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It was a sunny, windy and cold Sunday afternoon when young and old arrived at The Flanders for its Miracle on 11th Street for a celebration of healing Ocean City families by raising funds to help with the recovery from Hurricane Sandy. When Jim and I arrived with Marion McCaughey, we were greeted in the first floor lobby by Ken Cooper and Shawnda McGinnis, then stopped to get our green wrist bands from Steve Bergman and Eric Wakabayashi.
Marshall Smith showed off his musical talents as he entertained at the piano in the lobby. Anyone who missed getting checked in on the first floor were greeted by Phyllis and Jerry Bonner, Joanne Budnick and Maribeth Neall at the top of the stairs on the second floor where guests were enjoying the hot soups and hors d’oeuvres. Karen Bergman was busy checking on all the buffet venues, as well as ushering Channel 6 cameraperson around to film the party. Jackson Neall, Paul Blankley and Wallace Gilchrist were among the firefighters who worked around the clock during Hurricane Sandy and they stopped by in their uniforms, as they were on duty, and Jackson was delighted to pose for a picture with his mom. This is Wallace’s first year in the fire department while Paul has been a firefighter for 14 years. I caught up with Linda and Curt Gronert sampling the lobster bisque soup and when Curt thought I took my Christmas lights down early, I told him they just won’t light when it rains. While the children enjoyed all the fun activities in the Garden Room, including face painting, a dance party, photo booth and all their favorite foods, the adults socialized upstairs on the promenade, in the board room and in the Candlelight and Crystal ballrooms.
in the Candlelight Ballroom where we met Patti and Dan Farrell, who live in Allentown and Ocean City. Patti told Jim she worked at his alma mater, Allentown Central Catholic High School, in the 1980s, but they didn’t have any mutual acquaintances since it had been over three decades since Jim graduated. Lois purchased an OCNJ CARE T-shirt for husband, Ralph, and wanted to be sure she remembered to take it home. When Becky and Dick Stanislaw joined us, I admired Becky’s charcoal gray, pink and white sweater and told her she had very good taste. Linda Smith stopped by our table to see if she could get us anything from the buffet. Gail Crafton of AC Photo was always one step behind me with her exotic camera, but promised they were for the committee to use and not for any newspapers. Beth Bowman told me Gail takes the Bowman’s family Christmas card picture every year. When I checked out the activities in the Garden Room, I spotted Ginny Mulford painting children’s faces while Denise Jessel, sporting a rhinestone tiara, enjoyed posing for pictures in the photo booth with her grandchildren and Jen DeVlieger joined the children on the dance floor. Meanwhile back upstairs, I enjoyed chatting with Kay Manco and her daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Chuck Bangle, while regular pizza deliveries were made from Manco & Manco all afternoon. There was also plenty of Johnson’s Popcorn and Shriver’s salt water taffy available in the board room.
Kathy Sykes is sporting bangs these days and she and Karin Gleason have been busy arranging housing for folks who lost their homes during Sandy. The rock band, 1, 2, 3 Draw, entertained in the Crystal Ballroom with band members, Dean Howey, Ryan Walsh and brothers, Will and Andy Wiggins playing all four hours. I spotted Julia Wiggins sitting at a table near the stage throughout the afternoon to listen to her sons’ music. Charlie Bowman enjoyed the benefit with his daughters, Caroline, Kelsea and Katie, while his wife, Jennifer, showed off the gingerbread houses and kept an eye on activities in the Garden Room along with Drew Fasy. Caroline is sporting glasses while sister, Katie, showed off her freshly painted face and sister, Kelsea, twirled around modeling her mauve, ruffled party dress. I spotted Robin Minichino taking pictures to put on The Gazette website, oc.shorenewstoday.com. Peter and Arlene Voudouris enjoyed having their picture taken with their grandson. Congratulations to Laurie Howey and Shep Taylor who got engaged this Christmas. John Quinn was sporting a navy sport jacket and tie on this Sunday afternoon. Bob Pelli was on the job moving tables and chairs whenever needed. I almost didn’t recognize Joe Genovese when he tapped me on the shoulder on his way to meet his wife, Gerry, at the buffet. I waved to Cathy and Pete Guinosso on my way to visit with Diane and John Van Stone, Jane and Ray Snyder, Warren Iredell and Anita and Bill Culp at their table. When Anita introduced me to her older sister, Ellen Toomey, I recognized the family resemblance immediately.
I enjoyed catching up with Nancy Neal when she arrived with her 4-year-old granddaughter, Avery Fox, who sported an outfit she got for Christmas. Nancy and husband, Lou, recently returned from a trip to Costa Rica and a cruise through the Panama Canal. Tony Wilson said he was going to put Scott Ping away in the weight loss challenge. When Claire Paugh stopped by to check on the Sunshine golf outing pictures, I told her she could get them online. When Debbie McKenna, vice president of the Gardens Civic Association, arrived with husband, Terry, she presented a $600check to OCNJ Care from the association. Fred Marcell stopped by while his wife, Toni, stayed home to entertain their company. Marie Dugan was delighted when she got me to take her picture with her daughter, Cecelia Dugan; Paul Cunningham, who took a break from his P. Francis store on Asbury Ave.; and Roz Lifshin and Nancy Miller, who took the afternoon off from their Sun Rose Book store. Mike Dattilo left his daughters in the Garden Room to enjoy the fun while he came upstairs to visit with the adults. Keith Hartzell brought his mom, June, to the Sandy benefit.
We ran into Winnie Piriano in the lobby as we headed home. This was Winnie’s second visit to the benefit as she had another engagement in the afternoon. Marie Hayes arrived and started circulating the room immediately. Michele and Jay Gillian were also just arriving at the benefit and were delighted with the fantastic turnout. Kevin Redmond was another latecomer. Susan Sheppard and Frank Faverzani were just checking in at the table in the first floor lobby along with son Mark, and daughter Nora. Son Frankie was away on a ski trip in Vermont. Susan was looking forward to being sworn in as the new surrogate of Cape May County the next day. Susan’s mom, Marlene Sheppard, was hugging everyone and wishing them a Happy New Year and had a special message for her favorite Marine, who was anxious to get home and see the end of the Eagles vs. Giants game.