by Len Lear
This is a new feature for Local Life. Periodically we will run a question-and-answer article with a prominent person in the Greater Chestnut Hill area. The questions will be more of a philosophical nature as well as about the person’s business or job. This week it is Art Forstater, 74, who grew up in Mt. Airy and currently works in sales for a Mt. Airy company. He was a basketball star at Central High School and Lebanon Valley College more than a half-century ago. He taught high school English for 25 years.
Q: What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A: Being healthy, having enough money to live well and having my family safe.
What were the best and worst experiences in your life?
The best was working my way out of debt to where I am now, and the worst was allowing myself to be so foolish as to get there in the first place.
If you could have any job in the world, what would it be?
What I am doing now, high-level sales. I enjoy it and am good at it.
Which person in the world would you most like to meet and spend an hour with?
My son, Max.
When and where were you the happiest?
Any time on the basketball court in both high school and college.
What talent would you most like to have?
Write and play music.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Having made it to 74 and stayed healthy and happy. Also graduating from Central H.S. when it was tough academically.
What is your greatest regret?
Not getting my Ph.D in Medieval Literature.
If you were able to come back to earth as any person or thing, what would it be?
What is your most treasured possession?
My son and his family.
Who is your favorite athlete? Why?
Larry Costello from the old Syracuse Nationals. He was a fierce and tenacious but clean competitor. He ended his career shredding his Achilles but crawling down the court on defense.
What is the quality you like most in a man?
Honesty. Like Diogenes, I am still looking while carrying a lantern.
What is the quality you like most in a woman?
Warmth and love.
Who are your favorite writers, living and/or dead?
Yeats and Dostoyevsky.
Who is your favorite hero in fiction?
Who are your heroes in real life, living and/or dead?
Stan Greenberg, dead. He was a great student and athlete who died too young. He did it all at Central High School, the University of Dayton and in the practice of law.
What do you value most in a friend?
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Any warm, clean climate, possibly a Greek island or Costa Rica. I happen to like Bala Cynwyd very much.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
What is your most prominent characteristic?
What do you most dislike in other people?
What is your biggest pet peeve?
Getting stuck in traffic. It wastes valuable time.
What is the best book you’ve ever read?
Brothers Karamazov. Fyodor Dostoyevsky was a Russian lunatic but a genius.
What is the best movie you’ve ever seen?
Too many to pick from, but “The Usual Suspects” is right up there.
What is your favorite song?
Too many to pick from. Today it is “Emmylou” by First Aid Kit, a haunting song.
What are your favorite foods and/or wine and/or beer?
Lamb chops and good chocolate cake. I still enjoy Tastykake chocolate juniors. I still do not drink.
What do you do in your spare time?
I exercise and socialize and enjoy movies, the Kimmel Center and theater with Helene Evans, my sweetheart.
What is the best place you have ever visited, and why?
We loved Merv Griffin’s Atlantis (in Paradise Island, the Bahamas). It is a beautiful place with great service along with great weather.
What did you like and dislike the most about teaching?
I enjoyed watching enthusiastic students and athletes grow, but I disliked having to discipline the bad actors.
Who had the strongest impact on your life? Why?
Art McNally, our 9th grade basketball coach. He was a class act and brought his wife and children to some games. Praise from Mr. Mac was worth its weight in gold.
If you had it to do all over again, what kind of work do you think you would do? Why?
I would be some sort of banker or financier. They control much of the world and are respected if honest.