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Growing Bolder Radio Show: Karen Putz!

March 10th, 2012

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(Music playing)

>>  Hello again everybody, I’m Marc Milton along with Bill Shafer and this is Growing Bolder, the program about attitude, the program about possibility, about realizing that it’s never too late or too early to begin creating the life that you want and today, Bill, we’ve got a very special edition of Growing Bolder.

>>  It’s going to be an interesting one too but for anyone who listens to this show on a regular basis and — we know you’re out there — this show is not about us standing on a soapbox and trying to lecture you or tell you what to do, it’s about sharing the stories of ordinary people who are living extraordinary lives.  It’s their example that really seems to inspire our listeners and viewers all across the nation, and today we’re going to take you on location to introduce you to some of our very favorite people.

>>  And they are all very different people, but they are all growing bolder in their own way, all believing in their dream, believing in themselves, and most importantly believing that it’s never too late to dramatically improve the quality of their life no matter what the challenge.

(Music playing)

>>  When is it too late to return to the passion of your youth?  What if that passion left you disabled?  Well, in the case of Karen Putz it took twenty-five years.  After going to college and raising a family, Karen got inspired to return to barefoot waterskiing.  Even her family told her, “Don’t do it,” but Karen listened to the only voice that she can really hear, the one inside her head.

>>  There’s nothing in the world that Karen Putz loves more than barefoot waterskiing, which is odd because she probably should hate it after what happened when she was just eighteen.

>>  And as soon as I hit the water, I mean, it was a hard slam, I couldn’t do a normal tuck and roll.  I just slammed into the water.  I was like, “Oh, wow.”  I climbed into the boat and I’m like, “Hey, I can’t hear anything.”  My friends are all talking to me and I’m like, there’s no sound coming out at all.

>>  So she waited.  Surely it would return over time.  But days turned into weeks.

>>  And I just started crying.  That’s the day that I realized, okay, maybe this hearing isn’t going to come back.

>>  Karen was completely deaf.  Doctors left no hope of even the smallest recovery.  She was devastated and terrified.  But instead of hiding away she made an important decision:  She would go to college.  Her mom wasn’t so sure.

>>  “How are you going to hear your teachers?”  “I don’t know.”  And she’s like, “You can stay home, get a job, you can live here.  And I thought you know, if I do that, I’m never going to get out of the house.  I was like, “No.  I have to do this.  If I don’t walk through this door, I’m not going to live my life.”

>>  But living in silence was far more difficult than she imagined.

>>  It wasn’t easy.  “For six months all I did was cry.  Every night.  You know, I struggled during the day to try to understand people who were hearing, to try to understand these hands that were flying around in the dorm.  I mean, it’s like being dropped in the middle of Japan and you know, here you are, you’ve got to live with this Japanese language.  It was like, I didn’t understand a word.”

>>  She did everything she could to hide her deafness.  She wore her hair over her ears, avoided people she didn’t know, stayed away from social situations until one day when she simply had enough.

>>  For the first time in my life I put my hair up in a ponytail.  I had never done that.  I’d never ever showed my hearing aid in public till that point.  Got on the bus and I thought everyone was staring at me.  You know, it was an adjustment, but that’s the day that I accepted myself.  I became a deaf person.  A whole new life opened up.  I learned ASL, I met my husband, we got married, we have three deaf and hard of hearing kids and life has been good.  It’s been very good since then.”

>>  Life has been good, but it hasn’t been perfect.  Something was missing.

>>  “The one thing that bugged me was that I gave up my passion, you know, the one thing in life that gave me so much happiness.  I thought I was done doing that.”

>>  Until one day she saw a news feature about Judy Myers, who at 68 is the oldest competitive barefoot skier in the world.  Karen contacted Judy, she invited her to visit the world’s barefoot center.  Karen wasn’t sure but hoped she was ready for that next big step.

>>  What am I doing here?

>>  For the first time in 25 years, she was about to barefoot.

>>  Now the first try, get out there, my feet in the water and I felt seventeen again.  The years literally melted away.  It was like, oh my gosh.  The same old feelings, the passion, I can’t explain it.  You put your feet on the water and you come alive.

>>  It was a feeling that her family and friends did not share.

>>  Everyone was like, “You’re going to hurt yourself, you can’t do this.”  And basically they said, “You’re too old.”  That’s exactly what one family member said to me, “You’re too old to be thinking about this, give it up.”  So you know, when you’re surrounded with people who think you can’t, you think you can’t, until you find somebody who can.  Then your whole world starts opening up.  So when you surround yourself with people who can, then you have that same attitude, you adopt that same attitude.

>>  Even when you wipe out.

>>  So between Judy Myers and barefoot superstar Keith St. Onge who runs the Center, Karen’s feet were in pretty good hands.

>>  Keith, what did I do wrong?

>>  You put your ankles out in front of you.  Feet way out in front of those knees and you just jabbed it in.  That’s what we call the Freddy Flintstone when they put the brakes on their car — when those heels dig in, we go for a ride.  When she’s on the water, the smile just glows.  She’s just always always happy.  When I go back to get her she’s just like a little puppy dog in the water looking up at me going, okay, what do I got to do next?  Always.

>>  I have role models in my life that I didn’t have before who are living life, who are breaking the boundaries.  Meeting Judy was very pivotal in my life, because once I met her and I saw all that she could do, I saw that life ahead of me is wide open.  And when you surround yourself with people who are doing these things, you get this feeling that, hey, I can do it too.

>>  Funny thing about inspiration: sometimes when you provide it for others, it can come right back at you.

>>  What does it feel like that Karen, a total stranger turned her life around because she saw you?

>>  That brings tears to my eyes.

>>  Why?

>>  Because to help somebody like that or to inspire somebody like that and to get them back to their passion and to get them to see they can do it again, I think that’s a real a-ha moment.

>>  Just from seeing a clip of you.

>>  Now you got me crying.  Absolutely.  That’s really inspiring for me when that happens.

>>  You realize the power that you have to change somebody’s life.

>>  Yeah.  And as a teacher I changed a lot of lives, but this was one of the biggest.  One of the absolute biggest.

>>  You gave her her world back.

>>  Absolutely.

>>  Now Karen realizes skiing is not the most important thing in her world, but isn’t it amazing how different your entire outlook can be when you can do what you love?

>>  I think when you find your passion, when it’s something that you really, really want to do in life, you are happy.  I mean, the sport that brought me both happiness and sadness was filling me with happiness yet again.  It’s like, wow.  That’s what happens when you find your passion.

>>  And when you find that passion, sometimes it can even help keep you alive.

>>  That’s a great story, Bill, and there’s probably nobody in the world that is more passionate about barefoot waterskiing than Banana George.  In fact, we were there a few years back when the then ninety-three-year-old Banana skied for the final time and if you think it was easy, think again.

>>  Today you’re going to see history being made because every day Banana George skis is like a new record.

>>  It’s been a few years since we last hung out with Banana George, the most famous water skier in history.  His amazing career has been documented in countless magazines, books and newspapers worldwide for more than four decades.

>>  He’s got a worldwide international audience of all age groups, including us as his neighbors.

>>  But this past year has been tough on George.  He was bedridden with a bad case of pneumonia and the pain and stiffness from six major back surgeries and a broken neck has slowed him down a good bit.  But it hasn’t diminished his desire to do what he loves most.

>>  And I honestly thought after he had some serious problems of the winter health issues that we had seen the last that he was going to barefoot but he called me up and said he wanted to go again, and I said, if you can walk down to the dock, get in your wetsuit and get in this contraption we’re going to pull him in, then we’ll pull you skiing.

>>  And today, with our cameras rolling George makes it to the boat.

>>  Even though I’ve had every one of his doctors and family members call me and tell me this is not a good idea, I’m going to keep him as safe as I can and we’re going to take him out there and this is what he lives to do, and so I’m trying to just help him do what he wants to do most.

>>  Of course I’m worried.  I’m worried every time he goes out on the water.

>>  We’re going to sit him in this contraption like a swing so that if anything does go wrong, I can lift him up out of the water, shut the boat down and bring him down.  One thing that’s really interesting about George is the guy has drowned twice in his life and he’s terrified of the water, which even makes it more amazing that he wants to get out this badly.

>>  I can’t stop him.  Nobody can stop him, so — believe me, I tried ten years ago.  He’s still out there.

>>  The boat quickly backs out George in the swing.  He only has enough strength for one attempt and the clock is ticking.  At age ninety-three, his bare feet are once again on the water.  But as his weight is lowered, he spins and tumbles.

>>  His good friend Moose is in the water in an instant.  A few tense moments later†–

>>  He’s good.

>>  Are you sure you’re okay?

>>  I’m positive.

>>  You’re an animal, George.  You’re an animal.

>>  I had to speed on the water but because he was so light, he didn’t have enough control to hold himself this way and when he started to spin, his wrists are so sensitive that as soon as he gets spun a little bit it hurts so badly he has to let go.

>>  Back in the boat George is disappointed his run didn’t last longer, but is determined there will be more.

>>  It’s a world record.

>>  Back on the shore George is gently helped off the boat.

>>  Believe it or not, the same procedure is used when handling nitroglycerin.

>>  Once inside, he shares a stack of e-mails from all over the world.

>>  “You are an inspiration to people young and old.  My fourth-grade students enjoy learning about your life.  I used you as an example of a famous person that has had a positive impact on the life of others.  Thank you, George.”

>>  I like that.

>>  George gets emotional thinking about his positive impact on others and excited when asked how long he wants to barefoot.

>>  <Laughter>  Forever.

>>  Before we leave, George wants us to see the sign in his kitchen that sums up his philosophy of life, even at age ninety-three:  Do it.

>>  Life is up and down, I think.  I don’t wait for the next thing, but I make the next thing happen.

>>  Even at ninety-three and a half, the guy’s got drive and passion and he loves a challenge.

>>  I’m not growing older.  I am growing bolder.  How do you like that?

>>  We like it a lot.  Banana George is absolutely amazing and in his late 90s doesn’t ski anymore, but still has that incredible passion for life.  This is Growing Bolder.

(Music playing)

>>  Coming up:  No matter what your passion is, it helps to be healthy, to be fit.  How one woman walked her way to wellness, and later:  The two words responsible for a man finding true happiness.

>>  I’m Marc Middleton, this is Bill Shafer.  This is Growing Bolder.  And you know, folks, when it comes to not only the length of your life but more importantly the quality of your life, exercise is key, and they are just about as many different ways to get fit as there are people.

>>  The key is finding something you really enjoy.  For a rapidly growing number of men and women, that means getting up very early and getting both oars in the water.

>>  The moon is up, but not much else.  Coach Laura Rekhi unlocks the secrets to a routine that’s transforming the lives of men and women in the Orlando Rowing Club.

>>  It’s not really a sport, it’s a cult and once you’re in it, you’re in it and you just can’t get rid of it.  It’s pretty wonderful actually.

>>  One of the things we’re beginning to learn is that many times Growing Bolder involves getting up pretty early.

>>  So what makes somebody get up at this hour?

>>  Insanity.

>>  The endorphin rush definitely makes it worthwhile.

>>  Sixty two-year-old Betsy Baker knows exactly why she’s here.

>>  The fitness, the camaraderie and the fact that rowing allows older people to continue to be competitive.

>>  After a quick stretch and a pep talk from the coach†–

>>  We’re going to go from a twenty six, which is your passing rate down to a sixteen full power.

>>  The ballet that is competitive rowing begins.

>>  It’s a total body workout.  It requires every muscle in your body and it requires you to think at the same time.  It takes everything you’ve got.

>>  For the next ninety minutes they give everything they’ve got, struggling silently and enjoying every moment.

>>  From the coach’s boat Laura gives direction and gets back inspiration.

>>  I see women who I hope to be in another twenty, thirty years, so I feel like I get as much out of this as they do.

>>  Some are former rowers but most are new to the sport.  A few are athletes looking for a new challenge.

>>  Somebody one day said that there were a bunch of women just like me:  Aggressive, assertive, crazy.

>>  I’m willing to work really, really hard, which is what I enjoy.

>>  That one hurt a little bit.

>>  As far as aerobics fitness there’s nothing better than this.  It’s very low impact so once you learn how to do this and to get the proper training, you can do this until you’re seventy, eighty, ninety years old.

>>  You have a group to do it with normally, and that’s the best part of all because you make lifelong friends.

>>  It’s quite an amazing thing when you have eight people working at that kind of level in perfect unison.

>>  Just as the sun is beginning to rise, practice ends, and the real satisfaction begins.

>>  Right now I’m exhausted.  It was a tough workout but I feel great.  I feel like I can start the day.

>>  We do more in the morning by seven o’clock than most people do all day and that’s a very satisfying feeling.

>>  This is something you can do forever.  I feel like I’m making a huge investment.

>>  Three days later the boats are back in the water for a scrimmage with a crosstown rival.  Their boats are also filled with middle-aged men and women.

>>  I would say the average age of our new rowers is probably about forty-five.  I regularly teach people in their mid-fifties to mid-sixties, beginning rowers.

>>  They race alone and they race in teams.  They race to lose weight, to rehab an injury, or simply to hold back the hands of time.

>>  We don’t pound our ankles, knees or hips.  It’s the only sport you can do sitting on your butt, but you get a total body workout from it.

>>  So who can do this?  Who can become a competitive rower?

>>  Everyone.  But truly everyone.

>>  There is even adaptive rowing available for people who do have some physical handicaps.

>>  This is a story of early days, tough workouts and inspiring teammates and like any good story, it has a moral for us all.

>>  The moral of the story is:  Number one, you’re never too old to get your exercise in, and that if you make your exercise a lifestyle, then you can continue to enjoy your life, have a fulfilled day, have a social circle of people who are as healthy as you are, and I think it just makes you a better person.

>>  That pretty much wraps it up.  Another great way to get moving, and another great example:  When you work out with others, when you hold one another accountable, it’s a lot easier to get into the habit of health.

>>  Becoming a healthier person, becoming a better person, was important to Heather Quillen.  She weighed nearly 300 pounds and she knew she had to make a drastic change in her life and she knew that if she wanted to help others, she had to help herself first.  You’ve got to move pretty quickly to keep up with Heather Quillen these days.

>>  I’m just power walking.

>>  She’s proved something to herself and now she’s on a mission to prove it to you.

>>  Exercise does work.

>>  It’s a simple fact, but one she had to learn the hard way.

>>  How much did you weigh here?

>>  I weighed two hundred and seventy-eight pounds.

>>  In fact, she was overweight for most of her life.  It’s not like she didn’t try, she went on every diet she could find.  It’s just didn’t work.  Frustrated, frightened and desperate, she knew something had to change.

>>  And I thought, this is it.  I’m done.  I am not — I am not going to feel like this anymore.

>>  She heard about Carnie Wilson and just like she did, decided to have gastric bypass surgery.

>>  It is a drastic move.  It is a very serious operation.

>>  Soon after, Heather made a very serious decision:  She realized if she didn’t change her lifestyle, all that weight could come right back.  She knew exactly what she had to do.

>>  I really seized the opportunity and I said, I am going to do this and I’m going to do it to the very best of my ability and in doing so, I worked out, started walking.

>>  Walking, not running?

>>  No.

>>  Not running marathons?

>>  No.  I walked and walked and still today I walk.  And you know what, it’s only like twenty minutes.  It’s not like an hour and a half or two hours.  It’s twenty minutes in the morning and twenty minutes at night.

>>  And ten years later, Heather is stronger, healthier, and happier than ever.  That’s not the end of the story.  She still knows what it’s like to be heavy and to feel helpless.  She believes she can use that to reach out to children like never before to fight childhood obesity.

>>  This is not something that children are born with.  These are learned habits, and it is preventable.  It is curable but best of all worlds is it doesn’t happen to a child to begin with.  If I could do something that would spare my child unnecessary pain and lifelong consequences, I would do anything I could.

>>  Along with a physician, she developed a program called Yo-Medics, which she is now making available all across the country.

>>  It is not a diet.  Absolutely not, because diets don’t work.  Diets don’t work.  I know that.  The focus is what we can do, not what we can’t have and what we can’t do.  It’s about living life, making good healthy choices the majority of the time.

>>  She wants to make a difference for children just as she did for herself.

>>  It has become my life’s work and it is something, as I said†– with a double negative†– I can’t not do it.  I am compelled.  I simply must do this because I have my own two children whom I adore, and I care very much about your child, and the child next door, and the children at school.

>>  You’ve lived the pain.

>>  I have.

>>  You’ve seen both sides.

>>  I have absolutely lived both lives.  Both lives, I really have.

>>  Heather’s living a life she never believed possible and she’s determined to help others have the same chance.

>>  The difference of having purpose in your life is profound.  It really is, to have purpose and to live passionately.  That’s the key.

>>  She has made a complete turnaround in her life and she’s a great example to us all.  She took charge of things with passion and she discovered a new purpose, which is battling childhood obesity.

(    Music playing)

>>  More to come, in fact, coming up next:  He was a child prodigy on the piano destined for international fame, that is, until he lost the use of one of his hands, but even that didn’t stop him.  This is Growing Bolder.

(Music playing)

>>  I’m Marc Middleton along with Bill Schafer, your friends from Growing Bolder.  Leon Fleisher is really a guy who defines growing bolder.  He’s now in his 80s, doing exactly what he wants to do, but what a journey he has had to get here.

>>  This one of the most amazing stories anywhere probably.  As a pianist he played Carnegie Hall when he was sixteen years old.  He never realized it would take him fifty years to get back to Carnegie.  Then again, he never could have predicted what physical challenges he would have to overcome on the way.

>>  This is a sight not often seen, a packed house for a small college student orchestra practice.

>>  Leon Fleisher is conducting a workshop at Rollins College and the public is invited.  It’s a rare opportunity to watch the Maestro at work.

>>  It’s kind of like being in a huddle with Vince Lombardi.

>>  The little notes, the eighth notes, there’s too much bow.  It’s bow for those long, long, then just stay ba dee bap, ba deep bap.

>>  Fleisher never planned on being a teacher, never aspired to become a conductor.  He was a child prodigy, a keyboard wizard who made his solo debut with the New York Philharmonic at age six, and played Carnegie Hall at sixteen.  By the time he was twenty-four, Fleisher was one of the most sought after soloists in the world.  But then he was attacked by a rare neurological disease and suddenly lost the use of his right hand.

>>  My right hand fifth and fourth fingers just dug into my palm and there was nothing I could do about it.  The worst part of it was that nobody knew what it was.  None of the medical profession knew what it was, so I started on a kind of odyssey of some thirty to thirty-five years of trying to find out what this was.

>>  At first he admits to playing the role of depressed, despondent artist.

>>  All of the self-doubt that you can imagine, of course, enters into it.  Is it just in my head, am I my crazy, am I sick?  That’s all part of it, and for a couple of years I was in that familiar maritime place known as dire straits.

>>  But over the course of several months, despair was replaced with determination, self-pity with self-awareness.

>>  I woke up one morning and realized that my connection to music†– which is what I exist for†– was more than just as a two-handed piano player.  My connection really was to music, and there were any number of ways that I could continue that connection and intensify that connection and I made up my mind to do it.

>>  So Fleisher became a one-handed concert pianist.

>>  Thank God there’s a certain literature for left hand alone, believe it or not.  There’s some twenty-five, thirty concertos written for left hand alone with orchestra, so I made a career as half a piano player.  I made a career out of five fingers.

>>  He also became an accomplished conductor and a world-class teacher, all the while waiting for the medical profession to catch up.  He waited over thirty years and then, a surprising development.

>>  Of all things, Botox can help relieve the symptoms.  They still don’t know what causes it and they don’t have a cure but they found that with Botox they can paralyze those muscles that are over-working, that are contracted, that are curling in, which relaxes them a little bit and allows the opposing muscles, the extensors, to function better and it helps keep my fingers out, and I can play.

>>  At the age of sixty-seven he returned triumphantly to Carnegie Hall, playing his first two-handed concert in nearly four decades.

>>  Carnegie Hall is always crazy because it has the ghost of the greats of the past.  Scary and fun.

>>  Now eighty-one, Fleisher is still performing, still conducting, and still teaching.

>>  It has given me so much joy and so much pleasure that if I were to have my druthers again, if the whole thing were to be rerun, I’m not so sure I would change a thing.

>>  Leon Fleisher can share complex music theory with the greatest minds alive, but what he really enjoys is sharing simple observations of life with young people.

>>  They get caught up in this maelstrom of activity that’s just by being activity is thought to be important.  Most of it’s totally unimportant.  Our way of life is geared to not giving us time to think about things.  You get into an elevator and man, you’re bombarded with music.  You’re never allowed to be quiet and silent and to think and to feel.  That’s all very important stuff.  Even such simple things as flowers, you know, they can fill your soul with the joy of beauty.

>>  Leon says life is both good and bad, always challenging.  The key is perspective.

>>  If the glass is half-full, you suddenly leave yourself open to many more possibilities.  If it’s half empty you are in a state of depression, you exclude possibilities, you contract your whole being into a kind of a shell and there’s no way that you can grow.  The world is full of possibilities, so when it’s at its worst you’ve got to do the tough thing and open up to these possibilities.

>>  The Maestro continues writing, playing, performing, conducting, and teaching.

>>  Coming up, is there such a thing as a magic word?  Meet a man who actually has two of them, and together they’ve made his life an amazing adventure with no regrets.  You’ll find out what they are next, on Growing Bolder.

>>  (Music playing)

>>  I’m Marc Middleton along with big bad Billy Shafer.  This is Growing Bolder, and some of us, Bill, have trouble deciding what we want to do and others among us are afraid to try once we figure it out, but finding things to do and then trying them out was never a problem for Lawrence Holofcenter.

>>  He’s amazing.  He’s been a well-known and successful songwriter, actor and playwright and now in his 80s he’s a respected sculptor and a painter.  He’s truly amazing.  Lawrence has used to simple words, Marc, to guide him through his amazing life, two words he thinks we all should live by, “Why not?”

>>  Some people have the toughest time deciding what they want to be when they grow up.  Lawrence Holofcenter’s eighty-five and even he can’t figure it out yet.  It’s not like he hasn’t tried, but that every normal job he was a†–

>>  Failure.  Total failure at everything except having fun.

>>  So began a lifelong quest for fun.

>>  I was in a fog all through school and I wondered what I was going to do.

>>  So he quit college.  He and a friend drove to New York and got a huge break writing songs, something he’d never done before, for Sid Caesar in Your Show Of Shows.

>>  You were writing comedy songs for Sid Caesar.

>>  Not only comedy.  Ballads, all kinds of things.  Little stuff, big production numbers and so forth, a background for Broadway and when we finally got the Broadway show Mr.†Wonderful in 1956, it all fit in and it was fine.

>>  Holofcenter and Bock wrote this, Too Close For Comfort, sung by the great Sammy Davis Junior.  Suddenly Lawrence was a Broadway songwriter about to become a major success, but just as suddenly, it wasn’t fun anymore.

>>  I couldn’t take celebrity and it was offered me.  My agents said at Weimar said, when I said I wanted to be an actor, “Why?  You’re a successful songwriter.  Just stick to that.”  “Well, I’m also thinking of writing plays.”  “Stick to lyrics.  Lyrics is a marvelous — think of all the people from — and you’re an “H.”  Horbach, Hammerstein, Hart, Harbrook and Holofcenter.”  “No, I think I wants to do something else.

>>  So he became an actor.  Why not?  You know how nobody makes their debut on Broadway?  He did in Stop The World, I Want To Get Off.  He starred with Carol Channing in Hello Dolly, later with Ginger Rogers.  And what became of Bock?  He became a superstar, writing the music for Fiddler On The Roof, a show that Lawrence later starred in.

>>  Acting was okay, but he wanted to try other things.  His philosophy, once again†–

>>  Why not?  And that’s the way it’s been.

>>  So he became a playwright.  He booked guests on the Merv Griffin show and he delighted in being the one who discovered the comedy team of Jeremy Stiller and Ann Mira.

>>  He liked us enough to get us booked on the Merv Griffin daytime show.

>>  Once again, Holofcenter was a success against all reason.

>>  You had no experience writing songs, and you became a songwriter.  You had no experience acting, and you became a Broadway actor.  You had never written a play, and you became a Broadway playwright.  I have no idea how you got into sculpting.

>>  That’s a funny story, but never mind.

>>  Actually it defines his spirit best of all.  One day he decided to give sculpting a try.  Why not?  So he went to an art museum.

>>  And I said to the lady at the desk, “Do you have any clay that I could buy, and some sculpting tools?”  And she grabs my hand, she said, “You’re a sculptor.  Our sculptor has gone to North Carolina and we start classes on Tuesday.  Could you teach our sculpting classes?”  Why not?  Sure.  I mean — and that’s how it started.

>>  You’re a fraud.

>>  Totally.  And when I taught my classes, what did I teach?  Nothing.  I had fifteen people sitting around with blobs of clay and I said, now we’re all going to do busts — that’s all I knew how to do — and we did the busts and I had the blobs of clay and I would walk around and I would say, that’s wonderful, this is marvelous, that’s great, this is a wonderful thing you’re doing.  And they look at me with this — “What?  It’s just a blob.”  And that’s how I taught.  I never said anything even remotely negative, even remotely critical.  Everything was wonderful and beautiful.

>>  And that was followed by yet another chance to say, why not?

>>  Director of the museum came to me and said, “When are we going to have a show of yours, Larry?”  What?  And I said — “You know, a body of work.”  What’s a body?  “Thirty-five, forty pieces of work, you know, in the main museum of the gallery.”  Yes, why not?  And that’s how I became a sculptor.

>>  What else?  Not just a sculptor, but a successful one.  Critics loved his piece called Out Of The Box, saying you can almost feel the agony of pushing through the barriers.  And then he created an iconic piece on Lawrence Olivier.

>>  My hero, wonderful actor.  I was an actor, he is the actor.  I couldn’t do a portrait of him because he kept changing his face, his nose, his hats, his cheeks, everything.  His eyebrows, everything was changed in every role, so I did twenty-eight faces.

>>  Olivier loved it but it was in the mid-’90s when one of his works brought him international acclaim:  Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill sitting on a park bench.  When stores in the busiest shopping district in London saw it, they had to have it.  Why not?

>>  So they bought it, put it on Bond Street.  It’s been there since ’95.  It is the most — I’m told — visited sculpture in England.

>>  So out of everything, what was the best time of your life?

>>  Now.  Oh, absolutely.  Right this minute, doing your show.  What excitement.

>>  You didn’t hesitate to say now.  You’re in an age where most people are thinking it’s over, it’s past, it’s time to wind down.

>>  There’s no such thing as retirement.  Retirement.  Absolutely not.  It’s an artificial thing we put on — I don’t know why†– there must be somebody who can tell you, but that’s a joke.  That’s a foolish whim.  I would tell people — and I advise people who’ve just lost their jobs, lost their husband or lost their wife or had a climactic change that destroyed them, saying†– what an opportunity this is.  You can turn around and do something else.  “What else?  I don’t know what else.”  I don’t know either.  But you know.  Somewhere inside you, you know.

>>  You’re still proof that even now, you’re still doing that.

>>  Yes.  I’m waiting to do something different, but not waiting.  I’m doing what I’m doing now and something will hit me, can you†– why not?

>>  His wish is that the next opportunity comes your way that you’ll think of Lawrence Holofcenter and say, why not?

>>  That’s what life is all about.  I’m lucky to be here.  Thanks, Bill.

>>  No, thank you, Larry, for teaching us those two little words and how saying “why not” can lead to an extraordinary life filled with adventure, Marc, that keeps getting better and better every year.

(Music playing)

>>  Coming up, we’ve got an amazing woman.  In fact, if you ask her what she believes in, her answer will be short and sweet, literally.  This is Growing Bolder.

>>  I’m Bill Schafer with Marc Middleton, and this is Growing Bolder.  Do you remember when motorcycle rallies were for the young and the wild?  Well, they’re still pretty wild, but when we heard the average age was over fifty, we had check it out so we headed to one of the biggest rallies in the world:  Daytona Beach.

>>  It’s an event that draws the wild out of the mild and the freak out of the meek.  It’s where grown-ups go to get their youth back.

>>  We are kids, disguised as Halloween.

>>  In fact, it’s getting harder all the time to find someone under fifty.

>>  I look around and I see more guys with white beards.  What is that all about?

>>  I guess we started years ago and we just never got out of the habit of it.  Some of them are chasing their youth I suppose, I don’t know.

>>  She was looking around last night at the campsite and the average age was probably fifty.  Maybe just older people can afford the damn bikes.  I don’t know, but you see more people fifty and sixty than you do twenty and twenty-five.

>>  That’s because the people here swear a bike is the boomer’s fountain of youth.

>>  It’s a sense of freedom you have when you ride.  If you don’t do it, you won’t understand.

>>  Do you feel awkward being older?

>>  Not at all.  I think I’m very fortunate at my age to still be able to do something like this.  I plan on riding for a while yet.  I just turned the big seven-oh.

>>  I still like motorcycles, I’ve had one since I was seventeen.  I’m sixty-six now.  I’ve always had a bike.

>>  Keeps you young?

>>  Yes.  One of the things that keeps me young anyway.

>>  I thought that this was for twenty-year-old troublemakers.

>>  I’m a forty-six-year-old troublemaker.

>>  You see, you can take all your supplements and spend hours in the gym, but the point that’s apparent from this event is if you really want to stay young don’t ride the rocker, have a seat on a cycle.

>>  It just makes me feel like a million bucks.  I love coming down here, I like seeing all the people, I like all the bikes.  It’s one of the most wonderful things in the world.

>>  Did you ever think when you were younger that at the age of sixty-eight you’d be sitting up here?

>>  Absolutely not.  Probably not.  Thought I’d probably be playing golf or something like that, I guess.

>>  So what do you think that says?

>>  It’s just that little wild streak you just have, I guess, that you can’t get it out of your blood, that wind in your hair.

>>  Age doesn’t bother you?

>>  Age doesn’t bother me.

>>  You’re going to be seventy in a year.

>>  That is correct.

>>  What does this do for you?

>>  Enjoying life.

>>  Really, at seventy you’re not too old?

>>  You want to get beaten up?

>>  Go on, buddy.  Have a great time.

>>  Any hobby can add passion and excitement to your life, this one happens to be a lot more colorful than most, but you do have to be careful not to get too carried away.

>>  That’s my love, is motorcycles.  I’ve been married five times and my old lady can tell you right quick, he thinks more of the motorcycle than he does me.

>>  Even at this age you’re still having a great time?

>>  Oh yeah.  I have a good time anywhere I go as long as there’s a motorcycle involved.

>>  Some think the loudest thing out here is the roar of the bikes, but that sound is drowned out by the deafening roar of an older generation still living life to the fullest.

>>  Did you ever think when you were in your 20s that at the age of fifty-four you’d still be out here turning men’s heads at Biketober?

>>  No.

>>  You like that?

>>  I love it.

>>  What do you think this says about age?  Look at you, I mean, twenty years ago†–

>>  It says I’m hot as hell and love to have fun.

>>  Do you understand that what you’re doing†– you’re smashing the stereotypes that people have of age?

>>  I won’t when I get off the bike, I’ll limp and I’ll be all cramped up, my knees will hurt and then they’ll say, look at that old fella.

>>  But you get on that bike and you’re as cool as anybody out here.

>>  No, I’m not very cool, but I love the bike.

>>  Get a motorcycle, get a life.  Get off of the couch.

>>  What a great day that was, Billy, and he makes a great point:  Get off the couch, and some would say get out of the kitchen, but not Jane Hearsh.  In fact, the kitchen is where she found her purpose in life.

>>  Jane Hearsh fell in love with making cookies the day she got an easy bake oven as a little girl.  She fell in love with helping others on mission trips all over the world, trips on which her family was transformed by the experience of serving those in need.

>>  You’re changed.  You’re different, you have a bigger worldview when you live in a culture like we live in when you have what we have and you know what’s going on in the world, you’re almost not allowed to live the same way.  You have to do something.

>>  Jane is doing something.  In her mid-40s her love of baking and her love for others have given birth to Jane’s Short And Sweet, a baking business with all profits donated to helping women in need in the US and abroad.

>>  This has just kind of grown out of where her heart already is, she already has a heart for people and loves to cook.

>>  I’m thankful that I get to do it, and we’re hoping to make an imprint in the lives of women locally, in our neighborhood and eventually overseas.

>>  There are several successful models for what Jane and John Hearsh are attempting including Newman’s Own, started 1982 by actor Paul Newman when his friends clamored for his homemade salad dressing.  The brand now offers dozens of products and donates all profits to charity, over three hundred million dollars so far.

>>  Jane believes that social enterprise, building a business you love, is a means to helping others appeals to the best part in all of us.

>>  I think it’s kind of a knee-jerk response out of a concern for the next guy, out of a concern for other human beings and I’d like to think that’s kind of a seed that’s put in each one of us.

>>  Jane’s Short And sweet product line includes several versions of her award-winning shortbread, including oatmeal, pecan, and espresso.  She also offers biscotti and granola.  All are available online and in a growing number of retail locations.

>>  The irony isn’t lost on us that we do something kind of sweet in hopes of turning around some bitter circumstances, locally and eventually internationally, we hope.

>>  Jane knows she makes a great product and has an inspiring vision.  Now she hopes the marketplace will respond.

>>  The reality is, people love our cookies, people love our vision.  So what needs to happen in between is very simple.  People need to buy the cookies for us to extend the vision.  It’s really pretty simple.

>>  For Jane and John Hearsh this is not about making money.  It’s about donating money.  It’s about making a statement by making cookies and about taking a stand while taking a chance.

>>  If it never happens to be a big thing that’s fine too, because it never really started with the intent of, hey, let’s make money.  It really has just grown out of Jane’s passion for cooking and for people.

>>  It’s a little bit of an example to my kids to where if you love something enough to just try it.  The worst that can happen is you fall on your face and people say no to you, so you get back up and you try something else.

>>  In a very real way, this has become the ultimate mission trip for Jane Hearsh, one trip that could provide help and hope to all of the people in all the places she’s visited and served.  One trip that allows her to put her imprint on suffering people all over the world.  It’s a mission with a mission statement, one that’s short and sweet.

>>  A quality product, thoughtfully created, faithfully empowering.

>>  That’s one of the greatest things about a current trend, more and more men and women, especially over forty, are starting social enterprises, a business as a means of helping others.

>>  Doesn’t it help, Mark, to have a business statement that isn’t just about business but life as well.  Have you stopped to think about what really matters to you in your life?  You ought to, and then you should figure out a way to make that an important part of every single day of your life.

>>  Amen, brother Bill.  It’s been another interesting show and and an unusual show for us, the first time we’ve done an entire show consisting of pieces that were produced in the field instead of studio interviews.  Of course folks, the message is absolutely the same and you can feel the passion that these people have for life in all of these stories.

>>  I like it too, and one of the biggest points of all is these are all ordinary people, people who have experienced failure and heartbreak, challenges of every kind and yet they’re living active, exciting, passionate lives, and so can you.  All it takes that we hear from these people time and time again is, get off the couch and get into life.

>>  And it’s very important to surround yourself with others who do the very same thing and of course, a great way to do that is to watch and listen to Growing Bolder online, on TV and of course right here on the radio.

>>  We hope you’ll join us again right here next week and tell your friends about the big GB as well and be sure to like us on Facebook because there are discussions going on there all the time, Marc and I are in there as well, follow us on Twitter too and that way you’ll have a constant source of inspiration in your life, education, and entertainment.  Now how can you beat that?  Marc, anything else?

>>  See you.


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One thought on “Growing Bolder Radio Show: Karen Putz!

  1. Pingback: STA’s Karen Putz on Growing Bolder Radio Show « SpeechText Access

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