- Stories & Articles by Sonia
Articles and Stories by Sonia Pressman Fuentes
- Sonia's article, "The Meadows Has a Fascinating History," appeared in the online newspaper, the Sarasota News Leader, on Sept. 13, 2019. Sonia has owned a condo at The Meadows since March 1999 and has lived there full-time since Nov. 1, 2006.
- Sonia's article, "How Being an Immigrant Shaped My Life," appeared in the summer newsletter of the Jewish Genealogical Society of SW Florida, published on April 3, 2019, and on its website. You can read the article in pdf format here.
- On Jan. 14, 2019, Sonia's remembrance of her late, feminist friend, Dr. Bernice "Bunny" Sandler (known as the "Godmother of Title IX"), who died at the age of 90 on Jan. 5, 2019, in her Washington, D.C. condo, was published in the "We Remember" section of the Jewish Women's Archive (JWA).
- Sonia's write-up of her experiences with Hurricane Irma in Sarasota in September of 2017 appeared in the Cornell Alumni Magazine of July/Aug. 2018 in the Class Notes for her class, the class of 1950, on page 69.
- On March 20, 2018, Mary Wilson, president of the Greater Orlando, FL chapter of NOW, put Sonia's write-up on how she became a feminist in the chapter's enewsletter.
- In honor of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, 2018, The Forward newspaper shared its readers' stories, including Sonia's.
- Sonia participates in a one-hour webinar set up by the National Women's History Project (NWHP) on Jan. 13, 2016. 1) Click here to read about NWHP. 2) To listen to the oral comments and see the written comments, click on "webinar archive" toward the bottom of your screen. On the "webinar archive" screen, it is, however, very difficult to move the written comments up or down. 3) To get a clearer view of the written comments and to be able to move them up and down easily, click on "Chat Log." 4) Click on "Final PowerPoint Presentation" if you would like to see that.
- Sonia's article on the second wave of the women's movement: its origin, accomplishments, and the problems that remain--both in the U.S. and globally--appeared on June 14, 2015, on the website of the Institute for Science and Human Values.
- Sonia's write-up appeared on the Facebook page of the Red Star Line Museum commemorating the 81st anniversary of the arrival in the U.S. from Germany, via Belgium, of Sonia and the rest of her immediate family. (May
- "My Jewish Weekend in Sarasota," sent by Sonia to her friends, Nov. 16, 2014.
- "History Without Hitler?", Op-Ed in the New York Times and its international edition, October 26, 2014. This Op-Ed was written by Sonia's friend, Timothy Ryback, and edited by Sonia.
- "End of Life Issue," October 16, 2014.
- “Top 18 Issues Challenging Women Today,” The Shriver Report, May 5, 2014.
- Sonia’s letter of April 16, 2014, to Bishop Frank J. DeWane, bishop of the Venice, FL diocese, is on the blog of Bridget Mary Meehen.
- On Nov. 1, 2018, a paperback anthology of writings by older women about their lives entitled “You’re Doing What?: Older Women’s Tales of Achievement & Adventure,” edited by Marjorie Penn Lasky, was published. In a section called " A Life of Activism," it contains a piece by Sonia named "Eighty-five years old in Sarasota County, Florida." The book can be purchased from Amazon. For purchases in bulk, Regent Press (firstname.lastname@example.org) will take orders for 10 or more books and provide them at a discount.
- “The Second Wave of the Women’s Movement—Past, Present, and Future,” Women You You Should Know website, March 26, 2014.
- Sonia reminisces about her three British feminist friends, March 25, 2014.
- Sonia’s article about her trip to the Catskills appeared in the Jewish News of Sarasota-Manatee (Jan. 2014, Vol. 44, No. 1, p. 23A).
- Three-part series by Sonia in the Sullivan County Democrat, a newspaper in the Catskill Mountains of New York State.
- Sonia’s submission to the book Mother Knows Better - Sense and Nonsense from American Moms by Patti Murphy is one of over two hundred momisms in the book.
- Sonia’s article about the travails of The Forward after Superstorm Sandy appeared in Der Bay (Vol. XXIII, No. II, Mar.-Apr. 2013, p. 12).
- NOW (National Organization for Women) Founder Sonia Fuentes Gives Back To Education.
- "A heart-healthy diet is easier to adhere to than it may seem, especially with plenty of grocery and restaurant choices in Sarasota," December 7, 2012. (To see this article, which first appeared in the online Sarasota News Leader, once the large picture appears, scroll down to the article.) On April 27, 2015, the article was published on the website of Vegan Everyday Stories. On May 22, 2015, a shortened version of the article appeared on the website of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies.
- “A Journey of Discovery,” Sonia’s article about her September 2011 week’s trip to Germany exploring Jewish life in Germany, published in two parts.
- "Finding My Identity as a Feminist" - This article appeared in the online magazine, Identity, on September 21, 2011.
- "My Story" - This article appeared in HavaMag, Issue 4, August, 2011.
- To access the article:
- Click on the arrow to the right until it takes you to the Table of Contents on the left.
- Click on the first item in the Table of Contents, which is the article about Sonia, on page 10.
- When you come to the article, double click on each page to make the type readable.
- To access the article:
- "First Woman: Sonia Pressman Fuentes," appeared at the end of July 2011 in Ms. JD, an e-zine for women law students and lawyers.
- “Judging Our Future: Supreme Women Move Up,” about the increasing percent of women judges on the U.S. Supreme Court and other courts, went online in the Café section of On the Issues e-zine on December 21, 2010. In February of 2012, the article was added to the featured news & comments section of the website of Cornell University’s Avon Global Center for Women and Justice.
- "Advancing Rights: 1964 Marks the Beginning of a New Era" - This article was published in On The Issues Magazine, Café section, on August 25, 2010, in celebration of Women’s Equity Day, the 90th anniversary of suffrage, August 26, 2010.
- Sonia has written articles for Scitable, a website for women in science, or been introduced as a resource on women and employment law for Scitable, as follows:
- Sonia decries American women’s ignorance of the legal rights they have achieved since the early 1960s and lists those rights. (August 13, 2013)
- Sonia discusses breast implant ruptures and leaks. (Mar. 21, 2011)
- "Sonia Pressman Fuentes on Pregnancy Leave, Parental Care Leave, and the Law" - Sonia explains the law on leave and benefits in connection with pregnancy, delivery, and post-delivery. (July 28, 2010)
- Correction to posting of June 3, 2010, introducing Sonia as Scitable’s resource on women and employment law. (June 4, 2010)
- Sonia is introduced as Scitable’s resource on women and employment law. (June 3, 2010)
- "My Life After Divorce" - Sonia discusses her life after divorce for a “Divorce and Women’s Success” series. (2010)
- "A Negative Experience, A Positive Outcome" - The lucky day Fuentes was fired. (2009)
- "First Wedding at the Fontainebleau," an unpublished anecdote, November 23, 2008.
- Added as a Luminary on inspiremetoday.com, Oct. 2009, and updated in Nov. 2013.
- “If You Build It, They Will Come—The Birth of A Yiddish Club,” published in Der Bay, The International Anglo-Yiddish Newsletter (Vol. XVII, No. 9, Nov. 2007). Sonia starts a Yiddish Club in Sarasota, FL. Also published in the Gantseh Megillah. (Nov. 14, 2007, Issue 8.10)
- "My Fortuitous Escape from the Holocaust and My Life Thereafter" - This article is published on a Web site called "Women and the Holocaust." (2006)
- “A Love Letter to Ostuni” (2005)
- "My Visit to Piltz" - A sequel to "A Visit to Piltz." (2005)
- "Three-hour Tour Turns Unforgettable" - This article, by Fuentes, recalling the saga of her trip to the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford estates in Ft. Myers, FL, appeared in The East County Observer, a newspaper in East Manatee and Sarasota Counties, Florida, January 16, 2003.
- "I Lucky Everything: The Story of a Real `Miss Saigon'" - Along with a manicure, a reminder of how immigrants revitalize our nation. (2002)
- "A Visit to Piltz" - This article is about Fuentes' August 2001 journey to her parents' birthplace, a village called Piltz in Poland. (2001)
- "How I Built a Life in Retirement" - Sonia had a difficult time adjusting to retirement, and then she entered the best years of her life. (2000)
- "How I Published My Memoir: A Lawyer-Feminist's Story" - This is the story of the six years Fuentes spent in researching, writing, publishing and marketing her memoir and making the transition from being a lawyer to a writer and public speaker. (Also see: "How I Got Published in South Africa) (2000)
- "A Seder in Shanghai" - Fuentes participates in a seder in a most unlikely city, Shanghai, China. This piece appeared previously in JoyZine and on Harry Leichter's website. (1999)
- "HUD Goes to the Moscow Trade Show" - This article was originally published in Sparks 28. March - April, 1999. (1999)
- Breast Cancer and Ruptured/Leaking Breast Implants - The story of Fuentes' experience with breast cancer. (1998)
- "Three United States Feminists: A Personal Tribute" - This article is about Fuentes' most memorable encounters with Alice Paul, the Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray, and Catherine East (1998). Later that year, a slightly different version of this article was published in Moondance.
- “Representing Women,” a 17-page article, originally published in Frontiers, a Journal of Women Studies (Vol. 18, No.3, Nov. 3, 1997), by the Washington State University Press, is available by emailing Sonia at email@example.com and asking her to email it to you or by purchasing it at jstor.org. This was Sonia’s first published article about women’s rights.
- "House of History" - A history of the Sewall-Belmont House, one of the oldest houses on Capitol Hill, is the story of the current headquarters of the National Woman's Party. (1996)
- "Magnolias" - A Washington, DC, love story. (1996)
- "Family Past Unfolds Like Detective Story" - Research Leads to Ship's Records, a Movie and Snapshots. (1995)
- “Impressions: The Status of Women in Southeast Asia,” published in the Common Law Lawyer (no longer in existence), Sept.-Oct. 1978. (To enlarge the print on machines using Windows, hold down the control button of your computer while moving the wheel of your mouse. If viewing through Adobe Acrobat, enlarge the text with the plus button, or use the percentage dropdown list.)
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Sonia Pressman Fuentes
The Meadows has a fascinating history
By Sonia Pressman Fuentes
September 12, 2019
A green on the Meadows’ golf course is seen across one of the development’s 80 lakes and ponds. Photo by Robert Hackney
The Meadows is one of the oldest large, planned communities in Sarasota County, with its development having begun in the 1970s. In a presentation he made at the Meadows Country Club in February 2018 and in subsequent telephone interviews, Colin Parsons, former chairman of Taylor Woodrow, the British construction firm which developed the Meadows, offered a fascinating look at the history of the project and Taylor Woodrow.
Parsons, who lives in Toronto, Canada, was born in Neath, South Wales, but immigrated to Canada as a young man and thereafter also lived in the United Kingdom upon taking over leadership of Taylor Woodrow.
Parsons’ story began with a boy named Frank Taylor, who was born in 1905. Taylor lived in a flat over a small fruit shop run by his parents in Blackpool, England. When he was 16, Taylor, who had had no special training, decided that his parents deserved better than a flat in the same building as their fruit shop, so he was going to build a house for them. Parsons said that, for some reason, a local banker lent this teenager about £500, a member of his family also provided some capital, and Taylor was on his way to building a house for his parents. Taylor later learned that he was required to build two houses on the lot involved, so he constructed two semi-detached houses and later sold one of them at a 100% profit, Parsons added.
(An Ibis seeks lunch in one of the many lakes and ponds in the Meadows. Photo by Robert Hackney)
The banker who had lent Taylor the initial funds feared he would get in trouble if his superiors learned that he had lent a teenager so much money, so he called Taylor into the bank and told him he would have to get an adult involved in his enterprise, perhaps a relative, Parsons said. As a result, Taylor asked his uncle, Jack Woodrow, to provide his surname for the company, creating Taylor Woodrow, although Woodrow later played no role in running the business, Parsons added. Taywood Meadows street in The Meadows later got its name from a contraction of the company name.
According to Parsons, Taylor Woodrow became one of the largest house-building and general construction companies in Britain. It became well known for projects in Europe, Africa and elsewhere, doing business in 26 countries.
Needing new worlds to conquer, Frank Taylor came to the United States, heading to New York City, where he met with various realtors, including Fred Trump, Parsons continued. One of the Realtors suggested to Taylor that a parcel of land in Sarasota would be excellent for building an apartment house or a hotel. Taylor came to Sarasota only to find that that piece of land had just been sold. However, someone else suggested he look at a 1,650-acre parcel in the northern part of Sarasota County. Taylor not only looked at it, he fell in love with the land. He asked Colin Parsons to come and take a look at it, too. Parsons at the time was a top official of Monarch Developments, one of Canada’s biggest builders, and a company in which Taylor Woodward had a controlling financial stake. Frank Taylor wanted Monarch to invest in what later became The Meadows, Parsons said.
When Parsons — who had never before even heard of Florida — came to Sarasota, he recalled he was not as enamored of The Meadows’ land as Frank Taylor had been. He saw many problems with the property, including the fact that it had no sewage system, the drainage was insufficient, electricity pylons populated the site, and alligators made themselves at home there. He was concerned about the scope of the project, what buying such a large piece of property would entail, as well as its location. Seventeenth Street at that time had a good bit of light industrial activity, so Parsons did not feel it was a good gateway for a large residential development. Furthermore, the property was located at the edge of the Sarasota community. But Parsons said he knew that once Frank Taylor made up his mind about something, that was it.
Parsons said Taylor Woodrow bought the land in 1973-74 and spent the next 20 years building residences at The Meadows: villas, condos, townhouses and single-family homes. The Meadows today also has 80 lakes and ponds, large preserves, golf courses, tennis courts, a country club, restaurants and a small shopping village, Parsons added.
Parsons said that builders in the United Kingdom put 10 houses on an acre of land, and that in Canada, the number routinely is five or six. In the United States, however, the density typically was two houses per acre. Accordingly, two houses were built on each acre at The Meadows. Eventually, Taylor Woodrow built 3,450 residences at The Meadows, according to Parsons.
Parsons mentioned Bunker Oaks at The Meadows, a one-bedroom development I lived in for a couple of years as a snowbird starting in 1996 when I first came to Sarasota. He said the apartments there were sometimes given to people rent-free to encourage them to come to The Meadows and golf.
Frank Taylor and his second wife, Christine, who had been his secretary, also had a house at The Meadows, Parsons said.
Parsons added that Taylor Woodrow sought to, and did, attract British residents to The Meadows in the early years, but that that is no longer the case.
According to Parsons, the teenage boy who built that house for his parents ultimately was knighted in 1979, and in 1983 was made Baron Taylor of Hadfield, becoming a member of the British House of Lords.
Taylor retired from the board of Taylor Woodrow in 1992, after 69 years of service, but his love for The Meadows never waned, Parsons said. When he was 90, he announced to his wife that he was going to visit The Meadows. She protested that he was too ill to do that, but he managed to go nonetheless. Shortly after his arrival, he became seriously ill and went to Sarasota Memorial Hospital, where he died, Parsons added.
“It’s as he would have wanted,” Parsons said.
Taylor’s ashes were scattered in his rose garden in the United Kingdom, according to Parsons. His obituary of Feb. 25, 1995, in The Independent, a British online newspaper, can be found here.