Although she's originally from Germany, Pauline Joerger's Sarasota roots date back more than 100 years, and she’s continuing to plant new ones with her two daughters.
I was born in Munich — my father is German and mother is American — but I came to boarding school and university in the U.S. Sarasota began to become my home-away-from-home.
My great-great grandmother (Bertha Palmer) came to Sarasota more than 100 years ago. Sarasota is where my mother came for spring break and summer vacation, to come visit her mother who was here at the time.
My roots make me tied to the community and tied to my relative who came here. She was a single woman who became a rancher, a gardener, a developer and builder. That could not have been easy, so I love that about her and this great community. It’s nice to live in a community in which you have roots. My girls (Sophia, 10, and Schuyler, 12) also love their history. They learned fairly organically about their great-great-great grandmother’s land with visits to Myakka and Historic Spanish Point. Especially because they are girls, I like to highlight their ancestry because it’s nice to grow up with that example of an incredibly strong and adventurous woman.
Every Christmas my family gathers in Austria for two weeks. The hotel we go to, Hotel Lorünser, is the same one my father has been going to for 60 years. The girls play with kids whose parents we played with when we were little. My four sisters come with all their kids — it’s our favorite time of the year.
We have a virtual zoo here — two dogs, two birds, a million gold fish and a beta fish. I think kids and animals go together, and a house and animals go together. Schuyler is my dog whisperer; she has tamed and trained other people’s dogs, as well as ours. They sleep in bed with her every night — she takes great care of the animals.
The most valuable time is the couple of minutes on the way to school. I walk Sophia into Southside and then drive Schuyler down to Pine View, so we get to hang out. After that, I go running and can clear my head and get ready for the day.
My perfect day would be to spend it on Casey Key with my kids and my dogs. I would go for a run on Casey Key Road with the dogs and the girls following me in the golf cart. Then we would all go paddle boarding followed by a long lunch on the porch and a big siesta in the afternoon.
I really love anything that keeps my body moving — it puts me in a good mood and makes me feel better. And, the more I exercise, the more I can eat. When I finish a half marathon, my reward is a cheeseburger and bloody Mary.
Running was a challenge to myself. Everyone I knew who was skinny ran. When I really got into running, it was a challenge that I wanted to commit myself to. I promised everyone I would do a half marathon. It brought me out into the sunshine four-to-five days a week, and it brought a smile to my face.
I have done six half marathons. I have a charm bracelet as a reminder of setting goals and doing things that are important — it includes a charm of the girls, a charm that reminds me of every Palm Ball and one for every half marathon that I have run. If I ever forget my priorities, I look down and am reminded of where things fit in my life.
My motto is: “Have bag, will travel.” I’m planning a trip to Tuscany this summer with the girls. Austria is tradition. I’d love to go to Morocco. This past summer was the summer of America — things kept aligning to visit friends and family so I just jumped in my car, or on JetBlue.
I’m a Palm Ball chair and volunteer, but I’ve been with the Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast since it was founded. In the past 10 years, it has protected 30 properties and 8,600 acres, which we are incredibly proud of. It’s a nonprofit land trust and works to preserve Sarasota’s bays, beaches and barrier islands.
Orchids are beautiful, and they sort of find me. I get them as presents, go to the Selby plant sale or buy the centerpiece off the table at an event — over time it grew and grew … and grew. Truly it’s benign neglect. They are so beautiful, I just abandon them under an oak tree and they survive. Everything in my life has to be pretty user-friendly.
I love to cook. I’m not big into baking because I’m not a big dessert person, but I love to cook anything. I think it’s like therapeutic in some way, and there are always people around. I take pride in my cooking and enjoy feeding and entertaining friends.
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