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Lawyer’s Trial Balloon Has Proven Successful

Shelley Gordon’s first love, it seems, is playing the drums. But the beat doesn’t pay the bills, so he delivers balloons, “and that not only makes me money but it makes me feel good because people send balloons for happy occasions.”

Well, not always. “Oh, there are times when that doesn’t follow,” said Gordon, 38, of Irvine, “like the time I got an order from a lady to deliver balloons to a funeral for a 3-year-old boy who drowned.”

The order, said Gordon, included placing balloons next to the open casket in the mortuary. “She also wanted multicolored balloons released at the burial,” he said, “to represent the spirit of the child going to the heavens.”

Or the two dozen black balloons a woman sent to her husband in his office. “She gave me an envelope to deliver with the balloons,” said Gordon, “and when he opened the envelope and found divorce papers, he proceeded to pop the balloons, one at a time.”

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Other times, he said, “people ask me if I’m going to strip or sing a song.” He does neither, but he has become quite good at balloon artwork, forming such sophisticated displays as flowing waterfalls and table decor designs for formal parties using black and silver balloons. He said balloon artwork now accounts for 60% of his business.

Gordon, who has been delivering balloons for bar mitzvahs, birthdays, anniversaries and as get-well cards to homes, hospitals and businesses for seven years, contends that his home-based business was one of the original balloon companies in Orange County. “Now there must be 60 of them,” he said. “They come and go. I’m one of the survivors.”

It only took about $1,000 to start Balloon Bouquet, a venture that appealed to him after seeing a television program about a Los Angeles balloon man.

“I checked in Orange County and found it didn’t have a balloon business. I used my Visa and MasterCard to start one.”

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But mostly, said Gordon, who graduated from Cal State Fullerton and also holds a law degree, “I like to be around people and people who are happy. I do most of the deliveries because it’s a kick.”

Now he is a big balloon man, having released 10,000 balloons for the opening of the Spruce Goose in Long Beach and 5,000 for a hotel in Kauaii.

“I not only got paid to release the balloons,” he said, “but I got a vacation in Hawaii, too.”

When Margaret Farr Lamar of Newport Beach went to the Ward-Belmont College reunion in Nashville, she was the only member of her class of 1920 to show up.

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At age 87, she might be the only survivor.

“But I had a good time and even talked with my teacher, Miss Catherine Morrison,” said Lamar, who majored in physical education. “She’s 99 years old and going strong. Actually, I’m having a pretty good time being 87.”

Minnie Pearl of Grand Old Opry fame, a 1932 graduate of the college (now part of Vanderbilt University), was chairman of the reunion for all classes, Lamar said.

“When they showed us around, they had a picture of me and some of my classmates in our bloomers trying to look graceful in our physical education class,” Lamar said. “When they played the college alma mater at the end of the reunion, I cried.”

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You want hot? The groups already entered in the July 26 Cypress Community Festival Chili Cook-off, according to spokesman and sometime chili judge Curtis Brown, include the Powder Kegs, Hot Stuff, Ring of Fire and Blazing Barnyard. “Sometimes we have to eat celery and carrots to clear our palate,” he said.

The National Athletic Trainers Assn. has named 138 trainers to its Hall of Fame in the last 36 years, but none from a community college. Until Bill Chambers, 49, of Fullerton College.

But true to form, “There are a number of good trainers around on the community college level,” said Chambers, of La Habra Heights, who has been at the college for 23 years and has garnered a closet full of honors.

“At one time my training room used to be the size of a closet,” Chambers said, “but now we have the best equipment anyone could ever want, and that includes major colleges.”

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As a matter of fact, he said, there is no difference between his work on the community college level or that at a university. “We both deal primarily with prevention, treatment and reconditioning of athletic injuries,” he said. “My principal concern is a healthy athlete.”

Chambers also points out that he reaps some benefits. “You stay young when you’re around these kids,” he said.

Acknowledgments--UC Irvine criminologist and author Gilbert L. Geis of South Laguna, a world-renowned expert on white-collar crime, was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to finish a survey on victimization in Portugal. It is the second time in six years that he has been given the fellowship.


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