The Heritage Issue
Re: "A Double Life" by Tim Ohr (Dec. 24-30)

Thank you for printing the article on adoption by Tim Ohr. I could relate very well to his feelings.

I, too, was adopted at birth, but did not find out until I was almost 50. I was going through family papers when I moved to Florida in 1989. My mother had died, and my father, whom I moved to Florida in 1990, would not talk about it. My aunt and godmother, and my godfather's wife plus a longtime family friend filled me in on the "why." My father was sterile, and my mother did a pretend pregnancy. I was adopted through an unwed mothers' home.

I briefly tried to find my birth mother but never went any further. Father was unknown. Like Mr. Ohr, I, too, suspected the truth.

—Lawrence Wollman

Paradise to be lost
Re: "Secret Garden," "Secret Garden Revisited" and "A Sense of Place" by Susan Edwards (Mar. 5-11, April 30-May 6 and May 7-13)

I recently read your articles in the Weekly Planet concerning the proposed demolition of the Dan Kiley garden in Tampa and would like to know what the status is.

I am an architect working in San Francisco, born and raised in Tampa, graduated from the University of Florida, and I had the pleasure to attend lectures by both Kiley and Wolf in the time I was at university. For myself, that building and garden represent an example of high art — meaningful art that I think is deserving of its siting across from Tampa's historic old hotel, now university.

When the building first opened I spent hours in the newly planted gardens, discovering its Moorish influences. The tiny amphitheatre (if it's still there) has a special spot in the center of its stage where a voice can resonate; the crepe myrtles (if they haven't been replaced) are the perfect seasonal timepieces to cooperate with the geometries of Wolf's building. In all, it is one of my favorite pieces of architecture in the world. I am quite sentimental over this building — even the scoffed-at "chicken" sculpture in the entry reflecting pool — which was one of my influences for my becoming an architect. As a Tampa native, I feel this building and garden should be preserved.

My grandfather, Ellsworth G. Simmons, served on the county commission for more than 25 years and on the planning commission for several years in Tampa. I remember discussing with him how I felt about the then-new NCNB bank building. If he were alive today, I doubt he would let this piece of history fall by the wayside.

Again, if you would kindly let me know the status of this unfortunate proposal, and if there is anything patrons of this special place can do to help its preservation (if it is not too late), I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you for the work you've done in educating Tampans and others on the importance of this site.

—Michael D'Alessandro
San Francisco

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