EXCERPTS FROM CHAPTER 10, 1977 – 1980 RETIREMENT, MOVING SOUTH TO FLORIDA, PT. 2
HE WROTE IT, THEY DID IT, HE SAVED IT; TRANSFORMING AMERICA!!
“JOE SEFEKAR’S INSPIRING STORY OF AN IMMIGRANT’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE HEALTH, WELFARE AND ARTS OF UNITED STATES.”
Before getting into some of the major ventures as my post retirement career challenges began to take shape, I settled into a routine of getting acclimated with my surroundings. Lots of warm weather, lots of green and greens with some golf and something to reacquaint myself with; my writings. There were many people, friends, family and Associates that would garner my attention. I was particularly eager to continue my association with my former boss Al Lerner at the Hirshhorn (and his wife Pauline). I did the same with Joe Hirshhorn and his wife, Olga and Sen Daniel Moynihan, Chairman of the HMSG Board
Figure #10.16 Letter Al and Pauline Lerner Figure #10.17 Letter Joe and Olga Hirshhorn
Figure #10.18 Letter to Mike Wallace of 60 minutes Figure #10.19 Letter to Senator Moynihan
I even had time to contact Mike Wallace formidable TV host of “60 Minutes,” about a news report hearing with George Carlin, the comedian from one of the listeners who heard these dirty words while he was driving with his son and was offended. The new story followed an item on the Skokie demonstration – how can Mr. Douglas talk about an insult on the senses and not say anything about a life-and-death assault by the Nazis in Skokie, Illinois? If it is only an assault on the senses could be condoned under the First Amendment, but an assault on death should not be allowed to surfaces as free speech, when what it spews forth is death.
I went on to furnish some facts if they could use the follow-up scenario: That being a native born American, with some normal religious interest – meaning like attending Friday night services, just as Catholics attend Sunday church services. By the grace of God, my parents migrated from Salonika, Greece to America in 1916. My mother left three sisters behind, they, their husbands and children were slain by the Germans; 15 in all. Four cousins survived the concentration camps – one is in Canada, one is in New York and two are in Israel. My exposure to the Holocaust was during my tour of duty in Europe with Hq. First U.S. Army. Our units liberated Buchenwald and I observed what remained before it was cleaned up. What will stay with me forever was the abattoir with hooks along the walls below the ceiling. Two survivors explained that the prisoners were impaled by their chin on the hooks. Maybe it is a sense of stoicness and the ability to bend instead of breaking that has enabled the Jew to survive throughout the generations. My cousin Haim became a bank guard in Tel Aviv; Eli owns a carpet store in Canada; Pepo is a grocer-owner in Brooklyn.
I kept writing letters, a steady flow of letters to newspapers; TV commentaries; to my family especially my children. And it was reciprocated, here’s a photo of Bonnie dutifully sending a letter to Thelma and me and Billy keeping in touch from his new position as Energy Director in Western Maryland.
Figure #10.20 My daughter Bonnie writing us Figure #10.21 Son Bill as Energy Director
Figure #10.22 A few of Thelma’s prize roses awards
We had a delicate life during these years. Thelma immersing herself in growing roses and community activities of the Jewish civic organization Hadassah and ORT (Organization for Rehabilitation and Training). We also were active in our retirement community, treasurer of the stock club, etc. We had on Thelma’s side of the family her sister Renee and husband Harry that lived five houses from us. Through their help was how we found this really nice home that we moved in, upon our arrival here in Palm Harbor.
Figure #10.23 and Figure #10.24 Part of the “famous” Thelma’s rose garden
Thelma took great pride getting the roses planted and taking care of with a lot of TLC. It involved spraying, fertilizing, pruning and show presentation
Figure #10.25 Painting of daughter Bonnie in her Figure #10.26 Rembrandt’s self-portrait
Figure #10.27 Original Wedding Photo
As you can see from the likeness of the painting of my daughter in her wedding dress, my wife had extraordinary talent in creating exact likeness of subjects whether alive or inanimate objects. The results are striking as you can see even from just photos.
Figure #10.28 scenic view of La Seine in Paris Figure #10.29 Morning in the Tropics
Figure #10.31 Winter Harmony
Figure #10.30 Old wooden bridge, Sturbridge, Ma
Figure #10.33 Girl with a broom
Figure #10.34 Hawaiian Coastline Figure #10.35 Diana Jill at the beach
Figure #10.36 Flowers in a vase Figure #10.37 Floral arrangement in fancy vase
Figure #10.38 Fresh Cut Flowers Figure #10.39 Poor Artist’s Cupboard
We certainly can’t ignore the continued lifeline going with Bonnie and Billy up in Maryland. Our first grandchild would arrive on July 14, 1978 and was named Diana Jill Landau. Thelma and I would spend time up there assisting them in preparation for this blessed event. We helped fix up their house, getting things ready and helping Bonnie while working with Lee’s parents Cynthia and Irv. It was definitely a most joyous occasion.
Certain unforeseen changes took place during this time period and chapter. An important career development would occur putting a different spin on my best laid retirement plans. This would add another feature to Chapter 10 Retirement, Moving South to Florida. Post #22 Chapter 10 Part 3; excerpts to follow.
Copyright © 2016 William Sefekar
** Material will appear in book.
We are always interested in hearing comments and suggestions about how the blog could be better. Sound off below with your ideas