Faces of Portola Valley

Post image for Hey Baby Boomers, time to dust off those memories and share on MyRetrospect.com

Talking with the founders of Retrospect Media — Susan Hansen, John and Patricia Zussman — it’s easy to see what drew them together to start their latest venture. They are all Portola Valley residents. John and Patti (as she’s known) are married to each other. Patti and Susan went to Mills College together. Then there’s their shared entrepreneurial streak.

John and Patti have deep roots in technology with an emphasis on tech writing.  Susan works part time in the Stanford Development office, which requires, yes, writing. And it’s writing — more specifically shared stories — that they are featuring on MyRetrospect.com, specifically those of Baby Boomers (1946-1964).

“Our parents have left the stage, and we are losing their stories,” said John. “If we don’t tell our stories, we’ll lose those, too.”

Added Patti: “The diverse collection of stories demonstrates the power of shared experiences. At our age, people like to review their memories and put their lives in context.”

The free online story-sharing website has already surpassed 500 stories, lumped into topics, such as the beach, Father’s Day, war and remembrance, that are suggested and posted weekly. “It’s our conviction that in a world of fake news and alternative facts, there’s real value in documenting and sharing our authentic experiences,” said Susan.

For those who are daunted by the idea of putting pen to paper — or more accurately, keystroke to keyboard — John explained that they’re working on ways to take the pressure off. “Writing style is less important — just tell your story as you would if you were talking. Stories are how we make sense of the world.”

Photo by Robb Most, showing left to right Patti, John, Susan (c) 2017

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Alan McGee’s photographs examine landscape as metaphor

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“Beauty and Terror: Landscape as Metaphor” by photographer Alan McGee of Portola Valley is the featured exhibit at Portola Art Gallery (75 Arbor Road) in March. A reception for the artist will be held on Saturday, March 18, from 1:00 – 4:00 pm. The show features photographs from 35 years of Alan’s explorations on the beaches […]

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Sculptor Roger Stoller’s giraffe installed at El Paso Zoo

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When photographer Irene Searles and I visited sculptor Roger Stoller at his home in Ladera last February, he was working on a sculpted giraffe for the El Paso Zoo. Roger let us know that after two years in development, the giraffe is now installed in the African Exhibit and renamed Lmara, the colloquial name for giraffe used by […]

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Jen Ratay leads the Silicon Valley Social Venture Fund in support of nonprofits and social enterprises

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An East Coast transplant, Jen Ratay now couldn’t imagine living anywhere else but here. “I deeply love the outdoors, and this area is so beautiful,” said the Ladera resident. “People are passionate and intelligent. And there’s no better place to do social innovation work.” The latter is key as Jen is the Executive Director of the […]

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Spotted: Portola Valley artist Drue Kataoka proclaiming “Now Is the Time” at Hillary fundraiser

Thumbnail image for Spotted: Portola Valley artist Drue Kataoka proclaiming “Now Is the Time” at Hillary fundraiser

Portola Valley artist Drue Kataoka, who graduated from Sacred Heart Prep before attending Stanford, came dressed Wednesday afternoon for a local fundraising lunch for Hillary Clinton as she did at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. She explained:  “I created this  artwork [pointing to her t-shirt)] that celebrates the 240-year journey towards electing our first […]

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A visit to The Hawthorns, a bit of history hiding in plain sight in Portola Valley

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We were in good and knowledgeable hands during a walking tour of The Hawthorns in Portola Valley, thanks to Alex Von Feldt (left in photo above), who is both a town resident as well as Director of Grass Roots Ecology, formerly known as the Acterra Stewardship Program. An engineer by education with a professional background in high tech, […]

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Linda Fornaciari and Di Gow: The forces behind the Ladera Crier

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Both attorneys by profession — although no longer practicing — Ladera residents Linda Fornaciari (on left) and Di Gow sort of fell into taking over editing and publishing their neighborhood newsletter, the Ladera Crier, five years ago. They’d both moved to Ladera in the 90s. And both were very involved volunteers at Menlo-Atherton High School where their children attended. So, it was […]

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Brian Tetrud draws on family granola recipe when founding Ladera Foods

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Brian Tetrud is a Ladera born and raised guy who grew up eating his mother’s homemade granola. So it’s no surprise that he’s named his company Ladera Foods and the first product was granola based on her recipe, now called Almond Pecan Granola. “She still bakes her own granola,” he says. “I made it for roommates […]

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Woodland School student selected to perform at Carnegie Hall

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Alexa Brown, a student at Woodland School in Portola Valley, has been selected for the 2016 Middle School Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall. She will perform as a First Soprano at Carnegie Hall in June 2016 with the Honors Junior Choir. Participation in one of the three Honors Ensembles is limited to the highest-rated […]

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Sculptor Roger Stoller specializes in large works for public and private collections

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Roger Stoller had one thought when he graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena with a degree in product design — moving to Silicon Valley. “I’d read Alvin Toffler’s book The Third Wave and thought to myself, ‘If I’m going to be a product designer, it’s going to be in Silicon Valley,’” he […]

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Brian Greenberg gives Tour de Menlo, scheduled for August 22, a big thumbs up

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Portola Valley resident Brian Greenberg started cycling about eight years ago. “It was way easier on my body than tennis,” he says. He rides everyday, logs 70 to 100 miles a week, and gets a good workout by climbing Old La Honda and Alpine Road frequently. As he’s done a half dozen times before, he’ll […]

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