As you pick up this paper to read, it is quite likely the savory aroma of baking turkey is wafting through your house. By the way, a very happy Thanksgiving Day to you.
I will be sitting around the Thanksgiving table with my daughter Heather and her children, Catherine and Ryan, and my Santa Barbara twin sister Elaine and her extended family.
Of course we will be missing my son Chris, his wife Megan and their children Aidan, Lucan and Morgan. They are still living in England will be preparing an American-style Thanksgiving feast for their Brit friends.
Mother Nature has been whipping up a very autumn-like ambience for us here in our beautiful valley. The leaves of the liquidambar trees are coming into full and glorious color along our Foothill Boulevard medians and especially along Princess Anne Road. I so enjoy seeing the dots of foliage color as I drive along our city's streets.
I do love the crisp feel and colors of autumn so much that I decided to fly to the East Coast to go "leaf peeping." Wow! It was amazing! The trees were showing off their most brilliant colors as I meandered down country roads, over covered bridges and stopped in tiny seaside and lake villages to admire the beauty. My two-week journey took me to Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont.
My first stop was in Nantucket, which is an enchanting place. What drew me there was that five of my ancestral families (Macy, Coffin, Starbuck, Gardner and Worth) bought the entire island in 1659. And what a bargain it was — they paid 30 British pounds and two beaver hats for it.
It was interesting to learn that these families were escaping religious persecution from the harsh and punitive faith of the Puritans on the mainland of Massachusetts. Nantucket became a Quaker stronghold and the faithful were led by my eighth great-grandmother Mary Coffin Starbuck. She was simply known as "Great Mary."
My most precious memory of visiting this magical island is that I held and looked through my ever so great-grandmother Mary's ledger book of transactions that she made at her general store starting in 1662. This precious book, which has a sheepskin cover, resides in the archives of the Nantucket Historical Association Library, which is attached to the Quaker meeting house on Fair Street.
Libby Oldham, the very knowledgeable research associate, went into the depths of the library's archives and brought the ledger to me after I donned the white cotton gloves in order to protect this remarkable document. The book was placed in a special cradle, also to protect it. The name of every person Mary Coffin Starbuck did business with and the goods they bought were carefully recorded and hand written by her and are still easily read. When she died her son, Nathaniel Starbuck, continued to record in the ledger.
While I was at the library I also met Ben Simons, a Harvard and Yale man, who is the Robyn & John Davis Chief Curator at the historical association and library. We had a lovely chat about my ancestors.
I hope to return once again to Nantucket and do some more walking in their footsteps.
Now, on to our folks who are doing wonderful things in our own community. You know how those La Cañada Juniors Women's Club members love to party. They were at it again recently when they held their annual "The Juniors Cup – A Night at the Races" event that raised $50,000 for Five Acres Hathaway-Sycamores Family and Child Services and the Pasadena Ronald McDonald House.
Melissa Mazin, president of the club that was founded 30-some years ago, was pleased that the money raised exceeded the proceeds from last year.
The party was held at the historic Spanish-style Thursday Club house and patio. Luckily there was a respite from the raindrops that had been soaking the LCF landscape for several days, which made for cozier gatherings under the large oak tree in the patio.
The event was expertly, co-chaired by Michelle Sabourin and Kristin Mueller and their energetic committee. It was a very festive night as the ladies wore spectacular hats. The hat designs were every bit as imaginative as if they were attending Ascot or the Kentucky Derby. Winning the hat contest were Michelle McGolrick, Jane Owen and Debbie Johannes.
Throughout the evening guests made wagers on videotaped horse racing events, sipped signature beverages, bid on silent auction prizes, and later danced the night away.
One of the highlights of the evening came during the live auction as guests faced off in a heated bidding war for luxury items such as a private plane excursion and an extravagant Las Vegas getaway.
Eschewing a formal dining format, guests made their dinner selections from pushcarts that were offering delectable delights such as grilled cheese steaks, spicy sausages, a deep-fry cart with French fried potatoes and onions. The most popular cart of all was the ice cream cart, from which guests ordered chocolate covered bananas and "Balboa Bars" sprinkled with little candies and nuts. Catering the event was "Lets have a Cart Party."
Everyone who attended agreed that the party was a huge success and can hardly wait until next year's offering. You can bet that the ladies are already planning the designs of their extravagant hats.