High heels and high energy describe Gretta

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By Deej Koebbe

Just down the road apiece this writer is still reeling from an afternoon chat with Preservist Gretta Rodriques - what a remarkable gal! And what a glamorous life!

A recent phone call from Preservist Ellen McClure prompted this writer to seek an interview with Gretta for the “Getting to Know All about You” segment of this week’s Preserve column in the South Marion Citizen.

Like the trouper she’s always been, Gretta readily agreed to share some of the details regarding her exciting “curtain call” background.

Gretta and the late Preservist, Win Cheal, co-founded the “Preserved Players of Spruce Creek Preserve” in 1999. Gretta also wrote and directed the first play performed on the Preserve stage, “A Simple Solution.”

To this day Gretta remains the resident director of the Preserved Players of Spruce Creek Preserve.

Gretta’s unmistakable talent was obvious even at the age of five when she became a trained dancer in ballet and tap. She exhibited her “toe shoe dancing” expertise at the San Francisco ExpositionTreasure Island in 1939.

In 1940 Gretta choreographed a production of “Picnic” for the Mainline Theater Guild sponsored by United Airlines.

Gretta, in her 4-inch high heels, taught ballroom dancing for the famous Arthur Murray, in the well-known Clairmont Hotel, for a number of years.

It was obvious to everyone that Gretta was well on her way to making her mark in the world of theater. She was intrigued by every aspect of the profession. At one time she even joined a stock company and traveled weekends acting in melodramas.

As a member of theatrical groups in the San Francisco Bay area, Gretta played leading roles as well as building sets, making costumes, gathering props and brewing coffee.

She loved every minute of it.

In 1960 this whirlwind of a gal directed, choreographed and designed the set and costumes for “Peter and the Wolf,” sponsored by United Airlines, for an audience of well over 1,000 adults and children alike.

Gretta was born in San Francisco, Calif. She married while still in high school. After her marriage ended, she enrolled in college. She has two daughters, three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Her daughters are active in the business world of real estate and display advertising.

At one time her grandfather, Mike Marshall, was Grand Master of the Ringling Brothers Circus and he also was a musician in the renowned John Phillip Sousa Concert Band. Gretta, along with her present husband Robert, a retired engineer, have lived in Spruce Creek Preserve for 12 enjoyable years. This busy lady is quick to tell you theater is captivating – once smitten, always smitten.

Footlights become you, Gretta!

From Koebbe’s Kitchen

Scrambled Ham

2 cups ham, minced

6 hardboiled eggs, chopped

1/2 cup grated cheese

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 cup milk

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Mix ham and eggs in bowl. Place half of ham mixture in baking dish — sprinkle half the grated cheese over ham mixture. Repeat layers — dot with butter or margarine. Add milk and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Bake in 325-degree oven until heated through — about 20 minutes. Add a tray of baked store-bought biscuits.

Here is but a smidgen of the doin’s out our way:

Friday, April 3 — Remember to wear your name badge if you attend the Community Wide Block Party.

Saturday, April 4 — Aristocrats sponsoring Fashion Show. Cost of $8 per person includes luncheon and show. See Heather Garner for information.

Tuesday, April 7 — Craft Club greeting cards creations. Bring glue sticks, scissors and old magazines. From 1 to 3 p.m. Sign up in craft room. See Heather Garner for information.

Tuesday, April 7 — Craft Club mystery jewelry case at 9:30 a.m. No fee. Bring jewelry-making tools. Sign up in craft room.

Wednesday, April 8 — Nor’easter Club dinner at Stone Creek at 5 p.m. For information, see Connie Schultheiss.

Wednesday, April 8 — Computer Club meeting in multi-purpose room. Open to community. Discussion: Connecting to Internet using wireless in Community Center. Bring laptop.

Thursday, April 9 — Discussion group forming. Sign-up sheet at communication center in Community Center. For information, see Patricia McGrath.

Newspaper and aluminum recycling Tuesday mornings. Contact On The Line Club member for pick-up. Quit filling the landfill.

Bingo every Tuesday eve for Preservists and their overnight guests. Cards on sale from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. Games start promptly at 6:30 p.m.

‘Til next time, God be willing and the creek don’t rise.

Deej and her husband, Joe, live in Spruce Creek Preserve. To submit news items or announcements leave notices in her library cubby or call her. The Koebbes are listed in the Preserve phone directory.