The Valley Line: Orthopaedic Institute for Children to benefit from recent Book & Author Luncheon

Three local authors were featured speakers last month when the La Cañada Flintridge Orthopaedic Guild, an auxiliary of Charitable Children’s Guild, held its annual Book & Author Luncheon.

The Oct. 23 festivities got underway at 10 a.m. at the La Cañada Flintridge Country Club, with writers Karin Esterhammer, Anne Wheaton and Chris Erskine signing copies of their books for guests prior to the main event. In a nearby room, beautifully wrapped and displayed silent auction items awaited bidders.


During the day’s program, Esterhammer introduced her latest work, “So Happiness to Meet You — Foolishly, Blissfully Stranded in Vietnam,” Wheaton talked about her children's book, “Piggy and Pug” and L.A. Times columnist and La Cañada resident Chris Erskine spoke about his book, “Daditude: The Joys and Absurdities of Modern Fatherhood.”

Mary Beth Perrine, assistant vice president of development for Orthopaedic Institute for Children, who has an amazing line of patter, led the day’s live auction.


Jennifer Kumiyama, an Orthopaedic Institute for Children patient ambassador, spoke about the care she received at the hospital. She is a gifted vocalist and sang for the audience. She received in return an enthusiastic standing ovation.

Guild members working to make this such a successful event included Marie Baker, president of the group, Elinor Bunn, Jeanne Long, Arlene Massimino, Marilyn Center, Judith McClure, Joan Cleven, Wendy Nicoll, Louise (“Easy”) Delaney, Caryl Petit, Danette Erickson, Joanne Ploszaj, Maria Gero, Ginney Pruitt, Elinor Bunn, Marianne Jennings, Marie Gilhooly, Patty Rademacher, Marianne Jennings, Barbara Self and Linda Labrie. Provisional members assisting included DeeDee Nuanes, Christine (“Chris”) Wright Roper and Alicia Thompson.


Halloween was such an exciting evening at my house. I love seeing the little kids all dressed up in their costumes and their unbridled exuberance. Because I live so close to the center of the Montrose village where they have a Halloween party each year, the kids just naturally migrate down the hill to my street. I’m not exaggerating when I say we have several hundred trick-or-treaters.

Kids costume favorites change from year to year so it is always fun to see what’s “in.” This year I was visited by a couple of cute little girl unicorns with golden horns, an Egyptian queen, several of the big blow-up dinosaurs, a 6-foot-tall bright pink flamingo, an entire female Dodgers team and about three girls dressed as Dorothy from the “Wizard of Oz,” their costumes complete with glittering red slippers.

It is great that so many of the moms and dads dress up also to take their kids trick-or-treating. Several of the families brought along their dogs that were also in costume — cuteness personified!

The most unusual family included a mom dressed as an anthill with her son and husband as the ants. Their costumes were so clever and the mom made them all. Don’t ask me to describe them because it would be too hard, but the end effect was amazing.

Another thing I thought was pretty wonderful was that, without exception, each trick-or-treater said “thank you” and wished me a “Happy Halloween.” I think that was pretty darn remarkable!

I usually run out of candy within the first half hour and then have to close up my candy store and turn the lights out. I wouldn’t miss this fun adventure for the world — I love our neighborhood on Halloween night.

JANE NAPIER NEELY covers the La Cañada Flintridge social scene. Email her at with news of your special event.