Silence Is Golden at Fund-Raiser for Trauma Society

You take a mannequin, dress him in a cotton, pajamalike outfit, tug a Dodgers cap onto his noggin and stick him in a rickshaw.

Whattaya got?

The perfect prop for the Orange County Trauma Society’s Orient-themed fund-raiser Saturday at the Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach. East meets West--irreverently.

Lugging inch-thick programs labeled “Bon Voyage,” 350 guests made their way along silent auction tables set in a banquet room decorated to look like Hong Kong’s busy shopping district.


Surrounded with such ornamentation as wooden shop facades and a pagoda, the auction tables, laden with more than 450 items, offered items with such labels as “Baby Panda Bargains” and “Kung Fu Kicks.”

Two early arrivals were Edwin (Buzz) and Lois Aldrin, she wrapped in red knit, he with a wraparound smile as he described watching an altogether different voyage--the successful launch of the shuttle Discovery earlier in the week. “Of course we were invited (to the launch site, Cape Canaveral),” said Mrs. Aldrin, “but we decided not to go because Buzz would have to spend the whole time answering questions and talking to reporters. We said, ‘No, let’s stay home and watch it on TV.’ ”

As the crowd in the auction room grew to capacity and beyond, event co-chairman Art Sager marveled: “Every year we make these aisles wider, and every year we fill ‘em up.”

Sager, who was in charge of filling the tables with auctionables, said that nearly all of the approximately $90,000 in goods and services up for bid were donated--the fruits of a phone marathon that began in January.


Among those scribbling bids was Annette Levitt of Mission Viejo, who works as a billing consultant for trauma physicians. Levitt recalled buying a toddler car seat at the society’s first dinner-and-auction benefit eight years ago. “I was eight months’ pregnant with my daughter at the time,” the proud mom said, smiling.

Also wielding pens were George and Carol Taylor of Tustin Hills. George, an anesthesiologist at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, summed up the couple’s purchasing strategy: “We come every year and buy as much as we can.”

While others autographed bid sheets, trauma doctor John West, the Society’s board chairman, spent the cocktail hours dashing between friends and benefactors, kissing the cheeks of beautiful women at every turn. “Tonight,” West said with a grin, “is wuuun-der-ful.”

And, according to co-chairwoman Laura Johnson, profitable: between the $125-per-person door charge and the silent and live auction bids, the group cleared an estimated $68,000.

Guests dined on lobster bisque en croute, bib and endive salad, tournedos of beef and veal and a theme-inspired dessert of chocolate mousse sailboats dragging marzipan anchors.