Tag: florida

Writers and Horses

dad writing

A nice article on Sarasota, Florida writers. Dad was there back in the day. We’ve seen a lot of changes along the Gulf coast over the years but it’s still a great place to create and meet artists of all talents. From the Ringling College for painting and animation and New College for writing to Clown College and Sailor Circus for performing arts there’s more to Siesta than a long nap.
Thanks to the Herald Tribune!

PDF Sarasota writers HT aug 2013

Sarasota was haven for writers


John D. MacDonald was just one of many famous writers who called Sarasota home. (Provided by Sarasota County Department of Historical Resources)


When Sarasota author MacKinlay Kantor received the Pulitzer Prize for his Civil War novel, “Andersonville,” in 1956, Sarasota was a major draw for nationally and internationally known writers and artists who came here for the relaxed lifestyle, the tropical beauty and the friendly locals who gave them their space.

Kantor, who moved to Siesta Key in 1936, pounded out his novels and articles for the Saturday Evening Post, Playboy, Look, Colliers and numerous other magazines on a Royal typewriter at his large office in his Shell Beach home. (The office has been duplicated and can be seen at the Sarasota County Department of Historical Resources.)

Kantor had been a decorated war correspondent in World War II and Korea and photos of him with politicians and generals lined his office walls. His novel, “Glory For Me,” was made into the popular war movie, “The Best Years of Our Lives,” which was released in 1946 and won nine Oscars.

When African-Americans were searching for a place to swim in segregated Sarasota, Kantor threatened to write an article for a national publication titled “Sarasota Cheats its Black Children” if a solution to the problem was not found. And when he was threatened with a cross burning in his yard, the man who had been through two wars retorted, “If they try, they’ll get a hole in them.” He also fought to keep the Memorial Oaks along Main Street from being destroyed, but to no avail.

John D. MacDonald followed Kantor to Siesta, arriving in 1951 when the area was still closer in ambiance to a tropical island than a tourist resort. A prolific writer, he authored the popular Travis McGee detective series which, said one critic, proved “that popular fiction could be composed with intelligence and style.”

‘The Black Stallion’

Although MacDonald said he wrote primarily to entertain and quoted movie producer Sam Goldwyn’s witticism, “If you want to send a message, call Western Union,” his bestselling novel, “Condominium,” alerted coastal communities to the dangers of shoddy condominium construction when faced with a hurricane.

He also addressed the conflict between preservationists and developers in “A Flash of Green.” The movie “Cape Fear,” adapted from his novel “The Executioner,” was released in 1961 starring Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum, and again in 1991 with Robert De Niro and Nick Nolte in the lead roles.

If Siesta Key was sparsely populated when Kantor and MacDonald came to town, Venice was practically uninhabited when novelist and horse lover Walter Farley arrived in 1946. His first “The Black Stallion” book was begun while he was still in high school and published in 1941. The series totaled 21 books and sold millions of copies in 20 countries around the world. Its hero Alex Ramsey and the fantastic stallion captivated young readers. The movie version was directed by Francis Ford Coppola in 1979 and won two Academy Award nominations. The New Yorker magazine said it might have been the greatest children’s movie ever made.

Of his love for horses, he was quoted in the old Sarasota Herald as saying that when he was a child, “I wanted a pony as much as any boy or girl could possibly want anything. But I never owned one.”

He and his wife, Rosemary, were active with helping the youth of Sarasota, serving on the board of the Sarasota Detention facility.

These writers led quiet, unassuming lives here, raising their families in a laid-back Sarasota when everyone seemed to know everyone else. They formed a fraternity of sorts, meeting weekly from place to place, most notably at the storied Plaza Restaurant on First Street, swapping jokes, tales, and playing liars poker.

A cultural mecca

As writer Richard Glendinning summed it up in his booklet, “A Host of Fridays,” there were four or five regulars whose number swelled to 14 or so during the tourist season “when more visitors were on the prowl.”

Out-of-towners and winter residents included Joseph Hayes, who wrote, produced and directed. He wintered on Lido Shores with his family and among his credits were “The Desperate Hours,” “The Young Doctors” and some Disney movies and television shows. “The Desperate Hours” was a novel, a stage production starring Paul Newman and Karl Malden, and a film noir movie classic with Humphrey Bogart and Frederick March.

Art Buchwald, William Inge, Clifford Irving, Larry Heller, artist Ben Stahl, Elmer Sulzer, Borden Deal and others too numerous to mention sat around the Plaza table when they were in town, soaking up the levity and camaraderie of fellow writers.

Glendinning termed these 1 p.m. luncheons, “a curious Sarasota ritual.” He recalled that over the years the group numbered over 200 and boasted, ” . . . it was a loose assemblage of kindred souls (which) meets without plan, purpose or program . . . has no officers, no constitution, no opening song or rallying cry, no secret grip, . . . no worthy civic projects to sponsor and not even a name. That would only confuse the issue by tending to give a sense of identity to a non-existent organization without formal membership.”

This generation of writers has all passed on, leaving as their legacy films and books which have brought joy to millions while helping to secure Sarasota’s place as a cultural Mecca.



Have you ever Dreamed about running away with the show?

kisscala AN

Here’s your chance to be part of a professional horse performance! Something completely unique and a once in a lifetime experience!

Performer For A Day Experience

at Arabian Nights

Think -“Dancing with the Stars” Meets Equestrian Entertainment

The Ultimate Equine Encounter in the Spotlight

This experience includes one-on-one instruction, performer “secrets,” and interaction with the show’s horses and artists, which holds a particularly magnetic appeal for children. “They spend the ‘day’ with us. They get lessons. We do hair, makeup, costumes.”  And, they get to be in the show. “We get kids who have never been on a horse before and others who compete in horse shows,” says Reynolds. Typically, around 8 years old, participants have ranged from 4 to adults.

            An immersion into life behind-the-scenes and on stage, participants can choose specialty riding (bareback!), trick riding, or a “combo” package with both. Advance measurements sent to Arabian Nights’ wardrobe department ensure that costume options will be ready and waiting, when the countdown to show time begins. But first, budding performers get accustomed to the production setting, starting with lunch in the arena with Reynolds during rehearsals, great for getting to know the artists. An in-depth barn tour and familiarization with Arabian Nights 50+ horses and stable procedures, pave the way for afternoon lessons in the arena.

“We’ve got 14 breeds of horses in the show–amazing stallions, great mares, and national champions,” reflects Miller, who’s devoted his life to sharing horses with millions of visitors, since founding Arabian Nights www.arabian-nights.com in 1988. “People want to know what it’s like to work with these horses.”

To schedule the Performer for a Day experience, contact Jason Temple, Arabian Nights account executive for pricing, information, and reservation details at (407) 589-2411 or Jason@arabian-nights.com

Fun Horse Tales events!

horse tales glendaIMG_5546

There were some GREAT Horse Tales Literacy Project events this month. Hope you had a chance to be part of the fun.  And for all the hard work from our incredible volunteers a BIG THANK YOU!! Check Out all the photos;  HERE – http://horsetalesliteracy.phanfare.com/2013/

From Old town Tucson to the Wildwoods of Florida with all the cowboys and the mounted police, too! We have a fine time.

If you ever have a day, or even a minute, and want to join in — please send us an email :    Horse Tales Literacy Project

We’ll always love and miss you Mrs. T !!DSC00080

Mill Creek Farm, a Legacy

Did you see this nice article by Donna White in the Wall Street Journal?
How would you feel about your parents donating everything to take care of the horses? If you can visit the farm it looks like a nice place to retire – for people or horses! If you can’t give it all away maybe you’d just like to help out the Horse Tales Literacy Program??

By Donna Gehrke-White — Sun Sentinel

Horses & Legacy

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — You’ve made a few bucks, acquired a few things — but you can’t take it with you.

And as time goes on, more people have been choosing to invest in their passions upon their death instead of just an inheritance to others. For many, building a fortune gives them the freedom to give it away to support a cause.

Paul Gregory, a Fort Lauderdale real estate agent, already knows he won’t be getting an inheritance. His parents, Mary and Peter Gregory, who once owned a resort in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Fla., used their wealth to buy a farm just north of Gainesville, Fla., to care for more than 100 abused and neglected horses. When they die, their farm will remain a non-profit organization helping horses. Their son couldn’t be happier.

“What they do is amazing,” he said. Gregory and his two siblings “are all supportive of it. It’s something they have wanted to do all their lives. They are some of the hardest-working people I know. I wish I had more money I could give to them.”

Nationwide, leaving a legacy in a bequest was up nearly 19 percent in a year to almost $23 billion in 2010, according to the non-profit Charity Navigator.

Baby boomers have especially been interested in establishing a legacy. Three-fourths recently told pollsters that passing down family values and life lessons was more important than the monetary amount they’re leaving in an inheritance, according to a recent survey by Allianz Insurance.

“We grew up in a do-good generation — we were going to change the world,” said Christine “Christy” Lambertus, a Fort Lauderdale board-certified, estate-planning attorney who is planning to leave a legacy.

Childless people are especially giving, said Lisa Mendheim, a spokeswoman for Broward County Animal Care, which recently was left $5,000 in a will by an animal lover. The money was used to buy medicine and food for two animal shelters. Mendheim’s late aunt also left money to help animals.

“I thought it was a pretty cool thing to do,” Mendheim said. “She did not have any children. She had pets all her life. She always rescued pets.”

Many give to help animals, such as a recently deceased client of Boca Raton, Fla., financial planner Mari Adam. The woman bequeathed more than $1 million to help abandoned or abused cats and dogs in South Florida, Adam said.

Others have concentrated on helping their college alma maters, impoverished children, the arts or not-for-profit foundations.

More would like to give but are afraid they are going to run out of money with the wobbly stock market and low interest rates, Adam added.

It’s especially important for those with no close living relatives to make a will, specifying where they want their money to go, attorney Lambertus said.

Many who do give prefer to do so without fanfare.

“As a group of people, they are modest — they don’t want to be recognized from the rooftops,” said Allison Shipley, a partner in South Florida at PricewaterhouseCoopers who has had clients anonymously help migrant children become educated.

A few become known only after a charity releases information about a generous bequest.

Take Helen Stoykov of Pompano Beach, Fla.

She lived a quiet, frugal life, going to work at an early age after her father died. She worked as a machinist helping build the engines in B-26 bombers during World War II before going on to work for the federal government.

When Stoykov died at age 93, she left more than $1 million to set up an endowment fund at the Fort Lauderdale-based Community Foundation of Broward to support her passions — art, music and animals.

“I think that was her nature,” said Kathie Weiss, who helped Stoykov. “That’s how she was. She would always help out.”

Now living on their non-profit Mill Creek Farm, the Gregorys only became known after their Retirement Home for Horses emerged as an attraction with people able to tour its gently rolling hills and pet the aging horses on Saturdays. More than 250,000 have walked its grounds over the years, Peter Gregory, 83, said.

“We are going to die very poor, but we will die very happy,” said Gregory, who recently celebrated his 58th wedding anniversary with his wife. “We care about what happens to the horses.”

Read more here: http://millcreekfarm.org/home.html