The Sandpipers, a support group for Hoag Hospital, is named for a very industrious little shore bird.
Wednesday at the Santa Ana Country Club, the image seemed appropriate enough as Laraine Eggleston, incoming president of the 37-member group, presented Hoag Hospital board vice chairman Al Auer a check for $78,000 toward the purchase of a high-energy linear accelerator for the facility's Radiation Therapy Center.
"When I heard about the amount of money you raised, I thought somebody was pulling my leg," said Auer as he accepted the check.
"Every year," he continued, "the Sandpipers' president comes to our annual meeting at the hospital to report to the board of directors, all the committees and staff what the group has done that year. I wish you could be there to hear the disbelief that goes through the audience, everybody saying they can't possibly raise that much money with that few people."
The group's most recent contribution represents an amount 10 times that raised in its charter year 10 years ago. All told, the Sandpipers have earned $406,599 for the Center.
"It's just a matter of standing back and not getting in their way," said Frank Hall, senior vice president in charge of community relations development at the hospital.
According to Dr. Russell Hafer of the Therapy Center, the new accelerator is the most advanced radiation machine available today for the treatment of cancer.
"Its higher energy will allow us to treat deeper tumors with fewer side effects," said Hafer, "and will also give us capabilities for electron treatment, a different form of radiation.
While the major fund-raiser in 1984 was "The Sandpipers Toast Hollywood," a dinner and live auction held at and co-sponsored by Bullock's South Coast Plaza, the check also included proceeds from a fashion show at Robinson's and sizable donations from various individuals and corporations.
"I think we can all say we've been touched in some way by cancer," said outgoing Sandpipers' president Suzy Riley before introducing Mary Gordon, whose husband, Dr. Daniel Gordon, recently died of cancer. "We've either known someone or it's someone in our family."
The Gordons elected, before Daniel's death, that any memorial donation be directed to the Sandpipers; according to Riley, more than $4,000 has been received in his name to date.
The only requirement for Sandpipers membership, according to past president Abbie Forester, is that a person be interested.
"There are those who come and go," reflected Forester--whose husband, along with that of another charter member, Jacky White, just that moment passed outside the Terrace Room window on a golf cart mid-game--"they join, but leave when they find out the work is hard.
"Then there's a core group who want to be involved, who want to work. And they just think it's the most fun."
Other charter members at the luncheon included Lorraine Baba (whose daughter Vicky is also an active member), Emily Wilgus, Lois Malone, Janet Sawyer and Carolyn Pike, and past presidents Patti Estabrooks (daughter of Sandpipers' founder, the late Corinne (Corkey) Elkouri) and Debbie Hogan.
From the Radiation Therapy Center came Drs. Hafer and Robert Shapiro; representing Bullock's were Sue Graham, Carol Humphries, Boise Taylor and Shana Husbands.
Eggleston, Malone, Michele Vaughan, Jane McCaffrey, Cindy Schrank and Karen Whitaker took up their duties as new Sandpiper officers.
Another kind of Piper--Aubrey Piper--entertained a Premiere Night audience of about 450 Friday at South Coast Repertory's production of George Kelly's 1924 comedy, "The Show-Off." And most stayed for a special reception following the production.
One is happy to report that Piper, the loud-mouthed, toupeed, egomaniacal, compulsively lying character around whom the play revolves, was not among them.
Ron Boussom (who played Piper) and the rest of the cast, however, did make a late-night appearance as the women of SCR's Newport Beach Guild, wearing the feathered finery of the '20s, served up feta cheese-and-spinach croissants and apple tarts, and the Royal Street Bachelors, in red-and-white striped suits, played Dixieland jazz (and "Happy Birthday" for Margaret Warren, wife of SCR trustee Bill Warren).
Premiere Night attendance is limited to Friends of SCR who donate at the Golden Circle Level ($1,000 or more); new Golden Circle members included David and Sylvia McEwen and Gary and Marcia Fudge.
"These Premiere performances are important in that they mark the coming together of our major supporters and the productions they've helped create," explained SCR trustee Dot Clock, Premiere Series Committee chairman. "What we're trying to do is come up with a little different twist after each play so people will stay.
"That's not always easy. The last play this season, for instance, deals with South Africa. Apartheid is a difficult subject to plan a party around. Actually, though, the play involves a dance studio, so we're going to tie the party in to that.
"Tonight, of course, is a comedy. People will generally stay around when something's a little lighter."
Hosting the first-nighters' reception were Alice and Carroll Bryant and Cindy and Tom Houston.
Among the guests were Jose Ferrer, whose son Rafael played Joe in the production, and who had graciously shared a lifetime of experience with the cast backstage all week; Nan Martin, who played Mrs. Fisher, and who could be seen the next night on television with Robert Duvall and Robert De Niro in the movie "True Confessions"; and cast members Steve DeNaut, Kristen Lowman, Art Koustik, Caitlin O'Heaney, Hal Landon Sr. and George Woods.
Also there were Al and Deanne Baldwin, Don and Maggie Murdy, Stephen and Pilar Wayne Stewart, Hubie and Patty Clark, Tom and Marilyn Nielsen, David and Judi Threshie and Henry and Renee Segerstrom.
(A small pre-performance reception honored SCR's Benefactors Committee and Producers Circle of corporate donors.)
New in the neighborhood? Invite the neighbors. Have a party.
Of course, if you're the new Hotel Meridien in Newport Beach, and your neighborhood is Koll Center, that might mean 3,000 neighbors.
Better have two parties.
"Bonne Annee!" read the invitation. "Happy New Year. At last we are able to make it happen in 1985. In appreciation of your patience and understanding during the hectic construction phase . . . ."
As it turned out, two sets of between 750 and 1,000 guests actually showed up two nights (Tuesday and Wednesday) for a sort-of 'Howdy, nos amis ' in the Deauville Grand Ballroom.
"We had to put up with the workers and everything all summer," explained Mary Ann Pfeifer, an employee at nearby Daon Development Corp. "The hotel's just saying, 'Sorry for the inconvenience; come and have a drink and see what we're all about.' "
Partygoers were treated to unlimited cocktails, an elaborate buffet (including lobster medallions, cold salmon in aspic, ceviche scallops, ham and turkey chaud et froid, Brie fondue, assorted pastries and sorbet with strawberries) and entertainment by Steve Berliner and the Sounds of Music.
"They've put on a really nice spread," said Bill Johnson, who works next door in the Lloyds Bank building. "And we are happy they're finished. We have people all over the country in our other offices, and they'll no doubt stay here when they come to do business.
"While the Meridien might be a little more expensive than other hotels in the area, it's right next door. We might save, for example, on a rental car."
Although the hotel has been operational since Nov. 15, the Air France Groupe-owned facility is only now beginning to really take wing: The formal ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for this Thursday; Antoine, the hotel's elegant new dining room, opened for business without fanfare last Thursday.