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BAY STREET PLAYERS 2011-2012 SEASON MainStage Season The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee - A Musical Feb. 3 - 26, 2012

The Bay Street Project Second Stage Series

Jules Verne’s Tale of Adventure

Feb. 12, 19 & 26, 2012 Race around the world as danger, romance and comic surprises abound.

Social Security - A Comedy

Dinner with Friends - A Drama April 29, May 6 & 13, 2012 Pulitzer Prize winning drama by Donald Margulies

Camelot - A Musical July 6 - 29, 2012 Once...for one brief shining moment… Tickets: Weds/Thurs $17; Fri-Sun $20 Students with ID $10

Rounding Third - A Comedy July 15,22 & 29, 2012 Join “The Odd Couple of Baseball” as they battle over how to play the game. Tickets: $10 / Students with ID $5

PO Box 1405 y 109 N. Bay Street y Downtown Eustis 352.357.7777 y Fax 352.357.7034 www.baystreetplayers.org y boxoffice@baystreetplayers.org

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April 20 - May 13, 2012 Cupid is ageless…

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Penny & Kevin Jenness


table of Issue 22 | Winter 2012 Copyright © Pulse the Magazine, Inc. PO Box 1896 • Tavares, FL 32778 www.pulsethemagazine.com facebook.com/pulsethemagazine Publisher Calvin Arnold Editor Richard Huss

Design Director Cristina Miller Far From Ordinary Design Advertising Design Lorri Arnold C&L Graphics

24

Illustration Jennifer Cahill Harper Contributing Writers Jeanne Fluegge Erica McFarland Beth Hughes Pam Myers Susan Green Jaillet Ella Paets Mike Ratrie Visit our website for more information about all of our contributors.

Assistant Editors Nancy Butler-Ross Susan Green Jaillet Mike Ratrie

36

Advertising Sales Don Thibodeau 352.552.2655 Calvin Arnold 407.421.6686 Pulse the Magazine is published quarterly. We are advertiser–supported and available without charge at participating businesses in the Mount Dora, Eustis and Tavares area. Mail subscription information is available upon request. All opinions expressed in these pages are those of the writers. Letters to the Editor are welcome, and must be typed or printed clearly, carry the writer’s name and city of residence, a signature if sent through hard mail, and at least one type of contact information (E-mail address, phone number, or physical address). Only the writer’s name and city will be published. All letters sent to Pulse the Magazine may be published in print and/or at our website. We reserve the right to edit for accuracy, brevity, clarity, legality, and taste. Letters should be e-mailed to pulsethemagazine@gmail.com or hard mailed to Publisher at Pulse the Magazine, PO Box 1896, Tavares, FL 32778.

Publisher's Letter/ About the Cover

6

Ramblin’ with Richard Date Codes

8

Natural Florida Emeralda Marsh

12

Writers One Flight Up Signs: A Love Story

16

Tri-City Kudos Camp Challenge, Zabia Poole

18

The Green Scene From Partly Sunny to Partly Solar

22

Lt. Daniel Keel and the Tuskegee Airmen A Recollection

24

John Schroeder: Triple Threat Ceramic Artist, Contractor, Bird Whisperer

30

12

Marketing & Development Mari Henninger

Photography Bill Casey Steven Paul Hlavac Marc Vaughn Steve Williams

contents

42

Just Shoes 34 Robert Dunston and the "Shoe Hospital" Linger Awhile All About Images Jeff Phillips

36

Olympics...In Altoona? Equestrian Events

38

Meet Marvin It's About the Chocolate

42

PULSE • WINTER 2012 | 5


Check out online!

from the

publisher

2012 is here and Pulse is ready to celebrate it! So much happened in 2011 that was good for Pulse. Photography: Thanks to our incredible group of photographers we have photos that explode off the pages in some instances and draw you right into the pages in others. What a combination. Writers & Editors: We’ve concentrated with success on bringing you quality writing with a minimum of errors thanks to our assistant editors. And believe me, that’s a thankless task! Advertising Support: Our advertisers continue to strongly support us and we look forward to even more opportunities to grow the magazine with the involvement of our advertisers. Graphics: We also feel that we have “branded” the magazine with a consistent eye catching cover-look and a clean classic internal graphic style. Thanks to Mari Henninger for the cover and Cristina Miller for our inside-look.

Like Us on Facebook www.facebook.com/ pulsethemagazine

And most importantly we continue to get positive feedback from you, our readers. You’re the folks that we want to impress. Let us hear from you! Happy and healthy 2012 to all, Calvin Arnold, Publisher calvin@pulsethemagazine.com www.pulsethemagazine.com

Visit our Website www.pulsethemagazine.com

Send Us an E-mail calvin@pulsethemagazine.com richard@pulsethemagazine.com

6 | PULSE • WINTER 2012

about the

cover

Jeff Phillips, local photographer and owner of All About Images in downtown Mount Dora, is responsible for our cover. Hiding behind a school of reef fish is Tracey Brown. The dive took place in September 2011 at Periwinkle Reef located about two miles off the coast of Paradise Island in the Bahamas. Jeff’s equipment for the photo was a Nikon D300 with an Aquatica housing and two Ikelite strobes. See pages 36-37 for our story by Jeanne Fluegge on Jeff Phillips and his love for photography.

free | winter PULSE • 2012 FALL 2011

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ramblin’ withrichard richard ramblin’ with

SPONSORED BY:

by Richard Huss | photo ©Michelle Pedone

There’s been an ongoing discussion in our house and it hasn’t involved Hope, the Wonder dog. It’s not a “life shaper,” but I wonder if it’s a discussion that occurs in a lot of homes. I also think there’s a gender difference at work here; a men are from Mars and women are from Venus kinda thing.

in .28 seconds.” My hair hurts and I’m looking only at the first entry.

I’m talking about the difference of opinions over date coding. You know, those dates stamped on everything edible that we buy. And I love the coding phrases like “Best if used by,” “Best before,” “Sell by,” or “Use by,” followed by a date, each phrase with different implications.

The Agriculture Department (USDA) regulates fresh poultry and meats and requires labeling of the date when the item was packed. However, many manufacturers have carried that a step further and have added their own “Sell-by” or “Use-by” dates. That again is voluntary and not legislated.

I’ll wager that the typical male shopper grabs the “better than butter spread” or the loaf of bread without a glance at those date codes. I’ve never heard, “Oh, Richard, those codes...they rule my shopping life. I search through the shelf for the latest date before I flip the package into my cart.” So I decided to check out date codes and get the low down, hoping to prove that this business practice, alleged to protect us, is nothing but a marketing scam designed to pressure us to throw away perfectly good food and thus buy more from the CheezWhiz conglomerates. So I do the 21st century equivalent of research and type, “History of perishable food date codes” into Google. Well, that was a mistake since it produced “about 198,000 items

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I, however, did learn a few things. All baby formula and some baby foods are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requiring a “use by date,” which is the equivalent of an expiration date. All the other codes and dates stamped on our food products are voluntarily placed there by the food manufacturers and are advisory.

Talk about the foxes guarding the hen houses. It didn’t take a marketing director long to figure out that if we consumers read an arbitrary date that implies we’re gonna die if we eat what’s in the package after said date, we will probably discard whatever is in the package and buy a fresh one. Voila. We have just increased our purchasing volume and now turned these marketing clowns into corporate heroes. Lemmings? Did I hear anyone say, Lemmings? A little more reading and I find a passage that advises us that our pasteurized milk can remain fresh for as much as five days after its “Sell by” date if properly refrigerated. Here’s my rule of thumb about dairy products: If your milk smells and makes you want to retch or contains lumps – not good. If you see green fuzz in your yogurt, sour cream or cream


Date Codes… Taking care of business or taking care of us? cheese – not good. If your cheese is packaged with green fuzz already in it, okay. But if new green fuzz appears after cheese has been opened – not good. Are we confused yet? Let’s move on to beer. Yes, beer has become a part of the grand date code conspiracy. Date coding beer started shortly after the end of Prohibition. It was used to protect ne’er-do-wells from buying “green beer,” beer that had been rushed to the market without proper aging. The date stamped on the bottle top had nothing to do with health or safety. Only taste. In the mid-80s The Boston Beer Company, maker of Sam Adams beer, was among the first contemporary brewers to add “freshness dates” to their product. For years no one other than beer makers, and maybe my friend Cliff Harbin, knew about the dates. Then in the late 90s, Budweiser marketing gurus decided it would be a good idea to advertise

“beer freshness” and educate us about alleged funky beer taste. Hence, the concept of “Born-On Dates” was started. The date stamped on the bottle of Bud has nothing to do with when the beer must be consumed; it appears to be only an indication of when the beer was bottled implying that if we don’t drink fresh beer, we’re somehow denigrating the world of beer. Here’s my rule of thumb about beer: If it’s cold and you want it cold – drink it. If it’s warm and you want it warm – drink it. And finally, here’s my rule about date codes in general: Trust your eyes – green fuzz no. Trust your nose – retchy smells no. Trust your tongue – funky taste, spit it out ... preferably in the sink, not on the floor and never, ever on the white linen tablecloth. Good health to y'all.

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439 N Donnelly Street, Mount Dora PULSE • WINTER 2012 | 11


natural florida na tural florida

SPONSORED BY:

by PAM MYERS | photography by BILL CASEY

I’ve been a little out of sorts recently. I traced this restless feeling to the day I set up my Facebook account. I spent hours with my iPad in my lap learning the ropes and connecting with people from all points in my life.

canals have been constructed to improve the water quality on Lake Griffin and Haines Creek, and enormous pumps that can be seen as you explore the many miles of dike trails have also been installed.

Within three minutes of launching my profile, I received a Friend request from my best friend from my school days in Minnesota. That made me sit up and pay attention to the potential of the social media I had been avoiding. It really draws you in!

The pumps control the flow of water from the lake into the marsh for the purpose of filtering the pollutants that are suspended in the lake water. As the suspended solids are removed from the water, the pumps circulate the cleaner water back into the lake. The open water attracts thousands of migrating ducks, shorebirds, raptors and songbirds. Due to the rich diversity of plant and animal life that has returned since the marshlands have been restored, the marsh has been called “The Jewel of Lake County.”

I’ve become enlightened to what people are doing as they sit slumped over in chairs, or walk through busy intersections, or drive the roads I travel on while thumbing their keypads on their smart phones. We are all becoming overly fascinated with ourselves and how interesting we can look to our “Friends.”

Emeralda Marsh… the Jewel of

Lake County

I’m now seeking a cure for my restless feelings. I’m looking for a balance. Fortunately, one of my favorite sources of balance is close-by on a beautiful marsh just northwest of Eustis near the town of Lisbon. It is officially called Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area and lies to the east of Lake Griffin. This 1500-acre wildlife haven is a natural marsh that was diked and drained for cattle pastures but has recently been purchased by the St. Johns River Water Management District to restore it back to its natural state. Levees and

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Emeralda Marsh is open to the public from sunrise to sunset year around, but it is wise to call ahead to get dates for the seasonal duck hunting that takes place in the winter. Nothing spoils the opportunity to see a Wood Duck up close and personal like the blast of a shotgun! In the spring, the 4.3 mile wildlife drive along the levees is open to vehicles. It makes for a great spring weekend destination. You’ll find the gates open Fridays through Sundays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning the third weekend in February through the end of May. Every December a group of dedicated birders gather here for the Christmas Bird Count. I try to participate


each year in order to contribute to the database that analyses bird population changes, territory shifts, etc. This is an annual event that takes place across the Western Hemisphere involving people from the Arctic to Antarctica between December 15 and January 5. This massive effort of data collection started in the year 1900 as a holiday game to see who could count the most birds in their native habitat in the northeastern states. An individual with a passion for birds wanted to break the tradition of the popular “side hunt” where Yuletide revelers would head out with their guns to see who could shoot the most birds and drag them home in a bag. Thankfully that game lost its appeal and the Christmas Bird Count has provided 112 years of invaluable data. Florida birders get the thrill of high counts for their lists due to the large numbers of migratory species that winter here. A typical half-day count in the designated area that our group covers at Emeralda Marsh is 45-50 different

species and 700-800 individual birds. They range from the smallest, the Ruby-crowned Kinglet at just a hair over four inches in length, to the large American White Pelican that is 62 inches long with a wingspan of nine feet! To see a large raft of these big buoyant birds is nothing short of spectacular. Whether you are interested in taking part in a bird survey or just enjoying a day in Natural Florida, Emeralda Marsh Conservation Area is indeed a “jewel” to experience. I invite you to unplug your electronics and plug in to the natural experiences we have in our backyard – hope to see you there! For more information call the District’s Bureau of Operations at (386) 329-4404 or visit the site http://floridaswater.com/recreationguide/ and click on Emeralda Marsh in the alphabetical list of the recreation lands open to the public.

PULSE • WINTER 2012 | 13


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PULSE • WINTER 2012 | 15


Sponsored by One Flight Up Café

Writers One Flight Up is pleased to introduce a relative newcomer to the Tri-Cities as our featured writer. Mary C. Miller wandered into our midst about a year ago from south Florida and visited several times with WOFU in our One Flight Up meeting room. We quickly discovered that along with her writing talents Mary C. Miller Mary is a nationally known and published expert in the art of Bonsai and is the host of a prominent Website, www.bonsaimary.com. Mary has also been a guest columnist (Natural Florida) for Pulse the Magazine.

photo by Bill Casey

There was a long pause. “I am so sorry! I am a David Saunders, but I don’t know your Susan. You sounded like a friend who’s always playing practical jokes.” Katherine laughed and the conversation continued. “So, how do you like Miami?” “How long have you been there?” The chat was all very comfortable, but she was on a quest. On the very next call, Katherine finally spoke to her old friend. They immediately made that connection that true friends often do. Katherine shared the pain of losing her husband; Susan bragged about her kids. Both delighted, they made plans to visit.

We hope you enjoy her short-short story, “Signs.” A few days later, the phone rang. Signs: A Love Story by Mary C. Miller “Hi, is this David Saunders?” “Yes, it is.” “This is Katherine Connors in Miami. I’m a friend of Susan, is she there?” “Sorry, she’s in the shower. May I have her call you?” “That would be great. She may be shocked though, it’s been over twenty years.”

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16 | PULSE • WINTER 2012

“Katherine, this is the other David Saunders. I hope you don’t mind.” She recognized his voice right away, and could only smile. The conversation very comfortably picked up where they left off. They discussed the weather, Florida boating, likes and dislikes. So much in common, could it be a sign? The calls and emails came on a regular basis. Katherine was soon invited to lunch by “the other David.” As she drove the hour and a half to Boca Raton, she had no doubts – it felt good. David looked a little older than his email photo, but the

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"I guess you should know, I'm also a bit of a collector." long, gentle, impromptu hug made up for any other thoughts. It was all so easy, was it another sign? “Come on,” he said “the tomatoes are ripe and the orchids are blooming.” David was a plant aficionado, another fondness they shared. He continued, “I guess you should know, I’m also a bit of a collector.” Katherine giggled to herself. Collector? No one could have more stuff than I do. Maybe all of this really was a sign. Laughing and walking toward the house, they picked ripe tomatoes for sandwiches and chose one orchid to enjoy indoors. Katherine began to remember what it felt like to care. The side door opened into a small kitchen. It was packed...two refrigerators (one didn’t work), empty bottles in lines, and jars piled high. Noticing her surprise, David laughed “I told you I was a collector.” She shook her head and attributed the mess to his singleness. The tomato sandwiches were delicious. “I’d like to show you my collections. Mostly sports items, but I have some art work too.”

to four across – from the kitchen to the end of the hall. They were old and packed tightly. David led the way into a large living room. He was speaking, Katherine didn’t hear a word. From floor to ceiling, on every wall were posters, paintings and drawings – some framed, others not. Except for a narrow path, stacked cardboard boxes filled most of the square footage. David moved toward a small desk and a well worn leather chair in a hollowed out space in the center of the room. Along the way, he cleared the top of an old wooden crate (obviously her spot to sit.) Katherine was suddenly flushed with feelings ... shock, sadness, dismay and certainly disappointment. She still listened to his charismatic stories for almost an hour. Finding little to say, she feigned tiredness as a reason to leave. She didn’t have to pretend, she was emotionally exhausted. Suddenly quiet, David walked her back through his “collections” and out to her car. Without turning for a farewell embrace, Katherine forced a half smile, raised her hand as if to wave, and slowly drove away. They both knew, it was definitely a sign.

As they turned the corner, it was a bit dark, but immediately Katherine could see baseball bats stacked upright – three

Don’t forget to check www.writersoneflightup.com for details of the Writers One Flight Up Flash Fiction Contest, presented by Pisces Rising! Deadline is January 31, 2012 to submit your entry based on this visual prompt by local artist Lauren Graham Cunningham. FIRST PRIZE is “A Day in Mount Dora” • Cash Prizes for 2nd and 3rd Place

PULSE • WINTER 2012 | 17


tri-city tri-city kudoskudos Zabia poole | Life is tough enough if you’re a young man trying to compete in high school – to get ahead – to prepare yourself for a better future. Imagine how it would be if your parents failed to provide the basics of life for you – food, shelter and support. A home. Then sit down with Zabia Poole, a senior at Mount Dora High School who lived without a home or parental support and shuttled between friends, an uncle and grandmother since the age of 14. Ask him a question about his life and decisions he made in his early teens. Then sit back and get ready to be amazed.

Youth. The conference held in Pittsburgh with students from all over the U.S., required each student to speak about his/her experiences. When Zabia approached the microphone he was petrified – never having spoken in front of a group. He told me that he knew no one wanted to hear the details of his plight, his sorrows, the bad stuff. “You already know that,” he told the audience, “I’m here to tell you about the future and how I’m gonna change.” He brought the house down and subsequently walked away with a scholarship, one of only 15 awarded. But Zabia would be the first to tell you that he could Photo by Bill Casey

Zabia knew early on in his life that things weren’t going to work out for him and his younger sisters unless he took control. His single mom had more problems than she could handle, and Zabia quickly saw that she was not going to be a source of support or guidance. He moved his younger brother and sister out of the house, took on any part-time job he could find and tried to better his and their circumstances. But it’s not the details of the difficulties that Zabia has faced and overcome that makes the story of his young life so incredible. It’s his demeanor. His uncanny wisdom at the age of 18. His sense of calm and determination to make his life better. Zabia exudes a maturity that few people possess. He personifies a determination to be better, to do the right things and to make his world and the world of others a better place. In short, Zabia Poole is the gem, the jewel of life that gives us hope and restores our faith in the basic goodness of humankind. It’s no surprise that Zabia seeks a college education that will prepare him to help others. He wants to share with the world the love and support he has received. At an early age, Zabia learned that “people deserve the benefit of the doubt.” He holds no animosity toward his mother. She “did what she could. I just knew it wasn’t enough and that I had to get a grip on my own life.” When Zabia and I met he had just returned from a scholarship competition sponsored by the National Association for Education of Homeless Children and 18 | PULSE • WINTER 2012

Zabia Poole


“never have done this on his own.” He currently lives with the family of one of his high school buddies, Brian Hamm. I’ve met and listened to his guidance counselor, Susan Ricci, and his English teacher, Mike Archer who refers to Zabia as “an extraordinary young man.” And speaking for Pulse the Magazine, we think you will agree with us that Zabia Poole is well deserving of our Kudos. Camp challenge | “Most people don’t ever think twice about moving, the freedom and ease that motion generally comes with just doesn’t lend itself well to contemplating it. You don’t need to think, you can just do it. Think for a moment on a time when you couldn’t move in the normal way. ‘Why’ doesn’t matter. Just think about it for a moment. Now, jump ahead to when you were free to move again; a bit of a rush, isn’t it? That freedom of motion is an amazing thing...That is what the pool at Camp Challenge gives the campers. It’s why the pool’s so important. If you donate, that’s what you’re really giving. The ability to move freely. As one of the campers, I say ‘Thank you’.” This quote is from Aurelia McDonald, one of the Camp Challenge campers, a graduate of Mount Dora High School and now in college at Lake-Sumter Community College. She’s just one of the over 10,000 kids and adults who have used the pool located in Sorrento since its construction in 1959. Because of the age of the pool and the high cost of rehab, Camp Challenge now faces a “new challenge”... get funding for a new pool by October 2012. The funding needed, $250,000, will allow construction to be finished

Photo courtesy of Easter Seals

The Camp Challenge pool in 1965.

without interrupting one of the most valuable experiences for the Easter Seals campers. A south Florida philanthropist has established a $50,000 “Challenge Grant” to match dollar-for-dollar donations for the pool. With the Challenge Grant, the time is now to double your gift. Make your money work for you, for us, and for the Aurelias who have experienced the freedom of motion that we all take for granted. To help, please contact, Julie Wright, Easter Seals Florida 407.629.7881, ext. 12101 ... jwright@fl.easterseals.com or go to www.fl.easterseals.com/fundthepool To nominate an individual or business in the tri-city area for Kudos, email calvin@pulsethemagazine.com.

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Find out more & buy tickets at www.mountdoramusicfest.com • Follow us on Facebook! PULSE • WINTER 2012 | 19


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the green scene the green scene by Susan Green Jaillet | illustration by Jennifer Cahill Harper

From Partly Sunny to Partly Solar Florida is more the “Partly Sunny State” than the “Sunshine State.” We’re only fifth on the list of sunny states. Apalachicola averages 128 sunny days a year, Miami only 74. Another long-held myth bites the data reality dust. Even as the Partly Sunny State, one might think we’d be a leader in solar energy production. Not so. Florida has the fourth highest resident population, the fourth highest carbon footprint, and is the fifth highest producer of carbon dioxide. Our per capita residential energy consumption is among the highest, due mostly to summer air conditioning and winter electric heating devices. There is some good news on the horizon, though. Three Lake County schools–Fruitland Park, Carver Middle, and Leesburg Elementary–have each received a $90,000 SunSmart E-Shelter project award from the Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC), a part of the University of Central Florida. Only 90 Florida schools received similar awards. The schools that won these awards are emergency 22 | PULSE • WINTER 2012

shelter (E-Shelter) locations for their communities. They are also designated as Enhanced Hurricane Protection Area (EHPA) facilities. Each school will receive a 10-kilowatt photovoltaic solar panel system including battery storage to power critical items during disasters. So what does this mean to us? If we’re forced to seek emergency shelter and have access to a SunSmart E-Shelter, then we have a greater chance of having electrical power during a disaster. The project award funding came from the federal 2009 stimulus bill. In a win for the American solar industry, former governor Charlie Crist’s administration required that all E-shelter solar equipment be American made. The systems are designed to provide back-up power for shelters in times of emergencies and to contribute to school power usage in other times. Ultimately the program goal is to save the State of Florida tens of millions of dollars by using the sun to help power schools. For additional information on SunSmart Schools and E-Shelters, see their video at http://vimeo.com/32140280. In addition to the cost savings for energy usage, there is an even more important educational benefit for those


“What’s the use of a fine house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?” – Henry David Thoreau involved. The FSEC teacher training is a six-hour workshop featuring a multi-disciplinary approach involving science, technology, engineering, mathematics, reading, writing and social sciences. In turn, these specially trained teachers will work with students using the data collection website to access energy related data from photovoltaic systems. Accessing the website, students will read graphs as they compare and contrast data to determine the amount of energy produced from a particular photovoltaic array, as well as how to reduce energy use in their homes and schools. All of this meets the Sunshine State Standards, broad statements that determine what each child should learn at each grade level, and is ultimately measured by Florida’s Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT).

wiring are installed at her school. “Students are excited about the program and already asking questions about the red power switches in the classrooms.” Belcher also notes that learning can spread beyond the classroom – “being able to see the solar panels from the county road, which is a high traffic area for our community, parents and neighbors are sure to be curious and hopefully become more involved with the program thus learning about energy conservation and solar energy.” If we’re still idealistic, as I am, then we believe planting this seed of clean and renewable energy in the minds of our children is a great idea. Either way, it’s a win-win proposition. Change takes time. Plans and children both need nurturing. New ideas don’t just flourish overnight. Maybe the eminently quotable former Vice President Dan Quayle said it best – “It’s time for the human race to enter the solar system.” You can contact Susan Green Jaillet at greenongreen2@ comcast.net

Susan Schleith, FSEC program manager had this to say. “EHPA (Enhanced Hurricane Protection Area) shelters are constructed (or modified) in a fortified manner. By placing solar (photovoltaic) systems at these locations, we can help to ensure that they [the shelters] are operational for longer periods and that more people are served by the systems. “Most shelters have gasoline or diesel generators; while these generators are fairly reliable and produce a substantial amount of energy, they can have supply chain issues. During some disasters, it has been difficult to get petroleum fuel to shelter sites to keep those generators going. Solar (photovoltaic) systems allow shelters to elect power from the sun without the need for a supply chain. This project demonstrates the feasibility of using solar with battery back-up as a clean alternative to gasoline and/or diesel powered generators.” Kimberly Belcher, Science and Math Coach at Fruitland Park Elementary, reports that the electronic panels and PULSE • WINTER 2012 | 23


L t . D aniel K eel and the

T U S KEG E E A I R M E N [ a recollection ]

by Ella paets, Ed.D | photography by Steven p. hlavac 24 | PULSE • WINTER 2012


EDITOR’S NOTE: This conversation between Tuskegee Airman Lt. Daniel Keel (Ret.) and Pulse writer Ella Paets took place prior to the release of George Lucas’ movie blockbuster, “Red Tails.”  The movie portrays the role of the Tuskegee Airmen in the WW ll European air theater and is filled with action-packed cinematography whereas Lt. Keel’s conversation with Ella covers his personal experiences and training in Texas. WW ll ended May 5, 1945. Lt. Keel completed his training October 16, 1945, and therefore did not see combat.  Lt. Daniel Keel, WW II veteran, Tuskegee Airman and American hero flashes an impish grin as he faces me and recounts his wartime achievements.  A folksy storyteller, Daniel carries me along with him telling me about his personal victories over the deplorable racial prejudice he encountered while serving in our Armed Forces as a member of the famed Tuskegee Airmen.  “To begin flight training when I did,” says Daniel Keel, “an Airman had to have two years of college and pass a written exam. Many of the Tuskegee Airmen already had college degrees and those who met that standard were sent to basic training.  Following basic training, we were required to pass two stiff exams that lasted a total of twelve hours.”  Daniel faced the exam with 300 other Airmen candidates.  Only thirty of them passed and were sent to Tuskegee Institute, Tuskegee, Alabama for additional training. The Tuskegee Airmen assigned to overseas combat were placed under the command of Colonel William Momyer, who according to Daniel, “didn’t want them and did everything in his power to have them disqualified and disbanded.”  Momyer was under attack from his superiors because the bombers he sent into battle returned with heavy losses inflicted by the German fliers. Momyer received command of the Tuskegee Airmen and charged them with protecting the bombers. His expectation was that the heavy losses would continue and the Black Airmen would receive the blame.  The squadron leader of the Airmen, Lt. Colonel Benjamin Davis, Jr., understood Momyer’s behavior but knew why the losses occurred.  “You see,” Daniel confided, “every fighter pilot in those days wanted to be an Ace, someone who shot down five or more enemy planes.  When

bombers came under attack, the fighter pilots drove the enemy fighters away but then set after the enemy trying to make extra kills. By doing so, they left the bombers unprotected and vulnerable.”  Davis forbade the airmen to take the bait and threatened to court-martial any Airman who left his assigned bomber unprotected.  As more bombers returned safely from combat, the white bomber pilots soon valued the protection of the Tuskegee Airmen.  According to military records, approximately 900 Airmen received their wings, 400 were sent into battle. Sixty-six were killed in action and 32 were taken as POWs. Daniel was sent to Tuskegee for training as a pilot expecting to complete training and receive the rank of Second Lieutenant.  At Tuskegee, however, it was determined that navigators were needed more than pilots.  Daniel successfully completed his training, and received his navigator wings but not his promised appointment as a Second Lieutenant.   Daniel’s flight instructor outlined an alternate path to secure his promotion.   He needed to be trained as a navigator for a medium bomber.  Medium bombers required that the navigator be dual-trained as a bombardier and bombardiers had to have the rank of Second Lieutenant.  Therefore, Daniel was sent to Midland, Texas, for training as a bombardier.  To receive his Lieutenant’s bars, he had to maintain an 85 average combining class work with flight training. Daniel knew the flight training would be easy for him. The class work would prove to be a problem, but not because of his capabilities.  Daniel warms to his tale as he recalls, “It’s the first Monday in October 1944 when we arrive in Midland and Lt. Colonel Phelps meets us. He immediately tells us that he was born in Texas, raised in Texas and he expects to die in Texas.  And if we Negroes didn’t know our place while

“…slide under the door on your rear…and sing the Negro National Anthem…" PULSE • WINTER 2012 | 25


we were in the state of Texas, he would spell it out for us in detail.”   At this point Daniel’s voice deepens to mimic Phelps. “You are not allowed into the Officers’ Mess or the Officers’ Club.  In the theatre, you are not allowed in the Officers’ Section.  If you take the bus into town, you ride in the back.”  While listening to Lt. Colonel Phelps’ commands, Daniel heard his chances for success crash to the ground.  Obeying the detested orders, the men went to the Cadet Mess Hall for their first meal and waited for service.  Other cadets came in, were served and left as the entire dinner period passed with the Tuskegee Airmen ignored. Frustrated and angry, the entire group stormed into the Officers’ Mess.  Upon hearing the Airmen’s complaint, mess personnel apologized to them, and treating them with the respect and dignity they deserved, served their meals.   Early the next morning, however, Lt. Colonel Phelps invaded the Airmen’s quarters and demanded an explanation. After listening to their story, he announced his intention to court-martial the entire class of twentyseven men for disobeying his orders.    Daniel leans toward me, pauses for effect and continues. “One of my roommates, Savoy, says that if we’re going to be court-martialed let it not be by a Lt. Colonel. It would look better on our record if it were a General.”  “So, Savoy writes a letter of explanation to the General in charge of the southwest section, General Barton K. Yount, and brings it to me for my signature.  I notice the letter’s not signed and ask Savoy if the other men have read the letter, whether they agree with the letter, and why had they not signed it.  He admits that the Airmen were waiting to see who would sign it first because that person would be considered the ringleader and would come under the greatest attack by Phelps.  Knowing this, I signed the letter first and stepped inside a very personal battlefield.”   By Friday of the same week, General Yount was on the base.  He met with the white

26 | PULSE • WINTER 2012

officers and ordered them “to treat the Negro officers with the same dignity and the same privileges as any other officer on the base.”  Discussion followed and became so heated that fistfights broke out among the officers. General Yount quelled the disturbance when he ordered the playing of the National Anthem which brought all officers to attention.  After the General departed, Daniel heard that Phelps’ final words to the white officers were a threat to get even with the Negro airmen “if it were the last thing he ever did.” Lt. Colonel Phelps quickly lashed out at the Airmen by ordering a full gas-mask drill, a grueling task that involved only Daniel’s class.  Held indoors, with outside temperatures of 110 degrees in the shade, the men were required to wear a full-face gas mask for four hours, from 1 to 5 p.m. Once inside his scorching barracks, Daniel cleverly locked the doors, forcing Phelps to ask permission before entering. When Daniel heard someone beating on the door, he knew it had to be Phelps hoping to catch the men no longer wearing the stifling masks.  Asked by Daniel to identify himself, the infuriated Phelps refused and Daniel refused entry to an unidentified person.  After three attempts to get Phelps to identify himself and request entry, one of the men yelled out, “Damn it to hell, if you can’t identify yourself, I suggest that you urinate on the floor, slide under the door on your rear and, please, while you’re doing so, sing the Negro National Anthem.”  When the furious officer identified himself, he was


“I was just trying to outwit and outmaneuver them." granted access.  Quickly apologizing, Daniel told Phelps, “I thought it was a classmate playing a trick on the men.� Seeing that the men in Daniel’s quarters were not wearing their gas masks, Phelps immediately ordered their court-martial.  It was Savoy who spoke up reminding Phelps that Army regulations required only a semi-annual full gas mask drill and that specific drill had been carried out three weeks earlier.  Daniel felt Phelps’ hard grip again when their final exam papers were returned. With a perverse smile, the Lt. Col. admitted he lost Daniel’s final exam paper and required him to retake the test. But on a retake of the written exam, the highest score allowable would only be a seventy. Fortunately Daniel’s high score in flight training brought his final average to eighty-nine, four points above what he needed to pass. He was one of only three of his twenty-seven classmates who had escaped Phelps’ revenge. Daniel’s military training ended in October 1945 and he became the first Black triple-rated flying officer certified as a pilot, a bombardier and a navigator.  

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In 2007, Daniel and each of the Tuskegee Airmen received a congressional Gold Medal.  In 2008, the remaining Tuskegee Airmen each received an invitation to attend the inauguration of President Obama. Daniel was there, proud to be part of another historical event. Daniel, now 89, delivers his final words from his comfortable Clermont home, “I was just trying to outwit and outmaneuver them. That’s all I was trying to do.�

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John Schroeder:

Triple Threat by Ella paets, Ed.D | photo by Steve Williams 30 | PULSE • WINTER 2012


I’m hunched over the potter’s wheel, struggling with a small lump of clay that threatens to prove more powerful than my grasping hands. I am attempting to “center” the clay.  There is a separate language you use for working with clay. If the clay lump is not “centered,” placed evenly in the center of your wheel, you cannot “throw” a pot. You don’t make a piece of pottery – you “throw a pot.”  John Schroeder, ceramics teacher extraordinaire, moves to my side.  “Do you want help?” he asks. “No,” I brusquely respond “I want to do it myself.”  In the past when I could not manage the grey wet mass John has placed his hands over mine, allowing me to feel the changing clay as it reforms into a bowl. This time, I struggle on – by myself.  Suddenly it happens – my clay is centered and it spins like silk between my fingers.    This is not my first attempt at using the potter’s wheel.  Over the years, I have tried many times to master it.  This time I am successful and John Schroeder is the reason I am able to sweet-talk my clay into behaving and following my hands.       John seats himself at a vacant potter’s wheel next to mine, slams an exceedingly large lump of clay onto the wheel and begins to work. Like a small boy playing with mud he effortlessly turns that gray mass into an elegant vase.  Once again, this virtuoso of the potter’s wheel needs only a few minutes to create something beautiful. Teapot, tankard or vase, John throws them all and furnishes each with sinuous spout or delicate handle to conjure-up the richness of royalty.    John teaches pottery at the Mount Dora Center for the Arts. His current class is small, just two kids and me.  The three of us, draped over our wheels, are working the clay. Whenever my recalcitrant mound refuses to submit, John is beside me quickly, helping me over a rough spot and then I am flying solo once again.  Explaining the nature of clay to us, John makes sure we turn mistakes into learning experiences. A collective gasp is heard from us the day John cut one of his just completed soup bowls in half to show us the proper thickness for the pottery wall.  Aiden, my eleven year-old classmate says about John, “Teaching just comes to him so naturally. The way he teaches makes so much sense. The

way he explains it. My bowls are getting bigger. I definitely see my progress.”  When he was only six, John knew that someday he was going to be an artist. His family relocated, and in a closet of the new house, he found a bag of clay.  His creativity quickly emerged and  under John’s young hands, the clay morphed into an alligator. And John liked what he had made.  By constantly bombarding his high school ceramics teacher with questions, John broadened his knowledge about pottery and ceramics. While still in high school, he assisted his teacher in a booth at the prestigious Sawdust Art Festival in Laguna Beach, California. John also worked at the pottery demonstration booth, throwing pots before the gathering observers. He soon expanded his skills by constructing artists’ display booths, never thinking it would lead to another career.  While living in California, John earned his contractor’s license, giving him a second career in the building field. 

John Schroeder, a “Clay Master and Bird Whisperer”

It was only because John was a contractor that he and Harley, his snowy white Cockatoo, became a duo.  Working on a construction job, John was in a lumber yard purchasing building materials. Mon Ami, his pet cockatoo at that time was content, riding around the busy store on John’s shoulder. Another shopper, intrigued by the pair, began questioning John about  his pet.  Their conversation continued until the other pet owner revealed that she had to put Harley, her daughter’s pet cockatoo, up for adoption.  She offered the bird to John who was not sure he was willing to adopt Harley, knowing so little about him. Willing to try, John made the adoption contingent upon Mon Ami and Harley getting along.  The beginning was somewhat rough.  Both birds needed a great deal of attention, and John knew that an angry cockatoo could do serious damage to a human. But, the natural order in the house settled in and the three of them soon adapted to each other.  Continued on Page 45

PULSE • WINTER 2012 | 31


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just shoes by Erica mcfarland | photo by marc vaughn

Lifelong Eustis resident Robert Dunston has been working with shoes since the sixth grade when his mother got him a job shining shoes at a local business. That job turned into a career when he began to apprentice with L.B. Moore in the 1950s, the original owner of the Shoe Hospital. The work was steady at a time when jobs were scarce, and Dunston appreciated the opportunity to learn. Now seventy-eight years old, his time spent cobbling over half a century has spanned the life of his three daughters, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. 34 | PULSE • WINTER 2012


While the shoes are piled up in a seemingly haphazard fashion… Dunston remembers each with ease. Dunston can remember when the Tri-City area was filled with small shops like his own. Now, in a time when big corporations dot the landscape, Dunston’s Shoe Hospital is one of the few continuances from that time, standing on the corner of Magnolia Street and Orange Avenue as it has for decades. Still he runs his business under the same principles he always has: hard work and quality craftsmanship. “Just turn out the best work that I can and use the best material,” Dunston says, explaining why he’s been able to stay in business all these years. “I never try to keep a count of it. As long as I stay busy all day long. Some days are good; according to the type of work I’m doing, it makes a difference.” To Dunston, customers become friends. They stop in first to get their shoes repaired, but they keep coming back because Dunston’s shop is a little respite from a world far too concerned with the quick and easy. “I give time where others don’t,” Dunston explains. “If I get a job, I always brush it up and clean it off. Then I do shining on black and brown if people want it done. It doesn’t look the same as it did when it comes in. I want to make it look decent because that’s what you brought it in for – to get it fixed.” He demands quality from products he buys for himself, and thus would never want to extend anything less to people he considers "family." As Dunston makes me take off my stiletto heel so he can examine it, I think it’s not just his dedication, but his knowledge of the materials he works with that makes him a success. He tells me my shoe has a good leather upper, but that the rubberized sole is made of thinner material than he’d prefer. Motioning for me to follow him further into the shop, he begins to show me examples of the types of rubber used in shoeing and how he would repair the shoe once I’ve worn it down. “It’s a different process for every job,” he says. Though he might be surrounded by machines, Dunston prefers to trust in his own skills over that of machinery. He does most of his work by hand, taking time on each shoe. “You’ve got to start it off by hand. The machines

are just for finishing,” he tells me, gesturing to the bulky equipment that he uses to turn out elegant repairs. “You got your polishers, your grinders, and you got your sanders. For the big machines, you got your stitching machines. For patchwork, to fix your uppers, you got your patching [machine].” Looking wistfully at me, he describes the bygone days when shoes were made completely of leather, before manmade materials became the standard. A pair of shoes then could last you ten years. “I’d rather pay more for something that’s going to last,” he says. I watch as several customers come and go, picking up and dropping off shoes. The constant influx makes my head spin; as a shoe lover my eyes are perpetually wide from the countless cute pairs. While the shoes are piled up in his shop in a seemingly haphazard fashion, lining almost every surface, Dunston remembers each with ease. This is thanks in part to his “personal filing system” of paper tickets on which he writes the date the shoe came in, the person’s name, and what he needs to repair. It is a system he has perfected over years of working with just him and his wife, Dorothy, in the shop. His life is an amalgamation of time spent with his family and the work he does with shoes and in that, Dunston is most happy. “Just shoes,” he says, when asked what his hobbies are. He claims he’s “not capable of retirement.” He has found a career that lets him use the knowledge he’s gained over the years, from how to replace heel caps, repair stitches, change out the sole of a shoe, and onwards. “Long as God gives me strength to,” he says, he’ll keep the Shoe Hospital open. I hear him tell another customer, “If you catch me in here and the light’s on that means I’m working. You’re welcome to come in then because I leave the door open.” It is in this vein that Dunston does not keep a telephone in his shop. “I’d never get anything done,” he tells me. Continued on Page 45 PULSE • WINTER 2012 | 35


…images, like books, have stories to tell…

Linger Awhile by Jeanne Fluegge | photography provided by JEFF PHILLIPS

36 | PULSE • WINTER 2012


Poised for liftoff, a luminous spacecraft waits for the journey to begin. Metal and machinery slice Florida’s night sky in Jeff Phillips’ photograph of the Space Shuttle Challenger's launch site, but this is only part of what we’re meant to see. Our eyes drift downward to an ordinary scene in the forefront of the launch pad to the scattered pickup trucks littering the lot where yellowed "Standing Tall" tufts of grass creep along the earth. At the edge of a dark field, we discover the lone figure that looks like a mall security guard rather than a protector of rocket ships. And, finally, we see the surprise that tethers technology to humanity – a portable outhouse, squat and solid looking reminding us that space travel is still a human story after all.

The little figure is what Jeff calls his "Easter eggs:" things not noticed at first – the jarring and out of place. It might be a bird flying next to the flames and smoke at liftoff or a dark brooding hole in the center of Manhattan’s pink streaked skyline. Again and again, Jeff’s work invites viewers to take their time and find the unexpected.

This Jeff Phillips image compels us to linger awhile to discover its story.

Picture an underwater photographer weighted down with camera, lenses and strobes. His fins are in constant motion, his eyes alert, waiting for a great white shark to swim next to the model in his viewfinder, and you have Jeff’s next challenge.

You won’t see many of Jeff’s photographs displayed at All About Images, his digital imaging shop in Mount Dora. Instead, you’ll see the work of several local photographers hanging on the walls. His sleek shop has the sophistication of a small art museum, and, like Jeff, it is casualcontemporary and minimalist in style. All About Images opened in 2010 in the space once occupied by Dickens Reed bookstore. There is an irony in this because images, like books, have stories to tell: the restored pictures of brides and grooms dewy with wedding day expectations, long ago people forever bursting with youthful vitality, wildlife captured in mid-action and ordinary people caught in dramatic moments. Creating evocative images is Jeff’s passion. This is not to say his pictures are crafted. He likes to find unique new angles and different approaches that no one else has discovered and record what’s authentically there. Collectors from all over the world buy his hand-printed launch images on display at the Kennedy Space Center. These collectors love his work and send him notes and emails in appreciation of his style. In the photograph “Standing Tall,” you see the shadow of a person standing at attention at the base of a sunlit space capsule, and somehow that little figure looks like a symbol for who Americans really are.

On every trip to New York, Jeff’s ritual is to photograph the Flatiron building at different angles and in different times and weather. The pie-shaped skyscraper looks like the prow of a ship cutting through traffic at the intersection of Fifth Avenue and Broadway. Since it was built in 1902 famous photographers such as Edward Steichen and Alfred Stieglitz have turned it into an iconic image of Manhattan. Jeff was floored when bump outs along the Flatiron’s sides were visible in close up shots that he’d taken backlighted by the setting sun. “Who knew,” he says with a happy grin, “that the Flatiron building isn’t really flat?”

"Flatiron"

The idea took shape when he saw a great white shark lashed to a platform alongside a research boat. The scientists examining the huge fish resembled ants swarming on a hot dog bun. Setting the movie "Jaws" aside, Jeff says no one has captured a shark’s size underwater before. His plan is to pose a model (the lone ant on the hot dog bun) next to a twentyfoot shark to demonstrate their difference in scale. It really doesn’t matter whether you look at Jeff’s images of giant fish or space shuttles or a lone bird carrying one of nature’s flags in its beak, his work always tells a story. When I see his stunning huge prints unroll across a long work table, I only catch brief snapshots of what life had been about in a particular moment, in a particular place. Then, like stars blinking on at dusk, the curious details in every photograph clamor for my attention. Before I know it, I’m lingering over each new image composing my personal version of the story Jeff hoped I’d see. PULSE • WINTER 2012 | 37


Darren Chiacchia takes “Better I Do It” over a Stadium Jump at Rocking Horse Stables (2-21-08). He subsequently rode “Better I Do It” for the US Olympic Team in the Pan Am Games.

Olympics...in Altoona? by beth hughes | photo provided by kathryn neiman, rocking horse stables

Well, not really the Olympics, but definitely Olympic trials. Every winter, dozens of internationally known, worldclass riders descend on Central Florida to compete in the sport of Equestrian Eventing. During this time, Rocking Horse Stables in Altoona hosts four major horse shows featuring Eventing. This year should prove especially interesting since many of these riders are vying for a chance to ride on their respective country’s Olympic Equestrian Eventing Team at the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games. The shows at Rocking Horse Stables will be among the first 2012 shows used to determine who will be selected for the U.S. Eventing Team. Equestrian sports are the only Olympic sports where men and women compete as equals. Male and female 38 | PULSE • WINTER 2012

horses are also seen as equally capable competitors. Age doesn’t really matter much either. Bruce Davidson, a four-time U. S. team member and medalist, is competing with the best of them at the ripe young age of 62. Each horse and rider combination must complete all three phases of the Eventing competition with the winner being the pair with the lowest total penalty score for all three phases. The first phase of competition is Dressage, which is French for “training.” Many liken dressage to a ballet on horseback. The horses and riders are judged on perfecting the execution of a set pattern of movements and geometrical patterns demonstrated at the walk, trot and canter. Spectators can witness some extraordinary footwork at the highest levels of dressage. The purpose


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The second phase of Eventing is the adrenaline-pumping Cross Country – think motocross on horseback. Since time is a factor, competitors must gallop across acres of open fields clearing a variety of obstacles along the way. Much like a Road Rally, the rider must complete the course within an allotted time span or penalties will be given for going too slow or too fast. If a horse refuses a jump or obstacle, a penalty is also assessed. This phase of Eventing demonstrates speed, strength, jumping ability and control. It is also the most exciting to watch and the favorite of most competitors and spectators.

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of dressage is to demonstrate the level of training and harmony in movement achieved between a rider and mount. Unlike jumping, this first phase is judged subjectively by one or more officials.

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The last phase of Eventing is Stadium Jumping. Each pair must negotiate a course of jumps in a designated pattern within the allowed time. Unlike Cross Country jumps, Stadium Jumps are not solid obstacles and the jump rails can be knocked down with the brush of a horse’s hoof. A simple mistake in timing or an approach to a fence could result in a rail down and add penalty points. Like Cross Country, the competitors are required to complete the course within the allowed time, and penalties are given for refusals. The objective in stadium jumping is to demonstrate that the horse has the stamina to cleanly jump the easily dislodged rails after having galloped over the Cross Country course the previous day. Among those competing at Rocking Horse are husband and wife team David and Karen O’Connor of The Plains, VA. They are medal winners who have represented the U.S. on many occasions at the Olympics, Pan American Games and World Equestrian Games. David was an individual gold medal winner at the Sydney (Australia) games in 2000 and is now stepping up as the chef d’quipe (head coach) of the U. S. Equestrian team. He coached

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Meet Marvin by MIKE RATRIE | photography by steve williams

It all starts with the ingredients. Think internationally. Think how each ingredient imparts a singular diversity. The core ingredients in this recipe are from Belgium, Germany and the U.S. Add a strong mixture of Old World cultural sensibility and New World pizzazz. Next, throw in hands skilled in styling hair and make-up for the stars, creating jewelry, fashion, and food. Finally, use a creative mind focused on how things will not only taste, but also look, and what do you get?

CHOCOLATES! 42 | PULSE • WINTER 2012


Dark, milk, white, fruity, crunchy, or smooth, these chocolates give a visual, olfactory and gustatory temptation that is the greatest of all sugary delights – Sugar High, here we come! But this story is not just about the sweets, it’s more about the man behind the chocolate, Marvin Lynch!

and knotting each hair, strand-by-strand. This focus on detail would help him later. Graduating in the late 80’s – still part of the “go-go” era – he started a hair and makeup salon that dovetailed neatly with an older brother’s photography. Marvin found success with 260 clients, some of whom were traveling three or more hours to his salon.

Who? Marvin Lynch, the creative and production chocolatier for the Mount Dora Confectionary on Donnelly Street just below 5th Avenue. Think of him as our own Willy Wonka. Born in Belgium to an American father and a German mother, Marvin grew up in Frankfurt, Germany. From there, his unique blend of education, encompassing many European cultures, absorbing a wide range of culinary skills and fashion ideas has landed him smack in the center of Mount Dora making exquisite chocolate delights. His cooking skills he learned as a boy by watching his mother and grandmother making meals from scratch – no recipes – no processed foods. Like a sponge, he absorbed their collective experiences and received hands-on instructions, “a little of this, a bit more of that, fold ingredients like so.” As part of a NATO-family, he traveled the Continent. Escargot from France, seafood and pasta dishes from Italy’s Piedmont, Austrian desserts – dishes that became favorites. Pulling a scientific exactness from his father’s engineering background he coupled these experiences with his own intuitive approach to create his own dishes – whenever he got the chance. Did he make a direct leap from acquiring these skills to making chocolates? No. As with any journey detours and bypasses abound. Marvin spent his first years as a young man studying hair styling and make-up application in demanding German schools. As part of his final exam, he made a wig from scratch – from constructing the netting base to inserting

But Marvin’s dreams were calling. Though still unknown to him, the chocolate in Mount Dora was beckoning. The result? Marvin landed in Los Angeles. Wait – Los Angeles? Yes, there were more detours since the path to Mount Dora is not always a direct one (as this writer well knows). The young salon owner dreamed of going to Hollywood and performing his craft on the “beautiful people” in the movies. He wanted to style the stars, but would the stars want him? After paying his dues in the world’s image-making capital, Marvin found himself in demand hustling from catalog photo-shoots to reality-show locations in the South Pacific. In spite of success, he realized his creative muscles needed a different exercise. Experimenting with fashion accessories, like watch bands and belts, led Marvin to explore a different creative facet – jewelry, bringing his detailing skills into play. When a theft of his best pieces also stole his creative desire, he returned to the cooking of his childhood. This time however, he was the chef, not the student. Still unknown to him the chocolate in Mount Dora kept beckoning and the agent that brought him to Central Florida was love. While visiting his fiancée Shaimayne’s mother in Mount Dora and staying at the Lakeside Inn, Marvin suddenly blurted, “Let’s move here.” So in two months, the creative chef/jewelry maker/hair stylist – with no job and no job prospects, moved to a 5-acre farmette near Eustis. It turns out he had all he needed. After a year, he and Shaimayn moved into a house in Mount Dora. When she suggested Marvin go in her place to interview for a position working as a clerk at the candy store, he gave her a “why not” shrug, set out for the PULSE • WINTER 2012 | 43


…these chocolates give a visual, olfactory and gustatory temptation that is the greatest of all sugary delights… interview and got the job. Now, there was a creative genius looking for a new adventure – being exposed to candy on a regular basis. Soon, Marvin asked store owner Akhtar Hussain if he could make some chocolates for the store. Akhtar offered two trays in the display case. Did I mention he had never made chocolates before? Never.

When you ask your first question about one of these sweet gems, Marvin breaks into a smile covering his entire face, then begins to draw you into his chocolate world. “Yes,” he answers, “it’s made by hand, from scratch and of the finest ingredients.” But each piece has more. Each piece contains the work of a true artist, one who enjoys seeing his art consumed – literally. And yes, he knows that eventually, he will have to recreate his art for the enjoyment of the public.

Now, he was in the grip of the beckoning chocolate. And today, Marvin’s handmade chocolates fill both display cases in the Mount Dora Confectionary.

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Schroeder, continued from Page 31

Harley, an adult cockatoo, would be the alpha animal in any household. On a visit to my home with John, Harley marched into my living room and barely glanced at my two cats who were stiff with distrust. Scooter, my 20-pound male, decided on flight rather than fight and vacated the room, allowing Harley to strut undisturbed for the rest of the evening.  John will quickly acknowledge, “Everything I have learned about birds, I have learned from Harley.”  So here he is – John Schroeder, ceramic artist, contractor, bird whisperer – Mount Dora is his workshop.  Welcome, John.

Quality Printing at an affordable price

John Schroeder can be reached at the Ceramics Dept., Mount Dora Center for the Arts, 138 East 5th Avenue, Mount Dora 32757.

shoes, continued from Page 35

What’s most important to him is being able to talk to the customers who are in the shop, to build that personal interaction without distractions. The shop is closed on the weekends, but Monday through Friday you can find Dunston at work. He encourages people to stop by and see what the shop is about, knowing that once you see the work he does, you’ll want to come back again. Perhaps like me, you will consider your time there like a small dose of shoe nirvana. Hopefully, Eustis will have Dunston for years to come. “You’re always welcome to come back again,” Dunston tells me, and I think I’ll take him up on that offer.

altoona, continued from Page 39

the Canadian team to several victories in past years. You may also get to watch Great Britain’s Leslie Law ride a few rounds. Leslie was an Olympic individual champion in Athens, Greece, in 2004. Other notable riders are: Darren Chiacchia (U.S.), Peter Atkins (Australia), Kyle Carter (Canada) and even Bruce Davidson’s son, Buck Davidson. Buck represented the U.S. last summer in the Pan Am Games. There are also sure to be many up-and-comers vying for their chance to make the team.

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This season, Rocking Horse Stables show dates are January 27-29, February 17-19, March 2-4 and March 31-April 1. More information is available at www.rockinghorseht.com. There is no fee to attend. Volunteer opportunities may also be available. Check the website for more details. PULSE • WINTER 2012 | 45


352.636.6336 46 | PULSE • WINTER 2012

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Fun

Theto locals’ downtown’s guide unique places. and tasteful inspiration can always be found at

The Gourmet Spot. Their vast selection of award-winning foods, specialty kitchenware and artisan entertaining pieces makes them a favorite among locals and visitors. This quaint shop always brings a smile.

E xplore the town’s best selection of wines

‘buy’ the glass or bottle at The Wine Den, a unique combination of wine bar and wine shop. ‘First Friday Wine Tastings’ and 3rd Friday ‘Yappy Hours’ are big local favorites. Their seasonal megawine tastings draw visitors from near and far.

The ultimate pampering experience

awaits at Synergy Salonspa. This full service, ultra-modern salonspa features a relaxing couple’s massage room and self-sanitizing pedicure chairs. It’s the perfect place for a refreshing new style or a renewing spa treatment.

411 N. Donnelly St., Mount Dora TheGourmetSpot.com 352.735.4777

48 | PULSE • WINTER 2012

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Pulse Winter 2012