I found Mr. Ward sitting on the back patio making impressive bird calls to the turtle doves that like to occupy that part of Pine’s campus. Peter told me about quite the journey he has been on, that eventually led him to Sarasota. His story starts many years ago in Stratford-upon-Avon, England – the birthplace of renowned playwright, William Shakespeare.
Mr. Ward was quick to correct me when I referred to him as ‘British.’ “I’m English,” he told me explaining that he has never even been to places like Scotland which make up other parts of Britain. When I asked him what his favorite part about Stratford-upon-Avon was, he told me about the church he grew up in – the same church in which Shakespeare is buried – Holy Trinity Church. Mr. Ward sang in the choir there when he was a boy. He described the white marble walls and the vast floor-to-ceiling stained glad windows that cover the exterior walls. It is obvious that Mr. Ward still takes great pride in the place that shaped much of his childhood.
As an adult, Peter went to work building aero engines for Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Company. He described to me the massive pieces of machinery and equipment involved in making these engines. This is the career that eventually brought him to the United States and to a new chapter of his life. “My boss came in and asked me one day if I’d like to go to America,” he told me. “Why not?” was his answer.
Soon after Mr. Ward landed in the states, he began repairing airplane engine turbines. Shortly after his arrival in the States, he met Linda, the woman who would become his wife. “She was a bartender,” he told me with heavy traces of England still in his accent. When I asked him to tell me how he convinced her to go out with him, he laughed and said, “she asked me!” Linda and Peter were married in California and settled to raise their two boys in Connecticut. We laughed together about the cold weather those in Connecticut must still be experiencing. “I prefer Florida,” he told me with a chuckle.
Peter moved to Sarasota upon the invitation of one of his sons. He spends his days in the warm Sarasota sun making noises at the birds that land in our trees past the end of the patio. Mr. Ward is the perfect representation of the melting pot we have here at Pines of Sarasota. While interviewing our residents, I’ve met people from New Jersey, Chicago, and now – from all the way across the pond – the charming town with great history, Stratford-upon-Avon. Pines is such a special and unique place – residents from all over our country and the world, coming and spending their days with us, sharing their stories and wisdom with those who have the privilege of working here.