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Coben is guest of honor at annual Author’s Luncheon

Harlan Coben is welcomed to the annual Author’s Luncheon by Karen Mahar, Evie Bachich, Sandy Crescenzo, Fred Marcell, Becky Greene, Chris Maloney and Leslie Clarke. Harlan Coben is welcomed to the annual Author’s Luncheon by Karen Mahar, Evie Bachich, Sandy Crescenzo, Fred Marcell, Becky Greene, Chris Maloney and Leslie Clarke.

It was a beautiful sunny day when guests arrived at the annual Author’s Luncheon at The Flanders Hotel featuring acclaimed writer Harlan Coben. I chatted with Cindy Donahue as we crossed the parking lot into the hotel where we met up with Mary Benson as she walked up the street. Evie Bachich greeted us at the door as she waited for Harlan Coben to arrive.

The lobby was filled with ladies and gents as Al Crescenzo guarded the stairs till the 11:30 a.m. entrance time. While waiting I caught up with Schuy Wood, Marie Shafron and Gail Damone, who sported a brown beaded necklace she got in Israel matching her jacket from Chico’s. Gail’s leaving for Naples for the winter while Mary Ramoski won’t be heading south for a while. The power of the press: When Al spotted me, he let me upstairs before 11:30. In a black pantsuit accented with a black and white print blouse, Sandy Crescenzo, who chaired the luncheon again this year, was giving committee members Nicollette Mirra, Gerri Cusato, Anita DeSantis, Connie Fitzpatrick, Bobbi Taylor and Barbara Weber last minute instructions before the onslaught of guests up the stairs and on the elevators. Connie Fitzpatrick reports she’s a new volunteer at the library, while Bobbi Taylor enjoys swimming everyday at the Aquatic and Fitness Center. Barbara Weber is headed to Virginia Military Institute this weekend to visit her grandson and Gerri Cusato is driving to Kentucky to visit her grandchildren, then is going to see another granddaughter’s rehearsal for The Rock School’s production of “The Nutcracker” in Philadelphia.

Jean Robinson and I are trying to figure out how we are going to get from our Stainton Society kickoff meeting at the hospital back to Ocean City in time for Colony Club’s game night at Union Chapel on the same night. Fred Marcell and Fred Miller both sported Halloween ties to the luncheon and wanted this columnist to decide which one I liked better, but I played it cool and called it a draw. Tracy Driscoll and Didi Owens enjoyed getting together after summering together in Ocean City 60 years ago. Didi is headed for Palm Desert, Calif. for the winter, summers in Ocean CIty and has another home in Cherry Hill. It was great to see Joan Wolf, who owned the Kitchen Connection with her husband in the 1990s. Retired therapist Diana Cohen and Joe Bellwoar are looking forward to a Caribbean cruise. Flanders banquet manager Karen Bergman had her staff set up two tables in the Crystal Ballroom to accommodate the overflow crowd in the Candlelight Room. That’s where I spotted Phyllis Bonner, Rosemarie Fallon, Lynn Brock, Barbara Keen, Pat Roach, Joan Francesconi, Janet Burk, Peggy McDermott, Beverly Ayotte, Lori Vitullo and Jean Quaranta, who were very happy with their placement as they wouldn’t have to be so quiet.

When Ocean City Library Board President Fred Marcell stood at the podium to welcome everyone to the luncheon, I quickly took my seat at table No. 3 with Joan and Ed Wismer, Kristen Kelleher, Fred Miller, Peggy Lloyd, Connie Smedley, Jane Warwick, Barbara Riley and Jeanne Pless. After all the years I’ve known Ed Wismer, I never knew he went to high school with Eddie Fisher, who wasn’t very well liked by his classmates as he had his own radio show and thought he was a big deal. One day, Ed had enough of Eddie and punched him in the nose. When sent to the principal’s office, his superior admitted he’d wanted to do that for a long time, but had to discipline Ed anyway. Connie and Don Smedley are looking forward to a trip to Buenos Aires where Connie lived for one year in 1953, shaping her life as a Spanish teacher. Jane Warwickrecently retired from Chico’s at The Quarter in the Tropicana where she worked since the store opened. Jane recalled her brother, Ray McAfee, who was a well-known baritone in Ocean City. Jane reports two of her children had twins six months apart who are now 6 and 6 and a half. Jane worked at Chris’s Restaurant back in ’47 for 11 cents an hour. Jeanne Pless told me her mother, Sevilla Petz, who is 96, faithfully reads my column in The Gazette every week. After enjoying my salad and entrée, I was off to take pictures.

Dottie Cianci is gearing up for the Post Office Food Drive Dec. 8 for the Food Cupboard. Joan Breckley reports her daughter is getting married Nov. 1, 2013 with her reception at the Carriage House in Galloway Township. Jean Simpkins sported a gold necklace and told me she’s gathering jewelry for the Episcopal Church’s Holiday Fair. Lisa McGuigan chose a Boho maxi print dress for the luncheon and reports her daughter recently moved to Manahawkin, her older son is at William Patterson and younger son at Ocean City High School. Karen Laughlin told me she was married by Father Joseph McCauley at Our Lady of Good Counsel in ’72 and I told her he baptized our sons in the 1960s. Ginny Coco brought her daughter, Gini Eberling from Mt. Laurel to the luncheon as Gini has read all of Harlan Coben’s novels and was anxious to meet him. Pat Angarano reports the Cape Shore Chorale will be performing with the Ocean City Pops at their annual Christmas concert at the high school on Dec. 1. Regina Ralston is the choir director and soloist at St. Frances Cabrini while Jean Byerly is the pianist. They enjoyed the luncheon with Annette LoPresti. Jackie Caplan told me she worked at The Gazette in Ocean City and Egg Harbor Township in the 1990s. I returned to my table and enjoyed the delicious pumpkin cheese cake as Library Director Chris Maloney introduced Harlan Coben, who at 6 foot, 4 inches, took command of the stage and had his audience laughing from start to finish. It was like a listening to a Jay Leno monologue. John Stauffer presented a gift package filled with goodies from Johnson's Popcorn to Mr. Coben before he left the stage. The person at each table whose birthday was the closest to Harlan’s took home the colorful mums on each table with Jane Warwick winning ours. I chatted with Elaine Novello as she lined up to get her book signed by Mr. Coben. Linda Smith attended her first Author’s Luncheon now that she retired from teaching. I chatted with Eleanor Burk, Dolores Wilson and Karen Morelli as we walked across the street to the parking lot.

Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan

Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan

Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan

Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan

Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan

Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan

Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan Around our Town with Cathy Finnegan


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