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Michael Plaut

Where are you from? Where have you lived before moving to Oak Hammock?

MP – I’m originally from New York. I did all my education in New York at Cornell and Adelphi, where I finished my bachelor’s degree. Then I attended the University of Rochester, where I earned my doctorate in psychology. After that, I worked in Galesburg, Illinois, before moving to Baltimore for 35 years. I was a professor at the University of Maryland College of Medicine and the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. I retired in 2008 and moved to North Carolina, where I taught at the University of North Carolina Wilmington for four years. In 2012, I moved to Oak Hammock with my lovely wife, Judy.

What was your career?

MP – I’m a psychologist by profession. I have done animal research in psychosomatic medicine, which has to do with the interaction of social factors and disease. In Maryland, I had a lab. I gradually morphed into the field of sexuality and became a sex therapist. I also became involved in the area of sexual boundary relations with professionals. I did a lot of consulting and writing. It has always been an important field to be in. I’ve been retired for 12 years, but people still find me because they find papers I’ve written.

What is your biggest accomplishment?

MP – Well, I would speak in more general terms and say I’m most proud that I’ve left a legacy behind. I’m on a website called ResearchGate, and it’s nice to see some of my animal research and professional client boundary research is read and cited often. It’s nice to know I’ve made an impact in that area. The fact that you leave something behind in your life’s work means the most to me.

What do you value the most about the Oak Hammock community?

MP – I think what I value most is the community’s diversity; it’s very diverse in terms of professional backgrounds and locations where people come from. So many of us reinvent ourselves and do things differently from what we’ve done in our professional lives. It’s also nice that we have the kind of relationship with the management that we do; we can always express our concerns and have the opportunity to affect how this place runs.

What do you like the most about being retired?

MP – What I like about being retired is the flexibility in my schedule; I keep myself very busy. Also, I like the fact that I can do new things, learn new things and travel a bit more.

Where is your favorite place to travel to?

MP – My wife and I have traveled to many places in Europe, Canada, and some Pacific Islands. I went to Santiago, Chile, for professional reasons, where I was invited to speak at a mental health conference. We like cruising, too. We do that a lot.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

MP – Music is something I’ve always liked my entire life. As a young person, I played the clarinet and the oboe through high school. After that, I didn’t play for almost 50 years. Before I retired, my niece gave me her clarinet, and I began taking lessons in 2007. Since then, I joined the Gainesville Community Band, where I was president for the last two years. One of the nice things about Oak Hammock is you can start any activities you want. We did not have an instrumental group, so we created one, and now we have over 20 members. Our conductor is a retired band director from the University of Florida, Gary Langford. I coordinate that group. I sing in the chorus, too, and so does my wife. I am also a precinct clerk for the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections. I find it extremely rewarding to help people get through the voting process.

What is one thing you would want the newest residents of Oak Hammock to know?

MP – I think it gets back to what I said before. Whatever they need – we’re here for them. Judy and I serve on the welcoming committee. It’s nice to be able to be there for people and to help them navigate things here.