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Lisa's other life


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Lisa Salberg Find out more about Lisa Salberg
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  • Lisa's other life

    In my role as HR manager for Packard Industries I have the unique pleasure of working for Fred Kanter. This article was in the New York Times this week and is an interesting peek into Freds world!


    New York Times
    Bowling Balls, Cars, a Boat, on and On

    Published: February 16, 2005


    SHORTLY before climbing into the pastel-pink 1973 Lincoln Continental he had just given his wife for Valentine's Day to drive home and inspect the 171/2-foot-long boat he had installed a third of the way up the oak tree in front of his house, Fred Kanter looked like a man with an important confession to make.

    "I don't want you to print this," he said, striding through the automotive phantasmagoria - part vintage parts warehouse, part classic-car museum - that houses Kanter Auto Products in Boonton. "But I belong to a 12-step program for compulsive talkers. It's called On and On. And On and On. And On and On."

    This was supposed to be an account of Mr. Kanter's latest contribution to New Jersey culture, how he saved the quite amazing Bowling Ball Pyramid, a lawn sculpture of 300 or so bowling balls that a retiree named Roland George created and offered to give away to anyone with enough space and a forgiving enough spouse.

    About half of the pyramid is now on display at the Here Art Gallery on Avenue of the Americas in SoHo as part of an exhibition of New Jersey art about oil tanks, toxic lakes and gaudily decorated riding lawn mowers called, for some reason, "Weird N.J.: The Exhibition."

    The other half is piled up in front of his stately stucco Hapgood house in Mountain Lakes, minus a ball or two that children have rolled down the street.

    But Mr. Kanter's own story just goes on and on, and on and on, and on and on to the point that the bowling sculpture, as monumental as it may be, paled in comparison.

    Where to start?

    The literally millions of spare parts for vintage Buicks and Packards, Kaisers and Nashes, Edsels and Hudsons - brake drums, rear axle seals, taillights, water pumps?

    The collection of antique cars there - the willow-green 1957 Thunderbird, the 1952 Muntz with a picture of the used-car pioneer Earl (Madman) Muntz on the horn button, Jayne Mansfield's blue 1960 Bentley Continental convertible with lipstick-red interior and blond roof, the turquoise boat on a Chevrolet Cavalier chassis or the stretch limo with a pool table across the hood and heated tiled pool with lifeguard chair? There are so many cars the head spins, so his enthusiasms tend to be selective, like the incredibly "happy" Indian Ceramic color of the 1948 Kaiser Virginian, the one-of-a-kind salmon broadcloth and gray fake fur interior of the 1952 Packard factory showroom car, or a Yugo turned into "Hugo's Diner."

    We could probably glance over his 2002 wedding, his second, where the bride arrived in an antique fire engine carrying lobsters, sushi and food for 200, or his sterling collection of bowling shirts. On the other hand, no one in Mountain Lakes has been able to ignore the row over the 171/2-foot-long Glastron Runabout he mounted on a hubcap-festooned oak as a statement about art, free speech and Lord knows what else. Local officials ordered him to take it down, he took them to court, lost his case, then won on appeal. So the boat exhibition, dubbed "Democrasee," still stands.

    Mr. Kanter, 60, dresses for work in an aquamarine Hawaiian fish shirt. His business card, one of them anyway, reads: "Fred Kanter, Philosopher, You're Entitled to My Opinion," and he says there's method to all the madness. He says it's all about free speech and open government, remembering that it's always the right time to do the right thing.

    "I'm here to live a right life," he said. "I hope to be a force to slow down the deterioration of society."

    BACK at the house, the boat is in the tree with the hubcaps and a wind chime made out of five pistons and a timing gear. Three cars, a 1980 Stutz originally owned by the singer Kenny Rogers, a 1976 Cadillac Seville and a 1982 Cadillac station wagon, the subject of another successful legal battle with Mountain Lakes, reside on the driveway. The bowling balls sit in pyramidal repose. He steps inside and seems remarkably Zen-like and unfazed when he learns that a collection of odd shoes, matchbooks and toasters got soaked in a front parlor because of a burst pipe.

    Indeed, back in the pink Lincoln, it's as if nothing has happened.

    "Like driving on a cloud made of pink cotton candy, isn't it?" he said.

    We visit the wedding fire truck and pass an even bigger Kanter warehouse than the one his office is in.

    "Here's something that's been puzzling me," Fred Kanter said. "If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?"

    E-mail: [email protected]
    Knowledge is power ... Stay informed!
    YOU can make a difference - all you have to do is try!

    Dx age 12 current age 46 and counting!
    lost: 5 family members to HCM (SCD, Stroke, CHF)
    Others diagnosed living with HCM (or gene +) include - daughter, niece, nephew, cousin, sister and many many friends!
    Therapy - ICD (implanted 97, 01, 04 and 11, medication
    Currently not obstructed
    Complications - unnecessary pacemaker and stroke (unrelated to each other)

  • #2
    Your other life sounds very , very interesting to say the least. It sounds like he has a great perspective on life and how to live it ... a person with real vision. Lisa your other life offers, besides everything else it provides you with, the comic relief so many people are lacking. Thank you for sharing.

    Dx @ 47 with HOCM & HF:11/00
    Guidant ICD:Mar.01, Recalled/replaced:6/05 w/ Medtronic device
    Lead failure,replaced 12/06.
    SF lead recall:07,extracted leads and new device 2012
    [email protected] Tufts, Boston:10/5/03; age 50. ( [email protected] 240 mmHg ++)
    Paroxysmal A-Fib: 06-07,2010 controlled w/sotalol dosing
    Genetic mutation 4/09, mother(d), brother, son, gene+
    Mother of 3, grandma of 3:Tim,27,Sarah,33w/6 y/o old Sophia, 5 y/o Jack, Laura 34, w/ 5 y/o old Benjamin


    • #3
      What a character! Sounds like a very interesting guy to work for.


      Husband has HCM.
      3 kids - ages 23, 21, & 19. All presently clear of HCM.