Windsor Park Stories

January 11, 1998 January 18, 1998 January 25, 1998
February 1, 1998 February 8, 1998 February 15, 1998
February 22, 1998 March 1, 1998 April 5, 1998
April 12, 1998

April 12, 1998

"There's No Place Like Home...Mary Ellen Keating"


    These are some of the featured themes offered to viewers in "There's No Place Like Home...Mary Ellen Keating", the 10th episode of the new public television series Windsor Park Stories.

    Scheduled for broadcast on Sunday, April 12 at 7 p.m., "There's No Place Like Home..." details the extraordinary experiences of a very ordinary native of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Mary Ellen Keating. Once a well-known news reporter and anchor at WDAU-TV 22, Keating has served as General Manager for Hill and Knowlton, one of the larger public relations' firms based in New York City.

    Today, holding the position of Senior Vice-President for Barnes and Noble, Keating could be tempted to regard her experiences in Northeastern Pennsylvania as insignificant. Yet, she freely credits this formative part of her life as instrumental in her overall success.


    As the daughter of a welder and a housewife, Mary Ellen Keating learned many positive lessons from her home environment. One of these was the need to gain practical job skills, as well as academic ones.

    While enrolled at Marywood College, she landed a job at a Carbondale Radio Station, and disciplined herself to rise each morning at 4 a.m. to go to work. The experience she gained was instrumental in her overall plan to be qualified for work after college graduation.

    "The only way to do that (begin a career) was to get some practical experience while I was in college."


    Mary Ellen Keating's first day as a television news reporter demonstrated that she had been taught to courageously dive in despite her relative inexperience. Covering a suspicious death that would become the headline story of the day, she tackled the project head-on and persevered. However, the day did have a few moments where she was forced to acknowledge this truly was her baptism by fire.

    "Before he (my driver and photographer) put the key in the ignition I looked at him and I said, 'I just want you to know that I don't know what I'm doing.' He looked at me and he said, 'Don't worry about it, I don't know what I'm doing either! I just started last week."


    In this era of attack journalism designed to generate ratings, Mary Ellen Keating quietly calls out with a voice that emanates from her Northeastern Pennsylvania upbringing. She truly believes that "old-fashioned" personal qualities should never be declared obsolete in the interest of professional or financial gain.

    "I think in order to be a successful broadcast journalist you have to have a lot of integrity. I, in my career early on, decided I was never going to compromise my integrity."


    Mary Ellen Keating was fortunate to have served as a reporter during one of the most unique moments in American history, the Iranian hostage crisis. Covering the story as it pertained to the experiences of hostage Michael Matrinko of Olyphant and his family, Keating practiced what she preached and treated the Matrinko's accordingly.

    "They were a couple who came to trust me a lot, because I respected them...I always tried to deal with people in a way that they felt respected."


    In the hours after the Iranian government finally released Michael Matrinko, Keating kept a respectful distance from Matrinko's parents in Olyphant. They repaid this respect by offering her first opportunity to speak by telephone with Michael in West Germany. Without hesitation, she proclaims that her response to that opportunity was one that acknowledged her humanity over her profession.

    "At that point, I probably put aside my reporter's hat and was reacting, I think, as any person would react in that kind of a situation."


    As a new employee of Hill and Knowlton when the firm was struggling, Keating prospered during a dark period in the company's history. She believes she survived to eventually lead her office into more profitable days because of the work ethic that had been drilled in her.

    "I kept my head down and I did my work...I managed to get through all of it by, I think, by doing good work."


    Modern marketing involves defining what a customer wants, and then producing a product that will fill those needs. However, egotistical management often neglects this simple concept because it requires people to exercise a personal skill rooted in humility. Mary Ellen Keating proudly demonstrates this skill.

    "You can't do quality work for clients unless you begin by listening."


    While her current professional success involves performing on the biggest stage in world commerce, Mary Ellen Keating never forgets where her true home is. She is thankful that she can, on occasion, retreat into the warmth of her past and renew her role as a product of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

    "It's not everyone who can go home to the place where they were born and walk into the house where they grew up, and for me home is everything...Walking in the front door and being flooded with all the memories, all the love that's still there."


    Mary Ellen Keating expects her life to leave no legacy of global significance. But, she does want to be remembered for another of her qualities that has its roots in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

    "What I would want people to remember me for is being kind."

    April 5, 1998

    "My Mom, My Inspiration"

  • LOVE
  • LOSS

    These are the featured themes offered to viewers in "My Mom, My Inspiration", the ninth episode of the new public television series Windsor Park Stories.

    Scheduled for broadcast on Sunday, March 29 at 7 p.m., "My Mom, My Inspiration" details the extraordinary experiences of a very ordinary native of Dallas, Pennsylvania, Eric Lehman.

    As valedictorian of his graduating class at Dallas High School, the young man's bright future became clouded when his beloved mother, Donna, was diagnosed with cancer. After battling the disease during Eric's college years, the family suffered supreme disappointment when medical science's best efforts failed and Donna Lehman died.

    Eric's thoughtful reflections about the positive effect his mother had upon his life make this episode of "Windsor Park Stories" unforgettable.


    The voice of a child voicing his or her disapproval with a parent's credibility is all too common in today's cynical society. Eric Lehman's commentary about how he emulates his mother is a refreshing testimony to her net worth as a parent, and the example she set.

    "She was my hero. Everything she did, I try to be just like her now."


    All too often, communication can break down between parents and a child. A cycle is created where this lack of communication gives root to new behavioral problems, which spawns even less communication. In time, both parties lose trust in each other.

    Eric Lehman's parents worked hard to keep the lines of family communication open. The experience left enough of a mark upon Eric's consciousness that he believes other families should follow their example.

    "I guess you have to be honest and open with your parents. If you're having any kind of trouble, let them know. Don't keep things in."


    People come and go. Generation after generation matures to the age of independence, and separate from the parents that raised them.

    A lucky few receive such spiritual gifts from their parents that the sting of death is not a final goodbye.

    "She's still with me. "Some day I'll be able to see her again."


    An age-old question asks whether a glass is half empty or half full? Likewise, a child robbed by death of a beloved parent may question whether the pain of that loss outweighs the benefits of the parent's legacy.

    Eric Lehman offers this advice to others that may struggle with the loss of a parent. To him, the glass holding his mother's memory will never be empty. He was blessed by her existence.

    "Remember how lucky you were to have had such a great parent."


    The death of a parent can usher in a host of unexpected changes. In the case of Eric Lehman, his father presented him with a "curve ball".

    After his wife's loss, Mr. Lehman pondered whether he might relocate from Northeastern Pennsylvania. This possibility forced Eric, now a California resident, to ponder whether an era of Lehman family history was coming to an end.

    "There's a chance he might leave the area. I have mixed emotions about that. If he left here, it would be like I was losing something; my home town base."


    As Donna Lehman's illness progressed, she suffered. So too did her love ones as they watched her experience the horrors of contemporary cancer treatment. As this complicated drama played out, Donna taught her family true love through a supreme demonstration of selflessness.

    "With all the treatments she got, I don't know how she couldn't have been in some discomfort. She was more worried about other people than she was about herself."


    Donna Lehman died with dignity. She accepted the cards that had been dealt her, and readily acknowledged to her loved ones that her life had been a part of the creator's overall plan. By accepting God's plan, she defined the word faith.

    "The day she died, she looked up at us and she smiled."

    March 1, 1998

    "More Than Golden...Gus and Rose Rossi"


    These are the featured themes offered to viewers in "More Than Golden...Gus and Rose Rossi", the eighth episode of the new public television series Windsor Park Stories.

    Scheduled for broadcast on Sunday, March 1 at 7 p.m., "More Than Golden..." details the extraordinary experiences of a very ordinary married couple, Gus and Rose Rossi. With a successful marriage spanning more than 50 years, the pair offers commentary about how they met, how their bond has survived, and about their ability to weather the storms of life.


    After meeting on a blind date, Gus and Rose Rossi courted for 10 months and were married. Their 51-year life together has included a predictable number of ups and downs, as well as the tragedy of losing a son to cancer.

    As they look back on a half-century of triumphs and struggles, a very important survival skill emerges. Rose and Gus have a sense of humor.

    "After 50 years, I'm just wondering how the hell she puts up with me," jokes Gus.

    "It's true. How did I?" adds Rose.


    Gus and Rose Rossi came to their marriage from very different family situations. She was the daughter of a highly respected retailer of Italian olive oil and various linens. With strong acceptance of her family name in the community, Rose profited.

    Gus arose from somewhat different circumstances, and a very patriarchal family structure. His father, a disciplinarian with a reputation as a serious card player, was the unchallenged leader of the family. Gus had no access to a car when he met Rose.

    Despite these substantial differences in their upbringings, Gus and Rose found themselves in agreement on an important marital concept. Because of it, they have stayed afloat despite several long-term family illnesses.

    "We always took care of one another!" says Rose.


    In an age where 50 percent of marriages are ending in the divorce courts, the Rossi's longevity stands out as a shining star. While they do admit to having an occasional argument, they have managed to avoid the kind of personal cynicism that plagues many married couples.

    Gus comments that he and his wife believe in an old-fashioned personal quality that has greatly benefited their union.

    "Well, respect is the first thing. We respect one another," says Rose. "We do respect one another."


    Over their 51 years together, Gus and Rose Rossi have prospered as well as suffered. Their oldest son Frank, a successful newspaper columnist in Philadelphia, succumbed to cancer after fighting the disease for many years. The loss might have torn their world apart, but the couple's bond enabled them move on after mourning.

    Gus, who describes himself as an individual, who is not particularly open with his feelings, is extremely frank when discussing the loss of his son.

    "It does bother me on Sunday, more or less, more than the other six days that we have, thinking about him" says Gus. "You're liable to see something around the house that reminds me of him."

    February 22, 1998




    These are the personal qualities highlighted in this week's episode of "Windsor Park Stories" on WVIA-TV 44. The episode presents an honest look at the joys, challenges and fears today's young adults must confront as they commence their professional careers.

    Scheduled for broadcast on Sunday, February 22, at 7 p.m., part two of "Getting Started…" details the extraordinary experiences of two very ordinary young adults, Katie Williams and Philip Yacuboski. Recent graduates of King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, the two youngsters are living testaments to the concept that today's young adults are a force to be reckoned with.

    As educated professionals who have begun careers in the highly competitive communications industry, Williams and Yacuboski are qualified to offer commentary about what it takes to break into tough professions. They also demonstrate the type of purposeful focus that contemporary employers are demanding.


    With an international economy, record number of college graduates and the availability of many quality applicants for each job opening, today's college seniors have no guarantee of future employment. As they toil to complete their educations, gnawing uncertainty about the future hangs over almost every student.

    "We didn't know where we were going…We didn't know what city we were going to be in," says Yacuboski. "We didn't know if we were going to have a job."


    Success in the modern workplace increasingly involves mastery over complex technical skills. Williams is quick to offer her opinion about which skills are the most vital to demonstrate proficiency in."

    "In my opinion, the most important one would have to be the Internet, E-mail access and being able to use a computer and software effectively," explains Williams.


    While technology in the workplace continues to evolve, certain segments of the traditional formula for success have remained the same. One of these is the personal sacrifice employers demand from their professional employees.

    "Sometimes, I have to stay at work until 9 or 10 o'clock," says Williams. "That's just the real world."


    Along with increasingly longer work weeks, many professional occupations offer an expanding list of daily responsibilities, which must be completed on time without fail. This leaves the employees with little or no uncluttered personal time. Yacuboski points out that "free" moments, which can be used, for personal reflection are a luxury not generally available to him.

    "I don't have time every day to sit around and think about my life," says Yacuboski.


    Williams and Yacuboski are quick to point out that they must deal with the unexpected as part of their daily work routines. Because of this, they believe personal flexibility is a desirable trait.

    For Yacuboski, this sometimes means a full day's worth of carefully planned news reporting must be tabled in favor of a late breaking story. It also means meeting broadcast deadlines with a minimum of preparation time.

    "That's being flexible," explains Yacuboski. "That would really disrupt anybody else's day, but for us that's normal."


    Yacuboski and Williams believe that we all can better ourselves by soliciting the honest opinions of our peers. While this may leave an individual open to disappointment, it also creates opportunities for professional growth.

    "I have several close people that I respect who look over my work before it goes on the air," says Yacuboski. "It's the only way you become better. It's worked for me so far."


    After years of successful education, the mastery of technical skills and the success of entering chosen professions, today's young adults could easily believe their biggest frustrations are behind them. Williams is quick to point out "Murphy's Law" is alive and well in the technological age, and that the constant demands of high personal productivity can turn a minor failure into a major crisis.

    "My worst day at work was when my computer broke down and I couldn't meet a deadline because of a glitch in technology, which happens, and you have to deal with it," says Williams. "Unfortunately, nobody wants to hear about a glitch in technology. Nobody wants to hear you can't meet your deadlines."


    Being employed in a complex profession is a two-edged sword, according to Yacuboski. After finishing each assignment, a person can easily fall victim to the temptation of second-guessing their judgment. If a job is creative in nature and therefore involves making choices that are subject to the opinions of others, a preoccupation with second-guessing can be almost paralyzing.

    Yacuboski states that learning to accept the outcome of each day and each individual project is a crucial job skill.

    "I just have to learn that you let things go at the end of the day and say that's the way the day took it's course," says Yacuboski.


    When viewed from one perspective, the situation faced by today's young adults as they begin their careers looks rather gloomy. Brutal competition, long hours, balky technology and the demands for personal sacrifice seem to be the norm.

    Yet, despite this tough landscape, the modern workplace offers a shining star of hope. Williams is quick to declare that any individual who desires professional challenge can gain entrance to the arena. Put another way, the traditional American dream of success still lives on.

    "Work hard, and realize that no matter where you come from, you can get where you want to go," says Williams. "You can get to that place."

    February 15, 1998




    These are the personal qualities highlighted in this week's episode of "Windsor Park Stories" on WVIA-TV 44. The episode presents an intimate pictorial of the challenges facing today's young adults as they struggle to begin their working lives.

    Scheduled for broadcast on Sunday, February 15, at 7 p.m., "Getting Started…" details the extraordinary experiences of two very ordinary young adults, Katie Williams and Philip Yacuboski. Recent graduates of King's College in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, the two youngsters display vastly different temperaments but similar commitments to the concept of self-improvement and personal success.

    As educated professionals who broke into highly competitive fields, Williams and Yacuboski are living testaments to the traditional work ethic. They also demonstrate the ability to persevere and achieve long-term goals despite tough competition and professional setbacks.


    Williams, a long-time resident of Wayne County, relocated to the Boston, Massachusetts area following her college graduation. After her initial job prospects suddenly evaporated, she survived a series of extensive interviews to land a communications job with the Cambridge Technology Group.

    From one perspective, the road Williams followed to employment is as traditional as her desire to succeed.

    "I was extremely flexible and willing to work hard and willing to work long hours," says Williams. "It's those skills that employers are looking for."


    One of the long-time goals Williams dedicated herself to was that of relocating to an urban area. The scenario became a reality when she moved to Boston. Williams believes personal flexibility helped her cope with the predictable ramifications of so much change happening within a few short years.

    "I think as long as you're open to possibility, it's much easier to adapt to circumstances," she explains.


    Yacuboski, a native of Luzerne County, choose one of the most competitive career paths imaginable when he elected to become a television news broadcaster. After a stint at an ABC affiliate in Binghamton, New York, Yacuboski landed a reporter's job "back home" at WYOU-TV 22.

    In the ultra-competitive broadcast industry, Yacuboski is realistic about the difficulty even an extremely talented reporter faces concerning prospects for employment. He also comments that he considers himself to be a very lucky individual.

    "I think, when you do find a job, when you get there, you're very fortunate," says Yacuboski.


    Williams demonstrated the ability to persevere despite a disappointing setback shortly after her graduation from King's. When her plans to relocate came together and she received a job offer in Boston, Williams followed through and moved her life hundreds of miles. Then, before she could begin celebrating her victory, the job offer was suddenly withdrawn.

    Moving quickly but deliberately, Williams successfully weathered the crisis and landed her current position. To her credit, she also learned an important lesson in how a person can actually benefit when things appear to go wrong.

    "Actually, it probably worked out for the best," explains Williams. "The job I have now is better than anything I could have dreamed of."


    As "Getting Started…" unfolds on Windsor Park Stories, Yacuboski offers a fascinating commentary about the rewards available when peer pressure is avoided. As he explains his successful road to employment despite heavy competition, he describes how he allowed himself to follow the calling of his own heart and mind during his school years.

    "Everybody else was involved in baseball, football and soccer, and I was involved in speech," he explains. "This was something I just loved to do."

    MOM & DAD

    Unconditional love, guidance and the setting of a positive example are traditional ingredients in successful parenting. Yet, in this modern age, so many parent-child relationships are sabotaged by family structures, which have been infiltrated by modern cynicism.

    Williams speaks highly of the family structure her parents created, and openly praises how her parents nurtured their children.

    "I wish that every single person on this Earth was blessed with the kind of love that I received from my family," says Williams.

    February 8, 1998



  • LOVE

    These are the featured themes offered to viewers in "Dead On Arrival: Dr. Leon Bass", the fifth episode of the new public television series Windsor Park Stories.

    Scheduled for broadcast on Sunday, February 8 at 7 p.m., "Dead On Arrival..." details the extraordinary experiences of a very ordinary ex-GI and public school educator, Dr. Leon Bass. As a member of the American Third Army which liberated the Nazi death camp at Buchenwald during World War II, Bass received a valuable lesson about mankind's tendency to discriminate against those perceived as different.

    Later in life, Bass became a high school principal in Philadelphia. During his tenure there, he committed himself to speak out against hatred and racial discrimination while following the principles of courage and love taught by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


    Leon Bass was a young, idealistic member of the United States army who believed in fighting for his country's freedom during World War II. However, this idealism received a wake-up call while stationed in the southern United States before his deployment overseas.

    In the Deep South, Bass was hit hard by the region's policy of racial segregation. The reality that large numbers of fellow Americans considered him inferior shattered his dreams of equality for all, and revealed to him the evil which can reside in the human heart.

    "My country was telling me I wasn't good enough to enjoy what I was fighting for," says Bass. "I had to be separated from others."


    During his wartime military service, Bass was a member of the American Third Army who liberated the Nazi death camp at Buchenwald. As a shocked Bass witnessed the horrors of the camp, he noticed that the innocent prisoners sentenced to suffer and die there had been guilty of only one crime in the eyes of their German masters.

    "Why? Who did this? I couldn't fathom it," says Bass. "The Nazis placed all of them there because the Nazis said, they too, were not good enough."


    As Bass took careful note of the human carnage at Buchenwald, he sensed that he was experiencing a major psychological awakening. This would forever change his place in the overall scheme of things.

    "I knew there was a reason for my being in the military," says Bass. "There was a reason for my being in Buchenwald."


    After the war, an enthusiastic Bass enrolled as an education major at West Chester College in Pennsylvania. To his horror, he was excluded from living in the dormitories like the white students.

    The episode was another awakening for Bass. Again, people had demonstrated the belief that others should be separated and deprived because they "weren't good enough".

    "I found out that the face of evil was in Westchester," explains Bass.


    As an elementary public school educator, Bass found that he had been worn down by his experiences. Sadly, the once-idealistic young man had become cynical about the overall prospects for minorities. He also realized it was affecting his ability to motivate his students.

    "The one thing they needed I couldn't deliver," says Bass. "They needed hope. Those young people needed hope that tomorrow would be better than today, and I couldn't make that possible."


    The teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. changed Dr. Leon Bass forever. Instead of cursing those who oppressed others, Bass was urged to quietly stand up and fight the evil of racial superiority with love and righteousness.

    Needless to say, when he first heard Dr. King speak, a cynical Bass was stunned.

    ...Of course, when I heard that (Dr. King's message) I thought the man was out in left field. He was crazy," says Bass. "He couldn't expect me to love these people."


    Today, Bass is a man with a mission. He speaks out against the recurring belief that people are inferior due to differences such as color, nationality or religion. Bass then inspires his audience to accept their differences, and to fight discrimination and repression.

    "I travel speak to people," says Bass. "To let them know that the evil is still with us."


    As he speaks out, Leon Bass knows he does not proclaim an easy gospel. He has seen the tremendous power generated by the belief that those who are different are inferior. But, Bass also knows there is tremendous power in the belief we are all equal members of one human family. And, that we should be judged only by the content of our character.

    "It takes courage and a great deal of love to stand up against the evil, but we must do it," proclaims Bass.

    February 1, 1998




    These are the featured themes offered to viewers in "The Fly Boys: Bob Alles and Jack Edwards", the fourth episode of the new public television series Windsor Park Stories.

    Scheduled for broadcast on Sunday, February 1 at 7 p.m., "The Fly Boys" details the extraordinary experiences of two very ordinary regional men, Bob Alles and Jack Edwards. As courageous youngsters barely entering their adult years, they were whisked off to participate in the massive aerial bombing of Hitler's industrial base in war-time Europe.

    Their experiences, as two of the lucky GI's who fought and lived to tell the tale, resound with a devotion to duty and an acceptance that each day could have been their last. Despite the horrors of aerial combat, they carried on and secured victory over an enemy who claimed many of their friends as casualties.


    While they confess to being calloused by the never-ending death they witnessed every day of the war, Edwards and Alles candidly admit that fear was their daily companion. Edwards suffered through German air raids on his base, and was forced to take shelter in a foxhole with minimum protection.

    "You were so scared that you grabbed your helmet and went to pull it down over your feet," he explains. "Fireworks today don't interest me because I've seen the biggest show of my life."


    While Alles flew in the big B-17 Superfortress bombers, Edwards served as a mechanic who cleaned up and repaired the huge aircraft if they returned from each bombing mission. Sometimes, they were forced to witness the results of combat.

    Edwards distinctly remembers cleaning out an aircraft which had experienced a hit from an anti-aircraft shell. The round had penetrated the floor of the plane and exited without detonating, but took the plane's navigator out with it through the ceiling.

    "The whole cockpit and the instruments were all bloodied up, and it was gruesome," he says. "That kind makes you feel different when you see something like that."


    As Alles prepared for each mission over Axis territory, he and his mates knew full well that the day could be their last on earth. Despite this knowledge, they performed their duty, but made provisions for their spiritual welfare should the mission end unfavorably.

    "Depending upon where the mission was, where you were going, you'd get the last rites of church," he remembers emotionally.


    Edwards was called upon to note Allied air casualties by counting the number of planes that returned to the base from each mission. They called this "Sweating Them Out".

    While the numbers would vary, sometimes as many as half of each squadron would be missing. The daily loss of Edwards' comrades would bring about a mixture of varied emotions.

    "Yes, that's disheartening, very disheartening," he says. "It gets you mad, and you wanted to something about it, but you can't."


    Maintaining the precious link to home through the mail was of supreme importance to the fly boys. While they wrote frequently to loved ones, the GI's also knew the governmental censors would often reduce their letters to light fluff.

    "I used to like to try to give them as much information as I could," says Alles. "But knowing that my mail was censored, there wasn't much you could write about.


    Each B-17 was crewed by a mixture of several officers and enlisted men. While the men respected the differences between them brought about by rank, they closed ranks when their lives where on the line.

    "Socialization was rare," says Alles. "But, as a team you couldn't beat us!"


    On one occasion, the bomb dropping equipment in Alles B-17 failed. In an attempt to salvage the mission, Alles climbed over the open bomb bay doors and begin manually pulling each activation pin from the bombs. Without warning, a crewman prematurely activated the bomb drop mechanism, and suddenly Alles was sprawled over the plane's open and empty belly. His comment echo the realities of fighting a technological war in the skies with airplane crews who were hurriedly trained.

    "There I am, looking down 32,000 feet without a parachute," he chuckles. "I don't know how we won this war."


    Both men candidly explain that the war left its fingerprints upon their souls. Edwards fumes when discussing those who dodged military service, and proclaims that, despite the horrors he witnessed, he believed in the war and its victory over Nazi tyranny.

    "I wouldn't have missed it for the world," he says.

    Alles is more somber when asked about how he now views the war.

    "It's more overwhelming now talking about it now than it was then," he cries out. "You're not home. You're on your own. And, you had to figure out how to make it... It's something I'm proud of!"

    January 25, 1998




    These are the featured themes offered to viewers in "Fighting Back: John and Marilyn Gregorski", the third episode of the new public television series Windsor Park Stories.

    Scheduled for broadcast on Sunday, January 25 at 7 p.m., "Fighting Back" details the extraordinary experiences of two very ordinary Dunmore natives, John and Marilyn Gregorski. After experiencing considerable personal and professional success, the couple's life takes a drastic turn when John is suddenly diagnosed with cancer.

    While "Fighting Back" answers no questions concerning John's long-term health prospects, it does offer considerable insight into the mechanics of the emotional struggle being experienced by this committed couple, and their coping techniques. Their strength, courage and resourcefulness stand in fitting contrast to the disease which has invaded their lives.


    As is often the case, John Gregorski experienced no long-term symptoms warning him of his illness. Because of this, he could not ponder the realities of the situation he was being placed him in, and his wife had no time to adjust to the reality of their lives suddenly changing course.

    Marilyn Gregorski pulls no punches when she describes how the diagnosis offered to her husband was explained to her. Her emotional reaction rings out with the fear experienced by anyone who is suddenly confronted by the possibility of life's twilight hours approaching.

    "I can just remember my heart dropping just all the way down," says Marilyn. "And, then having to say the dreaded word of cancer."


    While many people believe that the concept of positive thinking is nothing but a series of worn-our cliches, John Gregorski feels differently. As an architect, he has been trained to think analytically, and he used this training to zero in on the specifics of his upcoming surgery and expect a positive outcome.

    "I think our local (healthcare) people are superb," says John. "It just never occurred to me that this thing wouldn't go right and I never really thought about it not succeeding."


    To her credit, Marilyn Gregorski has avoided one particularly destructive type of thinking. While others might question why they have trouble in their lives, Marilyn states that she does not allow herself to question why her life has not unfolded like a storybook. Her coping tool to accomplish this revolves around her lack of a set "script".

    "I guess I never went into the marriage with set expectations," says Marilyn. "So, everything that we have I feel has been a gift."


    The Gregorski's are frank when they discuss John's chemotherapy. They admit that the days following each treatment are hard to endure, and at times the horrors of the experience wears the couple down.

    Yet, despite the draining situation, Marilyn consistently strives to provide John with the foods he will find appealing after his treatments, plus dose after dose of Tender Loving Care.

    "I couldn't ask for more understanding or support," explains John. "Again, after 35 years, you tend to depend on one another."


    An old adage states that every event in life is a double-edge sword. One of the natural laws proclaims that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. These principles have been proven true in the lives of John and Marilyn Gregorski.

    Despite the realities of the situation they cope with, the couple warmly states that they have received a significant blessing from their struggle.

    "We have the love of family there," says Marilyn. "We have bonded together so much more since John's illness."

    January 18, 1998

    "Bittersweet Memories: Theresa Evans and Johanna Wosar..."



    These are the featured themes offered to viewers in "Bittersweet Memories", the second episode of the new public television series Windsor Park Stories.

    Scheduled for broadcast on Sunday, January 18 at 7 p.m., "Bittersweet Memories" details the extraordinary experiences of two ordinary sisters, Theresa Evans and Johanna Wosar. As children living in war-torn Hungary during World War II, they witnessed the conflict which engulfed their homeland. Yet, they survived the horrors to eventually prosper in the safety of the United States. Their comments on the struggle to survive during mankind's darkest hours and the subsequent lessons learned afterwards are illuminating as well as inspiring.


    As children, Evans, Wosar and their family members were evacuated from their hometown by Axis authorities as the revenge-hungry Red Army bore down upon the region. They could take almost none of their possessions, and wound up as displaced nationals living in barren underground bunkers. Their focus on basic priorities as they ran for their lives illustrates the difficult times in which they lived:

    "Our Mother said...Now take the pillowcases and put some potatoes in them, and put in some bread and lard and meat," said Wosar. "So, we took what we could so we had a little food."


    Fear, suffering and death were never far from the childhood world of Evans and Wosar. As Allied air raids wracked their homeland for two hours every afternoon, they would retreat to the safety of a small underground shelter and watch in horror as the surface explosions rocked the thin soup in their luncheon bowls.

    Evans remembers a grim day when a group of disheveled Jewish men were being herded through the town by Nazi authorities. The horrified townspeople attempted to give the doomed prisoners food, but the attempt was accidentally scuttled by a terrified Evans. To this day, she avoids visiting Holocaust memorial sites in Germany, and her memories of the event illustrate the complex emotions diplayed by innocent people placed in such an overwhelming situation:

    "I would always recall this in my dreams," says Evans. "Afterward, (I felt) that all these people are there and somehow I was responsible that they didn't have anything to eat."


    In their village before the evacuation, the existence of food was of primary importance to Evans and Wosar. Yet, with supreme resilence, they accepted their plight and carried on as normal children. Evans remembers carrying a single piece of bread in her dress as she played, and carefully bit off small pieces as the day wore on as to make it last as long as possible.

    As a survivor, Wosar's memories of being deprived of basic life-giving necessities still haunt her to this day.

    "Why did this have to happen to us," she tearfully questions?


    Both sisters give credit to their work ethic and their faith as the pillars which carried them through the war. Today, the prayer book used by the family reverently rests on the coffee table in the Evans home. It still bears the scars of the war, when it was glued back together by the girls' grandmother with a paste made from flour and water.

    The blessings of living in the safe and prosperous United States are never far from the minds of the two women.

    "No, never in my wildest dreams (did I expect this)," explains Evans. "I never ever thought that I would have what I have... Every day I wake up and look around and I say thanks... "


    Evans and Wosar admit that they still bear the scars of their war-time experience. Evans comments that she shuns the images of any type of armed conflict.

    "I can't watch a war movie - any war movie..." she says. "I can't even watch fireworks because it reminds me of the bombing."

    Wosar, still visibly shaken by the horrors she has experienced at the hands of her nation's Nazi rulers, offers a closing reflection on the eternal fate of these men who brought the world to flame. In doing so, she also lights the lamp of hope that humans can forgive, and allow God's plans for justice to unfold as they should.

    "God said, you have to forgive," she says with dignity . "They (the Nazis) will have to stand in front of God themselves."

    January 11, 1998

    All In One Lifetime-The Tony Lawrence Story



  • Strength
  • Perseverance
  • Wisdom
  • Maturity

    These are the featured themes offered to viewers in "All in One Lifetime", the initial episode of the new public television series Windsor Park Stories.

    Scheduled for broadcast on Sunday, January 11 at 7 p.m., "All In One Lifetime" details the extraordinary life of Attorney Tony Lawrence. Rising from humble beginnings in the Hill Section of Dunmore, Pennsylvania, Lawrence became a self-made success story by repeatedly demonstrating the personal qualities of strength and perseverance. After relating the successes in his life, Lawrence discusses his battle with his toughest opponents, heart disease and depression.


    Tony Lawrence's childhood, while humble from a financial standpoint, was rich in the traditions of family and hard work. His home had no hot water, two bedrooms housed all of his brothers and sisters, and his mother baked 25 loaves of bread each week on an outdoor oven. His father instructed him to pick cow manure for garden fertilizer.

    "My father used to put out our stockings, and he put in a couple of chunks of coal, and he put in an orange or an apple," says Lawrence, commenting about his family's lean Christmas celebrations. "That would be our gift...We had no tree...Maybe we would be able to buy a new pair of shoes or a sweater."


    Tony Lawrence exhibited an ability to learn from his experiences early in life, and subsequently make decisions that have guided him in profitable directions.

    "When I was a sophomore in Dunmore High School, I said to my dad, 'Dad, I'm quitting school." explains Lawrence. "He said, 'Well, you can come to work with me (in the mines). After one day, I said 'Dad, I'm going back to school."


    Taking on new challenges has been a big part of Tony Lawrence's life. During his college days, he and his classmates were offered an opportunity to take part in an adventure relatively new for the times.

    "My senior year at The University of Scranton, someone came in from the Army and said 'Does anyone want to learn how to fly?" comments Lawrence. "I was the only one who put up my hand!"


    Tony Lawrence's view on parenting can best be summed up by the way he handled Christmas with his two daughters. Providing them with only a few toys on Christmas day, Lawrence opted to celebrate the holiday by contributing to their long-term welfare.

    "I'd buy them one or two shares of stock," says Lawrence with a smile. "This way, when they got older, they'd have a portfolio, which they have today, which is pretty good for them."

    Lawrence's life was filled with success after success:

  • Stock Market Professional
  • Professional Football Player
  • First Lieutenant in the United States Army
  • Pilot and Flight Instructor
  • Collegiate Football Coach
  • Attorney
  • Public Servant
  • Husband
  • Father


    After a lifetime "On Top of His Game", Attorney Lawrence was stricken with debilitating heart disease. Following several heart surgeries, one at the hand of famed heart pioneer Dr. Michael DeBakey, he began his battle with his most insidious opponent, depression.

    " When you have depression, you don't recognize it right off the bat," says a surprisingly candid but somber Lawrence." But, your family does. The best thing to do is to get some help."


    As a individual who must cope with the implications of his senior citizen status and his debilitating illnesses, Lawrence demonstrates his personal perseverance with a determined quip.

    Shortly after returning home from the hospital, Lawrence's wife purchased a cemetery lot in Dunmore. After bantering with her about her intentions, his response to her was a classic Tony Lawrence statement.

    "I'm going to fool you," he said with a smile. "I'm going to live. Which I'm doing today!"


    After a lifetime of practicing law, Lawrence is acutely aware of the fact that his legacy will survive him. His wish for how he will be remembered rings with the wisdom of a mature man who worked to love his fellow man.

    "When I was working, I used to stop into cathedral every day, for a minute or so, to say a prayer for my enemies, that they would like me..." he says. "I would like to have no enemies at the time I leave this world.


    The weekly 13-part series debuts on WVIA-TV Channel 44 on Sunday, January 11 at 7 p.m. Created by the award-winning firm of Mussari-Loftus Associates in association with WVIA-TV, the series is touted as an intimate portrait of the extraordinary lives of ordinary people.

    "Each installment of Windsor Park Stories focuses on the unique experiences of an individual the viewer will recognize as a family member, friend or neighbor," explains series creator Tony Mussari. "As our guest's story unfolds, we learn about their individual life and the ordeals they have faced. They then detail how they worked to overcome adversity and learned from it."

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