Giving group celebrates Founders' Day

The Founders’ Day celebration for the Glendale Philanthropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.) Reciprocity came off without a hitch. The 200-plus members and guests present should be proud. P.E.O., founded in 1869, is based on providing opportunities for women. “Our Star Spangled Sisterhood” was the patriotic luncheon theme, carried out through American flags and red, white and blue balloons. The Pickwick Gardens’ Terrace Room in Burbank was the setting on Saturday’s (Feb. 4) sunny afternoon.

President Christine Ruygrok and Vice President/Event Chairman Pamela Brett introduced the Founders’ Day committee, the program chairmen and 50- and 60-year members. Glendale resident Doris McKently of CJ Chapter was recognized for her lengthy membership of more than 50 years.

Honest Abe took it from there. Abraham Lincoln, played by the ever-genial J.P. Wammack, gave the keynote speech. He also played the harmonica and noted that Lincoln was the first president to play a harmonica. He led a sing-along to “Oh Susanna.” Proud aunt and loyal P.E.O. member Mary Margaret Smith provided the most enthusiastic applause.

Judy Ritchie offered a blessing on the food. Ritchie is the immediate past president of CJ Reciprocity president and was recognized as such. All dug into an entrée of chicken marsala.

A musical program featuring the Verdugo Hills Showtime Chorus followed. Introductions were made by Barbara Adams of IH Chapter.

Founders’ Day Committee members, hard at work behind the scenes and under the guidance of Chairman Brett, were Patty Anderson and Leni Richardson on decorations, Marg Manatt handled tickets and reservations, Becky Gelhaar was a gracious hospitality representative, Kathy Strangis was in charge of courtesy, Donna Heckler worked on the Founders’ Day publicity, and Carol Stavert and granddaughter Kristen Hamel made luncheon arrangements with Pickwick Gardens.

The Camellia Festival at Descanso Gardens was a three-ring circus. In honor of the delicate flower were Faery Tours, a camellia walk and talk, a camellia curator lecture and tea time with teas from the Chado Tea Room in Pasadena.

On Saturday (Feb. 4), hundreds of camellia lovers visited Descanso but the faeries could only be seen by first morning’s light. Catching a glimpse of faery dust were Glendale resident Sophie Gross, 5, in sequined faery wings and her friend Scarlet Parod, 4. Sophie’s mom Lisa Schulz and Scarlet’s mom Claire Armstrong hovered closely.

Posing for a family photo in front of cherry trees in bloom at the Japanese Garden Tea House were Glendale resident Flora Saginian and granddaughter Erica Saginian. In fact, all of Descanso appeared in bloom. Lush water lilies and goldfish in the gardens’ pond attracted Arax Kotanjian, 5, and little sister Ani Kotanjian, 1. Mom Tatevik Kotanjian’s and Dad Sarkis Kotanjian’s tight grips kept the girls from falling in. The family is from Glendale.

At $8 for an adult ticket, $6 for seniors and students and $3 for children, the few dollars transported garden-goers to a world of faeries and flowers — a peaceful respite from the daily grind.

Don’t miss Descanso’s Tram Tour of Love and That’s Amore Dinner on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14.

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