|6/9/2021 2:27:00 PM|
|Dean M. Laux|
Who Are These People, Anyway?
One of the oddities of living in a retirement community like Englewood is that we share enjoyable relationships with many of our neighbors without knowing what interesting secrets may be hidden in their past lives. We know them as fellow bird lovers or golfing buddies or bridge companions or morning walkers or dog lovers. But do we really know them?
Did you ever think that your mah jonng companion might have been a Miss America contestant? That the chap you just played a round of golf with was a three-star general in “real” life? That the fellow down the street with an English accent went through the blitz in England during World War II? That a homeowners association acquaintance was a survivor of 9/11? That your condo neighbor once raised and ran greyhounds on the racing circuit?
Could it be that your friend at trivia was actually on a first-name basis with President Eisenhower? Did the boater you were talking with really lead a naval air attack on the Russkies during the Cold War? Did you realize that the big, friendly fellow in your development was a big-city detective who took on Abby Hoffman and the Chicago Seven? Or that your poker buddy was a friend of Celtics great Tom Heinsohn and Astronaut Alan Shepard? C’mon, that must be a lot of blarney, for sure.
But it isn’t. Every one of those people lives or has lived here in Englewood. And many more as well, with fascinating careers, wonderful hobbies, charming stories that echo in their minds today, if only we could listen.
Contrary to the maxim, not everybody gets to have 15 minutes of fame during their lifetime. But on the other hand, most of us have not led lives of quiet desperation either. We might have an interesting pastime, like Jean Ranallo, who willingly stands on a busy street corner every weekend holding a large sign that says, “For Peace.” She’s a doer, not just a sayer.
Or how about Harry Radebaugh, who bicycled 90 miles on his 90th birthday and likes to take a spin around the countryside on his motorcycle with his wife Sue every so often? Or Dale Jensen, who just for the pleasure of it, has for a few years now been doing free tax preparations for retirees who need help. Then there’s Hank Irvine, a former Davis Cup tennis player who tends to a fabulous orchid garden at his waterside home here in Englewood.
Some of us may have famous kin. Carol Lugo’s brother was for several years the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps. This writer’s older brother was the White House China expert for Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and he later served as the U.S. Ambassador to Taiwan when our office there was known as the American Institute in Taiwan. Bob Carroll’s father, a Brigadier General, became the nation’s first White House Staff Secretary under President Eisenhower.
Others in our neighborhood have worked in the highest ranks at our nation’s capital themselves. General Ron Watts, Col. Bob Carroll, Col. Rich Entlich and Navy Capt. Winsor Eveland all graced the halls of the Pentagon and/or the West Wing at some point during their illustrious military careers. And a recent addition to our community, Michael Flynn, was President Trump’s first national security advisor at the White House.
But that’s not all. We have folks around here who might astound you with their skills and hobbies. We have drummers, belly dancers, a maker of fine guitars (“It’s a Dilley”), wine growers, baseball card traders, drone flyers, tap dancers, trivia masters, dog fosters and exotic plant experts. And we have volunteers galore, whose gifts of time and effort are of enormous help to those in need. Think about it: Putting in hours of effort just for the satisfaction of helping someone else has got to be one of the best attributes of human nature.
There is a rich fabric of talents and skills woven into the tapestry of our community: award-winning painters, outstanding educators, erudite authors, gifted sculptors and photographers. The diversity of talents and the wealth of human experience possessed by our fellow residents might take your breath away. We can all be enriched by just a little conversation with our friends and neighbors. Why not take some time and get to know them better?
Of course, one way to do so is by reading about them in future issues of this publication. And if you, dear reader, know of someone who’d be a candidate for Notable Neighbors, give a shout-out to Publisher Tom Newton at email@example.com. We’ll all be glad you did.
Dean Laux is exploring interesting folks living in our community. If you know of anyone with an interesting background please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the person’s name, contact info and give a brief description of the person’s background.
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