Never (Ever) Too Late
Retired and heeding the theatrical muse
TI TRY TO DO THINGS THAT SCARE ME. THAT’S WHAT YOU DO. IT’S CALLED LIVING.”
hey worked tirelessly, dedicating their lives to successful careers and parenting. And then came retirement. Living among us in Southwest Florida are three who took to the stage later in life.
CAPTURING THE MOMENTS
A lifelong salesman, Harry Lichtcsien was a 40-year devotee to Toastmasters, where he excelled in impromptu speaking. “I’d drive 100 miles to get to a meeting,” he says.
In 2005, Harry Lichtcsien was diagnosed with colon cancer, underwent surgery and was considered cancer-free until it returned in 2011 with a Stage 4 diagnosis. Two-plus years of chemotherapy later, treatments ran him down physically and emotionally. In a series of divine mishaps, Harry and his partner, Bonnie Grossmann, attended an improvisational comedy show at the Center for the Arts Bonita Springs. Harry was called onstage to add sound effects. His Toastmasters history paying off big time, Harry was a hit.
He took improv classes, and he and Bonnie formed the troupe Harry’s Senior Moment with a core group of classmates who “adore him and wanted to be part it,” Bonnie says. After eight months of rehearsal, Harry’s Senior Moment debuted in 2016 at the Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers. The troupe has performed at the Off Broadway Palm, Cinnamon Cove, and on Harry’s 83rd birthday, Avow Hospice in Naples for the opening of its palliative care center. The improv troupe of Harry’s Senior Moment has been invited back to the Off Broadway Palm for a weeklong gig in May 2018. “You have no idea how you make us feel,” one audience member with Stage 4 cancer told him.
But Harry knows exactly how it feels, and that improv led him to “enjoy my life having cancer. It changed the moments of my life.”
WRITING WITH SURGICAL PRECISION
S.R. “Bob” Maxeiner Jr. was born May 27, 1923. In the late 1950s he founded Surgical Consultants in Minnesota, for 33 years practiced as a general surgeon before retirement. He and his wife, Patricia, moved to Sanibel in 1987, where he immediately joined the Sanibel Island Writers Group, now in its 35th year. There, the small tribe of scribes meets weekly to share and examine their work.
Maxeiner has two published books: The Transplant Web, a novel, and Wild Asparagus, a collection of short fiction. A theater devotee, At 94, writer Bob Maxeiner (left) ceaselessly seeks inspiration for his work. Brenda Kensler's theater debut was at 55.