Erin is the bartender at The Real Macaw, a funky bar/restaurant in east Naples.
Erin is from Alabama. She got her master's degree in 16th century English poetry, which is not as lucrative a field as you might think.
For six years Erin lived in Sanremo, a beautiful town on the Mediterranean coast of Italy, just east of the border with France. These days she works long hours six days a week behind the bar during Naples' high season so, when June comes, she can go back to her home in Sanremo.
Erin is a parachuting enthusiast. On the day I met her, Erin had had taken some women on tandem jumps and then come to work. (That is her and two women jumpers on her phone.)
See the things you learn when you ask a bartender to tell you about herself?
Paul Arsenault is an impressionist artist from New England who moved to Naples in 1974. He paints brightly colored scenes, often in Naples and Southwest Florida, but he also
travels the world with paint brush and canvas in hand.
Paul painted the pictures that introduce each chapter in the new book, Naples Beach Homes.
Sandra -- who goes by "Mom" -- is Edgard's wife and mother of three running daughters.
She greets customers, takes orders and handles the cash register at the Neighborhood Cafe.
Sandra is nearly 80 years old. Back in the 1980s, Mom was one of the family runners who ran across the USA on two successive years. She still runs distance races, though she says
she is slower these days. See all the race numbers behind her?
Like everyone else in the family, Mom was originally a teacher.
Edgard -- age 80 -- is the cook at the Neighborhood Cafe and father of Leigh, Lynda and their sister. Edgard is a former physics, biology and physical education teacher and soccer coach who
has written a book about coaching soccer. He still consults to soccer coaches.
In addition to the two runs across the USA described yesterday, Edgard was in the Guinness Book of World Records for running 101 marathons in one year. (That is a Guinness belt over his shoulder.)
When he was 61, Edgard went back to Ashland College in Ohio and made the football team.
He became the oldest man ever to play college football. That is his Ashland football helmet.
Leigh makes sandwiches at the Neighborhood Cafe. Her sister, Lynda, is the barista. (A third sister wasn't there at the time.) They are both Brazilian-born ex-teachers who work in the family cafe.
In the 1980s Leigh and Lynda were part of a five-person family group that ran south-to-north across the entire USA from Naples to the Canadian border, four at a time, with the fifth driving the van.
The following year Leigh and Lynda and the other family runners ran east-to-west across the entire United States from Ocean City, Maryland, to San Diego, California. This time they ran relay style, four runners each day. The family ran about 60 - 70 miles a day.
Rod is Kelli's husband. He has run 38 marathons, but after Kelli had surgery on her knee,
they both stopped (for now). Rod's expertise is in project management, operational
excellence and lean business processes. Kelli and Rod are starting up a consulting firm
combining her leadership expertise and Rod's project management knowledge.
Kelli was a serious runner for three decades, running numerous marathons and half marathons.
A couple of years back, she developed knee problems requiring surgery. So,
her running days are over, but she swims, bikes and works out instead.
Originally from northeast Ohio, Kelli moved to Naples a year ago. She spent a career in
talent development, leadership and executive coaching at a variety of nonprofits and educational institutions. Today Kelli and her husband are developing a small consulting firm.
Lodge is from Ohio. In the early 1930s, Lodge's Ohio grandmother heard about a charming fishing village on Florida's gulf coast. She drove across the state from Miami, experienced the most beautiful sunset she had ever seen, and that was that. She built a cottage on the
Gulf of Mexico in Naples, and spent winters here until she died many decades later.
Throughout his youth, Lodge visited his grandmother in Naples whenever he could. Soon after graduating from college, Lodge immediately moved to Naples. He never left. Today Lodge serves on the boards of several historical organizations, the public housing community, the automobile museum, and numerous other civic groups. Lodge is Naples' unofficial city historian.
Judy has a Ph.D. in biology. As a Naples resident for the past dozen years she volunteers for the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and other environmental organizations, educating and advocating on behalf of sensible environmental policies to preserve and protect the region's water supply, native plants and animals. Judy is also involved with numerous arts organizations, community organizations and other nonprofits, to make Naples better.
These ladies were having so much fun. Then they told me I am not eligible
to become a red hat lady. I am crushed.
Fun – we celebrate life at every age Friendship – we solidify and expand the bonds of sisterhood Freedom – we discover and explore new interests Fulfillment – we realize our personal potential Fitness – we embrace healthy, life-lengthening lifestyles.