“Joe! What are you doing Saturday night?” my wife asked.
It sounded like a leading question, but I wasn’t sure. Regardless, I’m good at thinking on my feet, so I countered Kaitzer’s question with a question. It was a technique I learned back in 1969: escape and evasion training.
“Oh! I don’t know,” I said. “What are you thinking?”
See what I mean? Evasion is the key.
“The La Cañada Junior Women’s Club is having their annual fundraiser, a “Mama Mia” themed event,” she said.
“ABBA! What remarkable theme. There was a pure joy to their music,” I replied.
Though I recalled attending many Junior events during Kaitzer’s tenure as member and president, it is my natural proclivity to escape and evade. Maybe I should go, I thought to myself; the Juniors were always a blast.
I remember “tripping the light fantastic” with Trina Moore, Suzy Johnson and Vickie Devaud back in the day. However, I realized Kaitzer wasn’t asking me to attend; she was telling me she was going. She already had a date, Karen Nichols. Well, fine! I didn’t have any ’70s-themed clothes to wear anyway.
Come 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Kaitzer is about to walk out of the house in her vintage boots, on her way to pick up Karen.
“Bring back a doggie bag,” I yell.
She rolls her eyes, and I remain on the couch, binge-watching the fourth season of “House of Cards.”
Women’s clubs that began evolving in the mid-19th century were a result of the Progressive era. At the time there was a groundswell of women shouldering the burden of initiating social, economic, political and cultural reform. Under the umbrella of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, they addressed many shortcomings in the communities, cities, and towns of a burgeoning America. The California Federation of Women’s Clubs, organized in 1900, has more than 500 general clubs with a membership of about 40,000. The Junior membership level of the state federation was established in Redlands, in 1913.
The La Cañada Juniors, founded by Jane Napier Neely in 1969 (years before she became a Valley Sun columnist) is no longer affiliated with the National Federation of Women’s Clubs. Currently, under the presidency of Jill Chapman, there are 70 members. It is a mixture of active, associate, alumni and provisional members.
Their philanthropic initiatives include the Pasadena Union Station, where the Juniors provide monthly sack lunches made during their “Meals on Heels” event. They also have community outreach initiatives. On an as-needed basis, they offer individuals and families assistance. The Juniors’ Mending Kids International is their foremost philanthropy. There, the majority of their volunteer time and fundraising efforts are dedicated. Mending Kids International provides lifesaving surgeries for children around the globe.
Concerning the initiatives of women’s service, I’m reminded of a quote by Helen Keller, “When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life or the life of another.”
Aristotle believed that humanity’s social nature is acutely defined, “prompting us to contribute to the greater good.”
By helping others, the Juniors enhance life in the community. The ladies are indeed “Super Troopers.”
Last Saturday night’s “Mama Mia” fundraiser at the home of Gillan and Greg Frame raised more than $10,000 for Mending Kids International. Past presidents in attendance with Kaitzer were Tamar Tujian, Tracey Nelson, Brenda Gant, Jill Chapman and Mary Kay.
On Oct. 12, the Juniors will be holding a 50th anniversary luncheon at the Thursday Club. Jane Napier Neely, Karen Nicholson, Trina Moore and Jane Owen are spearheading the event.
Later that evening, Kaitzer returned.
“How was it?” I asked.
“I had the best time,” she told me. “It was great reminiscing with old friends.”
She commented on the importance of having a connection with women. “I am so glad that Jill Chapman and her team are continuing the tradition of a women’s club in town,” she said.