Lana and Richard McLaurin
“May I have this dance for the rest of my life?” That’s not really what Richard asked Lana when first they met. But that’s the way it worked out.
This attractive couple was introduced by a mutual friend. Richard is honest to say that he was looking for a dancing partner at the time. Now the McLaurins are waltzing through life together. And tango-ing. And cha-cha-cha-ing.
I visited in their beautifully decorated home on Middle Lake Drive in Phase II during Christmas-time, so I got to see the collection of Christmas villages all a-twinkle atop the piano, the buffet and various tabletops.Their spacious family room, which is actually their dance studio, yielded space to a tall, lovely Christmas tree. Grandchildren occasionally wandered in.
Lana and Richard are a multi-talented couple, but dancing is a passion that brought them together, and is the reason they bought this house six years ago.They had house-hunted for some time, one of their requirements being a large enough room to practice their dancing in.This house has it, all right. As I stood in the room’s doorway, I imagined them sweeping across the wide expanse of the hardwood floor.
“Come Dancing” is the studio where they take lessons and occasionally perform showcase dancing.They do not dance competitively, however, as it is too timeconsuming and expensive.They dance just for the fun of it. Says Richard,“Nothing is more fun than gliding across the floor to music.”
That’s pretty romantic, I remember thinking. But Lana seems to be the kind of woman who elicits romantic thoughts. Pretty and intensely feminine, she also indulges her passion for collecting Victorian clothing. Her clothes have been featured in Victorian fashion shows, usually for charity and fund-raising for worthy groups. Serving as a consultant for Plant Museum, her clothing has been shown in the Christmas Stroll there. She has also worked with the Tampa Museum of Art and the Performing Arts Center.
Not only does she collect Victorian clothing, but she wears it to tea with friends.A group of women with this interest get together from time to time for tea at a local tearoom. Many of the women make their own gowns. Before Richard came into her life Lana lived in Zephyrhills where she owned horses and some antique carriages that she drove. She founded the Florida Whips Carriage Driving Club, the first of its kind in Florida. “Florida Whips sounds sort of kinky, but it’s not,” laughs Lana. Actually, I wasn’t thinking kinky; I was thinking how elegant she must have looked, dressed in a Victorian gown, driving an antique carriage.
Now we come to Lana McLaurin’s equally fascinating husband. Richard is Carrollwood Village’s new web site webmaster. Many of you have commented favorably upon it. Richard was one of six Villagers who conceptually laid it out, spending hours planning what they wanted it to look like. Their goals were to make the site a lot more lively, more interesting, with great pictures.They looked for ideas regarding what would draw people to the site.
For a while Richard worked on this project almost full time, but now he has it down to 5 or 6 hours weekly to maintain. Others who worked on the website (he wanted them to be recognized) were Jon Dyer, John Miley, Diana Rao, Barbara Jordan and Doug Cornell. Richard calls himself the project manager rather than the webmaster. He says it’s like an on-line magazine, so he’s the John Miley of the project.
A smiling, affable man, Richard says he’s on “a learning sabbatical” right now. He worked for GTE for 27 years, then Intermedia. His field is Telecommunications Engineering, and he says he will “probably go back to work.” Meanwhile he amuses himself playing World War II airplane flight simulation on the computer. He even has special goggles he wears. He loves WWII airplanes. One of his favorite memories is when he actually flew such a plane in Virginia. Lana arranged it as a surprise for him.“They let me take the controls for awhile,“ he reminisces.When very young Richard took flying lessons with the Civil Air Patrol, and apparently never got it out of his system.
Once again, I have encountered a terrific couple, living in Carrollwood Village, unbeknownst to me. It never ceases to amaze me that these people live right around the corner. I am the luckiest person in the Village, because I get to know them. If you know someone terrific, please call me at 264-0276.
- by Sandra Harrington