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FOREVER YOUNG A Town-Crier Publication

Lifestyle Magazine

Celebrating the 50-Plus Community of the Palm Beaches

April 2012

Shall We Dance?


Plant Roots With The Garden Club A Visit To Family Dentist Of PB Howard Marlow Wants You To Waltz Fred Astaire Dance Studio In WPB

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‘Celebrating the 50-Plus Community of the Palm Beaches’



APRIL 2012

Published as a supplement to the April 6, 2012 edition of the Town-Crier

Garden Club: Outlet For Those Who Love Plants Wellington Garden Club President Susan Hillson has learned a lot about keeping gardens over the past 20 years, dividing her attention between summer plantings in Maine and her winter garden here. The club emphasizes member education.

Publisher Barry S. Manning Executive Editor Joshua I. Manning


Associate Publisher Dawn Rivera

10 Proper Dental Care Is Very Important As You Age Regular dental visits are important for people as they age, say the doctors of Family Dentist of Palm Beach, with offices in Royal Palm Beach and Lake Worth. Dental care can both enhance quality of life and protect general overall health. BY JESSICA GREGOIRE


Project Editor Chris Felker Senior Editors Jason Budjinski Ron Bukley Art & Production Manager Stephanie Rodriguez Bookkeeping Carol Lieberman

Ballroom Dancing Again Gaining In Popularity TV shows such as Dancing with the Stars and American Ballroom Challenge have been driving a new generation into dance. We visit the local Fred Astaire Dance Studio location, and also learn how the studio brought together a unique dance couple with very different motivations. BY CHRIS FELKER

Account Managers Betty Buglio Evie Edwards Wanda Glockson

22 Howard Marlow Enjoys Waltzing Through Life Howard Marlow is 82, but you'd never be able to tell. He stays in shape by dancing, which he's been doing — and teaching — since high school. You can learn from him at adult classes in local schools, or set up a date for a private dance lesson. BY DEBORAH WELKY

Columns ‘Would You Like To Dance?’ Memories From My ‘Bandstand’ Youth MEMORY LANE BY JOE NASUTI, PAGE 25 Discovering My High School Yearbook Sent Me On A Trip Back In Time SENIOR MOMENTS BY DEBORAH WELKY, PAGE 26

On The Cover

Joyce Shepherd of the Original Florida Follies. Learn More on Page 24 PHOTO BY ABNER PEDRAZA/FYLM STAFF

Contributors Denise Fleischman Jessica Gregoire Lauren Miró Joe Nasuti Abner Pedraza Deborah Welky Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine

is published by Newspaper Publishers Inc. 12794 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 31 Wellington, FL 33414 Phone: (561) 793-7606 Fax: (561) 793-1470 Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine is published monthly as a supplement to the Town-Crier newspaper. Copyright 2012, all rights reserved by Newspaper Publishers Inc. Contents may not be reproduced in any form without the written consent of the publisher. The publisher reserves the right to refuse advertising. The publisher accepts no responsibility for advertisement errors beyond the cost of the portion of the advertisement occupied by the error within the advertisement itself. The publisher accepts no responsibility for submitted materials. All submitted materials subject to editing.

April 2012 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • Page 5


Wellington Garden Club Offers An Outlet For Those Who Love Plants BY JESSICA GREGOIRE | Forever Young Staff Report

ENJOYING THE BEST season each state has to offer, Wellington Garden Club President Susan Hillson divides her time between her homes in Florida and Maine. With immaculately well-kept gardens in both locations, Hillson feeds her passion for plants. A former senior director of engineering, Hillson built database software for Oracle in Boston. Gardening was an escape from the highly competitive and technical career. “I worked a lot of hours in that job,” she recalled. “With 60-hour workweeks, it was very intense.” In 1992, Hillson joined her first local garden club in Massachusetts. It was an opportunity to meet other people who liked to garden and de-stress from their work life. “I had an interest in gardening, and I wanted to know more about it,” she said. After years of working in a highly demanding career, Hillson retired, and it was her liberation. It gave her the chance to take her love of gardening to new heights. Hillson took a master gardening course and received her certificate. “I took the course in Massachusetts, and it was an intense course,” she said. “But it was worth it because I learned a lot about gardening.” Hillson feels at peace in gardens. “In Maine, I have a big organic vegetable garden,” she said. “I like to grow my own vegetables.” The Maine garden took time to perfect — and her gardening studies helped a great deal. “After I took the master gardening course, I learned how

to do everything by the book,” she said. “I found a space that had full sun, I built raised beds, I amended the soil, and I did everything the correct way.” After her first year of gardening that way, Hillson saw tremendous results. “I had 150 zucchinis. The dog was eating zucchini; the neighbors were eating zucchini,” she recalled. Overwhelmed with zucchini, Hillson found a solution for the excess vegetables she was growing. “I found a program called Plant a Row for the Hungry, and I started bringing all my leftover vegetables to the soup kitchen,” she said. Born in Elmira, N.Y., Hillson and her husband of 28 years, Max, lived in New England for decades. Tired of spending their winter months in Maine, they decided to buy a home in Wellington several years ago. It was a golden opportunity for Hillson to garden in the winter, but gardening in Florida and gardening in Maine are completely different. Learning how to tend plants in her gated Florida community is what prompted Hillson to join the Wellington Garden Club. “In my Florida garden, I have learned to grow tropical plants,” she said. With help from fellow garden club members, Hillson has turned her zerolot-line property into a gardener’s dream. “I have planted 25 trees in that space, including palms,” she said. “I have a variety of different palm trees I’m growing, such as bromeliads and others that don’t require a lot of care or water.”

Some edible items in Hillson’s Florida garden include tomatoes, Swiss chard, lettuce and herbs. “I grow everything here in containers,” she said, “mostly because I don’t have enough space.” The Wellington Garden Club is a place for Hillson and her fellow members to learn about gardening in Florida. It’s also a place for members to socialize with an interesting and eclectic group of people, all of whom have a love for gardening. The club was founded in 1981 with the purpose of reaching out to the community through gardening. A year after its founding, the club became part of the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, which is part of the Deep South Region of the National Garden Clubs. “Our motto is, ‘Gardening makes a world of difference,’” said Twig Morris, the Wellington Garden Club’s first vice president. The club seeks to educate and inform its members by having guest speakers attend its monthly meetings, generally held the first Monday of the month. “We have highly educated people, who know about various forms of gardening, come in and give presentations to our members,” Morris said. Many of the members, like Hillson, are originally from out of state and want to learn how to effectively garden in Florida. “We have many transplants,” Morris said. “We all arrived down here and said, ‘Hey, how do you garden down here?’ so we emphasize member education.”

With help from fellow garden club members, Hillson has turned her property into a gardener’s dream. ‘I have planted 25 trees in that space, including palms,’ she said. ‘I have a variety of different palm trees I’m growing, such as bromeliads, that don’t require a lot of care or water.’ Page 6 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • April 2012

Wellington Garden Club First Vice President Twig Morris and President Susan Hillson. PHOTO BY JESSICA GREGOIRE/FYLM STAFF

Members have a variety of activities available to them. “We have a lot of fun things that we do called roundabouts,” Morris said, “where we go and visit native plant nurseries in the area, so we can learn about native plants for our own gardens.” With 160 members and counting, the club focuses on giving back to the community through civic involvement. The club also gives academic scholar-

ships to local high school and Palm Beach State College horticulture students. “We are a nonprofit organization,” Morris said, “so we do a lot of fundraising to support our scholarship fund.” The scholarship fund is a major part of the Wellington Garden Club’s philanthropic efforts. “We work with local schools and colleges to select the right candidates,” Morris said, “and we

award these scholarships once a year, in the spring.” The club also awards scholarships for students to go to the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs and the Florida Park Service youth camp, in Apopka, near Orlando. “The camp is open to children from third grade to eighth grade, and it’s a one-week stay,” Morris said. “The kids love it because they get to learn about nature and the envi-

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FOREVER YOUNG PROFILE ronment, by going camping, canoeing and hiking in the state forest.” The Wellington Garden Club’s purpose focuses on increasing quality of life by creating beautiful gardens throughout the community. Members are able to volunteer

Susan Hillson at one of the many Wellington Garden Club project sites. PHOTO BY JESSICA GREGOIRE/FYLM STAFF

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and provide their gardening skills for those less fortunate. “We plant gardens for Habitat for Humanity homes, and we just did one for a family in Lake Worth,” Morris said. “We have also maintained the garden at the Wellington Community Center for many years.” The Wellington Garden Club is open to anyone; you don’t have to be from Wellington to become a member. “We’re open to anyone interested in gardening, plants, floral design and even just someone looking to socialize,” Morris said. “We are a group of congenial people, primarily women, but we do have some men and encourage men to join.” As current president of the club, Hillson hopes to sustain as well as continue to grow all the programs and activities the club offers. “We are trying to focus more on floral design,” she said. “I’m studying to be a flower show judge, and this year we will be holding floral design workshops.” The next club event will be its “Secret Gardens of Wellington” garden tour on Saturday, April 14. “We have chosen six gardens around Wellington that are going to be open to the public that day,” Twig said. “That will be our biggest fundraiser, and the funds raised will carry us for the next two years for all the things we do in the community, from the scholarships to Habitat for Humanity.” For more info., visit FY

April 2012 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • Page 9


Family Dentist Of P.B. Helps Patients With Proper Dental Care As They Age BY JESSICA GREGOIRE | Forever Young Staff Report

GOING TO THE DENTIST is not only about having that perfect smile; it’s about sustaining your overall health. Healthy teeth mean a healthier and happier life, and it all starts with the gums, according to Dr. Manoj Patel and Dr. Sunitha Sirivolu of Family Dentist of Palm Beach. No matter your age, taking care of your teeth is extremely important. “It’s not the age that counts, it’s the wellbeing,” Sirivolu said. And it’s her goal to make sure seniors have teeth that make them look and feel their best. Family Dentist of Palm Beach has been providing quality dentistry in the community since 2003, with locations

in Lake Worth and Royal Palm Beach. Dr. Patel works out of the Lake Worth office, while Dr. Sirivolu is at the Royal Palm Beach location. Many of Sirivolu’s older patients believe that oral care is not necessary at their age, but she is quick to inform them about the dangers of not taking proper care of their teeth as they get older. “It’s not about how old you are; it’s about how much function you have,” she said. “If by doing just a simple filling that can help you feel better, then we have to do the best we can as dentists to accomplish that goal.” For seniors who have an active social life, having nice-looking teeth is

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crucial. “I have a 95-year-old patient, and she is very active and loves to go out, and she feels depressed when she stays at home,” Sirivolu said. “She told me that she has to have her teeth in good condition, so do whatever I can so that she could go out to eat with friends and not be embarrassed.” Many Family Dentist patients are seniors, especially now with the number of Baby Boomers reaching their golden years. These seniors have major concerns when it comes to their oral health. “Many have issues with gum disease and missing teeth,” Sirivolu said. These issues relate to overall general health problems, which are more

Dr. Sunitha Sirivolu with her husband and office manager Narendra Sirivolu and Family Dentist staff members Shawntae Smalls, Jennifer Sperring, Mayra Alvarenga, Dina Irizarry and Martha Villegas. PHOTO BY JESSICA GREGOIRE/FYLM STAFF

prevalent in older patients. “We have to take their general health into consideration when treating senior patients,” Sirivolu said. “Many seniors are taking medications.” Many of these medications, as well as the diseases they are meant to combat, affect the gums and teeth quality. “Some of these medications may make senior patients more irritable,” Sirivolu said. “And they get tired easily, so we have to consider the amount of chair time.” The key to good care is building trust and creating understanding between doctor and patient. “We have a lot of seniors coming in for what they believe is a simple problem,” Sirivolu said. “It can be difficult for them to understand that there is (Left) Dr. Sunitha Sirivolu gives Lois Rohan, 76, a consultation with a full review of her X-rays. PHOTO BY JESSICA GREGOIRE/FYLM STAFF

more to the problem than one tooth.” It takes time and patience for the doctors and staff to explain to patients what they really need. But explaining each procedure and its importance, patients feel at ease and are more likely to keep on the right path to oral health. “To make them understand what they really need, we have X-rays and models on the screen for them to see,” Sirivolu said. “This helps them understand what is actually happening to their teeth, and what we recommend to fix.” At Family Dentist, it’s not about just giving patients what they want; it’s about making sure it’s what the patient needs in order to have truly beneficial oral care. “We are about educating our clients, and we want them to be informed on what is good for them,” Sirivolu said. “We give them educational videos and pamphlets so they

can fully understand what we are doing to help them fix their oral problems.” Sirivolu and Patel treat oral health problems with the most state-of-theart equipment. “We have a lot of options we did not have before,” Sirivolu said. “We replace their teeth or we give them dentures or implants because function is more important at this stage.” If a patient’s teeth are not functional, they can develop problems such as malnutrition. “Some patients lose weight because they are not able to chew their food properly,” Sirivolu noted. Family Dentist offers a variety of options for patients who need improved oral health. The dentist can perform procedures such as mini-implants, bridges, partial and complete dentures, simple crowns and Invisalign.

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FOREVER YOUNG FEATURE Sirivolu and Patel also perform the increasingly popular and painless laser dentistry for procedures such as root canals, fill-ins and gum treatments. “With laser dentistry, the healing is much quicker, the post-op pain is less, and we can accomplish more,” she said. When a patient comes into Family Dentist with a problem, “we first take a set of X-rays,” Sirivolu said. “I then look at the X-rays and do a clinical exam and jot down all my findings.” She then meets with the patient for a one-on-one evaluation. “I ask if there is any particular area they are having a problem with,” Sirivolu said. “Most people say they don’t have a problem and that they’re just there for a checkup.” It is the dentist’s job to explain their findings. “I walk them through all my X-rays from 1 to 32, depending on how many teeth they have, to show them where they may have a cavity and where their teeth are breaking down,” Sirivolu said.

Family Dentist of the Palm Beaches also emphasizes preventive measures for seniors. “We give them crowns to prevent their teeth from fracturing,” Sirivolu said, “so they don’t end up with bigger problems like root canals and extractions.” Preventive care is even more important for people who are going through menopause, and especially for those battling cancer. “We don’t want to expose these people to even more radiation than they already have,” Sirivolu said. “So we want them to correct these problems before they end up getting extractions.” Family Dentist of the Palm Beaches is located at 11903 Southern Blvd., Suite 116, Royal Palm Beach, and at 225 S. Federal Highway, Lake Worth. For more information, visit or call the Royal Palm Beach office at (561) 795-7668 or the Lake Worth office at (561) 582-1911. FY

Dr. Sunitha Sirivolu is quick to inform patients about the dangers of not taking proper care of their teeth as they age. ‘It’s not about how old you are; it’s about how much function you have,’ she said. ‘If by doing just a simple filling that can help you feel better, then we have to do the best we can as dentists to accomplish that goal.’

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John C. Hunton: 35 Years Of Experience In Air Conditioning And Refrigeration BY RON BUKLEY | Forever Young Staff Report

JOHN C. HUNTON and his wife, Martha, co-owners of John C. Hunton Air Conditioning & Refrigeration, have lived at their home that they built in The Acreage since December 1986. Since creating their company in 1996, the Huntons have built their reputation on being a local firm that offers reliable air-conditioning and refrigeration service in a wide variety of areas. Hunton worked for Sears for 20 years before embarking on his own business. He is able to do a number of heating, ventilation, refrigeration and air-conditioning jobs, including light commercial and residential, maintenance contracts, repairs, new installations, existing change-outs, refrigeration, ice machines and pool heaters. “We’ve even done spa units for horses,” he said, explaining that a company in Britain builds refrigeration units that cool horses’ legs. “It’s like a boot, and it has hoses that go to it, and they stick the horse’s leg in this boot and it circulates cold water for the joints. I got into it because a customer in Pennsylvania had sold one to someone over in Wellington. They were having problems with it, so I went over and worked on it and took care of the problems.” Hunton also installs split-head airconditioning systems that are frequently suitable for homes or offices that do not have conventional air-conditioning systems with ductwork, using an outdoor condenser and several evaporators at different locations inside. The system is ideal for older construction

with window units. It’s much quieter and does not require the installation of ductwork, he said. The company also installs air conditioning for new custom homes. Commercial work Hunton has done includes jobs for Roger Dean Chevrolet, Wellington Animal Hospital, a cluster of townhomes in Wellington and work for A New Day Rehab on Singer Island. Martha said her husband is a great troubleshooter. “If someone has had a problem with units and they haven’t been able to get somebody to fix it and they finally give him a call, he’ll really work on it until it gets repaired,” she said. The company is family-owned and operated. While John does the repair work, Martha keeps the books. The company serves customers from Jupiter to Delray Beach, but it focuses on customers in Wellington, Royal Palm Beach, Loxahatchee and The Acreage, stressing that they are a local company with ties to the community. Hunton, who is 49, has been in the air-conditioning business since he was 14. “I’ve been doing it for 35-plus years,” he said. He has a degree in air conditioning and refrigeration from Broward Community College. Both the Huntons are Florida natives. “She was born in Hollywood, and I was born at Hialeah Memorial,” John said. He worked for Sears in Fort Lauderdale and was transferred to Palm Beach

County to work before moving to The Acreage. “Over the years, I got to know Palm Beach County real well, and we like the country-style living. It’s a little quieter. When we moved here, there was nothing around us. We only had three neighbors. We’ve been in this same house since 1986. We’ve come through a lot of changes.” Hunton said many of his recent neighbors are former Broward County residents, drawn to The Acreage in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. “I had actually moved up here in ’84 through my job, and [Martha] was a service manager in Hallandale,” he said. “We met at Sears.” She was a parts manager at the time. “I was changing tires and going to college,” he said. Her parents still live in Broward County, while his parents have retired in Ocala. “My brother still lives down in Broward,” John noted. Their daughter, Brandi McElyea, is a staff sergeant in the U.S. Army and is based in Fort Meade, Md. Son Kyle works for the company and expects to receive his journeyman’s certificate in air conditioning and a degree in business at Palm Beach State College in May. “Our son plans on taking over the business,” Martha said. “He’s working toward that.” The company offers a 10 percent discount to senior citizens. It offers 100 percent financing and accepts all major credit cards. For more information, visit or call (561) 798-3225. FY

Martha said her husband is a great troubleshooter. ‘If someone has had a problem with units and they haven’t been able to get somebody to fix it and they finally give him a call, he’ll really work on it until it gets repaired,’ she said. Page 14 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • April 2012

John and Martha Hunton, owners of John C. Hunton Air Conditioning & Refrigeration.





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Ballroom Dancing, Once Again Gaining In Popularity, Offers Many Benefits BY CHRIS FELKER | Forever Young Staff Report

SINCE THE DEBUT of Dancing with the Stars in 2005, many Americans have rediscovered ballroom dancing, and of course, the Forever Young crowd is at the forefront. The huge Arthur Murray organization drove many of the dance crazes of the 20th century, participated in by the “Greatest Generation” — parents and grandparents of the Baby Boomers visiting dance studios in droves today. In the same way, the Fred Astaire Dance Studios scattered throughout the nation have helped fuel much of the enthusiasm for dancing that’s building anew. One of those Astaire franchises is at 4603 Okeechobee Blvd. in West Palm Beach. It’s owned and managed by German immigrant Doreen Scheinpflug, who started dancing at age 6.

Dance, she said, “has been my main focus and hobby ever since.” Scheinpflug opened the West Palm Beach studio in May 2008. Co-owner and dance director Andreas “Andy” Luetzner, who joined her about three years ago, is also her professional dance partner. The studio is tucked into a corner of the cozy Emporium Shoppes Plaza just west of Military Trail. The dancing space is bright and airy, with fulllength windows illuminating the polished wooden flooring accented by a nice cone-shaped chandelier. Luetzner and Scheinpflug have represented the United States in Professional 10-Dance international-style competitions overseas and recently have gotten into the American smooth style. They have competed in one of the biggest dance contests in the Unit-

ed States, the Ohio Star Ball, and in 2009 were “Rising Star” semifinalists. Last year, they finished in the top eight in the country. “We just came back from a national competition in Orlando, and we got into the top four,” Luetzner said. “We made fourth place in the American smooth dances, and we came in third place in the international-style dances.” Luetzner and Scheinpflug and their staff of four other instructors strive to teach and train their students thoroughly enough that they are able to compete on their own. “The majority of people taking lessons in the studio are in their 40s, 50s and 60s. Our oldest client is 85 years old. Some are in their 20s, but they’re rarer,” Luetzner said. The studio has fewer clients in their 70s or 80s because many are already familiar with ballroom dancing, Luetzner said. “They have done it all their lives. They’ve been going out to dance parties [during their younger years], which is not so much the case anymore,” he said. Both individual and group classes are offered at the studio in ballroom, Latin, swing and wedding dances, for people of all ages and abilities, from beginners to advanced dancers. The studio offers a “get started” special — two sessions for $20. “We teach private lessons, where our teachers are running their own schedules, and people take private classes individually, and the schedules are very flexible,” Luetzner said. “We also offer our students group classes. Those are usually divided into levels, specif(Left) Fred Astaire Dance Studio coowner Andreas Luetzner with Michelle Lardiere at the reception desk. PHOTO BY CHRIS FELKER/FYLM STAFF

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SENIORTOPIA: TIME TO DANCE ically split into beginner classes, social foundation level, or bronze, silver or gold. We teach in a system. Any student who is learning in our studio knows where they’re at.” Group classes are generally in the evenings. “We also offer to our customers, every Friday night, a practice party,” Luetzner said. “It’s a dance party where our customers can come in and dance for an hour and a half. We put music on, and my instructors from the studio are going to be around. We’re basically just practicing and dancing the night away.” The group class listings can be found at www.fred, and include such focuses as basic pat-

terns, rhythm technique, international style, smooth technique and many others. Luetzner said the Friday night parties are for students “to have an occasion to practice what they’ve learned either in their private class — a very individual class, personally designed for that person — or what they have learned in their group lessons.” “They try out dances with different partners, not just with their instructors,” he said. “It also has a very good social aspect.” Sometimes the group goes out to a club so participants can get a feel for the different atmosphere in which they’ll eventually be comfortable dancing. Luetzner noted that there

are many benefits for adults taking dance classes. “While they’re dancing along on the floor, they have to memorize the set. They have to use their muscles,” he said. “It’s both mental and physical exercise.” And he has seen dance work wonders. “Right now I have a person taking a lesson from one of my instructors. He’s 85 years old, and I’ve been watching him for three years now. It’s amazing what people can start to memorize at that age, what they can actually accomplish, and how they can look on the floor if they’re practicing and learning,” Luetzner said. “They have to memorize steps, they have

to lead, they have to follow, and at the same time they’re getting exercise, so it’s very good for people of any age.” Dance also improves posture, regardless of the dance style. If somebody wants to dance gracefully, they have to create a very well-maintained posture,” he said. “And dancing is something that gives people the opportunity to practice posture day in and day out.” Not only that, but it can be a healing art, too. Continue on to the next story to learn how it helped one Palm Beach Gardens woman’s recovery from a spinal injury. For more about Fred Astaire Dance Studio, call (561) 478-1400. FY

Fred Astaire dance instructor Paula Principe with Douglas Drummond of Loxahatchee. Drummond is studying Latin dance at the studio. PHOTO BY CHRIS FELKER/FYLM STAFF Page 18 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • April 2012


Different Paths Brought Bob DeMarco And Wendy Widjaja To The Dance Floor BY CHRIS FELKER | Forever Young Staff Report

PEOPLE COME TO DANCE from all different directions and life paths, for a wide variety of very human reasons. One new dance couple — Bob DeMarco of Wellington and Wendy Widjaja of Palm Beach Gardens — had strikingly different motivations for studying dance. But now their dance steps have intertwined and they’re training for competition together. DeMarco, 55, moved to the area from Miami, where he grew up, in 1982. He co-owns Screen Builders in West Palm Beach and has lived in Wellington since 1988. DeMarco started coming to Fred Astaire Dance Studio in West Palm Beach two years ago. “I’ve always liked music, I’ve always liked to dance, and I always wanted to learn to dance with a partner,” he said. “My parents used to ballroom dance when they were younger, so I think it’s a little bit in my blood. It’s good exercise, and it’s also good for the brain, because you’re constantly learning.” Widjaja, 46, has become a dancer because, remarkably, it has helped heal her and ease pain from a neck injury she suffered years ago. As a flight attendant for Singapore Airlines, when the jet she was on hit turbulence over the Pacific, her head hit the roof of the plane. “I was injured a little bit, but I never knew, and one day, I just felt pain in my shoulder,” she recalled. “When I saw the doctor and they did an MRI, they found out that my cervical spine had been injured severely. So I am dancing with two herniated discs and three degenerated discs in my spine.” When she was diagnosed seven or eight years, ago, she said, “I was in very bad shape. In 2008, after all I’d been through medically, I just got tired

of being sick. And there was a grand opening at the West Palm Beach studio. I walked in with a friend — she was 76 years old and had just lost her husband — so we decided to attend the grand opening because of Dancing with the Stars, and one of the dancers was present.” Widjaja was invited to take a dance lesson. The rest is now but a memory, as is most of the pain she had. “It’s amazing what dancing has done for me,” she said. DeMarco started at Fred Astaire under the tutelage of instructor Jackie Rodriguez. “Once I got into it, I liked the rhythm dances — which are the cha-cha, rumba, swing, salsa, mambo, hustle,” he said. “Once I started learning those, they had monthly competi-

tions that they asked me if I wanted to get into. So I did the first ones, and I enjoyed the competition part of it, along with the dancing, so I’ve been doing any competitions that I can.” His parents used to dance in Miami Beach years ago. Before his older brother was born, “they actually liked to go to the Harvest Moon Ball in New York — they had qualified for that [one year], and then my mother got pregnant right before so they couldn’t go, and that’s when they got out of it.” They never got back into it again, DeMarco said. “I actually saw my father dance at a wedding one time with his sister,” he recalled. “They were doing the jitterbug, or the jive, and I was really surprised to see that because I never knew that he could dance that

Teacher Jackie Rodriguez goes over a move with Wendy Widjaja as Bob DeMarco looks on. PHOTO BY CHRIS FELKER/FYLM STAFF

April 2012 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • Page 19

SENIORTOPIA: TIME TO DANCE well. That always stood out in my mind.” DeMarco said he gets personal fulfillment out of his hobby. “When the music starts playing, and I’m dancing, it’s really a great feeling. I enjoy that. And then after that, I really enjoy learning the new patterns and the techniques,” he said. DeMarco has been working with

DeMarco and Widjaja in action. PHOTO BY CHRIS FELKER/FYLM STAFF

Widjaja, originally from Singapore, for about eight months. For her, it’s a bit more visceral. Dancing tones her muscles and keeps her spinal injury from bothering her too much. “I had three years of therapy and was told at one point that I may have to go through surgery. Dancing has helped, and I was never on medication or physical therapy since [I started]. There is a lot of explanation to how it works. I don’t know — to me, I just felt that I was a walking miracle,” she said. She’s hit a routine now: “I practice with Bob at least three days a week, and I have my own routine which I do myself at least once a week, and it all depends on what my goal is, whether it’s the showcase, or it’s a regional or other competition. So then I work according to what I need to accomplish my goals.” DeMarco said that when he’s complimented on his and his dance partner’s footwork, it’s “one of the things

Page 20 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • April 2012

that makes you really feel good — I mean, besides winning competitions and doing the correct technique of the dances.” DeMarco is almost always at the studio’s Friday night dance parties, and though he’s mostly dancing with Jackie or Wendy, “I’m single, don’t have a girlfriend right now, but you know, I’m looking,” he said. He and Widjaja are training to compete in a regional contest at the Ibis Golf & Country Club in West Palm Beach in May. “That’s my first goal, we just want to try it out for the first regional, and I don’t know where we take it from there,” Widjaja said. “But Bob has been an amazing partner, and I can’t ask for more — very dedicated, very hard-working, he’s almost like a male trained version of me. When it comes to competing, he’s the one who works a lot more, and always pushes me, which, you know, that’s what great partners need to do.” FY

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Local Dance Teacher Howard Marlow Has Enjoyed Waltzing Through Life BY DEBORAH WELKY | Forever Young Staff Report

HOWARD MARLOW IS 82. We tell you that right up front because most people wouldn’t believe it to look at him. He’s fit and trim and has more energy than many people three decades his junior. It could be that he eats a lot of fruit. It could be that he drinks a half-gallon of juiced vegetables each week. It could be that he avoids meat, sweets and hard alcohol. It could be. But we think it’s the dance. Marlow, a Wellington resident since 1996, has been dancing and teaching dance ever since high school. “I attended Rufus King High School in Milwaukee,” said Marlow. “Rufus King was a Civil War soldier, and the school was planning an old-fashioned, Civil War-type ball, so the teacher asked, ‘Does anyone here know how to do the waltz?’ I said, ‘I belong to a German gymnastic club and we do waltzes,’ and that was my first experience teaching dance.” After graduation, Marlow continued dancing and, in the 1950s, found himself on television. He and his dance partner, whose name was Claire Gerber, became regulars on Arthur Godfrey and His Friends, The Kate Smith Hour and The Steve Allen Show, billed as the dance team of “Marlow and Adrian” (her show name). “We did an acrobatic adagio style of dance to different themes — circus, ice skating, whatever the show came up with,” Marlow said. “We worked in vaudeville at the Palace Theatre in New York.” When his contract with the TV show ran out, Marlow joined the Navy and was sent to Key West. He married Gerber, and she did stand-in work for mov-

ie star Terry Moore during the 1953 filming of Beneath the 12-Mile Reef with Robert Wagner. As for Marlow himself, he was on an experimental ship with a schedule that gave him evenings off. He filled those off-hours with (what else?) dance. Along with his wife, Marlow was teaching dance at Key West VFWs and the USO and, just as his military service was coming to an end, he was approached by a gentleman who said: “You kids do a fast act. We could use you at the USO.” Marlow liked what he heard and wanted to sign a threeyear contract to travel around the world teaching dance at various USO facilities. Gerber didn’t. In the end, the partnership broke up, with her moving to Colorado and Marlow moving to Miami. “I walked up Flagler Street and saw there were dance studios, but I didn’t like the way they were run. The accent was on money, money, money — not on dance,” Marlow said. Eventually, Marlow remarried and took a job at Hertz. He stayed with Hertz for 38 years, but, in the evenings, he was still teaching dance. He taught in people’s homes and, when the crowds got too big, rented space at local country clubs, such as the Coral Gables Country Club, where Jackie Gleason was living. “I remember Jackie Gleason as a down-to-earth kind of guy,” Marlow said. “He and his golf pro, Babe Hart, would be sitting in the club having dinner while I set up for my class. We’d talk.” When rental rates got out of hand, Marlow opened the Marlow Ballroom in a 50- by 75-foot space spanning three Miami storefronts.

Page 22 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • April 2012

“We held dances every Friday, taught classes every weeknight and hosted wedding receptions on weekends,” Marlow said. But crime in the area began to get out of hand. “I was robbed three times, a couple of them with a shotgun to my head. They don’t fool around down there,” he recalled. “That’s when my son Jody told me to move to Wellington.” After the death of his second wife, Jody’s mother, Marlow decided to stick to dance partners. He has been “going with” his current partner, Lois Walser, for 30 years. She lives just down the street, and they see each other almost every day. “We have a wonderful relationship,” Marlow said. These days, Marlow teaches ballroom dance five nights a week for adult education programs in middle and high schools in Wellington, Lake Worth and Lantana. He welcomes those interested in classes to call him direct at (561) 793-5370 “because they have a million questions, and the schools don’t know the answers.” Above all, he wants you to dance. “I had a man come up to me and say: ‘I always wanted to do the polka with my wife. Well, now I can finally do the polka, and, unfortunately, my wife is no longer here.’ An evening of social dancing and maybe a little dinner — it costs hardly anything,” Marlow said. “If he golfs and she plays cards, well, everything is separate. You’re not doing anything together.” For the schedule-challenged or extremely shy, Marlow still does offer inhome classes. “I think it’s a wonderful thing to be able to pass along what I’ve known and enjoyed for so many years,” he said. FY

Dance teacher Howard Marlow with his dance partner Lois Walser. PHOTO BY RON BUKLEY/FYLM STAFF

April 2012 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • Page 23


Dancer Joyce Shephard, a member of the Original Florida Follies, decked out in her costume. PHOTO BY ABNER PEDRAZA/FYLM STAFF

Meet Our Cover Model, Joyce Shepherd BY CHRIS FELKER | Forever Young Staff Report ON THE COVER of this month’s issue, Joyce Shepherd models her impeccable costuming as a member of the Original Florida Follies, a troupe of more than 30 female and 10 male dancers who perform in regular stage shows for charity each January through March in southern Palm Beach County and the Fort Lauderdale area. They give what’s billed as “an inspiring and high-energy show for all ages.” “First in talent, first in glamour, we are the charity that buys new clothing for children in need,” the group explains on its web site. The nonprofit organization has given more than $450,000 to children’s charities since this tap-dancing and stage show dancing group was founded in 2000. The Original Florida Follies is directed and produced by Cathy Dooley and perPage 24 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • April 2012

forms at a handful of venues. The 2012 schedule featured seven shows. We caught up with Shepherd on Saturday, March 24, just before she left for her last rehearsal. For on Sunday, March 25, the troupe gave the last show of its 2012 Florida season at the Parker Playhouse in Fort Lauderdale. Shepherd has been dancing since she was a tot. Now 75, she started at age 3, learning tap dancing with Kaye Gorham, Dooley’s aunt. “At 8 years old, I did the stair dance at Carnegie Hall in Miss Kaye’s recital,” Shepherd recalled. Her biggest reason for being a member of the Follies is “because I love it, I love being on stage, and also the fact that we give all the proceeds to needy children.” For more information about the Florida Follies, call (954) 956-2626 or visit FY


‘Would You Like To Dance?’ Memories From My ‘American Bandstand’ Youth

“WOULD YOU LIKE to dance?” This was my No. 1 pickup line of all time! Dancing was and is my second favorite thing! The mid1950s were my teenage formative years and an era we seniors will never forget. The music lives on, and we still dance to the same today. I grew up in South Philadelphia. “Joey, Sixteen, South Philly” was my roll call name on American Bandstand. The WFIL-TV studio at 46th and Market Street was two subway rides and 15 cents from Bishop Neumann High School, where my friend and rock star Bobby Rydell and I went to school together. In addition to my two to three times a week at Bandstand, I went to two or three high school dances: Bishop Neumann, Camden Catholic and Saint Joe’s … yes, I was and still am a danceaholic. Yes, those were the days!

Joe Nasuti is an entertainment columnist for the Town-Crier newspaper. His monthly Memory Lane columns feature memories from bygone days.

Growing up in Philadelphia, the real birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, home of WIBG 990 Radio, everybody was a dancer. We were all Strolling, Twisting (thanks, Chubby), Jitterbugging, even Bunny Hopping and Bumping. Then again, the main reason every guy went to the dances was none of the above. The reason was slow dancing with the girls! Thanks to Johnny Mathis’ “Chances Are” and Paul Anka’s “Put Your Head on My Shoulder” and “Puppy Love,” “Would you like to dance?” was a very successful pickup line. Yes, those were the days! When I was 16, my first date with my wife was to “The Rock-N-High Hop” on the Boardwalk in Sea Isle City, N.J. (20 miles south of Atlantic City). She put her head on my shoulder, and three years later, we had our first of five children. There was a reason why, in the 1950s and ’60s, the last dance at record hops was

usually a slow dance. Whether it was the Flamingos crooning “Lovers Never Say Goodbye” or Jesse Belvin lamenting “Good Night My Love,” teenagers grabbed their special partner and slowly circled the dance floor … while the shiny mirrored disco ball illuminated the room with colorful circles. Yes, those were the days! Now at 69, I am still dancing and it’s still my second favorite thing. When I moved to Florida, there were some great dances … do you remember: Banana Max in Jupiter, Oldies Night at Club

Safari, Pete’s in Boca? Well we still have great places to dance: 51 Supper Club and Dirty Martini at Downtown at the Gardens, BB Kings and Blue Martini at City Place, the Colony and Taboo in Palm Beach, Players Club in Wellington and just about everywhere in Boca. I guess our dancing days are still going strong, so keep dancing. It is great exercise and as romantic as it was 50 years ago! ’Til next time, remember: We can’t help growing older, but we don’t have to grow up. Stay Forever Young … and dancing helps! FY

Growing up in Philadelphia, the real birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll, home of WIBG 990 Radio, everybody was a dancer. We were all Strolling, Twisting (thanks, Chubby), Jitterbugging, even Bunny Hopping and Bumping. April 2012 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • Page 25


Discovering My High School Yearbook In The Attic Sent Me On A Trip Back In Time IN A RABID FRENZY of cleaning recently, I took to the attic. I quickly threw outdated tax returns and ugly curtains down the stairs but came to a screeching halt when I encountered my old high school yearbooks. “Awwwwww,” I screeched. Even the most diehard professional organizer has to stop what she’s doing when she comes across her old yearbooks. Weren’t we cute? Weren’t we innocent? Weren’t those the most godawful hairstyles you’ve ever seen? Pretty soon, the stacks of old magazines and boxes of souvenirs were left to rot while I sat on the top step reminiscing. Unlike a lot of old junk I had purged from my life that week, the yearbooks were special. In the first place, I thought I’d lost them somewhere along the way. There’s a lot of mileage between Wisconsin and Florida, and some of the roads are rocky. In the second place, weren’t we cute? I think it’s important to look at old photographs, even of oneself. When you reach a certain age, it’s not vanity anymore; it’s history. Perhaps because of my age, or perhaps because of a career spent writing humor, I have become a sarcastic old curmudgeon. Worse, I like it. But looking at my own naive little face, I remember that I had dreams for the future. One was to become a writer. Check. Another was to move from Wisconsin to “the southern tip of Illinois.” “Why there?” my perplexed father asked. “I figure it’ll be warmer, but I’ll still get the seasons,” I told him. Florida is definitely warmer. And it’s taken almost 40 years, but I think I’m beginning to notice seasons. I also notice that in almost every photograph, I’m smiling. I didn’t have a ton of friends, but evidently I was pretty happy nonetheless. Everyone who wrote in my book certainly thought so. Maybe I’m one of those people who is happiest when she’s left alone once in a while, to think. Deborah Welky’s humor column The Sonic Boomer is published weekly in the Town-Crier. Follow her on Twitter at and visit The Sonic Boomer page on Facebook. Page 26 • Forever Young Lifestyle Magazine • April 2012

Up there in that attic I asked myself, “Would the 17-year-old girl in that book be satisfied if she had known the way her life would turn out?” I thought about where I came from, where I am and where I think I’m going. I thought about opportunities taken, opportunities lost and opportunities that were found again — in unexpected places. I thought about the kids I knew in high school, the people I have worked with and my family. I put all this information into my Curmudgeon Meter, and I think I may have to find a new line of work. Because I’m happy. I’m not saying nothing bad ever happened to me in my life. I’m saying nothing that bad ever happened to me in my life. I still wish I hadn’t believed certain people, gone certain places, said certain things. A lot of people I trusted didn’t deserve my trust. But, if I had it to do differently, would I really want to approach every minute of my life with skepticism? With that attitude, how could anything wonderful ever happen? There wouldn’t be any room for the Wow. And I am an unabashed chaser of the Wow. It could be something as simple as noticing that the buds are already out on the trees. Wow. It could be that the fettucine alfredo at Olive Garden is consistently good. Wow! Or, it could be something bigger. My husband won at scratch-off, my son survived the car crash, my daughter got promoted. Wow! (Sometimes my Wows come vicariously, through others.) Sometimes, people who are down in the dumps are told to write down 10 good things that happen to them each day. It’s not that they need 10, it’s that they’ll start looking. “Let me hurry up so I can cross this stupid task off my list,” they begin. And they end up saying: “Wow. Life ain’t that bad.” It could be that they found a nickel on the street. It could be that it didn’t rain on their new suede shoes. It could be that they came across their long-lost high school yearbook and liked what they saw. It’s worth celebrating. And, now that I’m old enough, worth celebrating with a delightful glass of wine. FY


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