Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Retirement Communities Have Long Storied Pasts (Part Two of Two)


In part one of this blog, I talked about my love of history and the interesting discoveries I made about Front Porch communities when I became communications director seven years ago. I talked about our oldest retirement community Fredericka Manor and its association with the inventor of the roller bearing Henry Timken. I talked about Wesley Palms and its connection with famed horticulturist Kate Sessions. I also talked about Kingsley Manor, one of Hollywood’s first retirement communities and how it was built before the town was known for its soundstages and back lots.

For part two, I’ll continue the journey and talk about a retirement community that was at one time the playground for Hollywood’s elite, made famous by some very special water.

Although Carlsbad By The Sea celebrates 12 years as a luxury state-of-the-art retirement community, it has a long history of not only serving seniors but also for being a world class destination for some of Hollywood’s biggest stars and military families.

The Carlsbad-California Mineral Springs Hotel opened in the late 1880s. Back then, according to a newspaper article in the San Diego Union, the resort offered hot and cold mineral and fresh water baths. The four-story hotel, with 85 guest rooms, boasted full furnishings “with all modern conveniences,” reported the San Diego Union in 1890.

Guests were charged $2 per day with special rates for families. A hotel brochure informed guests: “The Carlsbad waters come forth from the bosom of nature. Already many arise and call the American Carlsbad blessed.”

Visitors from across the country made their way to Carlsbad lured by the community’s charm. Celebrities like Greta Garbo and the Barrymore family made frequent visits in the 1930s when a second hotel offered Swedish massage.

The hotel suffered tough times during the Depression but saw a boon during World War II when the hotel was filled to capacity with families of military officers who were stationed at nearby Camp Pendleton.

In 1956, Lutheran Services bought the hotel and transformed it into a retirement community which offered residents the same resort-like services. In 1964, California Lutheran Homes acquired the property. By the early 1990s, CLH decided to raise the old buildings and begin anew. Taking its cues from the luxury hotel it once was, the new Carlsbad By The Sea which opened in 1999 replicates the unique mission style architecture of the original structure.

Let’s move from California to Louisiana and Florida for some history about Cecil Pines and England Oaks. These two adult living communities have a unique history. Unique, because they were the first retirement communities in the history of the US to be housed on former military bases.

The pioneering idea to create retirement communities from former officer military housing on these two bases was the brainchild of Front Porch partner, California Lutheran Homes and Community Services. It was originally known as Alexandria Army Air Base when it opened on October 21, 1942 in Alexandria, Louisiana. On June 23, 1955, it was renamed England Air Force Base in honor of Lt. Col. John Brooke England, commander of the 389th Fighter Bomber Squadron, who died in a F-86 crash while in France.

In 1992, England Air Force Base was officially closed and California Lutheran Homes and Community Services, leased the land in 1996 and began an exciting renovation of the former officer housing and landscape, resulting in England Oaks Adult Living Community. One hundred-year-old oak and almond trees still provide shade to residents.

Cecil Pines has a similar story. Commissioned in June, 1941 as Cecil Naval Air Field, activity at the base ramped up later that year following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. And in the early 1960s, it was RF-8 Crusaders from VFP-62 out of Cecil Field that detected the presence of missiles and monitored the Soviet buildup during the Cuban Missile Crisis. But after almost 50 years of service, California Lutheran Homes and Community Services once again leased the land and in 2000 opened Cecil Pines Adult Living Community which still houses military families, many of whom were stationed and lived at the base.

Moving back to California, the city of Claremont is the home to seven world class institutions of higher learning known collectively as the Claremont Colleges. The city is also home to Claremont Manor Retirement Community. How are the two connected? Well, Russell K. Spitzer, the founder of Spitzer College, was the cousin of Lee Spitzer, a prominent Claremont citrus rancher who donated the 10-acre site on which Claremont Manor Retirement Community now stands. In fact, with dedication ceremonies planned for April 30, 1949, it was Pitzer who took matters into his own hands when he realized just days before dedication ceremonies the community was “surrounded by black dirt, blacker mud and some orange trees.” With a sledge and a team of ranch horses Spitzer, by the Saturday afternoon of the dedication, had smoothed a road from Harrison Avenue south to the front entrance of the Manor.

With glorious flower arrangements from local Claremont businesses adorning the third-floor hall, Claremont Manor was officially born. During the remainder of 1949, the original “Lords and Ladies of the Manor” lived without the amenities of sidewalks and contended with, as one resident put it, “dust when dry and mud when wet.” But the residents numbered 177 by the end of that year, and according to one account, “kept arriving as fast as their rooms were ready. Each new improvement was greeted with joy.”

My final look back at the history of Front Porch communities is my personal favorite … the story of a retirement community located on one of the most picturesque locations on the California coastline – Casa de Mañana in La Jolla.

Casa de Mañana first opened not as a retirement community but as Hotel Casa de Mañana in 1924. The hotel was the dream of Mrs. Isabel Morrison Hopkins. On one sunny La Jolla day while visiting her mother nearby, the Colorado native stood high above the cliffs overlooking the Pacific and envisioned an elegant, luxurious hotel harmoniously situated on the edge of the sea. What Mrs. Hopkins would soon create was much more than a hotel - she created a legend. On July 4, 1924, Hotel Casa de Mañana had its grand opening and the 'House of Tomorrow' began an incredible legacy that continues today.

On that day, the new electric railroad line inaugurated its route between San Diego and La Jolla and the first street lights were installed on Prospect Avenue – two “historic” events that coincided with Casa’s grand opening. Overlooking the sea with picturesque arches, tiled roofs and authentic Spanish architecture (features that still remain today), Casa de Mañana quickly became the social hub of La Jolla.

Social events at Casa ran the gamut from weddings to banquets to civic and social club luncheons to concerts, poetry readings by noted artists and musicians of the day. A headline from La Jolla Light of February 17, 1925 announced: “Casa de Mañana Ball Room Scene of Pretty Valentine Party” and went on to report that Miss Jane Kaftenbach, “the first Valentine of the pageant, was exquisite with her shy, girlish expression and modest demeanor.” Accommodations were exquisite and the cuisine world-class.

And if you talk to some of its retirement community residents today, many remember attending proms and other social events at the hotel. How about that for living history?

In 1953, Hopkins sold the hotel and soon after Casa de Mañana had a second grand opening as a luxurious retirement community with 108 charter members in residence.
So there you have it, a little Front Porch community history. If you would like to learn more about the history of these and other Front Porch communities, you can connect to all of the communities through frontporch.net. Enjoy!

— Mike Martinez

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Front Porch Retirement Communities Have Long Storied Histories (Part One of Two)




When my kids were younger they loved to collect souvenirs from vacations. Nothing fancy – rocks, pine cones, cracked shells, a photo that they drew of the motel room. They would bring them home and place them in a box. Every so often they would open the box and remember the trips we took and the circumstances of how they came about the different items. In a way, what they collected was their own personal history of where they had been. Now that they are older, each one has his or her unique fascination with history – something that I love because of my love of history.

To put it in the simplest of terms, I love history because I can literally study anything for the simple reason that everything has a history: ideas, wars, numbers, baseball (my personal favorite), musical instruments, countries, pencils, cars, rocket science and yes, even retirement communities. So when I came to work at Front Porch as communications director, I noticed that many of our retirement communities had long and storied histories.

In part one of this blog I thought I’d talk about a few of those communities and in part two a few others.

Let’s start with Front Porch’s oldest community, Fredericka Manor. Fredericka Manor was built in 1908 in Chula Vista, California. That would make it 103 year’s old. Of course the current and modern Fredericka Manor is nowhere near as old as the original structure from which it originated but nevertheless its historic roots run deep.

Constructed in 1908, the retirement community was built before Chula Vista, the city in which it’s located, became a city. Fredericka Manor was the dream of Emma Saylor, a turn-of-the-century business woman who with the generous support of ball bearing inventor Henry Timken created Fredericka Manor, a community with a warm, homelike atmosphere, with no hint of regimentation. It was one of the first of its kind because usually retirement communities (or old folks homes as they were called back then) were often very restrictive and structured. In a way, Front Porch’s philosophy that residents should live life their way, began more than 100 years ago at what would become a Front Porch community.

In homage to its founders, Fredericka Manor’s memory support accommodation, The Saylor Unit, is named after Saylor, its assisted living accommodation, Timken Lodge, is named after Henry Timken and the retirement community itself is named after Fredericka Timken, Henry Timken’s wife. Both Saylor and Timken were quite the visionaries.

Now let’s move up the California coast to Pacific Beach, the home of Wesley Palms Retirement Community. In 2012 Wesley Palms will celebrate 50 years in the community. While not as old as Fredericka Manor, Wesley Palms has its own fascinating history. Named after 18th Century theologian John Wesley (which reflects its Methodist roots), the campus sits on about 35 acres near the top of Mt. Soledad, an 800-foot-plus peak that provides Wesley Palms residents an awesome view of Mission Bay, downtown San Diego and the Pacific Ocean.

The campus is home to plenty of mature landscape. In fact more than 150 varieties of trees and plants. Its landscape was inspired by Kate Sessions, the famed San Diego horticulturist and “Mother of Balboa Park.” When original owners Pacific Homes Corporation purchased 35 acres of lush real estate high atop majestic Mt. Soledad in 1962, Soledad Mountain Road (the first road built to lead to the top) was not yet built. So the Wesley Palms dedication ceremony took place at Kate Sessions Memorial Park, looking upward toward the Wesley Palms property. This proved to be prescient, because the architect who designed Wesley Palms certainly had Ms. Sessions and her beautiful Balboa Park firmly in mind.

A final note about Mt. Soledad itself … Mt. Soledad was the last home of children’s author Dr. Seuss. His widow, Audrey Geisel, still resides there in a home that includes an observation tower that is referred to as the Seuss house, by the locals.

Our final stop in part one of this blog is Kingsley Manor which is Hollywood’s oldest retirement community. It too will be celebrating an anniversary in 2012. When the land for the community was donated in 1912 by a group of German Methodists, it was surrounded by a quiet farming community lined with country roads and crops ranging from hay and grain to subtropical bananas, pineapples and oranges – not the Hollywood of today. The original four acres of land was soon dotted with hundreds of shade trees outside a tabernacle and bungalow that welcomed retirement community residents.

Founders Margaret and Conrad Ammann, local landowners and leading community members, felt a strong desire to fulfill the injunction, “Freely ye have received, freely give.” And by 1919, Kingsley Manor was officially in operation. As Hollywood soon began growing into the film and entertainment capital of the world, Kingsley Manor soaked up the town’s vibrant personality and cultivated a rich tradition and history of its very own. The mystique of old Hollywood will wash over you as you stroll through Kingsley’s stately ivy-covered brick buildings adorned with frescos, statuary and beautifully landscaped grounds.

Around the same time Kingsley Manor was built, the Nestor Company opened Hollywood's first film studio in an old tavern on the corner of Sunset and Gower. Not long thereafter Cecil B. DeMille and D. W. Griffith began making movies in the area as they were drawn to the community for its open space and moderate climate. In fact, DeMille’s daughter-in-law lived at Kingsley Manor for a time, among others who worked (and played) in old Hollywood.

In part two of my blog, I’ll continue my journey through the history of Front Porch communities and talk about two former luxury hotels along the California coast that were transformed into luxury retirement communities, two communities that sit on former military bases first opened at the height of World War II, and a retirement community in California’s Inland Empire that when it first opened in 1949 was “surrounded by black dirt, blacker mud and some orange trees.” Stay tuned.

—Mike Martinez

Thursday, October 6, 2011

When There is a Will Involved, Always Find a Way ... to Get it Done


At about 11,000 feet above sea level, the ledge was cold despite that fact that it was the middle of summer. Overtaken by 80 mile per hour winds, my climbing partner and I had just been forced off a summit attempt on Lone Pine Peak, near Mt. Whitney. We descended until it was too dark to continue. Anchored by our rope to the wall, we felt relatively safe until the rock fall started.

At that time I had one son and no will. I had a long, mostly sleepless night to contemplate the fact that, while Melissa and I had talked about a will even before Kellen was born, he was four and a half years old and we had yet to put together the most critical part of our estate plan. How ironic it was, that in my role as an executive for the Pacific Homes and FACT foundations, I had given a presentation on the importance of having a will to the residents of Wesley Palms Retirement Community in San Diego a few months before my trip.

Oftentimes estate planning is derailed by thorny decisions. For Melissa and I, it was the issue of who would raise Kellen if we were both gone. Family dynamics in such matters can create uncomfortable tension in spousal and other relationships and sometimes it seems easier to say “let’s talk about it later.” No one wants to ruin a nice dinner with an argument about guardianship.

Last month, a resident at another Front Porch retirement community, Casa de Manana, shared a similar story with me. She had recently revised her will after agonizing for many months over choosing an executor. Her estate planning had been stalled out of her fear that choosing one child over another would cause conflict with and between her children. She was pleased to relate that, after discussing the matter them and opening up long-closed lines of communication about finances, end-of –life choices, and personal values, her relationships with her children had actually grown deeper. She found that the decision she had feared for so long was a blessing in disguise.

Melissa and I had a similar experience in updating our will when having frank (and long overdue) conversations with our respective families. Here are my suggestions in approaching your estate planning:

• Assessing the overall goals of your estate plan is the key to getting started.
• Don’t concern yourself with asset distribution initially. First determine what you want to accomplish for friends, family and charity after you are gone, then think about finances in the context of those goals.
• Oftentimes, though not always, consulting family members about a difficult estate planning decision can reduce your anxiety.
• Once you have established your over-arching goals, your professional advisors can help you implement your plan.

Melissa and I have three boys now and a will. Kellen climbs with me regularly. And I always check the weather forecast before we go.

—Keith Church

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Love on a Leash


Being the CFO of Front Porch is a pretty intense job, so when I’m not working, I like to do things that are totally unrelated to business and money. One of the passions I’ve discovered since coming to Front Porch is having a dog and sharing him with the community. In 2010, my husband and I decided to adopt a rescue dog. We were fortunate enough to find Mowgli, a Pomeranian mix who is one of the best dogs ever! Not only is he really cute, but his personality is perfect for his new “career.”

Mowgli is a certified four-legged therapist, and I’m his handler. You may wonder what a certified therapy dog is. Therapy dogs provide comfort, companionship and plenty of smiles to hospital patients, retirement community and care center residents, school children and countless others throughout the United States. Their purpose is to make people happy by sharing their love. Mowgli and I have been to several Front Porch communities to visit with the residents, and also regularly volunteer at St. Mary’s Hospital in Long Beach. It is really gratifying when patients who see him each week say, “Oh, I’ve been waiting for him” or comment about how much better they feel just to be able to stroke his fur and look into his soulful brown eyes. Mowgli is a big kisser too; if people want “doggie kisses,” he is happy to lick their hands and faces for hours.

I’m often asked how dogs can become certified therapy dogs. Many schools, skilled nursing care centers and hospitals require that a dog be certified through a reputable organization before they will allow the dog to come for visits. This is a good idea because certified therapy dogs have to pass a test confirming their reliable behavior in a variety of circumstances that could be stressful for many. The organization Mowgli is certified by is called Therapy Dogs International (www.tdi-dog.org), which is the oldest and largest therapy dog organization in the United States.

In addition to having a current veterinary exam certifying good health and current vaccination certificates, in order to become a therapy dog through TDI, a dog must pass 15 tests. There is a complete list of the tests on the website, but generally the tests confirm the dog’s ability to obey the handler’s commands, react well to other dogs and people, and react well to things commonly present in a hospital or care center setting such as walkers, crutches, etc. If you have a dog that has a calm and obedient disposition, yet is friendly, affectionate and confident, you and your dog could be ideal candidates for the TDI program.

There are many organizations that appreciate therapy dogs, including hospitals, senior communities, care centers and schools. At some point in their lives, almost everyone has owned or been close to a dog. It is amazing to see people’s eyes light up when they have the opportunity to pet a dog and remember their own special friends from the past. Several times, nursing staff has commented to me that residents with Alzheimer’s or dementia became noticeably more responsive when Mowgli came to see them.

It is really rewarding to be able to care for and share my special doggie. One of the misperceptions I had before I got him was that dogs like to be indulged and treated like people. I learned that they really don’t. Dogs need structure and positive discipline, and they are happier when their owner is the “pack leader.” They actually get stressed out when their owner doesn’t take a firm lead because they think they need to step in and fill the void, but don’t really know how. This is what often leads to bad dog behavior. One great piece of advice I read was not to tolerate any behavior in a small dog (such as jumping on people) that you wouldn’t tolerate in a large dog. Mowgli’s obedience training helped me become a better dog owner/handler, and prepared both of us well for the TDI testing. When Mowgli won his first place trophy in novice obedience, I knew he was a special boy!

Many people comment to me that they wish they had a dog, but just can’t because they live in a condo or apartment. I understand that challenge, and used to think the same thing. My husband and I live in a 4th floor condo with no access to a yard of any kind, so we have to walk Mowgli three or four times per day. We already had two cats and weren’t sure how well they would like living with a dog. It was an adjustment for all of us, but has been SO worth it! Not only do we stay on a regular exercise program more easily, but the joy and love he has brought into our lives far exceed the extra work involved. If you’ve ever thought about getting a dog, I encourage you to take the plunge. You’ll wonder how you ever lived without your furry friend!

— Mary Miller

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Happiness and Life Your Way!


I was recently somewhere and I was asked to provide my “prescription” for happiness. Unable to come up with a prescription Emersonian in its’ universality & elegance like the others in attendance, I wrote an unsophisticated list of some simple things that make me happy (in other words, life my way).

As Front Porch is all about living life your way, I thought it might be interesting to find out what makes you happy, the things that stir you or as it was stated to me, your “prescription” for happiness. Let me know, be as elegant as you like. Here is mine:

— Wine
— Beer
— Golf
— Hawaii
— Golf in Hawaii
— Golf with beer in Hawaii
— Bruges
— A Laker victory
— A Laker championship
— Kirk Gibson’s homer
— Vin Scully’s voice
— The thought of the McCourts no longer owning the Dodgers
— Grilling with family and friends
— Sand between my toes
— Watering the yard
— My backyard hammock
— A Langer’s No. 19 sandwich
— A Grimaldi’s of Brooklyn pizza
— Nam Kao Tod at Lotus of Siam
— My homemade paella
— A Joe Strummer song
— The words “New Orleans”
— My wife
— My son spelling words
— My son playing
— My son’s happiness
— My mother’s smile

Tell me your prescription for happiness ...

Prost!

—Rob Klose

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Best Sandwich


Young or old, everyone loves to debate what’s “best.” Couple that debate with food and restaurants and the conversation gets very interesting, and sometimes heated. So let’s talk about something very simple. The humble sandwich. And who makes the best.

New Yorkers believe that their delis trump just about anywhere on the planet. Folks from New Orleans place their bet on their beloved po’ boys (and who can deny them, a crawfish po’ boy can be pretty darned good). Philadelphians, well, they have their cheese steaks.

I’ve been to a lot of the “temples” of sandwich in various states and, for my money, my choice for the best sandwich in America is one local to our communities in Southern California. Heresy, some will probably say as there is a well held belief that no great sandwich can come from SoCal. SoCal has great dining of all sorts, but there is a belief that our sandwiches don’t cut the mustard, so to speak.

For the longest time, I was a firm believer in this food philosophy as well. That's fine I thought. We have a lot of other choices in SoCal: like all the great taco trucks, 20 different kinds of Mexican, great Japanese, Chinese, some awesome fine dining and lots of other choices. And we do have some great sandwiches as well (I thought), but most of them are of the foie gras with a poached egg variety (which is certainly fine, but what about a good old fashioned "sandwich" sandwich). The kind one any American could be proud of. In this we were lacking, or so I thought.

All of that changed about 6 months ago, when I finally visited Langer’s Deli in Macarthur Park near downtown Los Angeles and just a few miles away from Front Porch’s Kingsley Manor Retirement Community. It is at that moment, that I came to understand what true greatness in a sandwich looks and tastes like – it looks like a Langer’s No. 19.

Opened in 1947, some of you have may have visited Langer’s in your youth, or perhaps even more recently. If you haven’t been, I encourage you to do so – it would make for a fun outing with your friends, your grandkids, kids, staff at your community, whomever. Langer’s No.19 is the thing of legends. It’s that rare item that actually lives up to the hype that surrounds it. Thick, succulent, smoky, sliced pastrami, served on warm rye bread that has a perfect crust, and topped with warm Swiss cheese, crisp coleslaw and Russian dressing. Perfection. Mesmerizing. The Delphic Oracle of pastrami. And every bit as good as any you will find in the famous pastrami “churches” of New York (i.e. Katz, Stage, etc.).

A visit to Langer’s Delicatessen is both a step back in time and a current culinary classic. Now, a sandwich at Langer’s is not necessarily the cheapest sandwich out there. Lunch will run the average person about $20. But quality trumps in these matters (at least when one is talking about “the best”), and there are certainly none better. Perhaps you have a favorite sandwich that you’d like to share with us all. Maybe a sandwich that you think rivals a Langer’s No. 19. Maybe a place that would make for a fun outing. Let us know. We’d love to hear from you. Write and tell us what you think is “the best.”

- Rob Klose

P.S., you can visit Langer's online at www.langersdeli.com.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Your IRA and Charitable Rollovers

If you’re like me, each year you try to donate to the organizations and causes you care about. If you ever thought of donating to your alma mater, or a favorite cause, please also consider one of Front Porch’s partner foundations. Our foundation partners, California Lutheran Homes Foundation, FACT Foundation, Pacific Homes Foundation or Sunny View Foundation, help support resident programs and services as well as capital projects at our affiliated retirement communities and affordable housing in the greater community. Here is a great article about using your IRA to make a charitable rollover.

If you’d like to discuss this or other philanthropic matters, such as a gift annuity which can provide great tax advantages along with a steady stream of income, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our three foundation executives: Keith Church (Pacific Homes and FACT foundations), Ross Merritt (California Lutheran Homes Foundation) or Bill Penrod (Sunny View Foundation). You may email them at the foundation web sites linked above. They can help you with all of your charitable gifting matters.

- Rob Klose

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Just Around the Corner From Sunny View


Did you know that just minutes away from Sunny View Retirement Community lies one of California’s greatest and most storied wineries? That’s right. Ridge Winery (in Cupertino, CA) sits merely a few miles away from one of our own communities and its’ tasting room is open 11 am to 4 pm on the weekends and by appointment throughout the week.

Ridge Winery (bonded in 1962 but with a grape growing history that stretches back to the 1800s) sits atop the “ridge” of the Santa Cruz Mountains just to the west of Sunny View. Part of the Ridge Winery estate is the Monte Bello vineyard which routinely puts out one of the best Cabernet-based wines in the state (and the world). It is actually one of the few California wines intended to be aged, improving and gaining in complexity as it gets older. I’ve tasted (thanks to friends of mine) some 20-year-old Ridge Monte Bello wines and they have never failed to greatly impress everyone at the tasting.

At around $80 per bottle, Ridge Monte Bello certainly isn’t cheap by any standard. But in comparison to the other premier wines of the world (which run anywhere from $100 to $1,000 a bottle upon release) it actually represents a quasi bargain in the fine wine world. And Ridge, thankfully, produces plenty of other wines which are much more wallet friendly, like their Zinfandels which cost anywhere from $12 to $30. Ridge Geyserville is a particularly fine example of what a red Zinfandel can be. They also produce a great Chardonnay for those that are interested.

Ridge Winery, and more specifically its Monte Bello vineyard, has been written about by every major wine writer in the world, from Robert Parker to Jancis Robinson to the Wine Spectator. In 1976, it actually participated in what is now called “The Judgment of Paris” about which there have been books and movies made.

Ridge Winery has long been one of my favorite wineries. I encourage any and all residents, staff and friends of Sunny View to take advantage of the world class winery in your back-yard. You’ll be happy you did (oh yeah, and the views from their winery are amazing)!

- Rob Klose

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Your Story

In my first blog, I talked to you about who I am (at least a little bit) and what I do for Front Porch. With that in mind, I thought I would bring up a very important program that we have at Front Porch that some of you may not be aware of.

We all want to create our own legacy – the way we want others to view us and think about us. We want others to realize that our lives are important, even if it’s through the telling of some small but very important memory from childhood that we hold dearly. It’s why great writers write, great painters paint, and so on. To leave something enduring of one’s self that says, “This is what I believe or what I think or what I did.”

Yet, not all of us are great writers. I know I’m not. What’s more, most of us have neither the time, patience nor the inclination to take pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) to do so if we could. It’s a heck of a lot of work.

I don’t know how many of you are aware of this, but one of our foundation-funded projects (funded by California Lutheran Homes and Community Services) is a program called “Memoirs.” This program was created specifically for the reasons mentioned above – to leave a lasting legacy for those not inclined to take on the Herculean task of writing down their life stories.

The program allows residents at all Front Porch communities the opportunity to record their life’s stories onto a DVD (for family, loved ones and the participants themselves to view). The program is spearheaded by Bonnie Stover, director of Volunteer Services, and Don and Joyce Harvey who are residents of Carlsbad By The Sea Retirement Community. The Harveys are wonderful volunteers who help tremendously by recording the memoirs and making sure that participants are comfortable and relaxed for the telling of their stories. I first met Don three to four years ago while hosting a California Lutheran Homes Foundation-sponsored wine social at Carlsbad By The Sea. I found him to be an extremely knowledgeable man and one who is also very easy to talk to. I think you will too.

I encourage any Front Porch resident who is interested in recording their life’s story to contact Don or Bonnie Stover at 818-729-8189 and arrangements will be made to begin creating your “memoir” and legacy. You can tell your very important story without having to be a great writer.

- Rob Klose

Friday, May 27, 2011

Getting to Know You, Getting to Know All About You

Back in 1951, Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote the classic show tune “Getting to Know You” for The King and I. I’m sure many of you probably saw it performed. And although that song has now been covered and reused for countless commercials and other purposes, the title of the song is still very apropos. At the heart of it, getting to know one another, communicating, is quite simply a good thing. Communication forms the fabric of any vibrant community.

We want to hear from you, want to know what your likes are, what your dislikes are, what your dreams are, where you like to travel, where you like to eat, and on and on …We want to know about you because we feel that by knowing who you are we can help deliver on our promise to meet your needs. We want to help you live life your way. It’s your retirement, so let’s talk about all things retirement related. This is the place we’ll do that.

You probably want to know who we are too. After all, communication is a two-way street. So who am I? Some of you may already know me. My name is Rob Klose and for the past 12 years I have worked for Front Porch in Burbank, California. The first seven of those years I mostly sat behind a desk and helped with all things related to Front Porch’s partner foundations: I managed (and still do) all the donor/donations-related data, gift acknowledgments, grant and appeal writing, tracking and reporting on funds, database management. For the past five, though, I have routinely visited many of our Southern California retirement communities where I host Foundation wine socials. I have been studying and learning about wine for the past 15 years or so and sharing my passion with the residents of Front Porch, in a fun and free activity, brings me a lot of joy.

My greatest joy though, comes from the day-to-day involvement with my 3.5 year-old son, Griffin. Together with my wife, Anthea, we enjoy being challenged by the toughest job in the world – being good parents. I am a native and loyal Californian, got my bachelor’s degree from the University of California system and my master’s degree from the California State University system. I am one of nine kids and a part of one set, out of two sets, of twins that my parents raised. Although loyal to California, my family loves to travel and try new restaurants. My favorite place in the world is Brugge, Belgium – cobblestoned streets, chocolates, friendly people, canals, beautiful architecture and a beer culture that is unmatched! A close second would have to be Kauai, New Orleans and Paris (for reasons so obvious they probably don’t need to be explained).

So that’s me in a pretty small nutshell. Over the years, I hope we can crack the nutshell and get to know much more about each other. You’ll get to hear my regular ramblings on community and lifestyle matters, but I want to hear from you as well and want to hear about what you want to talk about. We’re going to be talking about all things retirement related: travel, restaurants, local day trips from your respective community, health matters, volunteerism, philanthropy, technology – and a heck of a lot more. So come and join us. Whether you’re a resident, a staff member, or just someone doing research for their mom or dad, everyone is welcome.

Cheers and Prost!
- Rob Klose