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No shortage of holiday parties this season

Winnie Piriano welcomes Paul Cunningham, Debby Murphy, Art Ford and Michele and Jay Gillian to her annual Christmas open house.  Winnie Piriano welcomes Paul Cunningham, Debby Murphy, Art Ford and Michele and Jay Gillian to her annual Christmas open house.

Right in the midst of the busy holiday season, the Stainton Society committee gathered in the fourth floor boardroom of the Ben and Flora Baker Surgical Pavilion at Shore Medical Center to kick off the 2013 campaign that had been postponed twice due to Hurricane Sandy.

I waved to Edith Kemble at the front desk, then met up with Janet Galante in the elevator. Janet admitted she starts her day early getting up at 4:30 a.m. for her run on the boardwalk. Jeanne Robinson looked festive in her holiday sweater, while Mary Garrett sported a red and green plaid jacket and Hazel Kavle chose a red suit for the photo shoot. Mary had to meet husband Bob for dinner at The Crab Trap, so hoped the meeting wouldn’t be too long. Mark Reimet had to get home and change out of his suit to take 10-year-old son Todd to his street hockey game. Peter Cicalo and Kristen Cantando from Masterpiece Advertising Design in Atlantic City handled the photo shoot. Kristen lined up members while Peter took the pictures. I enjoyed catching up with Connie Pritchard whose father, Bill Jenkins, was the hospital administrator from 1960 to 1980. Connie recently returned to their family home in Ocean City after living in South Carolina most of her married life. Mary Ann Kull wore a tweed St. John knit suit and is standing a couple of inches taller since her successful back surgery in September. Joe Clark, Frank Donato and Patrick Halliday arrived late for the photo shoot. Rich Deaney said it’s been a year already that he’s been the acting business administrator for the city of Margate. Time flies when you’re having fun, Rich.

I chatted with Carol Frisby, and then took my seat at the board table where Abby Crafts and Steve Wallace from the foundation office conducted the meeting. Amy Waters presented a list of prospective speakers for the annual brunch while members suggested other possibilities. When Marlene Sheppard’s cell phone went off during the meeting, she searched for it in her purse to shut it off. And just as promised, Abby and Steve got the meeting over in less than an hour, so everyone could get back to their busy schedules.

A private dining room at The Crab Trap was the perfect setting for Eve Circle’s annual Christmas dinner. Andrea Paul, Joan Wilson and I were first to arrive and we settled in to welcome everyone. Kieran Murray stopped by to introduce our waitress, Katie Timmons, who graduated OCHS in ’03. Katie was delighted to see her kindergarten and second grade teacher, Nancy Caine, when she arrived. Alice Wolf sported a turquoise sweater accented with bugle bead trees she got on her annual Christmas shopping spree with the girls this year to the Cherry Hill Mall. Ann Landolfi is looking forward to her fourth trip to Hawaii in March while this columnist will tour our 50th state for the first time in January. Betty Ray spent the day with her 6-month-old great granddaughter, Lillian Nicole. Beth Lennox arrived just in time for dinner as she drove up from Delaware where she was caring for her granddaughter, Molly, who had her tonsils out. Marion McCaughey wore a black silk jacket appliquéd with brightly colored sequin packages as she handed out numbers for the gift exchange.

As soon as we finished our salad, Marion called the first number that was Chris Sauer’s and she unwrapped a Fitz & Floyd Christmas dish. Lois Werner opened a wreath made with large multicolor bells that was a favorite and belonged to Gretchen Bingham for a short time until Melinda Mayne ended up with this beauty; and everyone burst into song with “Jingle Bell Rock.” We took a break to enjoy dinner then Gretchen opened a large snowman that caught this columnist’s eye, but not for long as Marie Hayes took this fellow home. Everyone wanted the lighted snowman head with top hat when Sue Park unwrapped this cutie, but it finally went home with Marion McCaughey.

A chorus of “Frosty the Snowman” was our next musical selection. Mary Woods opened lots of packages she thought her granddaughter, Eva McKnight, would like. Kathy Heller, Sharon Garland and Barb Adams patiently waited for their numbers to be called, but Joan Wilson, who went last, ended up with a great gift.

It was a double celebration when Winnie Piriano hosted her 75th Christmas open house at her townhouse, which was beautifully decorated for the season. JT Williams stopped by before the party in his Santa suit, but couldn’t stay as he had been on the job since early morning. Jim and I met Paul Cunningham carrying a gift bag from his P. Francis Boutique and we told him how much we loved the new Christmas decorations on Asbury Avenue and Ninth Street, as he was influential in making this come together. We walked up the steps with Lew Schupe carrying a basket of fruit for our hostess. Caryl Shupe looked like she just stepped out of Vogue having lost 60 pounds on Weight Watchers and sporting a new straight bob hairstyle with bangs. Winnie was in the living room with guests, wearing a red and black, striped chiffon top and black slacks from Donna/Gay Dillon Boutique. Jody DeLesso, looking like an elf in bright red slacks and green sweater accented with a Christmas tree, served hors d’oeuvres and drinks to guests. Winnie made sure I snapped her picture with her daughter, Paula Popilock, and her grandson, Alex Huffard. I saw down to chat with Debby Murphy and shared some of my Christmas pictures. I caught up with Art Ford enjoying the large shrimp in the dining room. Susan Sheppard stopped by on her way to join daughter Nora at the Music Pier to see the Ocean City Theatre Company’s Christmas Show. Steve Bergman just got back from skiing in Vermont while wife Karen stayed home to run parties at The Flanders. Michele and Jay Gillian enjoyed a relaxing evening after overseeing the cleanup and helping merchants get their stores up and running after Hurricane Sandy. Since Susan and Fred Miller are leaving for Florida for the winter, they were glad to get their picture taken for my column as they won’t return to Ocean City until spring. I enjoyed the Italian buffet chatting with Joanne Budnick, Portia Thompson and Sally Huff. Sally was looking forward to the Christmas pageant Sunday at St. Peter’s as one grandchild was a shepherd while the others were an angel and a lamb. After 40 years in retail, Charlie Caucci is enjoying retirement, but finds he has too much time on his hands. Before heading home, I chatted with Debbie and Steve Hepding. Debbie sported bright red slippers she got at Love on a Hanger at Seventh and Asbury, while Steve told me he’s been a nurse at Shore Medical Center for years.

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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