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Their Stories

Student Journalists from King's College Cover Windsor Park Screening in Cape May, New Jersey

Three student journalists from King's College in Wilkes-Barre, PA traveled to Cape May New Jersey to cover the special Cape May Screening of Windsor Park Stories.

Jaclyn Ross, Mike Wigo and Jason Forbes, all Mass Communications majors at King's, were part of an overflow crowd attending the event in City Hall.

Ross, the editor-in-chief of The Crown, started her day in Pittsburgh and she traveled 10 hours by car to attend what she called "A wonderful event."


'Windsor Park Stories:'
A special Journey to Cape May

Jaclyn Ross
Editor-in-Chief, The Crown

On the road again, Windsor Park Stories, headed to Cape May, NJ on Oct. 29, at 7:30 p.m. for a public screening. The screening consisted of three brief excerpts from Windsor Park Stories and one feature presentation. Cape May residents, King's College employees and students were among the guests invited to view these selected stories in the auditorium of City Hall.

Windsor Park Stories is a program that tells the exceptional stories of regular people. The show is aired regularly on WVIA TV - Channel 44 and produced By Dr. Anthony Mussari, professor and Chairman of the Mass Communications Department and his wife, Kitch Loftus- Mussari.

The screening room was decorated with Sue hand's watercolor paintings for an exhibit preceeding to the screening. Hand's story was among the first of the excerpts shown. Hand, a recognized local artist and colleague of the Mussaris talked about her artwork and what it was like to paint on Jackson Street in Cape May. She pointed out how gracious The Cape May residents were.

"It's the way we would like America to be," stressed Hand.

Another excerpt entitled "A Victorian Mayor" ventured into the life and thoughts of the former mayor of Cape May, Bruce Minnix. He told stories about the different owners of Victorian houses and spoke graciously about Windsor Park Stories.

"It captures each personality their brightness," said Minnix.

The last episode shown to end the evening was the featured presentation entitled "The Greatest Loss." This was a touching story about a mother losing her son to suicide. Linda Loughlin and her husband Skip talked about the pain in their lives…losing their son and how they dealt with it. They gave suggestions on how to cope with the pain and how to prevent suicide.

After the screening, residents of Cape May and others had a chance to discuss their thoughts on the production.

Cynthia Riker, a resident of Jackson Street expressed her thoughts on Mussari's students.

"I think he is such a wonderful, spiritual man who is giving a gift to young people that is so priceless."

The Mussaris commented on the evening and what it meant to them.

The screening in Cape May was simply magical. The place, the crowd, the people, the enthusiastic reaction to the episodes was more than we ever expected. It proved to us that Windsor Park Stories has an audience beyond Northeastern Pennsylvania. We were happy for the Loughlins, because in a real way it was their special evening. We were happy for Sue Hand because her paintings were so well received. But we were overjoyed that so many of our students and former students from King's were able to share this special evening with us in Cape May.

The idea that led the Mussaris to produce Windsor Park Stories in Cape May stemmed from a vacation they took which led to the chance meeting of several friendly people on Jackson Street with interesting stories to tell. Mussari talks about why he chose Cape May for his selected episodes.

"We wanted to tell interesting stories. We found Marvelous stories in this city," stressed Mussari.

Cape May residents were not the only people touched by the series. Senior Judy Ammon shares her thoughts on the program.

"I think that it is a good concept that is inspirational to many of the students especially those interested in Communications and film," said Ammon

Windsor Park Stories is in its fourth season and just Finishing its 80th program. The program began in January of 1997 and has grown enormously since then…Mussari has other film credits. They include: Centralia Fire (1982), Unfinished Business:Teen Suicide Everyone's Concern (1986), When Hope Becomes Dspair (1987), Children of Poverty in the Wyoming Valley (1989), Friday Night Heroes (1991) and Building Power and Class (1994).

Windsor Park Stories can bee seen every Sunday evening on WVIA TV, Channel 44 at 7 p.m.


April 11,1999

Battling Cancer:

The Jackie Istvan Story



  • History
  • Finding A Way To Survive
  • Advice
  • Epitaph: She Has Lived

    Battling Cancer

    April 11, 1999

    Jackie Istvan may be small in stature, but anyone who knows her knows that she is a fighter. For most of her life she has been battling cancer, and to date she is the winner.

    Her medical war started at 28 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

    She had a rematch four years later.

    At 43 she faced uterine cancer and won.

    Another decade passed, and she was again doing what she had to do to stay alive.

    Today she is still at war with an enemy she cannot see. But every day she struggles mightily to win her personal battle against cancer.

    The Jackie Istvan Story

    In this, the tenth episode of the second season of Windsor Park Stories, Jackie Istvan talks freely about her life, her struggles and the philosophy which has kept her alive during five separate encounters with cancer.

    Born Jacqueline Rioux, she married Jerome Klenner in Johnstown, PA in 1950.

    The wife of a college professor, her expectations were no different than those of other women married in the 1950's. She wanted a home, a family and a lifetime of happiness. Instead she got a lifetime of medical warfare with a persistent and pernicious opponent.

    It started with a lump on her breast discovered when she was not yet 30 years old. She waited six months for an operation.

    She survived the surgery, and the postoperative treatments only to discover that in less than four years the lump appeared again.

    "It was shocking to say the least. I was a mother of two young children…a democratic committeewoman, and I needed another operation," she said.

    "It was a bright fall day, and I was thinking about my pain when a neighbor called to me. "Hey Jackie, Kennedy's been shot!"

    "I forgot all about my pain."

    As if she did not have enough to cope with, her husband, a well-respected professor, passed away, and she was left alone to raise a family.

    Finding A Way To Survive

    An independent woman, she was determined to find a way to feed her family. Without much support in a male dominated industry, she began a career in real estate.

    The years passed. Her two children, Jayne and Kevin grew. The family relocated to Wilkes-Barre, she began to grow her real estate business, and eventually she remarried. Life was beginning to look normal for Jackie Istvan.

    While on a cruise in 1977, she was visited by her lifetime adversary. This time it was uterine cancer. A total hysterectomy put her out of commission for several months.

    In 1989 she was back in the operating room. Once again it was breast cancer.

    Angered and frustrated, she confided to her husband, Larry, "When they get me in the operating room, if it looks like it is not good tell them to remove the whole breast. I have had it with this."

    "Jackie, you don't tell a surgeon to remove the whole breast," he replied. " That is like telling your hair stylist you want your hair cut short!"

    The mastectomy appeared to be successful, but Jackie Istvan would be back in her oncologist's office in seven years, and this time the prognosis would not be very good.

    Advice

    As she looks back at her life, she becomes reflective, and she shares some helpful advice.

    "You have to have someone help you think it through. You must have someone close to you to get you through this, a husband or a friend."

    "You should have faith in your doctor, but you should be able to question him." "You need a lot of kindness."

    "I was determined not to become an invalid. I negotiated with God. I told God you don't need me, but Larry needs me. So please let me stay here a while longer."

    "To get through this you must find something to laugh at even if it is yourself."

    "If I met someone today who has cancer, I would tell them to go to the top. If they aren't satisfied about their treatment or they have questions about their treatment, they should go for a second opinion. Because if I had not gone for a second opinion, I would not be here today."

    Epitaph: She Has Lived

    "When the end comes, I hope I can accept it generously."

    "One thing I think I want to put on my tombstone. She has lived."

    "I have seen the good and I have seen the bad. It's a good thing to experience both, and I feel well rewarded for all the suffering. I don't know how many people overcome cancer four times, let alone five. I am the eternal optimist, and I hope I do it again, because I want more years."

    "Whatever happens I'll take it."


    COME WITH US EACH WEEK TO A VERY SPECIAL PLACE CALLED WINDSOR PARK!

    The second season of Windsor Park Stories debuted on WVIA-TV Channel 44 on Sunday, January 17 at 7 p.m. Created by the award-winning firm of Mussari-Loftus Associates in association with WVIA-TV, the series presents an intimate portrait of the extraordinary lives of ordinary people.

    Each story is told against the unique backdrop of Windsor Park, a multi-level perennial garden located in Dallas, Pennsylvania. The natural beauty of the park offers a peaceful setting where people can relax and tell their stories.

    "Each installment of Windsor Park Stories focuses on the unique experiences of an individual viewers will recognize as a family member, friend or neighbor," explains series creator Tony Mussari. "As our guest's story unfolds, we learn about their life and the challenges they faced. It's our attempt to slow down the pace of life and offer inspirational, informative, civilized conversations to our viewers

    Internet services for Windsor Park Stories provided by The Times Leader, a Knight Ridder newspaper. Additional services provided by S. E. Whiting Advertising Associates.

    * * *


    April 4,1999

    Con, Vank, Earl and Kitch: Friendship, Part 2



  • A Friendship That Works
  • Loyalty and the Joy of Friendship

    Health Issues

    Sitting there in the pergola at Windsor Park you would think that Con, Vank, Earl and Kitch didn't have a care in the world. Nothing could be further from the truth. These four friends know how challenging life can be.

    There have been health issues, unemployment lines and the searing experience of divorce. Through it all they have helped and supported one another.

    "I had a health issue a few years ago," said Earl, "and it became so obvious to me how much they cared and how worried they were. It was then that I realized how rare and precious this friendship is. They called. They visited. They supported me, and it made me feel so good.

    Unemployment

    "I lost my job at a local hospital 17 year ago. I was totally devastated," added Vank.

    "It lowered my self-esteem. It made me think I was not a worthy person, and through it all my friends supported me a great deal. In the end, this crisis made me stronger and more independent professionally. It forced me to broaden my horizons. With the help of my friends I was able to move on."

    Kitch lost her job in January 1992. For more than two decades she helped people know what was happening in the news. A pioneer in local broadcasting, she was the first female radio newsperson, and later she became an assignment editor in local television.

    "Three of us were in the unemployment lines at the same time," Kitch said with a chuckle, "so we would joke about what to wear."

    "What else can you do? The reason you get up every day has been taken away. It is an experience that you would not wish on your worst enemy, but in the end it become one of the best things that can happen. It challenges you to find something else, and to think about what is important. The job is a nice thing to have, but it is not the most important thing in your life."

    Divorce

    It was a difficult time for Con. She had three young children and no job. "I needed a job to support these kids," she remembers. "It wasn't easy, and my family and my friends really helped me out. If I needed to talk, they were there. If I did not want to talk, They understood.

    "I don't know what I would have done without them."

    "Our crises… health problems, losing jobs, trying to get jobs, divorce brought us closer together. In some ways it seemed like the most terrible thing when it happens, but it helps you to grow. And it helps us to appreciate one another and our differences."

    Before leaving the subject, Con reinforced one point, "My friends have been wonderful and I would not have made it without them."

    Loyalty

    "When your friend is in trouble, you don't want them to turn inward. You get on the phone and you get them to start talking. You want them to know they don't have to handle it alone. That's Earl's definition of loyalty. "It's just like your family," she thought. "I can yell and scream about my relatives, but don't let anyone else do it."

    Knowing what the other person needs is important to Con. "We always seem to know what the other person needs when they need it, she volunteered. "I don't know how we know it, but we seem to know that they need us to be there for them."

    Kitch defines loyalty in a somewhat different way. "We are always able to share in the joy of everybody's success. When you got your job Con, there was nobody on this earth happier than I was. I was celebrating because finally all of your education, all of your sacrifice, and all of your hard work was paying off."

    For Kitch, loyalty is being happy for each other, and this is what makes the friendship work. There is no jealousy.


    Con,Vank Earl and Kitch:

    Friendship, Part 1

    March 28, 1998


  • Beginnings
  • Friendship Defined
  • In Good Times and Bad
  • Service

    If it is true that our friends become our chosen families, then Con, Vank, Earl and Kitch have been a family of four for almost half a century.

    Born and raised in Dunmore, PA…educated in parochial and public schools…graduated from Marywood University, Con, Vank, Earl and Kitch have been friends for 43 years.

    In the first of a two-part episode of Windsor Park Stories they tell us how their friendship began. They share poignant moments from their personal histories. They talk convincingly about the significance of family and friends, and they explain why they are committed to a life of service.

    Friendship Defined

    "We care about one another, and we are always there for one another, and this is central to the success of our friendship," says Mary Ellen Hovanec. Her maiden name is Conway. She is affectionately known as Con.

    "We share the same values, and our parents share the same values, and those values are central to our friendship. Our parents were strict and there were rules. We were expected to do well in school." That's the way Earl, Marianne Earley-Pokoluk, describes the friendship.

    "We all just clicked from the moment we met, " says Vank, Maryann Evanko. "We were in the same activities. We shared the same goals. We are very different personalities, but with all of our quirks we made one, bonded person. It lasts because, even now, we stay in touch with one another."

    "We celebrate one another, and we are happy for one another. When Con got her teaching position, we were happy for her." That's the way Kitch Loftus-Mussari describes the essence of the friendship.

    In Good Times and Bad

    Central to this friendship are many good times. From birthday parties to graduations, Con, Vank, Earl and Kitch celebrate together. It all began when Earl arrived a day late for Kitch's sixth birthday party. "It was no big deal, Mrs. Loftus just brought me into the house, and we had a wonderful birthday party. I never knew, until later, that I was late for the party."

    In high school there we pranks like painting a stone green for St. Patrick's Day and burning gym suits at the end of the semester. Once they joined with a group of students to move a teacher's VW Bug one block away from the pub he had entered. Amused at the story they all laugh as if they were back in high school.

    Fighting back the laughter, Kitch observes "I don't think he ever knew who did it."

    "He does now," Earl replies.

    But the mood changes quickly when the conversation turns to the death of Kitch's father. "We were in sixth grade, and it was unimaginable. How could this happen? This was the first time we realized that life was so precious," says Con "…the first time we realized that anything like that could happen."

    "Years later when my mother died, everyone was there for me. Yes, they are always there," Con said softly as the Red Winged Blackbirds chirped in the background. "We always feel the need that the other person has. It's just so special. We care about one another."

    Service

    Today all four women find themselves in service to others. Vank takes care of premature babies. Con teaches the little ones in grade school, Earl teaches them when they get to high school, and Kitch is there for them when they are in college.

    Perhaps this service mindset comes from watching parents who sacrificed everything to provide for their children. Earl's father sold his car and walked to work so that he could buy bicycles for his children at Christmas. Mrs. Loftus put three children through college without a husband and a big paycheck. Were it not for Social Security and the support of family members, life would have been much different.

    They never dreamed of becoming millionaires. They dreamed of giving something to each other more precious than anything money can buy, genuine friendship. A friendship based on loyalty, commitment, support and affirmation. And as they approach the new century, they intend to keep giving the gift of friendship to each other.

    "It's very difficult to say how you become friends with someone. We may not see one another for weeks or months, but if something happens we do what we have to do to help one another, We are all part of each other's extended families." That's the way Vank sees this unique friendship.


    February 28, 1999

    "Corlis Carroll: Morning light Carina"


  • The Irish
  • A Unique Place
  • Lessons
  • Impressions

    These are the featured themes offered to viewers in "Morning light Carina: Corlis Carroll", the seventh episode of the public television series Windsor Park Stories.

    Scheduled for broadcast on Sunday, February 28, at 7 p.m., Corlis Carroll shares the details her extraordinary experiences as an artist travelling through Ireland.

    The Irish

    According to Carroll, the Irish wrote the definition of kindness. During her two month journey, she never once experienced rudeness. They love Americans, and they go out of their way to be helpful.

    There is a generosity of spirit which made Carroll feel welcome wherever she went.

    "One thing is certain the artist, from Slingerlands, NY will return to Ireland in the near future."

    A Unique Place

    "Can you imagine a place older than the Great Pyramid of Giza?" Corlis Carroll could not. That is until she visited Newgrange. "I was there. I was in this place where Neolithic man, Stoneage man built this remarkable underground space in 4,000 BC. Today this burial site stands a remarkable reminder of the genius of prehistoric civilizations, and this is but one of approximately 46 such sites in Ireland.

    It was at Newgrange that Corlis Carroll felt a direct connection with the past. It was there that she decided that two months was insufficient to learn the history and the culture.

    Lessons

    In Ireland Corlis Carroll was reintroduced to the lessons of kindness, forgiveness and commitment. The Irish people have something to teach us all about kindness. Kindness, once mastered, makes forgiveness an essential part of behavior. As an artist who completed 14 paintings while she was in Ireland, Carroll discovered some aspects of commitment which she intends to apply now that she is back in NY


    COME WITH US EACH WEEK TO A VERY SPECIAL PLACE CALLED WINDSOR PARK!


    The second season of Windsor Park Stories debuted on WVIA-TV Channel 44 on Sunday, January 17 at 7 p.m. Created by the award-winning firm of Mussari-Loftus Associates in association with WVIA-TV, the series presents an intimate portrait of the extraordinary lives of ordinary people.

    Each story is told against the unique backdrop of Windsor Park, a multi-level perennial garden located in Dallas, Pennsylvania. The natural beauty of the park offers a peaceful setting where people can relax and tell their stories.

    "Each installment of Windsor Park Stories focuses on the unique experiences of an individual viewers will recognize as a family member, friend or neighbor," explains series creator Tony Mussari. "As our guest's story unfolds, we learn about their life and the challenges they faced. It's our attempt to slow down the pace of life and offer inspirational, informative, civilized conversations to our viewers

    Internet services for Windsor Park Stories provided by The Times Leader, a Knight Ridder newspaper. Additional services provided by S. E. Whiting Advertising Associates.

    * * *


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