masks, keeping our distance, celebrating and meeting on Zoom. Life as we knew it changed in what seemed like an instant as businesses, restaurants and schools closed down and social activities were curtailed.

But through it all I have learned appreciation and acceptance. I respected and obeyed the rules not only to protect myself but also those I came into contact with. And I admired the resolve of my friends and community for doing likewise. It seemed as if an invisible thread worked its way around our neighbors, our staff and even those we haven’t seen for months—keeping us safe and creating a sense of true community.

The whole world was in chaos. Not only were we experiencing the terror of a worldwide pandemic, but it was an election year, probably the most divisive, contentious one ever. There were also protests, and people of all backgrounds and ages marched as the world looked on—and sometimes joined in. And yet, here in Golden Lakes we avoided any contentious debate or criticism for the sake of staying strong and focused—we were learning to survive! We learned to be resilient and adapt to the challenges. We also learned to live with fear—the reality that even though we have found new ways to stay in touch, simply going shopping or getting a haircut is still risky.

What has helped us to find comfort and peace has been the Golden Lakes Love in Action club encouraging us to reach out and help one another. Last February, before any of us knew what lay ahead, I became very ill and spent a week in the hospital. I returned home weak and feeling terribly alone. Thankfully, Love in Action angels were there for me, offering to pick up meds, do shopping or just stopping by to chat and extend their friendship. Then COVID hit and there was a great outpouring of love. The Angel Network offered med and food pick-ups to all residents and also got busy making and giving out masks, purchasing and distributing fresh fruit and veggies from local farms, preparing home-cooked meals for residents in need, praying and offering phone counseling for those requesting it, and doing fun things like giving out Tilly-the-Toilet-Paper-Ladies, a sure way to lift spirits and elicit hearty laughs! We were—and still are—able to call the Angel Hotline anytime with any need. We’re not alone; together we can persevere and come out OK.

I am happy to end this article with some good news. This week 1200+ of us are getting our second COVID shot. There really is a "light at the end of the tunnel." Maybe at some point this year we can return to what will be a "new normal." It won’t be the same because we are not the same. Will I continue to be absorbed in my own activities (reading, Netflix, long conversations with friends)? Will I once again get "too-busy" with theaters, lectures, lunch dates and outings? I don’t know.

But I do know that I will continue to be a part of Love in Action, inspiring others as I have been inspired. What I look forward to most is seeing and hugging my grandkids and of course enjoying all my family and friends once again. It really is something wonderful to think about…

A BIG LOVE IN ACTION THANK-YOU TO OUR GUEST WRITERS:

Penny with Ida Weiss, one of the nonagenarian honorees she interviewed for the Big Birthday Bash in 2019 (for those turning 90 or more that year).

Penny with Ida Weiss, one of the nonagenarian honorees she interviewed for the Big Birthday Bash in 2019 (for those turning 90 or more that year).

Penny (third from left—fourth, counting Herman the puppet): as a member of Troupe LIA helping at the Reading Campout Night at Benoist Farms School in 2018. Penny and Amy (far left) headed a Book Drive for the school, also, and over the years LIA has assisted in a variety of ways.

Vincent has been active in Love in Action for years and has led many artist workshops, has led a course on different types of classic movies and has organized art exhibits on occasion. He has used his love of painting to brighten and inspire people while raising money for Love in Action. His most recent project is bringing new life to old furniture.

Pictured at left is an old worn-out stool belonging to Ruth's grandchildren. Let’s see how colorful, acrylic paint and a talented, imaginative artist (Vincent) can transform it! Photos to be displayed in the next issue.


(1-28-21)

WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS _____.

Let’s each put in something near and dear to our hearts. Then let’s BE the change we most want to see by acting on our own "word(s) to the wise."

This year I’m "sitting at the feet" of the late evangelist Billy Graham as I make my way through his daily devotional called "Peace for Each Day" (all 365 of them in 2021!) It’s like hearing him speak directly to me as I read his daily message. His compelling and dynamic preaching style inspired me at age 13 to ecstatically "fly" down tier after tier of metal steps in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium to make a life-enriching commitment.

It’s as if he’s checking back with me to see how I’ve lived my life these last 64 years. I wish my actions had always followed my good intentions. But no: I’ve done (and still do) much that I regret. But the lessons learned from my failures make me a kinder, more genuine and less selfish senior citizen. Amazingly, I now see that my greatest personal growth lies still ahead of me!

So I’m completing our "What the world needs now" sentence with P-C-T, a code for PREPARATION, COMMUNICATION and TEAMWORK. With this to guide me I can take giant steps toward being the punctual, peaceful, patient partner I so want to be as Love in Action (LIA) makes even more good things happen in and beyond Golden Lakes this year. With the loving support of LIA’s members and friends, our faithful Board of Directors and especially our hard-working 2021 Leadership Team (Kim, Nancy, Joy and Dorinda) I feel certain that this will be our best year yet. Heartfelt thanks to all of you!

Yesterday I spoke briefly with my LIA Buddhist friends, Batya and Barbara. They always expand my insights and lift my spirit. Barbara gave me the following story to share with you, dear readers, to illustrate the word that most of us will agree best ends the sentence above. The story was written by Terry Dobson, (1937-1992, American master of Aikido—a modern version of Japanese martial arts) and was repeatedly told by Ram Dass (1931-2019), a renowned American teacher of Eastern spirituality and yoga.

THE STORY (paraphrased)

It was a typical spring day. A train clanked and rattled through the suburbs of Tokyo carrying Terry, a few housewives with their kids and some old folks going shopping. At one station the quiet was shattered by a man who came aboard bellowing violent, incomprehensible curses. He wore laborer’s clothes and was big, drunk and dirty. He punched a lady with a baby and tried to kick an elderly woman fleeing from him.

As the man was trying to wrench the center pole from its stanchion Terry considered how he might protect these vulnerable and terrified passengers. He had eight hours of Aikido every day for the past three years. He was tough but he never had his skill tested outside of class because in Aikido one is not allowed to fight. His teacher often said, "Aikido is an act of reconciliation. Whoever has the mind to fight has broken his connection to the universe. If you try to dominate people, you’re already defeated. We study how to resolve conflict, not how to start it."

In his heart, however, Terry wanted a legitimate opportunity to save the innocent by destroying the guilty. He told himself: "If I don’t do something fast, somebody will get hurt badly." Terry stood up to confront the drunkard, who then roared at Terry: "Arghh, a foreigner! You need a lesson in Japanese manners." Terry egged him on because he wanted the man angry enough to make the first move so he could then "tear that turkey apart" in self-defense.

Just as the man was about to lunge at Terry someone shouted "Hey!" It was ear-splitting—with a strangely joyous, lilting quality to it. It came from an elderly Japanese gentleman who beamed delightedly at the laborer as if he had the most important, most welcome secret to share. "Come here," he said with a light wave of his hand as he focused only on the trouble-maker, "and talk to me." The man followed as if on a string. "Why the hell should I talk to you?" he bellowed as he planted his feet belligerently on the ground facing the old man. Of course Terry stood ready to be take over if needed.

"What’cha been drinking?" the old man asked, eyes sparkling with interest. The younger man replied, "I been drinking sake… and it’s none of your business!" Flecks of spittle spattered the old man, which was ignored as he told the drunkard how he and his wife enjoyed sake, too, as they’d sit on a little wooden bench at sunset by a persimmon tree (planted by his grandfather) that has survived many a storm. When the drunkard said he too likes persimmons, the wise man remarked: "Yes, and I’m sure you have a wonderful wife." This is when the pain came out: no wife, no home, no job, just filled with shame. As tears rolled down the dirty man’s cheeks the old man again invited him to sit and talk about it.

As Terry left the train he took one last look back. The laborer was sprawled on the seat, his head in his new friend’s lap. Terry suddenly felt his own neediness. What he had wanted to do with muscle had been accomplished with

KINDNESS.

A BIG LOVE-IN-ACTION "THANK YOU" TO:

BARBARA STEIN, for the story featured in this column. To get a pdf of the full story as written by Terry Dobson, email us at info@GLLove inAction.com

DOTTIE LITTLEFIELD, featured in the last issue, for offering her breakthrough story "When Time Stood Still," which was published by two magazines. That started her prolific writing career. For a pdf of that love story between two 1930’s trucks, email us at info@GLLoveinAction.com

VINCENT DADDIEGO, for his latest creative endeavor: "Bring your Smaller Pieces of Furniture Back to Life." His motto as a professional artist has always been "If it doesn't move, paint it!" Over the years he has revitalized end tables, chests of drawers, wooden boxes, coffee tables, etc. If you’d like to get some much-needed color into your life, or give a unique gift to a loved one, call or text 201-785-6481. Prices are reasonable and much of the proceeds support LIA activities.

Child's chair painted by Vincent.

Vincent Daddiego

BILL JACKOWSKI, longtime LIA member and board member, for all he did for Love in Action, Golden Lakes Village and American Legion Post #367. Bill died on January 13th and will be sorely missed. Just prior to his death he was given the first Love in Action "Giver & Doer" award "for hard work, integrity and devotion to serving others." In his honor a plaque will be displayed listing him and all future recipients of that award.A tree was also planted in the Holy Land in his memory.

Bill with Jacqueline at our "Christmas in July" party for kids with cancer, which was hosted by both LIA and Americal Legion Post #367, which still does good works for and with POST (Pediatric Oncology Support Group—see ad on back page of this issue), by helping families of children like Jacqueline (who, by the way, is now cancer-free).

Bill in café B where he met with friends to enjoy both the food and the camaraderie. It was there that Bill was first invited to an LIA Gathering, at which he hit the ground running! He brightened both Mother's Day and Valentine’s Day by giving roses to the women attending. Always joking; always happy; always giving his all. A great friend and family man! He’d always say "I love you guys!" and now we say to him "We love you, Bill, with all our hearts and from here to eternity!" 

Photo by Tom McCorry]


Golden Lakes Village

Welcomes COVID Vaccine

Jan. 11 & 12, 2021

Success! Norman, Victor and Martha (seated) are the last-of-day-one recipients to receive part one of the Moderna vaccine, given to GLV condo owners 65 and over. Standing behind them is Valena, a medical team assistant, is pleased with their evaluation of the 2-day event.

(1-14-21) 

What is more exciting than the World Series, a photo-finish Olympic race and (maybe) even winning the lottery? It’s rolling up our sleeves for the much-needed and highly-anticipated COVID vaccination! And this is exactly what many Golden Lakes residents, 65 and over, are doing today and tomorrow (January 11th an 12th). The heroes in this story are the Anzen Management Group, Seacrest Services, Inc. and the many resident volunteers who "rolled up their sleeves" and worked like crazy to make it happen in a timely and efficient manner. And of course big credits go to Moderna for the vaccine and those professionals administering it. Thank you, all!

Whether or not we have had our vaccinations, we must all remain cautious by following the rules of distancing, masks, etc. And let’s help each other by sharing our thoughts and experiences on ways to get healthy so we can emerge from this long tunnel better than when we entered it. Hugo and I, for example, are focusing now on eating less, having fewer types of food at one time and greatly decreasing processed-and-packaged foods, salt, sugar and wheat.

One of our members, published author D. M. Littlefield (better known to us as Dottie), wrote this short story before the COVID. It’s a delightful example of the discerning wisdom of our feathered friends. It’s entitled:

 

"BIRD BRAIN" by D/M. Littlefield

A few weeks ago, my daughter and I had lunch at the Sailfish Marina on Singer Island. The restaurant faces piers with large fishing boats. Large glass windows were open to let the diners enjoy the fresh air and view all the activity by the boats. Pigeons patrolled the floor of the restaurant like meticulous little janitors picking up food dropped from the tables.

Pelicans, sea gulls, and other birds gathered by the fish-cleaning station for the tasty chunks thrown away by fishermen. The birds had a lot of competition from large fish jumping out of the clear water to snatch the goodies before the birds got to them. The enjoyable nature show and large gift shop with everything from post cards, toys, clothes, and jewelry to mermaid lamps, hammocks, and fishing equipment attracted many tourists.

A brown medium-sized bird landed at the unoccupied table next to ours and used its beak to sort through the packets of sweeteners in a container on the table. The container held yellow packets of Splenda, pink packets of Sweet ’n’ Low, tan packets of raw sugar, and white packets of pure sugar. The bird picked out a packet of raw sugar and flew away with it. I was amazed at the bird’s dexterity and choice. I asked our waitress if the birds stole sugar often. She told me they took it every day, but only the raw sugar because the other sweeteners were toxic to them.

Hmmm…the term bird brain took on a while new meaning. I think the birds were more intelligent than some humans. Don’t you agree?

Dottie Littlefield (whose pen name is D.M. Littlefield) has lived in Golden Lakes for 18 years. Prior to that she lived for 25 years in Kilgore Texas (known for having the most oil wells.) While visiting an oil museum there she was inspired to write a love story between two old 1930’s trucks on display. Her story was published in a Texas magazine and she was hooked! Since then she has joined writers’ organizations and has written more than 50 short stories. A true story she enjoys telling takes place in Golden Lakes when, shortly after moving in, she went for a walk near one of picturesque canals in the community. All of a sudden an alligator jumped out of the water and grabbed an ibis that was closer to the water than she was. She hasn’t walked that same way since!

Dottie’s books include two children's books called "Journey into the Land of the Wingless Giants" and "Enchanted." Here is a promo photo of her and some of the fairies from her books. She and her daughter Sharon teamed up to co-write an adult book called "Life, Love and Laughter." All can be purchased on Amazon.


Golden Lakes Village Clubhouse Christmas Lights


(12-31-20)

Can the last week of the year be upon us ALREADY? Or should I say: "Whew! 2020 is FINALLY coming to an end!" Whichever way we view it, now is the time to take stock of who we are and where we stand in comparison to this time last year. Needless to say, the differences are dramatic, poignant and challenging. So let’s ponder our highest hopes while making practical plans for 2021—then we can put our best foot forward as we step boldly into the new year.

Forbes.com is featuring an article by Bryan Robinson, PhD, called "10 Tips to be Happier and Make 2021 Your Best Year Ever." He advises overcoming negatives by focusing on positives, such as: upsides, opportunities, helpful lessons, gratitude, risk-taking, solutions, positive self-talk, broader perspectives, inspirational solitude and fresh starts.

What words of wisdom or sage advice would you like to offer as we bid 2020 adieu and welcome in the new year?

Our good friend and master artist Vincent Daddiego has graciously volunteered to be our guest writer for this year-end column by offering a timely tip of his own. In his characteristically light-hearted yet powerful way he describes a great start to the new year.

We just have to… "Buy the Book!" by Vincent Daddiego.

"When people inquire of me when I decided to become an artist, I usually respond with a flippant but polite: "I guess it happened when I was a fetus—or perhaps in the delivery room, 45 seconds after I was born." In reality, though, that decision was made when I was a youngster living with my parents and younger brother on the lower East Side of Manhattan. The Creative Spirit planted an invisible but firm hand on my right shoulder and whispered in my left ear: ‘Do it, Vincent. You really have to do it.’

"And thus I did. I bolstered my dream with an excellent art education in New York and Florence, Italy, and subsequently forged a successful career in the graphic arts and then as a professional painter and sculptor with an array of collectors and gallery exhibitions.

"Now let me ask YOU a question. Or rather, ask yourself: ‘How am I really using my time—those numerous hours of near-seclusion; those humdrum, tedious hours during this time of the Virus?’ Answer: Smile and say, ‘I’ll Go Buy the Book!’

"The books I am recommending are Art History books—those big, beautiful volumes that usually end up collecting a film of dust on a coffee table or book shelf. I dare say, you might own one or two of them right now.

"You will find a new and dazzling world of unique beauty within the covers of such books. A universe of surprising information that will pour therapeutic juices into your heart and brain. Your eyes will thank you and your mind will be enriched.

"You will be captivated by the world of art. Enthralled by each artist’s innovations and visions of life—before the Vicious Virus!

"You will be inspired by the work of the Early Italian artists: Tintoretto, DaVinci, Bernini. Others that will command your attention are the French painters, among them Boucher, Watteau, Fragonard.

"Say hello to Rubens, Rembrandt, Renoir. (Ruth tells me I’m running out of space). But don’t forget the Americans: Georgia O’Keefe, Homer, Church.

"Last stroke of the brush: if you don’t own one of the colorful, engrossing aforementioned volumes, then Go Buy the Book and spend an hour or so a day with a new friend. Who knows—you, too, may be tapped on the shoulder by that marvelous Creative Spirit!"

A BIG LOVE-IN-ACTION

 THANK-YOU TO OUR 

GUEST COLUMNIST, 

VINCENT DADDIEGO

VINCENT was born in. Greenwich Village, in New York City, and was intent on a career in the arts from an early age. He received an excellent art education in New York, Italy and England. Vincent’s graphic design work and film documentaries have won numerous prestigious awards. His canvas paintings and sculptures have been exhibited in a variety of art galleries throughout the U.S. and Europe. His collectors have all experienced an exceptional positive emotion upon viewing his work.

Vincent enjoys reading about art history and viewing the fabulous works of art throughout the ages. He also keeps active creating new and fanciful products (like his Pick-Me-Up-Pods, Squiggles and CleoCatra works of art). His "Turn-Over-a-New Leaf" and "Come-out-of-Your-Shell" products (shown in photos) are especially appropo this time of year and sell for just $10 with proceeds to Love in Action. Text or call 201-785-6481 to purchase them or visit with Vincent to see all of his amazing works.

Vincent’s latest masterpiece is a colorful, whimsical painting called "FISH WITH LEGS? MOTHER NATURE NEVER SLEEPS." How about calling this photo "An Artist Sprouting Brushes? Antlers to Create the Good and Fight the Enemy." According to this sprouter "All Art Fights the Virus!"

Pick-Me-Up-Pod

"Come-out-of-Your-Shell"

HOLIDAY EXCITEMENT IN GOLDEN LAKES VILLAGE

A reindeer named BATYA 

stopped by

to light up our lives!

A bigger-than-life Santa came to the village and made quick friends with GLORIA, LOUISE and ELVELITA (and many others).

A Holiday Play-Date was enjoyed by (l-r): IRENE, LOUISE, WILLI, ELVELITA, JUDY (and GLORIA who took photo). Fun and games included music, dancing, treats, camaraderie, and plans-in-the-making for an upcoming Valentine’s Day event. Both Phase A and B are ushering in 2021 with a big celebration: a New Year’s Eve poolside party at A and a New Year’s Day brunch with outdoor entertainment at GLV Phase B.

SANIBEL FRIENDS RING IN THE NEW YEAR !

(with thoughts to ponder)

"SANIBEL PALS" met to toast the holiday season and their friendship. Here are their thoughts on 2021:

HUGO (standing, l-r): "Let's live life to the fullest by pursuing worthy goals while maintaining a happy frame of mind."

RUTH: "Love the Lord with heart, soul and strength—and love others as yourself. This covers it all and makes all the difference."

WENDY: "In 2021 may we see each other smile (no masks), hug our families and friends, travel to see loved ones, and live freely once again."

GEORGE: "I hope to be able to throw my in-person Super Bowl party again this coming year."

ROD (sitting): May 2021 give us lots of ‘cookies’—things we enjoy and are grateful for.

PATTI: "My best advice for 2021 is 'Don’t turn on the TV’!"


(12-17-20)

It’s a relaxing, déjà vu getaway for Hugo and me—the same two timeshare weeks in December, and always the same unit of the same resort on Sanibel Island (on the west coast of Florida.) Right this moment, I’m sitting on our second-floor lanai as I write this, sneaking glimpses of the panoramic, spectacular-as-ever view of the Gulf. It soothes the soul and is a welcome relief from the many unwelcome developments that have been thrust upon us this year.

I was planning on a holiday theme for this column, something like "The Joy of Giving this Holiday Season," accentuating the giving. But after streaming via computer into our "virtual church service" here on the island and watching the lighting of the JOY candle on the Advent wreath, then hearing a sermon on the difference between joy and happiness, I realize that the focus should be on THE JOYS OF BOTH RECEIVING AND GIVING.

Happiness generally reflects what’s going on around us, whereas joy (which doesn’t correlate with outside circumstances) is a gift we receive supernaturally from the One who loves, and watches over, us. This inner joy is what makes us cheerful givers who delight in being a blessing to others—which, in turn, deepens our own joy.

Golden Lakes Village (GLV) has been blessed with many harding-working, cheerful givers over the years. Corinne Blonstein, for example, was President of the active and charitable Golden Lakes Women’s Club for many years. An upcoming column will be a memorial feature on her. She died unexpectedly a few weeks ago and will be sorely missed. Love in Action has ordered a tree planted in Israel as a living tribute to her life of joyful giving.

Another GLV group that comes to heart and mind is "Circle of Friends." Here is what its Co-Founder and Coordinator Marie Brier tells us about the group:

"In 2003 my husband and I moved to GLV from Scranton, PA—an astounding change for us. Almost immediately, I had the good fortune of meeting Dotty Levin, a ‘transplant’ from Massachusetts. We became fast friends and were soon talking about forming a service group to help residents in our 55+ GLV community.

"It’s a sad fact that as we age in America we encounter stressful (and costly) health and mobility issues. By age 65, according to the American Medical Association website, two-thirds of Americans have at least one chronic illness and see seven different doctors. One-fifth have five or more chronic illnesses and are tangled up with 14 doctors. And a huge proportion simply don’t have the financial resources to live out their lives in independent comfort and security. There are many ‘hidden hungry’ seniors who are struggling to put food on their tables. They often can’t bring themselves to tell neighbors or their families about their plight, or even to just admit it to themselves.

Marie Brier continues: "In 2004 Dotty and I started Circle of Friends to help those in our village who struggle with such big problems or just need a little extra help in their daily lives. We assisted an elderly woman (unable to walk) by having food delivered to her condo. Another woman with Alzheimer’s wandered into the GLV office crying that she was alone. We reached out to her to set up a daily wellness check. Another time we were told of a woman who was not leaving her house and was probably not eating enough. We dropped off groceries for her until she finally had to go to a nursing home.

"Our services are flexible according to the needs. They have included gift certificates for food and services, prescription pick-ups, transportation to GLV clubhouses, daily check-in calls, respite time for caregivers, home visits, and referrals to out-of-village resources for transportation, food, counseling and other social services. We also have sponsored several informative ‘Lunch and Learn’ programs entitled Breast Cancer in Men and Women, Aging in Place, Smart Phones and Latest Home Technology, Hurricane Preparation, Non-Invasive Spinal Therapy and other topics of special interest to seniors.

"Now, with COVID-19 bringing additional hardship to so many, we are concentrating more than ever on helping residents who can’t afford their much-needed food and meds. We recently provided hot meals for Thanksgiving and will get holiday gift baskets out to the most needy in our village. To accomplish our goals we conduct bake sales, raffles and other fundraisers—and we gratefully accept donations from individuals and from groups like LIA. To donate, volunteer and/or learn more about Circle of Friends, please contact either myself, Marie, at 561-676-4017 or Dotty at 561-676-4017."

Thanks, Circle of Friends, for spreading the lights of hope, peace, love and joyous giving AND receiving this holiday season… and every season!

Marie Brier

Holiday Greeting from Marie Brier, guest writer of this column. Marie grew up in Scranton, PA. She graduated from the University of Scranton with a BA in Health and Human Services. She had a rewarding career as an Independent Living Specialist for people with disabilities. She was able to help people with Cerebral Palsy, TBI and other disabilities to learn to live on their own. After retiring and moving to Florida, she became very active at Unity of the Palm Beaches and served in whatever positions were needed: Prayer Chaplain Coordinator, Marketing Team Chairperson and Fundraiser to name a few. Today she serves as Co-Coordinator of Circle of Friends and facilitator of Social Media for Unity of the Palm Beaches .

JOY-FILLED HOLIDAY WISHES FROM GOLDEN LAKES VILLAGE

Circle of Friends: treats for Hanukkah, Christmas,  Kwanza and New Year's Celebrations! Some of Circle of Friends’ dedicated volunteers at a pre-COVID  bake sale. Left to right: Amanda Griffin, Louise Link, Blake Kraham, Jerry Brier standing behind Dotty Levin & Marie Brier (Co-Funders and Coordinators), Donna Fine, Nancy Silberman, Effie Gonzalez and Marilyn Zehme.

A Happy Holidays 

Silent Auction

 

The winner of this CIrcle of Friends fundraiser will be the proud owner own this beautiful handmade quilt, 50x64 inches. Each star pattern represents a different place, historical event, etc. If you recognize one or more of the stars, please feel free to comment when you message or text Marie (?561-676-4017?) with your bid. Starting bid is $50. She will update you each time the bid changes. December 23rd the winner will be announced. Pickup or delivery in Palm Beach county only. Proceeds go to CIRCLE OF FRIENDS, (see LIA column)

Silver

Belles

Marcel

Sara

Ruth

Nancy

Arlune

THE "SILVER BELLES OF GOLDEN LAKES" RING IN THE HOLIDAY SEASON BY SHOWING THEIR TRUE COLORS!

Join the craze and proudly sport your gorgeous silver locks as the following gals have done. If you, dear readers, are also "coming out" and enjoying the new au naturale hair color, please email us your photograph for our "Silver Belles Ring in the New Year!" in the next issue of Condo News. Email: info@GLloveinaction.com

A Holiday Surprise for Olivia!

Word got around that Olivia (the Phase B water-aerobics instructor) needed a bicycle because hers was recently stolen. Good bikes are hard to find now because of the COVID rush on them, but a concerned Phase B LIAer kept spreading the word. LIA then sent an appeal via email blast to its growing list of big-hearted villagers. A Phase A couple contacted the Phase B LIAer to donate the fabulous bicycle shown above. After the LIAer replaced one wheel and decorated it with a colorful garland, it was presented to one very happy aerobics instructor!


(12-3-20)

November ends with giving thanks and praise to our Lord… and December turns our attention to the flip side of loving God, which is loving others as much as we love ourselves. Through gifts and good deeds—as well as kind words both spoken and written—we express our love.

Already in late November, the Palm Beach Post started its annual "Season to Share" promotion, asking us to help needy PB County neighbors get their holiday wishes. Circle of Friends, a group of big-hearted people in Golden Lakes Village (GLV), started early, too, by purchasing Thanksgiving dinners from the Phase B café for 20+ residents who were alone and/or in need on this special day of thanks. Love in Action gave pumpkin pies to our village management and maintenance staffs to brighten their holidays, and the Italian-American clubs of GLV got a head-start with their annual Toys for Tots project.

And even during this horrific pandemic we see light, not only at the end of the tunnel but even in the midst of it. As a great example of this, here is an inspiring story written by an LIA member.

The Lone seQUESTer

by Batya Albee

Nancy, Vice President of Love in Action (LIA), posed this provocative question to those who attended the November LIA board meeting: What has been the most valuable lesson(s) learned during this life-changing nine-month period?

As I, Batya, pondered my own response, I decided to step out of my more introspective lifestyle to embark on a quest of what others were thinking. My goal was to gain and share a balanced view of the COVID challenge in GLV. For me, as a dyed-in-the-wool introvert, it wasn’t easy, but I connected with several attendees who graciously shared their thoughts and experiences. Here now is what each had to say:

Kim: I am too busy delivering food, medicine, etc., to my neighbors, to worry about myself getting sick. My motto is "Pay it forward!"

Nancy: Helping others has been a lifelong mission. During lockdown my greatest blessing has been the permission to take time for myself at home (1) to fold my underwear, and organize my "drawers," and (2) to continue learning and building skills through reading and practicing online tasks.

Marilyn: My appreciation of and empathy for myself and others has deepened during the past nine months. I’ve learned just how fragile life is; how I can’t take anyone or anything for granted; and how rewarding it is to meet defensiveness with understanding.

Penny: After a lifetime of mastering the social and material realms, the COVID downtime has allowed me to enjoy my alone-time with fewer, quieter activities. I thank LIA President Ruth for being my inspiration and support in feeling more at peace with my world.

Willi: This, too, shall pass… We’ve all been here before and will again. It is important to have routines to create stability and order within the chaos of not knowing "what’s up!"

Tina: The power of positive thinking and even sharing basic needs like paper towels and toilet paper, have helped me overcome the anxiety of being separated from those I love.

Louise: I am grateful for the opportunity to take the time for honest self inventory to face my compromised dreams. After a lifetime of learning lessons through Creative Play as well as through the Grief of Loss, I am ready to get on with living. I invite our readers to join me in the Healing Power of Play. Two of my recent fun activities were attending a top-notch musical production at King’s Academy (a nearby school) and initiating a spontaneous outdoor Halloween dress-up celebration, a senior-style play date. Let’s have more COVID-safe fun together in the days ahead!

Batya: My given name is Brenda; Batya is my chosen, more spiritual name which means "Blessed of God" in Arabic. After many years of self-enforced caregiving, the inevitable breakdown occurred—just as the COVID lockdown began. I am most grateful for its gift of time for self-inquiry and a safe space to "fall apart" in order to resurrect my truer self. The arrogant ego, humbled over and again, has finally softened and became less power-driven, freeing me to both seek and offer support in a balanced give-and-take manner.

Pain, shame and guilt still create cycles of withdrawal and depression, but I find myself more resilient and integrated as a result of this challenging time. And, after writing this "story," I am now less the lone sequester and more the bold team-player. I leave you with a line from "Anthym" by singer/songwriter/Buddhist monk Leonard Cohen: "There is a crack in everything… that lets the light shine in." Even during the corona virus pandemic!

GOLDEN LAKES LOVE IN ACTION

Giving thanks to BATYA ALBEE, 

Guest writer in this week’s column

LIA Member Batya… (above right) with friend, Allegra

(above) Batya

Batya was raised in Brookline, Massachusetts, earned a BA in Art Education from the Syracuse University School of Fine Arts, and studied at Rutgers and other colleges during the summers to extend her education. She taught in Long Island, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and in a private school for special-needs children.

She was born with an auto-immune condition called colitis. Her dad was an allergist (now known as an epidemiologist) favoring holistic treatments, so she naturally gravitated toward natural solutions to problems, both physical and emotional.

For 25 years she was a member of an alternative healing cooperative called "Market Street Health Association" where she worked as a colonhydrotherapist. During that time she became an activist in building a coalition called IACT (International Assn for Colon Therapists) and was instrumental in preparing a professional certification program for hydrotherapists.

Spiritually, calls herself a Jewish-Christian-Buddhist, finding great strength and comfort from all three, as well as authors like Brené Brown, mentors like her dear friend Allegra Barschak and front-line heroes who are putting their lives on the line. Her involvement in LIA projects has also been a fulfilling source of joy for her.

GLV Employees: 

GLV staff were honored with a pies-ful Thanksgiving this year. 

(pictured above left) Joy presented Phase B social director, Silvia, with 18 delicious pies, and (pictured above right) Kim presented another 18 to Gina, Phase B social director.

Showing Love and Appreciation to…

American Legion Veterans Post #367: Love in Action VP, Nancy, presented a check to the Legion in honor of Bill Jackowski, member of LIA and Assistant Chaplain of Post #367. Bill has been the wings beneath the growth of both organizations in GLV. The check was accepted by District Commander John Castro, right. Post Commander Darryl Walcher, son-in-law of Bill, is on the left.

Toys for Tots: LIAers purchased dozens of toys for needy children and donated them to the Italian-American clubs' annual campaign. They were accepted by the Santa on the left (Helen), the Santa to the right (Helen’s sister, Toni) and Jan (in back, far left). LIA members Kim, Joy and Willi presented the toys.


(11-19-20)

Thanksgiving comes at just the right time this year—as we face a unusually active hurricane season, a resurgence of the coronavirus, and the mother of all messy post-elections. And all this is on top of the challenging personal, national and world-wide problems we face on a regular basis. But don’t despair, dear readers, for Thanksgiving reminds us that with a healthy dose of loving gratitude we can make good things happen to counteract the negatives around us.

I think of that wonderful song from the sixties (music by Burt Bacharach, lyrics by Hal David and sung by Jackie DeShannon). Let’s sing it together:

CHORUS:

What the world needs now is love, sweet love

It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.

What the world needs now is love, sweet love,

No not just for some but for everyone.

VERSES:

Lord, we don’t need another mountain,

There are mountains and hillsides enough to climb

There are oceans and rivers enough to cross,

Enough to last till the end of time.

 

Lord, we don’t need another meadow

There are cornfields and wheat fields enough to grow

There are sunbeams and moonbeams enough to shine

Oh listen, Lord, if you want to know…

 

Just a little P.S. for you: Burt Bacharach is now 92 years old, Jackie is 79, and Hal David died in 2012 at age 92. All three have put their love into action through their musical giftedness, enriching the lives of untold numbers of people. It’s a win-win when love is active and lifts others. As the saying goes: Those who spread sunshine to others, can’t keep it away from themselves.

Here is a true story submitted by Love-in-Action member, Pearl Warner, which illustrates the nitty-gritty of what it means to put love into action. She calls it: A NIGHT IN THE PANDEMIC: SEARCHING FOR OSCAR

It’s 11:45 PM. My neighbor knocks on my door crying. Her newly-acquired, black-and-white cat has gone out the door and is missing. So, wearing my red and purple garish lounging-gown, I leave my cozy home to search for Oscar. Soon my neighbor sees him by the canal. By the time I get there Oscar has scampered away… and the next moment I’m puling my friend out of the canal! She looks like a Halloween-costume mannequin.

She spots Oscar under a car. I crawl under the car, yelling "Woof! Woof!," only to hear a car stop. It’s Security. He asks if I’m OK; I say I ‘m fine but Oscar is missing. "Who is Oscar?" is his reply. "My neighbor’s black-and-white cat," I say, brushing aside my sweaty (1/3 blond, 1/3 gray and 1/3 shabby) hair. He takes off. My friend says he’s not very helpful; I utter: " He was wonderful! He didn’t call the paddy wagon and pull us into a state mental asylum."

Once again my neighbor spots her cat by another nearby canal… and once again she falls in. I go to pull her out only to end up in the canal myself. We’re wretched, distraught and hoping there are no hungry alligators looking for a tasty two-course meal!

Back on dry land, she looks up to the sky and says, "It’s a full moon." I say, "Luna means moon and attic means top story, and we are looking loony in what is sure to be a story that tops them all." With that, a woman opens her door, looks at us, slams the door shut and latches it. Smart lady. Then out comes a gentleman with a beautiful white dog, and we yell to him: "If your dog sees a stray cat will he please bark and send it home." He yells out "Good luck" and runs from us. I say: "Now that’s what I call good social-distancing!"

My 92-year-old legs are hurting (and my garish gown is dripping onto my soaking wet shoes) when she spots her cat again. I tell her that when he arrives at the garbage bin to grab him from behind—the bushes in the area will stop him from escaping. I take her flashlight and hold it. Along comes Oscar, so proud of himself for his journey out. Our plan works: he stops at the garbage bin, I blind him with the light which glows in his eyes. She grabs him, kisses him and says "I need him so." I say, "I need a bath. What time is it?" She says "3 AM." She thanks me very much and says: "If you ever need a favor, ask me!" I say, "I’ll ask you for one right now. If ever your brat-cat decides to run away from home again, please knock on someone else’s door!"

Thanks, Pearl, for sharing your love-in-action (Lucy-and-Ethel-type) adventure with us. Your great sense of humor and generosity come through loud and clear. This Thanksgiving let’s all think about and express our gratitude as actively as possible, thereby adding to that much-needed love we just sang about. Happy Turkey Day to all!

LOVE IN ACTION THANKS CONTRIBUTING WRITER FOR THIS COLUMN, PEARL WARNER

Longtime Love in Action (LIA) Member

Helping those in need as a dedicated volunteer with Golden Lakes Circle of Friends Service group is Pearl, 2nd from left, front row. Leaders of the group are Dotty, next to Pearl, and Marie, far right front row.

In her younger days in Europe. She was born in NYC, a graduate of city College, raised tree daughters on Long island.

As an elf at the Christmas in July party for Kids with Cancer. 

When she was a young girl, 

she took to drama, loved Shakespeare and appeared on a TV show "The Belle of 14th Street" with Barbara Streisand.

Sharing her expertise as a speaker at LIA classes and Gatherings. She was a handwriting analyst (often testifying in court cases), a social worker specializing in desensitizing fears, and still works as a volunteer bereavement counselor (licensed by PB County Mental Health) for a local American Health organization.

Enjoying GLV social activities with boyfriend, Paul. They have known each other for years: Pearl was a licensed appraiser and had jewelry and antique stores here in Florida. Paul, whose parents lived in Golden Lakes 40 years ago, still has his jewelry store in Lake Park.

At a recent flea market with friend Batya, where LIA raised money for the American Legion Post #367.

Pearl Warner (right) at a Get-Together of LIA poets, 

to share favorites and originals


(11-5-20)

Yippee! It’s November! And what’s so great about November? Well… when I was a kid growing up in New Jersey in the forties and fifties, it was one of my favorite months. Lots of Halloween candy still hung around to sweeten the chill of the dropping outdoor temperatures and diminishing daylight hours. Yet it was still warm enough to enjoy the great outdoors and jump into the piles of leaves without having to wear layers of clothing. It was an "expect-anything" month titillating us with extreme possibilities, like the lingering warmth of an "Indian Summer," a powerful hurricane or even an early snow storm.

It was a month with personal significance as well, because Dad’s birthday and mine were celebrated just four days apart. And its major holidays perfectly combined patriotism and gratitude as we observed Armistice Day (which originated to mark the end of WWI; after WWII and the Korean War it became the broader Veterans Day) plus the 4-day Thanksgiving weekend set aside for giving special thanks to the Lord for our many blessings.

I have so many fond memories of family gatherings, delicious meals and peeks at football games I had very little interest in. But the televised Thanksgiving Day Parade … that was awesome! Except for Santa’s appearance in the parade, there’s no hint of Christmas yet—so we could savor the joys of the November without interference from Black Friday, Hallmark holiday movies and yuletide decorations here, there and everywhere.

Another highlight that makes November unique is Election Day, which occurs on the Tuesdays after the first Mondays of the month. As the years flew by, my understanding and appreciation of our right to vote deepened. The heartbreaking assassination of our President John F. Kennedy is unforgettable. I recall early dismissal from a college class on November 22, 1963 and walking to my off-campus residence crying uncontrollably.

I missed voting in the 1964 presidential election by a slim margin (I was over 18 but not yet 21; the age requirement changed in 1971). But in November of 1968 I finally got to vote for our president and was among those who put him into office.

As my view of November matured (no more delight in early snowstorms!) other significant changes both brightened and clouded this month. In 1967 I met the love of my life, Hugo, and married him on November 10th of that same year. It happened to be my Dad’s birthday and he of course attended our modest wedding, which made it extra special! Seventeen years later he was no longer with us, though his marvelous congeniality, wholesome humor and great wisdom surround us more in November than any other month—and especially on the 10th!

And now, as retired seniors living here in the Sunshine State, November is still very special to us. We have joyfully added a new family member to our November Highlight List: Grandson Dionisio Samuel Vazquez, born on 11/29/14. The November foreboding of the coldest, harshest time of year (up North) has now yielded to the delight of knowing that our best weather is now ahead of us. The daylight hours are shorter, yes, but the air is cooler and the sun less oppressive making it possible to walk, sightsee and enjoy the great outdoors any time of day. The threat of hurricanes now draws to a close. We have acclimated to the overlapping holidays and hardly notice the early-Christmas commercialism, and—especially this year—we value our right to vote more than ever.

And so you see, dear readers, why November is one of my twelve favorite months! We at Golden Lakes Love in Action invite you all to join us as we cherish each and every month of the year, bringing to each the best we have to give. It’s an amazing world—despite all the hardships and challenges. Our heartfelt wish is that November 2020 will exceed our expectations as we all vote our consciences (and then accept the results graciously), honor our veterans and all who sacrificed and are sacrificing so much for our liberty, thank the Lord for our many blessings, and do our very best to make our country and our world more just, kind and healthy in every way

GOLDEN LAKES VILLAGE: HALLOWEEN HOOTS & HOWLS

LOVE IN ACTION MEMBERS 

got together for a "Halloween Play Date," which was a howling success! Irene, Louise, Willi, and Batya enjoyed chatting, games and just being together again after many months.

Gloria also participated 

in the "Halloween Play Date"

 

 

 

Photos courtesy 

of Gloria and Irene

PHASE B’s OUTDOOR HALLOWEEN BASH ...

... included costume and house-decorating contests,

 treats and music by DJ Alfonso.

Diane purring behind 

her whiskered mask

Sharon with her 

Prince Charming Michael

Judy as Malificent

CS and Alice in the scouts

Alfonso in Action

Karen ad Alex ready to fly

Our mystery man as KISS

Silvia (Phase B social Director)

Jack (veteran in camouflage) 

 was the First Prize Winner.


(10-22-20)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness…it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…

Chances are you recognize the above words as those of Charles Dickens in the opening sentence of his historical novel "The Tale of Two Cities," set in Paris and London before and during the French Revolution. Sounds something like the challenging times facing us today, doesn’t it?

We have so much to be thankful for, such as the many modern-day marvels that make our lives easier and would astound our forebears no end. Chief among our blessings are the priceless gifts we cherish like our freedoms and the strides we’re making toward "justice for all." Yet we’re bombarded with fear, frustration and fluctuating feelings as we struggle with the pandemic, the upcoming election, the issues that spark anger and divisiveness, and the immensity of the work yet to be done.

"What is one to do?" we may ask. In his well-known story "The Man Without a Country" Edward Everett Hale (a clergyman who wrote in support of the Union during the Civil War—and the grand-nephew of patriot Nathan Hale) we find this well-known quote: "I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything but still I can do something, and because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do." In that spirit, I would like to recommend a "one-two punch" that will make us purveyors of the best, the wisdom, the light and the hope sides of Dickens’ dichotomies.

PUNCH 1: PREPARATION. Just as an athlete works out, we can build ourselves up inwardly to be "workers who need not be ashamed" (great words from a man who survived 39 lashes of a whip five times, three beatings with rods, three shipwrecks, a stoning that left him for dead and a narrow escape in a basket lowered from the top of a city wall).

The same man was imprisoned for years and ended up beheaded… yet he is one of the most prolific biblical contributors and definitely one of my most influential heroes. He tells and shows us how to "rejoice always; pray continually; and give thanks in all circumstances." He tells us to think about about what is good and worthwhile, knowing that our actions follow our thoughts. He stresses love, even above faith and hope—and writes about God’s Spirit that fills us with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (an arsenal of strength and equanimity to see us through difficult times). Who is this great person? Saul of Tarsus, a highly educated Hebrew Pharisee who later used his Greek name, Paul—the great planter of churches and spreader of the Good News.

PUNCH TWO: ACTION! What we say and do as individuals is the greatest gift we can give ourselves and others. One habit I’ve adopted lately is not keeping a sincere compliment to myself. If I think something good, I share it with whoever deserves to know what I’m thinking. Right now I want to thank Harold Sussman, who wrote our previous column. Harold gets published on occasion by the Palm Beach Post because he writes powerful Letters to the Editor.

I’d like to also express how honored I am to be on the Condo News team, with Madelyn, Chelle and Roberto whose input is so valuable… with Betty whose column keeps our bodies and minds healthy… with Jimmy whose photos and wise musings give us food for thought and a nature-lover’s look at our world… and with Arnie, Lenore and the other Condo-Connection writers who share their news in uplifting, encouraging ways. Thank you, all!

Check out the photos of our latest Love in Action (LIA) examples. Whether we’re one person, one group or one nation under God, we can put our weight on the positive sides of Dickens’ see-saw quote for the joy of lifting others higher. And let’s share a wave and a wink when we see each other out there, obviously well-prepared and full of LIA-style action!

GOLDEN LAKES LOVE IN ACTION: WELL-PREPARED AND ON THE GO!

Homemade Meals for special village residents. Joycelynn, one of three LIA "cooks" recently made rollatini pasta with meatball sauce, meatballs, tossed salad, roll and fresh apple with cookie for dessert. She made the meals at her house and delivered them hot, even to second-floor residents.

Ready for Halloween, Dionisio, 5, is already enjoying his costume, which he modeled at Golden Lakes for his grandma, Ruth, and her friends. He holds his clone, Mario, a favorite video-game character of his.

A New "Do"

Golden Lakes resident, Barbara, is a wiz at cutting hair and recently gave pre-teen Jessica (Ruth and Hugo's granddaughter) a new, mod style that she loves. Barbara has owned beauty salons up north and in PB Gardens, and has worked with all types of hair and all types of people (including performers). She comes to your house and offers a special GLV rate for her services.

Help for the Homeless

LIA member, Robert, donates a bag of his gently used men’s clothes to be given the homeless men serviced by St. Ann Place on Dixie Highway. LIA member Lillian takes the donations to the location.

Out to Help

Nino and Ernie transport frozen/refrigerated food sent by insurance companies to recuperating patients, who sometimes want to share it with others in the village. The transporters take resident food donations to LIA Angel Network "distributors" to get to those who need and appreciate it. These all-around do-gooders deserve a pat on the back, but find that the reward is in the doing.


GOLDEN LAKES LOVE IN ACTION (LIA) WELCOMES GUEST COLUMNIST, HAROLD I. SUSSMAN

Harold attending his first LIA Gathering (March 2017) with wife Jackie and dog Dolly when he won a great prize in the raffle.

Enjoying dinner and a show at Phase A (November 2018) with wife (center) and LIA friends.

Running into LIA friends, Ruth and Hugo (July 2019) at the Norton Museum.

Donating food and dental items (September 2019)

for victims of Hurricane Dorian, which hit the Bahamas especially hard.

(10-8-20)

MY FORTUNATE SOJOURN

TO GOLDEN LAKES VILLAGE

Three years ago I suffered a heart attack. An ambulance took me to White Plains (NY) Hospital, where they inserted coronary stents to save my life. While recuperating in the hospital, I told my wife that I wanted to retire and move to Florida. She said she had a friend in Florida who had been a college classmate, so we reconnected with her.

It turned out that the friend was living in West Palm Beach, in a 55-and-over community known as Golden Lakes Village (GLV). By coincidence, a  neighbor of hers had recently become widowed and was selling her condo so she could live with her daughter in California. The real estate broker, Pamela, called me and I purchased the property sight unseen, as is, since it was going to be sold furnished. 

A few months later, my wife and I drove down to Florida on the Amtrak Auto-Train. Our car was loaded up with linens and other household items. When we arrived at GLV and entered our new abode, we were pleasantly surprised.  The prior owner had left all of her possessions behind for us to use. I could not even find room enough to unpack the items we had brought down with us. Needless to say, it made our move here very comfortable. 

We did not know anyone at Golden Lakes except for my wife’s ex-classmate. However, a local resident named Ruth befriended me and told me about a charitable organization she and others had started here in GLV called LOVE IN ACTION—which it truly is. We attended their next meeting, at which there was a raffle. I bought a ticket and was one of the lucky winners. I won a nice collection of classical CDs.

Last year, a devastating hurricane, Dorian, destroyed one of the Bahama Islands. Love in Acton initiated a food drive and sent the collected donations to the Bahamas, where they were sorely needed. I filled up a large cardboard box with canned goods and Gatorade drinks.  I also included toothbrushes and toothpaste. (I was a dentist)

As far as how our stay at Golden Lakes Village is progressing, I will state that my wife loves it here. The scenery is beautiful and there are lots of sea birds that come to roost in our backyard. There is a canal about 20 feet from our sunroom, and once in awhile an alligator swims by. Our community boasts two olympic sized swimming pools, where we both swim every day, rain or shine. In addition, there are also two small gyms, along with bocci, tennis and shuffleboard courts. 

I’d say it turned out to be a very lucky move for us. I took a blind chance and, as with the LIA raffle, I came out a winner!


(9-24-20)

"What’s new and exciting?" is a question I often ask as I greet folks I haven’t seen in awhile. It elicits a wide variety of responses: a smile, an expression of appreciation, an interesting update and sometimes even the sharing of a concern. Now, with the Hebrew New Year 5781 just starting, it’s the ideal time to think about what’s new and exciting in our own lives; and if nothing comes to mind immediately, let’s see what we can conjure up!

(1) LOOK AROUND… and see with "new eyes" the blessings we tend to overlook or take for granted. These are often tried and true "biggies" such as life itself, a free country, a safe place to spend our days (and nights), friends and family, etc. Now let’s add some others, no matter how trivial or insignificant they may appear or how deeply meaningful they may be. For me, it’s things like our county maintaining a below-5% infection rate as schools open this week. Or "Mr. Google" who answers most of my inquiries instantaneously so I can keep learning and growing. And then there’s our exercise class at Phase A that challenges us to become healthier and stronger with each workout.

(2) LOOK BACK… and see the new beginnings that can emerge from the past as well, if we’re open to them. Last week Hugo and I went to the new Amazon 4-Star Store at the Palm Beach Gardens Mall. Even on its opening day it wasn’t very crowded so we felt safe exploring the highly-rated items featured there— in our masks and gloves, of course, and with social distancing from the other curious adventurers. What caught my eye was a book I’d read years ago called "The Four Agreements" written in 1997 by Don Miguel Ruiz. It’s a practical guide to personal freedom based on Toltec (American Indian) wisdom. Translated into 46 languages, it was a NY Times bestseller for over a decade. A quick look at the Table of Contents reminded me of those agreements:

Be impeccable with your word (Speak with integrity and carefully choose your words before saying them aloud). Don’t take anything personally (Don’t let others’ opinions fill you with anger, envy, sadness, etc. Keep in mind that people’s words and actions come from their own unique reality, which might have little or no bearing on you). Don’t make assumptions (Ward off stress and conflict. Ask questions so that clear communication will help to sidestep misunderstandings). Always do your best (Avoid regret and build self-confidence while moving toward your life goals).

(3) STEP OUT BOLDLY… A bright future awaits us! Our Golden Lakes resident artist, master of brightness and creativity, is Vincent Daddiego. We previously featured his one-of-a-kind "Pick-Me-Up Pods" and "New Leaf" designs, and now his latest works of art are hand-painted shells in which his cartoon character "Gail the Snail" lives. She moves in and out dragging with her this important reminder: "It’s Time to Get Out of Your Shell!"

NOW LET ME ASK YOU: What’s new and exciting in your life? Look around at what is, look back at what was, then move ahead boldly. Above all, look within yourself for new hopes, inspirations and incentives. Welcome your future with open arms. You may find yourself achieving what you never thought you could, thereby leaving a unique, precious and uplifting legacy!

Love in Action (LIA): The New and The Wonderful!

Joy prepares an LIA Basket of Cheer for GLV shut-in.

Neighbors on Lake Evelyn have been meeting together 7-8:00 PM daily since the pandemic started. Lots of laughs and weightier discussions take place outside Arlyne’s (standing) house.

Kay and Tom spruce up Ruth & Hugo’s backyard with mulch and flowering bushes.

Finally: some entertainment again! Vocalist "ZZ"  and "Mr. Keys" (keyboardist and vocalist) delighted villagers with a fantastic show recently. Line-dancers and others especially enjoyed getting up to dance together!

 

Some of the exercise class after an hour-long workout, pose for a photo. Even the instructor Jacob (seated) is tired! Our "energizer bunny" Willi, however, continues to do exercises on her mat. Then on to the water aerobics!

CS and Alice are proud of their only grandson, Alex.. his kindness as well as his accomplishments. They were not close with their own grandparents, though they credit them for passing down some great qualities that have made them who they are today: nonagenarian dancers, active LIA members, enthusiastic volunteers, great friends to each other & to many, &  loving grandparents to boot!

Renowned artist Vincent presents his latest creation: Gail the Snail (who lives in the shell) with an important message. Only a few are left; just $10 each. See article to read all about it! Call or text 201-785-6481 if interested.


(9-9-20)

Love in Action (LIA): 

Delighting in Blessings

Grandparents' Day, September 13th

September 2020! It’s unlike any September we’ve ever experi-enced, isn’t it? Worldwide news is discouraging, national challenges are unprecedented, pandemic restrictions box us in, and hurricanes hover over us like dark clouds ready to rain on our parades. We also have the annual observance of the heartbreaking loss and new reality associated with 9-11.

Good news! Love in Action (LIA) may have a solution to any related blahs or blues that may threaten us this month. We can say no to debilitating fears, worries and bad feelings by putting on an imaginary pair of 3-D glasses to add clarity and depth to what we see (just as the 3-D movie goggles do).

So go ahead, put yours on. Look at all the good, the bad and the ugly that September has to offer. Some things are "in our faces" and others remain at varying distances. But what makes these glasses so amazing is the fact that they also extend our peripheral vision so we see all and don’t get blindsided. They supernaturally give us insight and wisdom for making our best choices throughout the month.

Now, turn the little knob on the right side of the 3-D frame to the first of our 3-D surprises. One click and the focus is on your:

(1) Delightful blessings. Now all you can see are the things you treasure most. For me, it’s Hugo, our cozy home here in Golden Lakes Village, our closest family living just minutes away, many dear friends and neighbors to enjoy and rely on when necessary, and the thrill and honor of being President of Love in Action; Trustee for our personal non-profit organization Open Doors; and a follower of my Lord Jesus Christ. These are my right-in-my-face delights, but as I look around and beyond, I see many more that I’ve taken for granted or wasn’t even aware of. I see loved ones cheering me on from heaven, including my maternal grandparents who died by the time I was four years old, but whose loving influence has been a mainstay in my life, bringing tears to my eyes each time I think of them. And there are countless other blessings to recall and fill my heart with gratitude.

Now let’s press the clicker on our 3-D frame to get to the second "D" which enables us to make:

(2) Decisions based on love, caring and kindness. O Boy! I see many of LIA’s good decisions that have come to fruition, such as having an in-village Walk-a-Thon fundraiser to put an LIA Friendship Bench in our village. There’s also the decision to activate our Angel Network to help GLV residents during the pandemic. I see decisions being made to observe the two major Jewish Holidays this month, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, to the glory of the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And I see decisions being made regarding the upcoming presidential election. In my periphery is a unique thought: a decision to have debaters argue the position of their opponents (like we had to do in junior high). For that, they’d have to get to the truth beneath the spin of the rhetoric and the selfish agendas, and delve into objective research, seeing from differing perspectives, and finding a respectful way to work together for the good of all.

Finally, turn the knob once again and we’ll see some great ways to:

(3) Do so many small and big good deeds that there’s no time to fret or fear. Hurray! Now I see that even though we think we’ve done a lot, we have barely touched the surface. There are endless things we can do (a word of encouragement, an unexpected or even anonymous favor, a quick call or email, etc.) that will increase the delights and good decisions of both givers and recipients. That in turn means "pass-along" ripples fanning outward (and where it stops, nobody knows!) To do that we must hear the call to action!

As we now remove our love-tinted glasses we find that we are not where we started. Our vision has been extended. We see things more clearly, and we are more caring and courageous as we add to the good in the world. Now let’s pass those imaginary glasses on to others while keeping an extra pair handy to refresh, remind and rejuvenate ourselves as needed!

See you out there!!

Ruth knew her grandparents, Edna and William Schoonmaker (above), for just a few short years, but her Grandma’s singing her to sleep while holding her hand has made a singing hand-holder out of her. And her Granddad’s storytelling made her a lover and teller of stories. She wishes she'd inherited his perfect pitch and and piano playing, but cheats by enjoying her new electronic piano that automatically plays as she sings along.

Some of Ruth's heavenly cheering section: Grandparents Joseph and Frieda Olnowich on the left, her parents Howard and Grace Olnowich (center) and Grandparents Edna and William Schoonmaker (right).

LIA member Gloria holds photos of her Jamaican Grandmothers, Ethlyn and Elsie (photos shown up close), who filled her Jamaican growing years with tons of loving attention and encouragement. And they lived a literal hop, skip and jump away from her! She now has their photographs in a prominent place in her living room, where she can speak to them and feel their loving presence each day. She gets helpful heart-felt messages loud and clear as needed. Often it’s the command to "Pray!" which she does… and it never fails to bring her the peace and help she is seeking. Grandma Elsie, right, attended Gloria’s wedding and kept dancing despite being advised to sit and rest a bit between dances.

Friend of LIA, Romelia, has knitted a lovely baby blanket for a little girl at the YMCA’s Harmony House, which helps battered women and their children. It will be presented just in time for Grandparents Day. We don't know if the baby and mom have that generation of support, but they will surely see and feel the loving care Romelia put into the gift.

LIA member Dorinda recently made and delivered seven homemade for specially-recommended and extremely grateful GLV residents. It was soup-to-nuts turkey meatloaf with mashed potatoes, green-bean casserole, cut-up watermelon and small roll. She wrote on each: "Hope you enjoy your meal. Lots of love, Dorinda." She even customized each meal according to individual dietary needs

Making Decisions Based on Love, Caring and Kindness

Doing and giving to make the world a better place

FRIENDSHIP BENCH #! (brown): This is the bench envisioned by Walk-a-Thon participants, led by LIA member Kim (above). Photo above shows the plaque, designed by LIA-er Rosemary, up close. The bench is now in the Phase B breezeway, positioned to watch the village news on the TV there.

FRIENDSHIP BENCH #2 (red): LIA VP Nancy and member Joy social distance on the new bench, sturdily installed along Golden Lakes Blvd. by Simon and Bruce of Jeff Industries, Inc. (standing proudly behind). The Lantana non-profit made and installed the benches. The message on this bench, along with the walking-heart LIA icon, is: "Sit awhile… compliments of Love in Action 2020."


(8-26-20)

Alive and Active in Golden Lakes Village

"Yikes!" I said to myself this past week as I saw my reflection in the store windows at the mall. I don’t often see myself from the side or back so I hadn’t realized just how slumped over I am. I’ve never had great posture and, though I’ve been trying to rectify that for years, it’s now time to do some serious work on both my upright and sitting positions.

Many of us find ourselves in this dilemma, due to spending so much time hovering over our electronic devices, sitting too long in a chair without proper support, slouching at the dinner table and the low bathroom sink, or sleeping in an unnatural way. No doubt aging itself pulls us down physically… and the weight of the pandemic, political and social issues, and hurricane threats surely affect our body silhouettes, too.

Now that I have more posture-awareness I can be more mindful of how I stand, walk and sit these days. I think of my good friend Florence who turned 97 this past week, and how we all marvel at the straight-as-an-arrow way she carries herself on her daily walk. With her as my hero, I’m striving to give others a lift while improving my own health by following these three "let’s-make-it-easy-and-fun" prompts:

(1) LOOK UP. On one of my early-morning walks last year I got a real boost to my spirits when I perceived a message from above saying "Look up!" And whenever I do, I marvel at Creation and am reminded of Psalm 121, which begins with "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth." And having a better outlook also includes seeing the bright side of things, laughing a lot and filling our lives with positive ventures and positive people.

(2) STRENGTHEN THE BACK MUSCLES. I’m a big proponent of this. Since the 70’s I’ve been doing a series of early-morning exercises that have kept chronic back pain at bay all these years. Lately I sometimes also do three simple exercises to improve posture per an Internet video. And now that Phase-A exercise class is back in full swing I can enjoy the company of others as my back muscles (and all the muscles in my body) get great stretches and workouts. What a difference it makes when we strengthen our core and spine, which also includes being stronger in our virtues and convictions, standing up for what we believe in and speaking out against injustice. Those who stand with and behind us, and "have our backs" (watch out for us) make us stronger, too.

(3) MOVE MORE! My hero in the moving category is dear friend Monika. She rides her motorized tricycle around GLV, works out in the exercise class, and does her own 7 AM water aerobics. She had walked a neighbor’s super-active Schnauzer for years; I’ve seen her dance non-stop, long after the rest of us are huffing and puffing. She is the "gold standard" of movement but most of us would be delighted to attain even the bronze. Things like morning and evening walks, getting up once for every half-hour spent sitting, and active involvement in life are all great habits.

Don’t be a slouch! Check out your own posture and reposition yourself throughout the day for a healthier, more energizing countenance… then look up, straighten your shoulders and back… and get out there and make good things happen. In essence, be Love in Action wherever you are!

HUGO leaves for his 6:00 am walk. He leaves early to beat the sun and the bugs, but take his hat as a weapon to make sure the bugs do, indeed, social-distance!

Kay helps neighbors with their gardens. As you can see, she does a fantastic job and is very much appreciated. In addition she sings in the "Third Row Center" a'cappella group and also has a great love of cats; she’s a go-to person when something 

cat-related crops up.

Batya shows the book she recommended to the Bridges of Understanding group. It’s "Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World and Become a Good Ancestor" by Layla F. Saad. This is a look within to supplement the group’s outward look at systemic racism historically and in current events. 

Speakers and projects are also goals of the group.

Ronda used a hair dryer to shrink wrap the first Basket of Cheer this time around. Nancy and Joy helped to assemble the basket and Ruth delivered it to the grateful recipient.

On Florence’s 97th birthday neighbors and LIA friends gathered to do "flash-sing" for her. The songs were "Happy Birthday" (of course), "God Bless America" and "Let There Be Peace on Earth." A big card was signed by all giving personal greetings. 

She was also given a peace medal-of-honor for all the goodness she’s spread during her first 97 years. She waved her flag and joined in the singing!


(8-12-20)  

Making The Best Of These Difficult Times

Photos courtesy of Love in Action

As I perused the Business section of today’s Palm Beach Post I noticed that Jim Pawlak’s column had the headline "The Wisdom of Samuel Smiles." With a name like that, of course I had to see what it was all about. It turned out that Mr. Smiles (1812-1904) was the oldest of eleven children, born in Scotland, a contemporary of Queen Victoria and the Industrial Revolution. He studied at Edinburgh University and became a doctor, then went into political journalism, promoting freer trade, voting rights for all and better conditions for factory workers.

Disillusioned with political reform, Smiles eventually turned his attention toward personal development. He is best known for his book entitled "Self-Help," published in 1859. It sold over 250,000 copies then and is still available on the Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites. It was so highly regarded during that era it was second only to the Bible in many households.

Of the sampling of Smiles’ words of wisdom in Mr. Pawlak’s column, these are my favorites: Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind us… To aspire we cannot look down, we must look up… Progress of the best kind is comparatively slow; we must be satisfied to advance in life as we walk, step by step…The duty of helping one’s self in the highest sense involves the helping of one’s neighbors…The shortest way to do many things is to do only one thing at a time… Lost wealth may be replaced by industry, lost knowledge by study, lost health by temperance or medicine, but lost time is gone forever…The reason why so little is done is generally because so little is attempted.

These selected quotes remind us that inspiration, optimism, patience, generosity, focus, prioritizing and thinking-big are "muscles" we can exercise and strengthen during these challenging times. Smiles also said: If there were no difficulties there’d be no success; if there was nothing to struggle for, there would be nothing to be achieved.

Enough said, Mr. Smiles! You have now encouraged us to "up" our efforts to make good things happen—as best we can, whenever we can, however we can and wherever we can. That will spread smiles around, won’t it? And those interested can get his book as a free Amazon kindle and fight the pandemic with Smiles and more smiles!

Staffers at Phase B, Junior and Miguel, helped LIA to set up a DVD showing of Bob Hope entertaining the troops. Laughter is good medicine and many laughs were enjoyed by those who attended. Next on the agenda is asking these great "techies" to help us use the TV so Marie, facilitator of the Bridges of Understanding group, can be a part of the meetings while in her NY home.

Linda, right, and her friend Sylvia (left) read about Vincent’s "Gifts of Nature" artwork in the last issue of Condo News. They contacted LIA (by calling or texting 201-785-6481) and came To Golden Lakes Village for some bargain purchases for themselves and as gifts for friends and family.

Phase A is continuing its much-needed and greatly-appreciated exercise class with social distancing, of course. Marcia, center, sometimes teaches salsa steps to the class for fun endings to fabulous workout sessions led by fitness expert Jacob.

We are honoring those who have died during the lockdown by having memorial trees planted in Israel, a Holy Land for Jews and Christians—and Muslims, too. Here is a sample of the original certificate that went to the wife of the deceased (Bryan, the nephew of longtime LIA member, Doreen.) For just $18 (18 is the Jewish symbol for chai, meaning " life") you can choose the wording and have the tree planted via the website www.shiva.com.


(7-29-29)

Golden Lakes Love in Action: 

Busy During the Lockdown

Photos courtesy of Love in Action

Welcome to our brave new world… where we find ourselves confronting a deadly virus, economic/social/business/educational upheaval, nationwide protests, political warfare and the hurricane season—all at once! And the whole world seems to be embroiled in similar challenges or watching intently to see how we’ll all fare. I breathe a sigh of thanksgiving as I report that we at Golden Lakes Love in Action (LIA) have fared very well so far. I attribute this largely to our continuing efforts to:

(1) RE-ORDER OUR INDIVIDUAL PRIORITIES. The coronavirus "down time" has given us plenty of space to step back and see our world from more appreciative, caring, and actively helpful perspectives. I, for example, always thought that, if I found the time, I’d finally have a decluttered house with a place for everything and everything in its place. I’d remember people’s birthdays, return their calls promptly, get tax returns in on time and be known for arriving early rather than late. But after five months of "found time" due to the lockdown, I’ve made very little progress along those lines. Instead, my priorities have been Love in Action’s virus-related efforts and a new personal project that entails learning by heart 66 key Scriptures (one from each Book of the Bible) for inclusion in an inspirational booklet entitled "A Walk through the Holy Scriptures, 66 Steps in the Lord’s Direction." So, my various tax returns have been extended, my house and files are still in need of organization and my bi-weekly column for Condo News will now be shorter and shared with guest writers.

Kim delivers bags of fresh farm surplus to in-village distributors for packaging and distribution within GLV. Kim also oversees the Angels-on-Call Center.

(2) TEAM UP WITH LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE. In March social director Gina asked what LIA was doing during the COVID outbreak. That started the ball rolling! We expanded our Angel Network (originally created to help each other with household tasks, etc.) to answer the call. We set up a dedicated telephone number as the Angel Hotline, posted flyers and put ads on the village TV stations. Kim gathered a team of driving angels to pick up prescriptions. A team of praying angels was organized to handle prayer requests. Toni donated boxes of overage produce her daughter purchased from an area farm, which has led to our purchasing additional ones (thanks to driving, packaging and distributing angels who get the fresh, healthy food surpluses from farm to hungry GLV residents). LIA also teamed up with our all-village "Circle of Friends" to supplement and support each other’s services, so that hopefully no resident-in-need would fall through the cracks. Like-minded helpers throughout the village donated food and other items… and contributed financial support to strengthen our efforts.

Willi displays some of her homemade masks which she gave to residents who needed them. She is a cat-lover: notice the cat-themed mask she made for herself.

Tilly, the Toilet Paper Lady: elicited many hearty chuckles from the grateful recipients. Nancy’s clever idea as a surprise "pick-me-up."

GLV's master artist, Vincent (who has hosted all-village art classes for years) shows a sample of his "New Leaf" which inspires us to see things from new perspectives—and his decorated shell that whispers "It’s time to get out your shell!" This photo recently appeared in the P. B. Post. If you’d like to see his various works of art or wish to purchase one of these pandemic spirit-lifters for just $10 each, call or text 201-785-6481.

(3) BE PART OF THE SOLUTION. Willi saw the need early-on and filled it! She sewed 150+ face masks which she gave out (sometimes even delivered) to those in need of them. Pearl, a licensed professional peer counselor, offered 15-minute fear-reducing telephone sessions. And Nancy (with help from her sister Joy and husband Robert) brought smiles and chuckles to anxious friends and members with her "Tilly, the Toilet Paper Lady:" a roll of much sought-after toilet paper with a pair or two of plastic gloves as "hair," and a smiling face artistically added as a lighthearted flourish. Vincent, our resident artist (who believes that "All art fights the virus and lifts the spirit") painted beautiful designs on shells and sea-grape leaves found right in his own backyard. He sells these fanciful works of art (up-cycled "Gifts of Nature") for just $10 each to help LIA continue its pandemic outreach. A new friend to LIA, resident Marie Clergé, (who was touched deeply by the recent news of police brutality) teamed up with us to start an interracial group called "Bridges of Understanding" to discuss systemic racism and work together for much-needed change, keeping in mind Dr. M.L. King’s wise words: "Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that."

We sincerely thank our dedicated volunteers, teammates and supporters. Among them are our friends at Condo News. Hearty congrats to Betty Thomas, owner and columnist, for using her "down time" to create a new and exciting web page. Also to editor Jimmy Shirley, for using his photographic expertise to capture one-in-a-million nature shots and organize his treasure trove of amazing photos. I’d love to see a special section on the new site for Jimmy’s striking masterpieces, presented in living color. Welcome back, Condo News! We’re delighted to be a part of your continuing efforts to add good to the world, starting with our own neighborhoods. And to all our dear readers, please join us in sharing the good things happening in your communities, too, so together we can not only survive, but thrive!

 

The Condo News print newspaper is published every other Wednesday. It is circulated throughout Palm Beach County, from Delray to North Palm Beach, and from Singer Island, Palm Beach and South Palm Beach to Royal Palm Beach, in Condominium, Cooperative and Home Owner Association Communities. For more information, or to have the Condo News  brought to your community, e-mail us or write to: 131 Springdale Circle, Palm Springs, FL 33461 Tel:(561) 471-0329