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The Valley Line

These past few days have been so lovely. I’ve been basking in the warmth letting it sink down to my bones. My cranky right knee has been enjoying a respite from the damp.

Lola, my funny little white designer mongrel dog (part Bichon Frise and Havanese) is wearing a heavy winter coat and is looking a bit like a rag-a-muffin after the rains. With the weekend temps projected to be in the high 70s she probably would be thrilled to get her dreadlocks thinned out.

Anyway, hope all of you are enjoying this spate of warm weather — I sure am.

The Oakmont League recently had a lovely luncheon where Lilly Lawrence was the keynote speaker.


Lilly, an internationally known philanthropist and daughter of a former oil minister to the Shah of Iran, lost her Malibu home, known as the Castle Kashan, in last October’s wildfires.

The castle, perched high on a hill, was a 10,000-square-foot showplace filled with priceless paintings, sculpture, massive crystal chandeliers, displays of eclectic collections, wall tapestries, Oriental carpets and many family treasures.

Before the fire, the League held a couple of fund-raising parties at the castle. All who attended these events said the panoramas to the sea from every window and especially the terrace were spectacular and the furnishings of museum quality.

At the luncheon, Lilly was wearing a specially designed dress and shoes created by her Russian-born “on-call” designer, Tatyana Peter.


Lilly did not speak of her great loss, but softly encouraged her audience to think about what a home is.

“I won’t bother to recapitulate old news,” she said about the burning of her home. “I’d rather like to talk about what I’ve learned from it all lessons as well as new perspectives on this great adventure we call life.

She spoke of a home not being just an address but as a spiritual place, a personal time capsule. “Home is where you can be yourself. It is a place where you can explore your innermost thoughts and dreams. A space where you can revisit memories and hope for a better tomorrow.”

Lilly spoke of many things that day in such a pure and forthright manner giving each person a glimpse into her beautiful spiritual essence.

Lilly Lawrence is an enormously giving woman. Her charity, which knows no bounds, often goes quietly unannounced. For instance, since the film and television writers have been on strike, she had sandwiches catered and delivered to the people standing in the picket lines each day.

The afternoon spent with Lilly was a rare treat for the women of the Oakmont League.

Moving forward in the social scene involving members of our community: The Social Service Auxiliary of the Sisters of Social Services, held a fund-raising day at the races at Santa Anita. Many LCF women are members of this auxiliary, which has such a great heart.

The Sisters of Social Services is a Catholic order that ministers and advocates for homeless teens, provides foster care for infants in crisis and parenting education for inner-city mothers, as well as caring for the elderly. In addition to their work on a local level, they provide many other services in Mexico, the Philippines and Taiwan.


Maureen Dienier, a dynamic woman with the energy level that rivals that of the horses running on the track, was chairwoman of the very successful event. Helping her to greet arriving guests were Sister Claire Graham, general director of Social Services, along with Sisters Patricia and Diane.

More than 80 guests gathered in the Director’s Room that overlooks the race track. Guests nibbled on hors d’oeuvres and later dined on a lunch buffet that included entrees such as rack of lamb and filet mignon. The dessert table was laden with many tasty goodies along with their signature hot fudge sundaes.

The third race of the day, a claiming race for three year-old fillies, was specifically named for the auxiliary. Maureen and the sisters went to the Winners Circle to meet the winning horse, jockey, trainer and owners. They said it was quite a thrill.

Among some of the local residents placing bets on the “ponies” were Daisy Sheedy; Marjorie Illig; Lee Young; Jill Wondries; Monica Sierra; Evelyn Siracuse; Marlene and Dave Hirt; and Paula and Bob Clinnin.