Our Laguna -- Barbara Diamond

Barbara Diamond

Laguna Beach veterans led the salute Monday to their fallen comrades

as Americans across the country honored those who made the ultimate

sacrifice to preserve the liberties that we cherish.


“Today is a special tribute to the men and women of the forgotten war

in Korea,” said Jim Law, commandant of American Legion Post 222. “Laguna

Beach is chartered as a Korean Way Commemorative Community by the

Department of Defense. This is the 50th anniversary of the midpoint of


the Korean War, which lasted from 1950 to 1953.”

While the war may be called forgotten, the warriors were not. They

were at the heart of the Memorial Day ceremonies held Monday at Monument

Point, sponsored by Post 222 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5868.

Law singled out longtime Laguna Beach resident Bill Rainforth, who

fought in Korea with the Canadian armed forces, a welcomed ally. Other

Korean War veterans were asked to stand and were applauded.

The veterans organizations also honored those comrades who survived


foreign wars and conflicts, but died this past year: Edward Bernal,

Robert Boyd, Roy Cibulk, John Conner, Cort Cortson, Donald Flack, Donald

Frost Garnet Ganagan, Raymond Marquard, Carl Oakley, Emmet Winn and Deon


The ceremonies began with a rousing concert performed by the Laguna

Beach High School Band under the baton of Jeff Foster. It was Foster’s

Memorial Day swan song. He is retiring as the district’s musical director

at the end of the school year. He will leave a huge void.


Post 222 Commander Dave Connell welcomed the crowd to the ceremony.

American Legion Sergeant at Arms Dave Powers read General Order No. 11,

first issued by Army of the Republic General Logan in 1868, authorizing

ceremonies to honor Americans who die in war.

The flag flies at half-staff until noon, when it is raised to full

staff as a conclusion to the ceremonies. The flag raising is preceded by

a 21-gun salute, shot by the U.S. Marine Corps Firing Detail from Camp

Pendleton, and the lone bugler, playing “Taps,” surely the most poignant

of musical mnemonics.

Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day for the flowers

traditionally placed on graves that day. Floral offerings continue to

play a part in the ceremonies. Laguna Beach community organizations

annually present arrangements and bouquets, which later are donated to

veterans hospitals. Post 222 First Vice Commander Richard Moore

introduced the floral offerings.

Among the most beautiful was one created by Bev Mosier. She trundled

the arrangement from the Mosier’s North Laguna home to Monument Point.

Bob Mosier, resplendent in a white satin track suit, trailed behind,

carting Mosier’s red purse.

Charlie Quilter, a veteran fighter pilot, had double duty this year.

He presented flowers on behalf of the Patriots Day Parade Committee,

which he heads, and on behalf of his brother-in-law who was killed last

week flying a U.S. Navy T-39.

It’s been a tough year for the Quilters. Charlie’s mother, the

redoubtable Grandma Wiz, also known as Coastline columnist Suzi Q and

formally as Elizabeth Quilter, died earlier this year.

However, the flower of the day is always the red poppy offered by the

members of the American Legion Auxiliary. The poppies were officially

adopted by the Legion in 1921 as the Memorial flower. Hospitalized

veterans make the crepe paper flowers. The sale of the poppies provides

income for the vets, in some cases their only income.

Laguna’s auxiliary members are easily recognized, all togged out in

navy (what else?) blue blazers, red shirts, white pants and jaunty navy

blue ‘rough rider’ hats.

“I got the women into uniforms when I became president of the

auxiliary, the 2000-01 term,” said Diane Connell, now serving her second

term as president. “It just seemed appropriate because we accompany the

men to so many things. Dave got the men into uniform the same year, as


Laguna Beach Fire Capt. Steve Nelson wore the white cap of rank, but

this one was special -- it belonged to a survivor of Sept. 11.

Steve and firefighters Gary Ganger and Ken Tew presented a floral

offering from the department, along with Battalion Chief Jeff

LaTendresse, looking spiffier than he did when serving sausages earlier

in the day at the Century Club Pancake Breakfast. Battalion Chief Mike

Macey attended the ceremony, but he was on duty and dressed for work.

Department administrative secretary Carrie Joyce also attended. Others

in the audience included Councilwoman Toni Iseman, Faye Baglin, auxiliary

members Jean Law and Sandi Werthe, Councilwoman Cheryl Kinsman and her

son, Nicholas.Police Captain Paul Workman and Officer John Falk

represented the Laguna Beach Police Department

The day’s speakers included Mayor Wayne Baglin and Post 5868 Adjutant

Grant McCombs. Retired U.S. Marine Angus (Tex) Claytor gave the Memorial

Address. Madeleine Visca sang two verses of “The Star Spangled Banner,”

accompanied by the band.

Post 222 Chaplain Lawrence Blank gave the invocation and the



The Century Exchange Club ushered in Memorial Day with a Pancake

Breakfast at Heisler Park.

“It celebrates the beginning of summer,” said club member Ed Hatfield.

“And it raises money for the prevention of child abuse.”

The breakfast also marks the day the residents more or less hand over

the streets to the tourists. A second breakfast is held on Labor Day when

we take back the town.

“I didn’t know this was in the fine print under “other duties,” joked

Battalion Chief Mike Macey, working side-by-side with LaTendresse in the

food chain.

Actually, they volunteered, along with Anne Wood, who collected the

$3.50 per plate from the record crowd.

“I am just a buck private in Sande St. John’s army of volunteers,”

Wood said. “I go where I am directed.”

Ditto, SanDee Frei.

Sausages, pancakes, juice, milk and coffee were served. Reserve

firefighters Gary Zumbo and Scott Green flipped flapjacks from about 7

a.m. to 11 a.m. Duane and Pat Bickel poured drinks.

Jane Adams walked all the way from Top of the World for breakfast.

Hey, no big deal after pounding the pavements on behalf of her son, John

Adams, the successful write-in-candidate in the March primaries for

Superior Court judge.

Others in line: Bobbi Cox, Carole Alstot, Bob and Sonia Meyerhof, Bill

McKinney and Anita Mangels, Jenny Goodno, Kate Riegler, Peter Hands,

Mindy LaTendresse and daughter Bri, pronounced Bree.

LaTendresse’s son, Cody, was hanging with dad, until he was offered a

ride in a military vehicle. Cody, dressed appropriately in camouflage,

was over the moon.

Many who had not heard about the breakfast were notified by e-mail

from Councilwoman Cheryl Kinsman. Gary Alstot and John Keith also sent

e-mails. After getting two, Festival of Arts Board member Bob Dietrick

started relaying the message to his list and then headed for the

breakfast with wife, Linda, a member of the Arts Commission.

“It was our biggest crowd ever,” said St. John, who helped the

Century Exchange Club organize the breakfast.

Just to be on the safe side, practically her whole family showed up,

including daughter Shanin, son-in-law Wayne, and granddaughters Katelyn

and Camron.

Also grazing: Andrew and Laguna Canyon Conservancy President Carolyn

Wood, former Design Review Board member Al Oligino, “Lagunatics” and No

Square Theatre founder Bree Burgess Rosen, her husband Leon, their son,

Joshua, 4 1/2,and Tony -- an impressively sized female dog named for the

Broadway equivalent to the Oscar. Tony took Joshua and No Square Theater

board President Phoebe Ward for a walk. Anywhere she wanted.

Proceeds from the Pancake Breakfast will be donated the Orange County

Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse.


No Square Theatre will hold a rummage sale from 9 a.m. to noon

Saturday at the community theater’s rehearsal and workshop studio, 221


“We got wonderful stuff, like Henredon bedroom and dining room

furniture,” Bree Burgess said. Antique buffet and roll top desk and

wooden Indian, sofas. And about 100 brand new warmup suits. Some of the

“stuff” is left over from donations made to gussy up the studio or for


“Wells Paint donated 50 gallons of premixed paint,” Burgess said. “We

dumped it all in one big bucket and painted the whole thing. Tom Ray

Flooring installed a great dance floor.”

A shopping excursion at Ikea added some decorative items such as signs

for the bathrooms. The studio piano is Burgess’s, a present from her

father when she was 11. The room divider is a monster banner she bought

from the Pageant of the Masters for one-sight gag in “Lagunatics” and has

been storing ever since.

The studio will host an Open House and Art Exhibit from 6-9 p.m, June

6, First Thursday of the month.

“All of the artists are amateurs,” said Burgess. “Laguna Beach High

School senior Nicole Reineman, a ballet student, will be exhibiting her

photographs. Laguna Beach graduate Gretchen Murray, who wants to go to

the Art Institute of Southern California in the fall, will be exhibiting


“Christian Rassinoux, the executive chef at the Ritz-Carlton will be

showing his paintings and Danita Crivello will exhibit her pastels.”

Danita and her husband, Vince, own Rumari.

“They have a two daughters who belt it out like Judy Garland on a good

day,’ said Burgess.

No Square Theatre has a busy schedule.

“Honk,” a musical version of the Ugly Duckling, is in rehearsal, to be

performed July 12-14, at the Artists Theater on the Laguna Beach High

School campus.

Tickets are $18. Auditions for 5-18-year-olds are coming up for

children’s production “Bugsy Malone.”

Information: 497-2584.

* OUR LAGUNA is a regular feature of the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot.

Contributions are welcomed. Write to Barbara Diamond, P.O. Box 248,

Laguna Beach, 92652, hand-deliver to 384 Forest Ave., Suite 22; call

494-4321 or fax 494-8979.