December 2021 Newsletter

The first in a series on

The Resort’s Clubs…

A Visit to Lapidary & Silversmithing


Dale Dauten

If you’re strolling along The Resort’s courtyard over by the Post Office, your eyes are invariably drawn to the window displays of colorful jewelry. We recently got a tour of what’s behind those winsome displays — the facilities of Lapidary and Silversmithing. Our tour guide was one of the veterans of the group, the colorful 93 year-old Paul Klotz (profiled below).

First, if you aren’t familiar with the term “lapidary,” it comes from the Latin lapid for “stone” and refers to the cutting and polishing of gems. The line of machines in the photo below are for stone work, each machine offering finer and finer grinding, with some of the machines use diamond grinding wheels costing $500 apiece.

Paul showed us the piece of turquoise he’s currently working with, explaining that the turquoise he was holding would be ground and polished till it was the right size for a ring he’s creating for a Resort resident. Once the stone is ready, he’ll then create the bezel, using a heated sliver strip that goes around the turquoise, and then both will be attached to silver ring he’ll create.

Paul’s work is currently on display, all for sale. (And if some of the pieces seem to resemble forks, that because old forks are a good source of silver.)


We asked Paul what it took to become a member of the silversmithing club and he chuckled, saying, “We don’t have members. You put a dollar in the can and you come on in. If you’re going to do silver soldering, then you put in two dollars to help offset the cost of the acetylene. The money builds up over time and then we can afford to buy supplies.”

How much are the classes? we wondered. “A dollar,” Paul replied, grinning. “We aren’t here to make money; we’re here to have fun.”

The room is open Monday through Thursday and there is always a volunteer to act as Monitor, offering assistance and instruction. Paul told us that he’s there on Mondays and Wednesdays (Tuesdays and Thursdays being reserved for playing pool), but pointed out that there are a number of regulars who volunteer, saying, “They do really nice work.”

A BRIEF PROFILE OF PAUL KLOTZ: “The world in a jug, with a cork in my hand.”

Photo: a ring Paul made, celebrating blackjack.

Paul grew up in Iowa, or, as he put it, “I grew up in a hardware store.” Paul worked in his father’s store through high school and then went to college in Kansas. He got a draft notice his Sophomore year – it was WWII. The local draft board told him he could finish the semester before going into the service. “But,” he added, “during that semester, the draft ended and I had the world in a jug and the cork in my hand.” He went back to Iowa, got married, and went back to the hardware store.

But then it was time to put the cork back in the jug: along came the Korean War and the draft fired back up again. Still, Paul got a choice assignment – Germany – and following that adventure he was back in Iowa. While still working for his dad, he heard of a hardware store for sale in a nearby town and he and his wife bought it and renamed it Cedar Falls Hardware. “I thought we’d starve to death the first few years, but it worked out. We sold hardware and then appliances.” They settled in and were eventually a family of six, with four daughters, and when the hardware store lost its least, they reopened as Landmark Appliances. Paul explains what then transpired:

“We were a GE store. That’s mostly what we sold. And the sales rep for GE tried to convince me to open up a second store. I told him I wasn’t interested and he said, ‘Would you consider selling your store?’ So I sat with my wife and we put a blue-sky number on the business. They said, ‘Okay.’ So we took the money and put it into duplexes and triplexes.” Anyone who’s ever turned on HGTV knows how wise an investment that was, especially given that Cedar Falls is a college town with its endless supply of renters.

It also offered the freedom to travel and the Klotzs bought the first in a series of motor homes. One of their trips was to Arizona, where his wife had a sister. (His wife passed away a decade ago.) That led them to an extended stay in a small park in Mesa. Paul stopped one day to check out a newer and larger park nearby and as he toured the place, he was drawn to the Lapidary/ Silversmithing room. “I met a farmer from Marshalltown, Iowa, which is about 30 minutes from where we were living, and he took me under his wing. I just wanted to polish rocks but he told me that if I knew how to solder – which I did, from the hardware store – then I’d have no problem making jewelry.” Paul got hooked on jewelry making and on The Resort, eventually buying a park model.

Paul continues to split his time between The Resort and Cedar Falls. And while he’ll turn 94 on December 8th, he keeps a shop back in Iowa where he can make jewelry, and also has a lawn mower repair hobby/business. He summed it up by saying, “I stay busy all the time.”



Tell your family & Friends. Allan and Crew must be crazy they are giving cash away! The first Jackpot was won by a lucky Resident. Card sales begins at 5:30, games at 6:30. Dinner is served before Bingo at 4:45 to 5:30. Tickets must be purchased for dinner by Tuesday noon.

Our Welcome Back dinner and dance was a huge success. Walking Tacos were delicious. The Splash Band keep everyone on the dance floor.

We started the Season off with a Halloween Dinner and Dance, everyone dressed up and had a fun time judging all the costumes.

On Halloween we decorated our carts and had our annual Halloween Parade.

On Veteran’s Day we had a luncheon and program for all of our proud service members and their families. We had an awesome turnout. Chuck provided the Veterans with a wonderful tribute. Thank you to all of the many volunteers who made this day run smoothly.

Check out Margie & Teresa’s Photo Album from November



If you know someone in the park you’d like to learn more about for one of our People of the Park profiles, please let us know.

Or, if you have photos you’ll like to share in upcoming newsletters, please send them.

Dale Dauten



Text: 480-297-6244