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Four generations do life on Longboat Key

Two streets and 87 years separate this Country Club Shores.

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  • | 1:14 p.m. September 28, 2020
  • Longboat Key
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It’s Steak Sunday in Country Club Shores for at least for one family ranging across four generations and ages 11 to just short of 99.

Though the conversation is brisk and spirited, this isn't a rare occasion — it's a weekly one. They all live nearly in sight of each other, two streets apart in Longboat Key's popular south-island neighborhood. 


Ribeyes, strips and tri-tips are on the grill, watched over by host Tim Riesen and his father-in-law, Phil Miglioratti. 

Inside, out of the heat, Jorie Riesen and her mom, Carol Miglioratti are at work, too. Everyone agrees Jorie's mashed potatoes and sauteed onions are the best, so she's got that assignment as her daughters Addison, 11, and Sophia, 16, pitch in. 

Matriarch Mildred Clark (who also answers to Grandma Great) keeps an eye on daughter Carol, granddaughter Jorie and everyone else.

Tim Riesen gets one of three types of steak going on the grill.
Tim Riesen gets one of three types of steak going on the grill.

The evening is for unwinding and celebrating family time, as there’s not much catching up necessary when you live two blocks away. The extended family has been building this tradition of Sunday dinners since 2018, when the Migliorattis and Clark moved from Chicago to Longboat, leaving behind the hometown the family had known since 1952.

There was no plan to settle as an extended family on Longboat, but a home popped up on the market near the Riesens, who had already been here for three years. Timing brought them within blocks of each other and they've grown closer ever since. 

“We have a good time talking sports,” Tim Riesen said. 

“And sparkling water,” Addison Riesen, the youngest, piped up.

There’s great debate over the better brand of sparkling water — Waterloo or La Croix, with the latter contingent losing ground to the new brand. 

“These are the exciting things of quarantine life,” Jorie Riesen said. 

The issue itself is small potatoes, but the family’s spirited defenses of their preferred brand reveal their lighthearted and strong ties. They get goofy and though they don’t quite finish each other’s sentences, there’s a barrage of added details to any given anecdote, courtesy of whomever isn’t telling them. 

Of course, they don’t just see each other on Sundays. The Riesen girls will go over and visit during the week, hanging out a couple nights a week. Sophia Riesen just got her driver’s license, so she drives her sister over to the “olderlies” (a term coined by Addison Riesen, who thought it was rude to say "elderly" and modified it) house, and sometimes if she’s been in Sarasota near a Chick-fil-A, she’ll bring that over for dinner. 

“We swim, shower, eat dinner, make dessert and watch ‘America’s Got Talent,’” Addison Riesen said. 

Mildred Clark looks on as Sophia Riesen helps Carol Miglioratti balance.
Mildred Clark looks on as Sophia Riesen helps Carol Miglioratti balance.

Jorie and Tim Riesen lived in Chicago by Jorie’s parents and grandmother right after they got married, stopping by for lunch often, but after they moved they didn’t think they’d live near each other again, Tim noted. They went to California, Texas and eventually Longboat Key. 

“Addie and I had never lived by family, not even remotely close,” Sophia said.

Clark enjoys the birds and the water, but family is above all the best benefit of living on the key, she said. Though they never planned on being together, the strong family ties seemed to foreshadow it. 

“As Jorie and her sister got older we jokingly threatened we’d buy an RV and park it six months in Jorie’s driveway,” Phil Miglioratti said. 

Now that they live this close they don’t know what they’d do if they didn’t, especially after the last six months.  As quarantine hit, the households stayed apart for a while, eventually coming back together while wearing masks outdoors. They came back together slowly and now gather mask-less in the Riesen home. When the Riesen household makes changes in the quaran-routine, they have a talk with the other household to make sure everyone feels safe and OK with staying together. 

“All of us were grateful they dialed it back so we would feel safe in their presence,” Phil Miglioratti said. 

Dinner is served at a table set for seven, with napkins reading, “Together is our favorite place to be.” Some of Clark’s dining pieces are incorporated into the setting, and one recent Sunday Jorie Riesen pulled down a pink cake plate. Clark said it was for cakes and cookies back in the day, especially almond cookies at Christmas. 

Jorie Riesen pulls out Mildred Clark's pink pie plate.
Jorie Riesen pulls out Mildred Clark's pink pie plate.

“If you still have the recipe I’ll make those this year,” Sophia Riesen said. 

After dinner the family turns to either who can do the splits the best, riddles courtesy of Sophia or one of the games Jorie has collected — tabletop skee ball and slot machines have been two recent entertainers. Dishes are cleared and eventually the households separate again, with the implicit promise to do it all again next week. 


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