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The Ocean City Home Bank postponed their tree lighting for a week due to rain, but it was worth the wait as it was a beautiful evening when a large crowd gathered in the bank parking lot.
Jim and I chatted with Mike Dattilo and Tony Wilson before he flipped the switch lighting the Christmas tree. Linda and Curt Gronert arrived in separate cars and had to use their cell phones to find each other. Paul Cunningham of P. Francis received kudos on the Christmas decorations along Asbury Avenue.
It was a family affair for Rosemarie Blyler, who enjoyed the fun with daughter and son-in-law Greta and Chuck Liston; grandson Kevin Liston, his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Mallory; and granddaughter, Katie Greck, and her husband, Dave, who celebrated their first wedding anniversary Dec. 8. Greta and Katie both work at Ocean City Home Bank.
While catching up with Cheryl and Dave Edwards, Bernadette Gizelbach gave us tickets for a chance to win Retail Merchants Association gift certificates. Debbie and Richard Booth returned to Ocean City to celebrate Christmas with their children and seven grandchildren. Debbie and Richard enjoyed watching their oldest granddaughter, Allison Kreisman, in “The Nutcracker” in Fredricksberg, Va.
Pete Madden sporting just a shirt didn’t mind the cold as he watched daughter Riley dancing with Maribeth Snow’s Dance Place troop. Eric Booth has followed his grandparents and father in the real estate business and carried his 2-year-old daughter, Isla, on his shoulders. Eric’s son, Ethan Roy Booth, will be 5 in March.
Rick and Pam Johnson enjoyed the festivities while watching their 6-year-old daughter, Kiley, tap dancing with her group. I knew Rick looked familiar as he often passes me in the alley behind our office as his Dougherty-Johnson Builders office is a few doors down the street.
Lew Shupe tried to keep his distance as he had just eaten garlic pretzels in the bank. Meanwhile, Caryl Shupe was in the front row watching her granddaughter perform with The Dance Place. At the conclusion of the program, Jean Jacobson invited everyone into the lobby to enjoy light refreshments and check to see if they had one of the 35 lucky numbers that had been drawn.
Vincent DiCanio entertained with Christmas carols at the piano for the fifth year. I enjoyed chatting with Vincent’s mom, Suzanne DiCanio, who grew up in Ventnor and Margate and graduated Atlantic City High School in ’55 with my sister-in-law, Frances Feyl Maberry, a year before I was a freshman there. Vincent’s sister, Dawn Brodton, is a branch administrator, who has been with Ocean City Home Bank 10 years.
As the evening drew to a close, Tricia Ciliberto was still holding 10 envelopes with $100 gift certificates to spend on Asbury Avenue that had not been claimed, so she started drawing numbers as the remaining ladies checked their tickets. Not getting any winners, Cathy DiMarco suggested we sign our names on our tickets for Tricia to draw. This columnist was one of the lucky winners. With only Julie Dattilo and Cathy DiMarco waiting and one gift certificate left, when Cathy’s was drawn she insisted upon splitting the prize with Julie. While some of the winners posed for a picture in front of the Christmas tree, my husband chatted with Joe DiMarco, who invited Jim and I to the American Legion Blue Shield awards dinner in May.
Santa’s elves were hard at work decorating St. Peter’s United Methodist Church for Christmas when this columnist arrived on the scene. Dick Strang, Steve Croft, Gene Lindacher and Dave Wagner were outside hanging wreaths on the new red doors at the entrance to the sanctuary. Paul Ostein just finished assembling a tree in Fellowship Hall while Della Ostein, Merry Wagner and Ginny Strang placed garland and poinsettias in front of the stained glass windows throughout the sanctuary.
The tall tree in front of the sanctuary was decorated with lots of white lights put up by Ralph Bingham and the new white and gold needlepoint chrismons made by members of the Grace Circle were hanging on the boughs. Phoebe Lindacher and Margaret Schock decorated the altar rail with garland, a job they had done for years. I climbed the ladder behind Don Paul for a picture, while he hung the large lighted wreaths in the front of the sanctuary.
Bill Bateson checked the lighting panel and put on the spotlights for our picture. Jody Lovette and I enjoyed reminiscing about his grandfather’s and father’s luncheonette at the corner of First and Asbury back in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, originally called Downey’s and then Lovette’s when his father took it over.
Phil Young and Bruce Bailey had all the tools of the trade ready and waiting to tackle any task that needed to be done. Phil ran a successful trip to New York City to see the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Show where they had great seats for the show.
Jeff Turner was rehearsing with the praise band and chorus in the Stainton Room for the Sunday morning service when I stopped by. Melinda Mayne did a little dance step when she jumped up on the stage to rehearse. Rody O’Rourke was excited when she told me about her new job as legacy administrator for the United Methodist Homes.
I caught up with Jennifer Bowman in the kitchen when I stopped to sample the cream filled donuts from Ward’s. Jennifer and her family are headed for Myrtle Beach to visit her brother, Stephen Crist, and his family for Christmas. Jennifer reports 156 attended the Ocean City High School girls field hockey banquet in the Garden Room at The Flanders the night before.
Candy Young reports her new home is almost finished and she is really excited since she had to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy. When Matt Cianci walked by with a shopping cart on his way to the Food Cupboard at St. Peter’s, Gene Lindacher invited me to come back in the afternoon between 4 and 6 p.m. when the postal carriers would be delivering bags of groceries they collected around town. Brian Roberts arrived on the scene to check on the progress and was very pleased to see his elves had just about finished up in time for the Sunday morning worship services.