At the "Women Together" benefit at the San Diego Omni, there was some debate among the 350 guests whether the chubby-cheeked toddler whose photo appeared on the invitation cover was gurgling "Is this wonderful or what?" or "It's to die or!"
Both expressions have been virtually patented by Maggie Mazur, who at the time the circa-1930 photograph was taken was known more formally as Margherita Hunt of Passaic, N.J. Since then, the civic volunteer, political mover and shaker and professional fund-raiser has become known as one of the more tireless workers in San Diego public life, a reputation that landed her in more than a little hot water at the Omni benefit.
The Aug. 24 event offered an evening of firsts. Catholic Charities, Episcopal Community Services and the YWCA joined in an unprecedented coalition to host "Women Together" to aid their programs for homeless and battered women, and Mazur, who agreed to be "roasted" for the cause, became the first San Diego woman to undergo the sometimes grueling treatment.
Mazur was in many ways the ideal candidate for a roast, since she has been involved with many organizations, most of which booked tables as a gesture of respect. The Old Globe Theatre was well represented, for example; after the 1978 arson fire that destroyed the theater, Mazur inaugurated her "Dump the Plump" program, in which supporters pledged dollar amounts for each pound she lost. The Old Globe earned $23,000 from the ploy.
Political pals from both major parties also offered support, and the program contained many coy references to Mazur's ejection from the Republican Central Committee after she managed the successful City Council campaign waged in 1983 by Democrat William Jones.
Mazur's husband, Dr. John Mazur, was quick to note the cross-section of the community that turned out.
"What's interesting about tonight is the circles that are intersecting here," he said. "At least 30 different groups are present, and, while they don't necessarily know one another, they all know Maggie. She's excited and very pleased, and I'm overwhelmed."
Maggie Mazur herself seemed overwhelmed. Rather than joining the guests during the cocktail reception, she camped in her hotel suite until most of the guests had been ushered into the ballroom, then swept through the foyer (dressed not shyly in a gold lame skirt and a blouson that blossomed with silver roses) in an uncharacteristic fit of nerves. Pausing just long enough to greet a few well-wishers before joining her family at the head table, Mazur admitted, "I'm not ready for this."
If Mazur professed herself unready to be roasted, various pals announced themselves eager to witness the basting. "I came because I hope to hear bad, nasty things about Margherita," Janet Gallison said. "That's what a roast is for. We're all here to get even, because, at one time or another, Maggie has roped every last one of her friends into one or another of her ventures."
The ballroom centerpieces, simple arrangements of fresh fruit and vegetables that were to be delivered the following day to agencies that assist the homeless, did much to explain Mazur's acceptance of the dubious honor of serving as the roast du jour . Sue Young, chairwoman of the event, said proceeds will be divided among such groups as the House of Rachel and Julian's Anchorage shelters for homeless women, and the YWCA'S battered women's services program.
"We'll probably clear $25,000 to share among the agencies," said Young, adding, "I realize that's a drop in the bucket, but it's a beginning for what I call 'the invisible among the invisible,' or single homeless women. They're the most preyed-upon group in our society. Maggie was brave to accept the challenge of being our roastee, but that's what our benefit is all about--it's women helping women."
Young allowed that men, who made up half the attendance, did play a role in the evening's success. "Of course, we had to get the men involved, and they responded eagerly," she said.
Mazur's oldest son, Steven Hunt Mazur, shared master of ceremonies duties with Judy Miller and kicked off the roast with a cheerful comment on the veracity of his mother's famous Christmas letters.
"My mother is a great liar," he said. "I could join a Satanic cult tomorrow, and Mom would write her friends that 'Steve got closer to religion this year.' "
Not all the roasters were unkind, although a few, including City Councilwoman Abbe Wolfsheimer, got in their licks.
"Maggie is the only person I know who ever flunked her manicure," Wolfsheimer said. "And who but Maggie would volunteer to hatch the mayor's Soviet eggs?"
The roster of roasters also included Barbara Riley, who was Mazur's classmate at Dunbarton College in Washington; legendary Old Globe supporter Delza Martin; Dr. John Stevens, who was present at the first turkey dinner Mazur cooked ("To this day I don't know what I ate," he said) and Dr. John Mazur, who said he came to "toast and boast, but not to roast."
Maggie Mazur responded to the jibes gently enough, and pointed to some of her accomplishments by introducing the five of her six children who attended. Her final remark carried a barb, however. She said to the audience, "I love you all, even Republicans."
The guest list included Melesse and Bob Traylor, Kay and David Porter, Betty Miller, Dolores and John Ford, the Rev. Patricia Backman, Sister Raymonda DuVall, Lucia and Doug Smalheer, Elizabeth and Glenn Allison, Dixie and Ken Unruh, Lucy Goldman, Paulette Gibson, Jeanne and Art Rivkin, Deborah Szekely, Jill and Jack Walsh, Kay and John Upton and Konnie and Stewart Dadmun.
Dr. Anita Figueredo, the first woman surgeon to be granted operating privileges at a San Diego hospital and a nationally known oncologist, was guest of honor at "Aegean Odyssey," given Aug. 22 in the Sheraton Harbor Island's Champagne Ballroom as the 13th annual fashion luncheon to be presented by the La Jolla League of the American Cancer Society.
The event attracted nearly 1,000 guests, an astonishing figure for an indoor show (Capriccio presented the fashions) and a neat record for the La Jolla League.
We'll come close to doubling what we earned last year," co-chairwoman Dr. Carol Summerhays said. "This is partly because we're honoring Dr. Figueredo, and partly because so many of us have lost family and friends to cancer. If today is a big success, it is because it's a labor of love." The event was expected to earn more than $50,000 for cancer research and treatment programs.
The committee included co-chairwoman Kara Kobey-Canogullari; Karin Camp, Donna Wolosin, Lynn Greenlee, Dorothy Andrews, Karen Kaye, Meredith Montross, Alexander Bende, Marcia Maisell, Candy Schumann, Lana Meredith, Marianne Minihane, Penny Clarke, Irene Cooper, Lorena Mier and Henrietta Bilhorn.