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Ed Battistini: The Ed in Education!

February 23, 2024

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Ed Battistini is a dedicated educator, devoted family man, extensive world traveler, and on top of all that, he once had a chat with the most famous movie star of all time! It all grew from the rich farming soil of Santa Rosa, California, where Ed was born.

“It was a very simple life. In the summer we picked fruit and in the winter, we stayed inside,” laughs Ed. They picked plums and hops. “We’d pick them and then the men would bring the trucks and they laid them out on racks to dry. I started picking fruit at age 6 or 7 to help my mother. Don’t forget it was the heart of the Depression in the ’30s. Times were tough.”

“My dad had an ice cream store in Santa Rosa and made the ice cream,” says Ed. But when a larger competitor came onto the market, Ed’s dad decided to sell his half of the business to his partner. When Ed was 10 years old, the family moved to San Francisco.

Ed found the move very exciting. “We lived in North Beach and had lots of aunts and uncles around. That was the Italian neighborhood.” Ed’s dad worked for Tropic Spice and Ed’s mother was a seamstress at Levi Strauss. Ed went to school but soon had his first job at National Screens, a company that distributed movie posters to theaters. When describing life then Ed says, “We didn’t live well but we lived comfortably.”

After graduating Galileo High School in 1946, Ed attended University of California, Berkeley commuting every day on the F Train across the bridge. He majored in Ancient History and South American History. “I made a lot of great friends there and I’m still in touch with many of them,” he says. After graduation, he went to San Francisco State for his teaching credentials.

In 1951, Ed got his first teaching job in Belmont. He taught 7th grade. If you’re thinking 7th graders might be a handful, Ed disagrees. “They were great kids,” he says. “I had no problems.” The very next year, there was a slight deviation in plans when Ed was drafted for the Korean War and sent to Korea and Japan. His strengths were soon recognized, and Ed worked in the Troop Information and Education Department. It was during this time, that Ed met some American heroes. Baseball greats Joe DiMaggio and Lefty O’Doul were holding a press conference to support the troops. Ed sneaked in to watch and found himself sitting next to none other than Marilyn Monroe! While the players were being interviewed, Ed and Marilyn chatted.

“She was very different from what was on the screen,” says Ed. “She was very calm, not what you’d expect. No showing off.” You can tell Ed remembers it fondly.

When Ed returned to the U.S. in 1954, he married his longtime sweetheart, Elaine. How did they first meet? Ed hesitates then says that they first met in 6th grade, under a bed! “I was over my best friend’s house and his little sister had her friend Elaine over. My friend and his sister started fighting and Elaine and I dived under the bed for safety.” They kept meeting up over the years, and the rest is history. They bought a home in South San Francisco and soon had two children, Keith and Christine. Ed kept working in the Belmont school system so in 1957, they moved to Belmont. Ed continued to teach, then became Vice Principal, and then Principal at Barrett Elementary School. By the time Ed retired, he was the Assistant Superintendent.

During his years teaching Ed got his Doctor of Education at University of San Francisco. Ed was also very active in the community and worked extensively with the Red Cross, including chairing the Red Cross Youth Program and treasures the award they gave him. “It’s a gavel, made from a piece of wood that came from the White House,” says Ed.

Both Ed and Elaine loved to travel and together they visited South America, China, Austria, Japan, New Zealand, Alaska, Antarctica, and went on African safaris. They did a lot of their traveling via cruise ship.

Sadly, after being married for over 64 years, Elaine passed away. Together, along with their two children, they had four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren. It was after this that Ed and his daughter visited Sterling Court and Ed decided to move in. “The people are very nice,” says Ed. “And the food is good.” He also appreciates the sense of “hominess.”

Ed laughs a little when asked what he does for amusement. “I did so much while I was working that I like relaxing and reading now.” He reads a lot of mystery books and some more serious. He is currently reading a book about Benjamin Netanyahu and it’s giving him a lot of insight into current events. Obviously, this dedicated educator still loves to learn.


Phyllis A. Parks: A Massachusetts Yankee in Sterling Court

January 26, 2024

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Phyllis possesses all the best qualities of a good friend. She likes to be active and go on walks, loves to read and talk about books, enjoys playing cards, and as you can tell as soon as you hear her wonderful Massachusetts accent, is a true New Englander – where they’re known for their loyalty! Plus, this dedicated and enthusiastic teacher, artist, poet, mother, and grandmother, sees the lighter side of most situations.

She was born and raised in New Bedford, Massachusetts, a famous old fishing port near Cape Cod. “It was wonderful growing up there,” she says. “There were two beaches and we used to go every day in the summer. Back then you didn’t have to work in the summer! And I loved school.” She enjoyed art and worked on the school yearbook.

Phyllis attended prestigious Boston University as an English major studying literature and poetry. Her favorite authors include Frost, Dickens, and Shakespear. She had fun living in the dorms and made lots of friends. It’s also there that she met her husband, Norman.

“He belonged to a fraternity. I got pinned as a sophomore, and engaged as a junior,” she laughs. As was often the custom back then, she left school after her engagement. Norman went on to law school and Phyllis worked. “I had a great job!” she says. “I worked at MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology] in the personnel department.”

When Phyllis was just 24 years old and pregnant with their first child, they were visiting New York and Phyllis fell out of bed. She heard a pop in her ear but due to a terrible snowstorm they couldn’t get to a doctor. She has been deaf in that ear ever since.

Soon after that, Norman graduated law school. “My daughter Beth and I went to his graduation together!” They moved from Commonwealth Avenue in Boston to a lovely town called Norwood and then to Framingham where they bought a house. They soon had their second daughter Mindy. Their next move was to Portland, Maine, where they had their son, Matthew.

The next move was to Bangor, Maine, where the January temperatures drop to single digits, but they didn’t mind the cold. “That’s where we started skiing and I liked it very much! Then we bought a camper. So, we’d camp in the summer and ski in the winter.” They were so close to Canada that they took fun vacations to Montreal and Quebec. Once the kids were older, Phyllis earned her degree and began teaching.

They next moved to Leominster, Massachusetts, after Norman got a job at Foster Grant. And it was here, at the age of 40, that Phyllis earned her master’s degree.

Soon she was teaching English and Mythology at St. Bernard’s High School and loved it for 11 years. Once all her kids were out of college, she began teaching at Franklin Pierce University in New Hampshire. Unfortunately, while commuting there, she was in a serious auto accident and was unable to work for a year. “I fractured my skull, but I came out all right,” says Phyllis, demonstrating true New England tenacity.

As soon as she was able, she worked in the library at Fitchburg State University helping students write papers. “I did that for 4 years and it was wonderful!” says Phyllis.

Around this time, Phyllis and her husband separated, but she knew she wasn’t ready to retire and she got a new job tutoring at Wachusett Community College for 3 years.

Along with being a dedicated teacher, Phyllis is also a lifelong artist. “I took many years of art classes and I love to paint. I do watercolors and pastels. My walls are covered!” she says. Phyllis also still writes poetry. “It helps me express my feelings.”

Recently, Phyllis’s son, who had moved to California, asked her to move out here to be near him. So, the lifelong New Englander made the big move west. First, she lived in Atria Senior Living and then 3 months ago, she moved to Sterling Court.

“I’ve got a beautiful apartment, and the food is great!” says Phyllis. She sees her son often and loves hearing about her three granddaughters – Kyla, in England getting her master’s degree; Casey, attending UCLA; and Paula, working near Los Angeles. In April, she has a trip planned to visit her daughters back East.

How does she spend her days? “I like to stay busy. I walk a lot – up to the shops and the mall. I like to do arts and crafts and make things with my hands,” says Phyllis, who also goes to the Sterling Court lectures and the Library Book Review. “I like to join things! I like playing games and mingling with people!”

Does this longtime teacher and artist have any life advice? “Take each day as it comes. Be friendly and help each other.” And then, after thinking about current news events adds, “Let’s hope for a world where all people get along and there are no more wars. Love your life and those around you.”

Tales of Tail-Wagging Joy at Sterling Court

December 22, 2023

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John and Bambi Satter, along with their beloved dog Miss Daisy, embarked on a new chapter in their lives when they made the decision to call Sterling Court their home this past May. Their story is filled with rich experiences and a strong sense of family (both two-legged and four-legged). Daisy, their cheerful 3-year-old Shih Tzu, is a constant companion on their journey. She has grown accustomed to socializing with others, having started as a Covid dog, making her presence a delightful addition to Sterling Court. John is quick to say, “When we walk by Sarah’s office in the lobby, she often comes out with treats for Daisy.” With her charming name inspired by the movie “Driving Miss Daisy,” it’s evident that she shares in the Satters’ adventures as she goes absolutely everywhere with them. When John and Bambi made the decision to become residents here, their choice was influenced significantly by Sterling Court’s pet-friendly policies.

Before arriving at Sterling Court, the Satters called Dillon Beach their home, nestled on the southern edge of Bodega Bay. Originally a vacation getaway home, the location eventually became their permanent residence. However, the presence of 15 stairs and the challenges of traveling from their small coastal town prompted them to seek a more accessible living arrangement.

John’s life journey began with a four-year stint in the United States Air Force right after high school. His service took him to Spain for two years and then to Arizona, where he met Bambi on the 4th of July. Their fateful meeting marked the beginning of an enduring 57-year marriage. Post-military service, John pursued higher education through the GI Bill. He attended City College in Sacramento and later Sacramento State, earning a bachelor’s degree in marketing. The GI Bill also played a pivotal role in helping them purchase Tales of Tail-Wagging Joy at Sterling Court their first home.

Their life journey has led them through various locations, beginning in the Willow Glen area of San Jose, where they welcomed their daughter, Lisa, into the world. They later moved to Livermore, where their son, Charlie, was born. John’s impressive career spanned over 20 years at Alza Pharmaceuticals, starting in sales and culminating in his role as the director of sales services for the US. Following his tenure at Alza Pharmaceuticals, John ventured into the world of automobiles, fueled by his lifelong passion for cars. He and Bambi previously owned three classic Mustangs and two Model A Fords, including a 1930 coupe and a 1931 roadster. His automotive career at Lexus of Pleasanton for a decade was equally impressive, consistently earning him a place in the President’s Club by selling about 150 cars each year.

Bambi’s career was marked by her dedication to being a homemaker, actively involved in raising their children, engaging in various activities, and sharing her love for sewing and cooking. During the pandemic, her sewing skills shone as she created thousands of reversible Covid masks. As their children entered high school, Bambi contributed her talents to the Woodland Joint Unified School District before becoming an administrative assistant at UC Davis, working in the reprographics and animal studies departments. Later, Bambi owned and successfully operated a cookware store, Cooking, etc. on Lincoln Avenue in the heart of Willow Glen for about a decade. The decision to sell the store just before the financial crisis in 2008 marked the beginning of their retirement plans.

Their daughter, Lisa, and their two grandchildren reside in Burlingame, further strengthening their decision to live at Sterling Court. Lisa excels as an event planner for private events, and her two boys are making their way through Serra High School in San Mateo and the University of Colorado at Boulder. John and Bambi’s son, Charlie, serves with Cal Fire, actively participating in fighting California’s recent wildfires and currently undergoing training to become a paramedic.

Initially, John may not have been entirely enthusiastic about the move to Sterling Court, but his feelings have transformed into a deep appreciation for their new home. John and Bambi fondly express, “We were happily surprised with life at Sterling Court – from the management, all of the staff, and the warm and inviting residents.” The well-placed location, close to their daughter and grandchildren, and the incredible community have truly made Sterling Court a precious gem in their lives. They relish the flexibility to dine within the complex or easily venture out for meals while also taking advantage of the various amenities. Unexpected gestures of kindness have left a lasting impact, like visits at their doorstep bearing glazed donuts and wine with hors d’oeuvres .

In the end, the Satters’ journey is a testament to the richness of life’s experiences, the strength of family bonds, and the joy of finding a community where they can continue to thrive and create new memories. Sterling Court has welcomed them with open arms, and they have embraced this new chapter with open hearts.

Roger Ericson’s Downhome Charm

November 28, 2023

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Roger Ericson may have traveled extensively, owned a successful business, lived in many different places, and been an avid golfer, but when he talks about his life, you can still hear the South Dakota farm boy in his heart. Roger was born and raised in Union County, South Dakota on a farm that grew corn, oats, and soybeans.

“The farm wasn’t big, but it was big enough,” says Roger. “We had some livestock and we fed them most of the grain. It was a lot different from farming today. There was no electricity or running water.”

Born in 1930, Roger started school in 1936, but his schooling was different too. “I went to a one-room schoolhouse for the first 8 grades,” he says. “One teacher and about 40 students. They were all farm children. We all went home early so we could do our chores.” In 1946, his family left the farm and moved to Rock Rapids, Iowa, where Roger finished high school in 1948.

Roger then enrolled at the University of South Dakota. He played trumpet in the school band and the dance band. When asked if the bumper sticker, “Hug a musician, they never get to dance” is true, he said, “Well, I did get to dance. I also sang, so I could move around with the microphone.” In fact, Roger came in second in an Iowa statewide singing contest as a tenor soloist and has sung in 40-voice choirs.

At one of those college dances, he met a young lady named Roseann Hinchliff. “I spotted her and then a friend introduced us,” says Roger. They married in August 1951 and moved into the student trailer park housing where the rent was $17. He graduated in 1952 and soon after drove, with Roseann and Rick, their 6-week-old baby son, to Fort Benning, Georgia so Roger could complete his two-year tour of duty in the Army.

Once Roger was discharged, they moved to Sioux Falls, South Dakota where he began his career with International Harvester Co. While there, Roger and Roseann had their second child, Susan. His career with IHC took them to Huron, South Dakota, Rock Rapids, Iowa, Worthington, Minnesota, and then, in 1961 to San Francisco. “I spent 45 years in South San Francisco,” says Roger. “It was wonderful. It was the best time to be there. It was clean, the jobs were plentiful, and the pay was good.”

In 1965, he got a job as the Motor Truck Sales Manager at East Bay Ford Truck Sales in Oakland. Then, in 1988, he bought the dealership and was president until 2001, when he sold it to a friend. Roger and Roseann enjoyed life in S. San Francisco. Roger was a member of the California Golf Club and Roseann was in the SSF Women’s Club. They were both active in their church and Roger sang in the choir. They traveled to Europe including France and Italy. Sadly, in 2004, after 53 years of marriage, Roseann passed away.

In 2007, Roger sold the family home and moved to Arizona to be near his mother, who had been widowed for 22 years. By chance, he attended a cocktail party and started talking to a woman who thought he should meet her sister, Bess. He and Bess met, and it was a match! Roger married Bess Amidon and they had 14 happy years together. After Bess passed away, Roger’s daughter decided it was time for him to come back to the Bay Area. That’s how he came to Sterling Court.

“I like everything about Sterling Court!” says Roger. “The people are friendly, and the food is good. Sarah is great!” He often goes downstairs to enjoy the entertainment. He’s also a big reader and never misses a 49ers or Warriors game on TV. Plus, the family recently celebrated his younger grandson, Kevin’s wedding at the golf club in SSF where Roger used to be a member. His older grandson Eric got married about 4 years ago.

How would Roger’s friends describe him? “Hardworking, honest, and loves people,” says Roger. “I didn’t make that up. My friends have said that about me,” he laughs. Roger’s final philosophy sounds like good downhome advice, “Treat people with respect and expect it back.”

Marie Horak’s Colorful International Life

October 27, 2023

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Marie Horak’s apartment is cozy and comfortable, filled with sunlight and soothing sounds of the courtyard fountain. That said, it also looks a little like world headquarters for an active business because everywhere you look there are colorful knitted caps ready to be distributed to family, friends, and people in need.

“This is my kingdom,” Marie says smiling and gesturing to her corner chair. Here her knitting supplies, 120 classical music CDs, and the video screen for chatting with family are all in easy reach. However, what this great-grandmother is hiding behind her sweet smile is that she’s kind of a genius, speaks four languages, and has lived an extraordinary life.

Born in 1928 Germany, near the French border, Marie did most of her growing up while the Nazi Party controlled her country, from 1933 to 1945. She tells before-the-war stories of Hitler’s men not allowing her family to go into Jewish-owned stores and her father losing his job for helping a Jewish friend get to Southern France. Marie is the oldest of four children and in 1939, her family was sent for safety to central Germany while her father stayed to look after their house. When they returned home in 1942, the German soldiers had taken everything. Even the beds were gone, and the roof was missing.

“We lived in our cellar,” says Marie who remembers her grandmother sitting down there in the dark. “In 1944, we saw American soldiers. What a relief that was!” At night they’d hear the two sides exchange gunfire. Then in the morning, Marie and her father would take their horse Max to get water and along the way Marie would pick up the packets of Nescafe coffee the Americans had dropped and bring them home for her grandmother.

Once the war was over, Marie’s town was French-occupied, but at 17, she smuggled herself over the Rhine River via train to her aunt and uncle’s house in Stuttgart, which was occupied by the Americans. Here she finished school, passed the final exam, and started accounting school. Because she spoke English, she got a job working for an American Captain handling payroll for Germans working for the Americans. “I learned payroll quickly!” laughs Marie.

One night, Marie went to a lecture given by a young Ukrainian man named Stephan Horak, who had just finished his Ph.D. “I sat in the front row and afterward he came over and asked if we could talk,” laughs Marie. They dated for about 6 months, then Stephan proposed. “We were married two weeks when a letter arrived, handwritten in pencil, and he was told if he didn’t stop working against the Soviet Union, he will be gone,” Marie says softly.

They applied to immigrate and both continued working. Then in 1956 they got the call that they would be on “the next shipment.” With just six-weeks notice, she said goodbye to her parents and siblings. “It was the second time I had ever seen my father cry,” says Marie. “The first time was when his mother died in the cellar during the war.”

They came to America on July 23, and thanks to a glowing letter of recommendation from the American Captain, she was working by Labor Day. She worked in downtown Detroit, doing payroll for 218 employees. When she got pregnant with her first child, she told her manager that she would need to leave her job at the 5-month mark. “He said ‘No, you stay until you can no longer stand.’ My daughter Christine was born on October 17, and I was working until October 4, in high heels and riding the bus every day,” laughs Marie. Their second daughter, Julia, was born just 16 months later.

Things changed when the Soviets launched Sputnik in late 1957 and colleges put out the call for professors who could speak Russian. Stephan had 10 offers from various universities. “I chose the University of Indiana in Bloomington because I knew a lot of Jewish people from the Berlin Opera had gone to their music school to teach,” says Marie. It was here their son Arkady was born and they stayed for 3 years. Stephan taught Russian and Ukrainian history and wrote eight books – in various languages – and Marie typed them. All three children went on to earn advanced degrees. Marie took her CPA exam and continued a long career in finance.

She and Stephan worked and traveled the world together until 1986 when she came home to find him on the floor. He knew he was dying and told her to say goodbye to the children and that they’d had a wonderful marriage. “It was such a loving goodbye,” she says.

At just 58, Marie was a widow, but her travels were far from over because she began moving to help look after her grandchildren – first to Las Vegas, then Kansas City, Maryland, Austin, Texas, and Detroit. This year, Marie’s Bay Area daughter, Julia asked her to come to California. Marie moved to Sterling Court just a few months ago and is settling in nicely. Her daughter, a teacher, visits in the afternoons. Chef Denis comes from a town in France just 30 miles from where Marie was born! “He asked how I liked his Oktoberfest menu!” says Marie. “And I speak German with Dmitry, the driver.”

Marie still travels to visit family, (ask about her South Africa trips), and thanks to her large family, which includes 7 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren, Marie receives news and photos almost every day.

And of course, she has knitted bright and beautiful caps for all of them – along with many for the needy and homeless in Detroit and Maryland!

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850 N. El Camino Real San Mateo, CA 94401 Phone: (650) 344-8200 Fax: (650) 344-7395