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The Crowd: Birthday fun had by all at cottage

Newport-Mesa has become internationally known for the ultimate California beach luxury lifestyle. Amid all the flash, we sometimes forget that this is still a very real town with real folks who have spent a lifetime working in the community, raising a family, contributing to the fabric of society.

Last week on the sand of Crystal Cove, in front of what is known as beach cottage No. 1, Marilyn Tucker celebrated her 83rd birthday embraced by family and friends. With great style and plenty of humor, Marilyn and her husband, Dr. Royal Tucker, a retired Newport Beach based obstetrician and gynecologist responsible for the births of a great and lengthy roster of local folks, claimed that the party was a “Senior Citizen Early Bird Dinner.”


The early birds, all 29 of them (not a number of significance, just a number) gathered at 5:30 p.m. sharp Sept. 13 for a birthday dinner created by the Tuckers’ daughters Patti O’Desky and Cathi Bledsoe assisted by granddaughters Aly O’Desky and Piper Bledsoe. In keeping with the tradition of lavish Newport entertaining, an evening cocktail was served to the crowd sitting on folding chairs facing the mesmerizing Pacific just yards away.

Patti O’Desky and husband Billy O’Desky, a financial executive based in Newport with Mellon Bank New York, served tempting hors d’oeuvres of Ritz Crackers topped with Cheez Whiz, celery and peanut butter, deviled eggs, and homemade onion dip and chips. Move over, nouvelle cuisine! Good, old-fashioned American food still remains a cuisine of choice. The onion dip was gone in a heartbeat.


The retro ambiance of the cottage with its barely updated 1920s kitchen was the perfect backdrop for the Tuckers’ granddaughters to create a replacement batch of dip while the other hosts put the final touches on dinner, served at sunset as a magnificent golden orange ball of sun sank into the western horizon casting a heavenly glow of yellow, red, and orange streaks across the sky in front of the party.

Out came a meal of barbecued lemon chicken, potato salad, coleslaw and watermelon, putting big smiles on the faces of lifelong friends including Dick Hausman, Nancy Pettijohn, Dot McDonald, Marie and Gene Duchene, John and Fran Applegate, and Lionel and Carlann DaSilva. Also front and center for Marilyn’s 83rd were the glamorous gal about town Gini Savage, Dick Daily, Tim Delaplant, Pat Irwin, Gene and Jeannie Robertson, Paul and Darlene Kuhn, John and Glenna Granzella and the Lee Finks.

The warmth of the birthday celebration was coupled with the recent occasion of the Tuckers’ 61st anniversary. For many of those years, the birthday gal has been an active supporter of the National Charity League, and in particular, of recent note, an auxiliary known as the Las Colegas. The Tuckers are also longtime associates of Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian’s 552 Club.

Capping the festivities, coconut cupcakes filled with lemon curd carried candles of birthday blessings. The crowd passed the cupcakes and helped themselves to bowls filled with Lifesavers and bubble gum, reminiscing on life and times, well lived, with cherished friends on the Newport Coast. This is surely the ultimate description of a truly great social event, overflowing with love and all best wishes.


THE CROWD runs Thursdays and Saturdays. B.W. Cook is editor of the Bay Window, the official publication of the Balboa Bay Club in Newport Beach.