THE WEEK BEFORE OUR 75th
– March 18th at WVRC
GREGG ELLIOTT led the Pledge,
followed by PP JIM DOWNIE and LENNY FRIEDMAN with the Song – When Irish
Eyes Are Smiling. This duo was greeted with applause, and LENNY noted
that he qualified as the leader since he was our “Little Jewish
Leprechaun”. ART HENRY gave the Invocation. He began by asking God to
help us to honor the commitments we have made – what we say and what we
promise is important. We want to be people who can be counted upon, who
do the things we say we will do, whose lives are built upon trust, among
ourselves and with God. ART, I’ve said this before, but you pros make
it sound like you’ve done this before – Thanks.
STEW GILMAN could locate no
Visiting Rotarians, but we did have visitors. SUSAN ALLEN brought along
Yoshiko Umezawa. BRIAN BUMPAS had two guests – his son, Brian, and Duke
Russell, Founder of the Annual Abe Lincoln Remembrance in Los Angeles.
Pres. PETER then nicely thanked Abraham, the Hotel Manager who is in
charge of our weekly luncheons, for his consistently fine cooperation
PP RON LYSTER rose to list his 75th
Committee, led by PP’s DAVE WHITEHEAD, RALPH WOODWORTH, and STEVE DAY,
plus ELLIOTT TURNER, Marian Tseng and the Auxiliary. Eleven Host/Hostess
dinners are planned, by SALLY BRANT, the BRADFORDS, COLLINS, DAYS,
DOWNIES, GAULTS, McQUAYS, MULRYANS, HOMER NEWMANS, LEO TSENGS, and the
WANGLINS. Many, many more are helping to put this together, and it
promises to be a great celebration. Remember, Black Tie is OK for
This led to a ‘promotion’ for
Sweatshirts. One costs $40.00, if ordered before next Thursday, or you
can get one free, after that, by paying a fine of $50.00! I have a good
supply of large, extra large and extra extra large, in both maroon and
blue. Please call me at 277-3910, or
and I’ll enter your order (in the nick of time, if ten bucks is worth
saving). And I’m still recommending that you order a size larger than
you ordinarily would, since they will shrink after washing. Nuff said –
MAKE THAT CALL!
A notable event occurred on March
5th – Luke Robert Forsman arrived, thus making JUDY and BOB
WESSLING Grandparents! BOB, who probably didn’t need the microphone,
used it anyway to give us the details – the little guy came along three
weeks early (thus enabling the WESSLINGS to attend the 75th,
after all) and weighed 5 lbs 14 oz. He has since gained a pound, and
Mother Jennifer, Baby Luke and Father Arnie are all doing well.
Application has already been made, needless to say, for the Class of
2022 at good ole DePauw. And while it wasn’t directly stated, it’s
probably true that contributions to his tuition (expected by then to be
about 75 grand a year) will be gratefully accepted. Seriously, this is
the first new male in the family, and they couldn’t be more pleased, and
proud. And I can’t resist recalling that you can almost see them grow
at that age – what a thrill! Congratulations to all.
PDG ANDY ANDERSON came forward
with a brief report on PP HOWARD SISKEL. As you know, he had a stroke
on March 5th, was taken to UCLA, and probably had another
stroke two days later. He appeared to be improving, but that didn’t
hold. I saw Eloise after our meeting today, and she and Lisa were going
to look at a couple of rest homes, where he may be transferred soon. PP
RALPH WOODWORTH was there (in room 557) while they were out scouting.
There has been a delay in inserting a tube into his stomach, but the
prognosis isn’t good. Do get over to see him if you can – and hold the
family in your prayers.
Incoming President RUDY ALVAREZ
had been shepherding the preparation of our Awards Book, which details
the Club achievements for this Rotary year. After leaning on all the
Service Chairs to get their reports to him by the deadline, he arrived
at Pres. PETER’S house last Friday – and discovered he hadn’t written
his own report! He got it done by midnight, and with lots of effort
over the weekend, it was delivered on time to the District Office this
past Monday. The following members submitted their reports – PP STEVE
DAY, Foundation, Vice President DON NELSON, Club Management, MIKE GINTZ,
Youth, SEAN McMILLAN, International, and RALPH SMITH, Community.
The whole report is posted on
DON NELSON next came forward with
a somewhat sneaky request. He asked a whole bunch of members to stand
as he called their names – and as the list continued, everyone began to
wonder what they had done to rate this recognition. When DON was
finished, he then announced that everyone whose name he had called had
NOT YET bought a sweatshirt! My fourth paragraph above outlines how
those of you who were so ‘honored’ can yet escape – it comes down to
forty bucks now or fifty buck later. You choose, OK?
Yes, there is life after our 75th,
and a couple of dates are worth noting.
April lst (yes, this is NOT an
April Fools joke) WVRC will be dark. No Meeting.
And way ahead, we will have a
joint meeting with the Santa Monica Club on FRIDAY, May 21st
– thus we will be dark the day before, May 20th.
We had a presentation to make to
Meals on Wheels of West Los Angeles, and I had asked Cita Cohen,
Co-Director, and Carol Holle, Coordinator of Volunteers, to join us for
lunch. I asked them to come forward to receive our annual support check
– this being a cover, we hoped, so that Carol would not suspect that we
had an additional award in mind for her. Carol was instrumental in
forming the WLA Chapter of Meals on Wheels, 28 years ago, has helped to
hire the Co-Directors, and continues today as the Coordinator of
Volunteers. This means she comes in one day a week, and fills the gaps
that occur when someone cannot deliver on their scheduled day. It is my
understanding that when she asks if you can deliver on, say, Tuesday,
and you cannot, she immediately comes back with, How about Thursday?
Whatever she’s been saying all these years, it works! We have chosen
Carol as our Community Volunteer for the Year for 2003, and presented
her with an appropriate plaque. She also became a Paul Harris Fellow,
and was presented with the medallion and Certificate of Membership of
that honorary organization. Not only was she very deserving of this
honor – but we DID surprise her.
BRIAN BUMPAS introduced our
Speaker, Stephanie Edwards. He confided that Pres. PETER had suggested
that he not take too long – which got a laugh – and Brian then noted
that he had met Stephanie just a year ago when she was one of the
speakers at the Abraham Lincoln Birthday Celebration at the WLA Veterans
Cemetery last year. She and her husband, Murray, have belonged to the
Hollywood Presbyterian Church since 1975, and she spoke to WVRC a few
months ago in behalf of Southern California Presbyterian Homes.
Stephanie is no longer directly
connected to the Presbyterian Homes, since they have eliminated their
outreach program, in a cost-cutting move. As she said, it was a loving
separation, and she wishes them well. She was speaking in behalf of
Duke Russell’s Annual Abe Lincoln Remembrance in Los Angeles, which he
has been sponsoring for the last twelve years. Stephanie noted that she
now lives in Woodland Hills – alas, on the WRONG SIDE of Ventura Blvd,
and just a couple of blocks from the public high school that just won
the State title for literacy achievement. She observed what the kids
were wearing, and was not pleased. These are intelligent kids, from
good families, but peer pressure controls how they present themselves –
and she doesn’t like what she is seeing.
She was invited to speak to a
group of students at the University of California at Irvine. This
group, formed at the urging of the Chancellor, meets weekly and TELLS
the speaker what their subject is to be. She spoke on Lincoln – and
found that not every one of the forty or so students knew much about him
at all. One student replied, “President, right?” Several had
never heard of John Wilkes Booth, and Dr. Mudd was unknown to almost all
of them. She finds that today’s students seem to concentrate on recent
Here is a man who taught himself
to read, had less than a year of formal schooling, but devoured books
whenever he could find them. With this kind of background, he produced
some of the most profound thoughts in American history - his
Gettysburg Address remains as an example of clarity and brevity that is
One of the problems with education
today is that students do not get most of their information (learning?)
from books – there are too many other sources, and what the Lincoln
Remembrance is promoting is his life story. Here is a self-taught man
who rose to the most important office in the country, and every student
here should know about his background, his struggles, and his triumphs.
The Abe Lincoln Remembrance in Los Angeles is seeking our support –
would we consider being a sponsor of next year’s celebration – and of
perhaps leading the movement toward a re-emphasis on his values, which
are so important today.
Q&A – DAN PRICE told the story of
Georgie Jessel taking Lena Horne to the 21 Club in New York. The
Maitre’d asked if they had a reservation – and Jessel replied, Yes, Abe
Lincoln made it. They were seated. RUDY ALVAREZ corrected Stephanie’s
story about Socrates by pointing out that he took the hemlock
voluntarily, to prove his point.
PP MIKE NEWMAN felt that kids
today know a whole lot about current history, and asked her how she
would teach history. She replied that her ideas were not well received
– and that was why she was here today! ELLIOTT TURNER pointed out that
the History Channel has done some great work, and Stephanie agreed – but
pointed out that this kind of factual presentation would not be shown on
the networks, because it isn’t ‘cool’.
PDG BILL GOODWYN spoke of his
father, who was born in 1894 and died at 92. He knew Mary Serratt, at
whose home Booth was found. His Dad knew Mary’s daughter, who felt,
rightly, that there was no reason for her Mother to have been hanged
along with Booth.
PP STEVE DAY – had a very distant
relative who was the first doctor to treat Lincoln when he was shot.
WOW – this is wide-ranging stuff.
Thanks, Stephanie – and, speaking editorially, I think Rotary should get
behind a new emphasis on Abraham Lincoln.
YOE. Ernie Wolfe