Lorin Ruttenberg and Aly Shoji
Sweetheart Valentine Brunch
Lawry's Beverly Hills, 12:30pm
SUNNY SUE HODSON on JACK SMITH And he’s in Good Hands!
PP RON LYSTER led the Pledge. SUNNY came forward and took us through Home On The Range, after an attempted mini-coup by some of those in the audience. Thus encouraged, we did a Reprise on Let me Call You Sweetheart, which was certainly fitting for Valentines Day. Incoming Prexy SEAN MCMILLAN provided a great collection of DON’T for Valentines Day, starting off with being careful not to present a hastily rearranged remainder of chocolates, thus trying to hide that you have already eaten all the caramels! Beware of lingerie that did wonders for these Victoria Secrets models, any clothing item with the phrase Push Up or Slim Down in the label, food items with the word Diet or High Fiber included, no flowers from the Hospital Gift Shop or a Mortuary, Poetry that starts out with “There once was a girl from Nantucket” you get the idea, you gotta be more careful, guys! SEAN, those words are well taken Thanks.
Since it was a Spouses Day, we had several guests. SUNNY came with LENNY, PAT accompanied PDY ANDY, and GEORGE COX brought Mary Fran. ANNIE TSENG was with HENRY, MARGE DOWNIE came with PP JIM, the ZICKFELDS were represented by both MARJORIE and RAY. MARGARET LEWIS was with HARLAN. KATIA VAISBERG, our Rotaract President, brought Bethany Hill. CURT SMITH was accompanied by Staci Parman from his office Our Visiting Rotarian was Pearl Leeka, from LA 5.
There were several announcements. Pearl Leeka showed her special Valentine’s Day Centerpieces, which was available for $12.00. You can reach her at (818) 242-6480, and all proceeds go the District 5280. The Japanese Student Exchange is ON again, and it is for kids 15-18. They depart on July 7th, for a month in Japan, and on their return will be hosting the Japanese Students whom they have met. This is an excellent program, open to both children and grandchildren of Rotarians. Speaking personally, don’t miss this! ELLIOTT TURNER has details and application forms.
We were reminded of the upcoming RI INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION in Los Angeles, from June 15th to the 18th at the LA Convention Center. In addition to attending the Convention, WVRC has agreed to host up to 50 Visiting Rotarians for dinner on Monday, June 16th. This will begin with a hosted cocktail reception, and then the visitors will be taken to dinner at member’s homes. Please plan to participate, either as a host, or co-host, and attend the cocktail reception. ED GAULD has all details. Also, start saving children’s’ books for that event, please.
It was fitting that CURT SMITH introduced our Speaker, Sue Hodson, Curator of Literary Manuscripts at the Huntington Library. Her subject was a retrospective on the life of Jack Smith, Curt’s Dad. As you may remember, we were privileged to have Jack Smith speak at WVRC more than once. CURT and his Brother, Doug, decided to give their Dad’s papers to the Huntington, which took place after his mother passed away in 2004. The title of the retrospective is “Smith on Wry”.
Jack Smith was born in 1916 in Long Beach, and grew up in Whittier, Bakersfield, and Los Angeles. While a student, he served as editor of the Belmont High Sentinel, noting later that this was the highest position he ever reached in his career. From Bakersfield Junior College, he became the sports editor for the Bakersfield Californian, then moving to the Honolulu Advertiser where he witnessed the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941. He later enlisted in the U.S Marine Corps and took part in the assault on Iwo Jima in February 1945, as a combat correspondent. He went ashore with his rifle, and sent his typewriter in the colonel’s jeep but it was lost when the boat carrying the jeep sank. He acquired another correspondent’s typewriter case but when it was opened, revealed no typewriter but a supply of canned goods. Smith’s comment, “That’s what war is like. Only a thousand times worse.”
After the War, he worked for the L.A. Daily News and other newspapers, and moved to the Times in 1953. Starting as a reporter, he became a columnist in 1958. Smith died in January 1996, and leaves a secure legacy, including nine books, among them Alive in La-La Land, How to Win a Pullet Surprise, the Big Orange, and God and Mr. Gomez. His exhibition at the Huntington is now open and will run until May 12th. Special events during that time include a Curator Tour with Sue Hodson on April 3rd, Tales of a Columnist’s Life with Al Martinez on April 13th, and two bird walks, April 16th and May 10th.
Jack Smith was a unique writer, conversational and personal in tone, providing larger stories of the human condition. He was wry and pithy, speaking of the foibles and follies of people living in rapidly changing times. Among his offbeat subjects were sketches of Landmarks of L.A., history trivia, freeways (a quote here: “I do not worry about a heart attack, since my bypass is supposed to protect me from that, but I worry that in a traffic jam on the Santa Ana Freeway I will die of old age”) He and Romulo Gomez built a getaway home in Baja, which was one of his favorite subjects. Jack and Denny Smith were active in the greater LA Community Jack speaking often at Libraries and Universities, and Denny volunteering at the Los Angeles Assistance League and the LA Philharmonic Their legacy of wit and wisdom is in good hands at the Huntington Museum.
Thought for the Day, from Albert Einstein:
Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love.