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Regrouping at Golden Door’s Oaks Alley

Jim Pedas, Gordon Diamond, Alan Fischer, Ted Pedas
Photo by: Alexi Ludomirski
Regrouping at Golden Door’s Oaks Alley

The Golden Door Boys Club

Jim Pedas 134x Guest
Gordon Diamond 86x Guest
Alan Fischer 97x Guest
Ted Pedas 120x Guest

Anyone who has been here a lot can testify that you make some of your great, great friends at The Door. The whole experience has a way of bringing out the boyishness in men.

How did you earn the distinction of “The Godfather of Golden Door”?

Jim: Well, number one, I guess I’m the oldest guy there, so that helps. It’s my 90th birthday. I
was 49 or 50 when I first started going there, so I’ve been going there for 40 years.

How did you first discover Golden Door?

Jim: A friend of mine called me and said his wife gave him this gift to the Golden Door. He said, “I’d like you to go there with me.” And I said, “Well, I’m not interested in those kinds of activities. I don’t think I need it.”

He said, “You know, this is a very boutique type of place where you can go, and you can exercise and do these things, and concentrate on yourself.

So he finally talked me into it by saying, “We’ll stop in Vegas for a couple of days.” So when I came to The Door, I had just come from three days in Vegas, and I’m sure that after three days there, I really needed The Door.

Finally, I got to it, and it was a life-changing week for me because I was presented with a week where everything was for me. The program was for me. You take inventory of your life, of what you’re doing or what you shouldn’t be doing, and finding out what is healthy for you and how you could cleanse your mind of all the different things that our everyday life accumulates, which really mean nothing.

Then you also take inventory of your health and make sure you maintain a regular, natural, more normal lifestyle which can give longevity. And so I bought into that idea. And from then on, I learned to ask myself, “Am I doing things that are life-enhancing, or am I doing things that are life-diminishing?”

How have your many visits to The Door changed you?

Jim: I happened to be in a business which is not only time consuming, it monopolizes your life, and you’re always doing something for somebody else. You know, whether it’s your employees or whether it’s your family, everybody else but yourself.

But here, you come for a week, and you rejuvenate yourself because you’re concentrating on yourself, you’re concentrating on what you should be doing and not doing. Which is why I went back many, many times to The Door.

By cleansing the soul, you’re cleansing your mind, I made some of the best decisions and life- changing decisions, which were the wisest thing that I could have done in the course of my life.

How has Golden Door changed over the years?

Jim: When I first went there, 40 something years ago, spas were not the thing…people were not into that lifestyle. Golden Door brought it to a new level.

The culture of The Door and the program are fundamentally the same, but, of course, they’ve always stayed abreast of what the latest health trends are, what the new exercise and nutrition programs are. They’re right on the cutting edge of what’s going on. And your everyday life is so busy you don’t have time to be aware of these things. But that’s why you go there to re-orient yourself to what is right for you health wise.

You go to Golden Door with your brother, Ted, a lot. Do you find that time important for bonding with him?

Jim: It’s bonding with everyone. Men’s Week is when everybody bonds. You’re there with a lot of smart people, and you know, you exchange your thoughts and you exchange your ideas, and you broaden your horizons.

Everybody is able to talk about their different experiences. And then you learn. The smartest way to learn something is from somebody else’s mistakes or experiences instead of your own. Everybody has some unique experience that you haven’t had, sometimes it’s like you are comrades-in-arms.

You know you learn a lot more from listening than you do sometimes from talking.

What about the younger men who are now coming to The Door?

Jim: Yeah, they buy into it. When they first come there, they wonder what they’re doing and why did they come. But after a week they want to find ways to be able to go back again.

When somebody is new there, they always like to know more about The Door and so forth. So everybody is very accommodating to all the new guys, and they’re embraced into the family, the Golden Door family.

Do you ever go to coed weeks?

Jim: I went one time, but I won’t go again. It’s a different experience (laughter). You’re not with your buddies. Of course, the thing is when you go there, you should go for yourself. You go there with your wife or with your husband, you’re going to be worried about them. You want to get away where nobody is asking you for anything. You want to do the asking and get the giving. The Door is The Giver.

What are some of your favorite things to do at Golden Door?

Jim: I used to love the water volleyball tournaments. All of the activities have a purpose, you know. The hikes have always been number one for me and the many different trails that they have there. You cannot be bored. I used to do the mountain hikes twice a day, but the last two years I do the moderates hikes. I try to do the longer one in the morning, and sometimes I go for a little walk in the afternoon.
At the beginning, I used to want to get all I could out of it, now I can only do what I can (laughter).

Do the four of you get together outside of Golden Door?

Jim: Yeah, we get together outside. We’re all friends, we’ve all had ups and downs in our lives. Nobody’s had a perfect life. And so you learn how to work through different issues.

These guys are extremely smart people. I wouldn’t want to compete with any of them actually. They’re intellectual, experienced, knowledgeable, well-read.

We’re the Four Musketeers. Other people will describe us and give us a nickname…maybe the old men (laughter).