The buzz began as soon as guests arrived at the 20th Annual Orinda Three-Quarter Century Club Luncheon. As Betty Karplus, former Orinda School Board member and high school teacher put it, “This is the place to come to visit with friends that perhaps we don’t see very often anymore. It makes today truly special.”
Vic Smith tapped George Jedenoff on the shoulder and queried, “Didn’t we work together at Geneva Steel 50 years ago?” Yes, they had and during lunch fondly remembered work experiences of the past.
Don Reichert admitted he was happy to be coming out for lunch – “and it’s free!”
Pat Gersham said she always looks forward to the outstanding speakers – and John Fazel as Master of Ceremonies.
Barbara Anderson, long-time local piano teacher, says she had to be home in time to start teaching. She has 20 students, including two great grandchildren.
Fazel, host of the event to which Orinda residents 75 years and older are invited, explained that the Lamorinda Sunrise Rotary, Orinda Community Church and Abio Properties, a new addition, sponsored the event.
Volunteers, he said, had as much fun as the guests because they, too, saw acquaintances and enjoyed the happy spirit of the crowd. Held at the Orinda Community Church Hall on May 15, the event this year included visitors from Lamorinda Village and Aegis Living Moraga, a senior residential community.
Realtor Tania DeGroot knew George Jedenoff and exclaimed, “After I saw your video this year of skiing in Alta (Utah) and exercising at your Orinda home, I want to come over and train with you.”
Jedenoff, who will be 102 July 5, skied for five days at a ski resort in Alta this year. As the oldest man present at the luncheon, Jedenoff was crowned king. Ruth Jaffe, named queen, topped Jedenoff as she will be 104 on July 21.
“It’s a delight to get out today and meet new people. I do think doing this helps us to live longer,” says Jaffe, adding that she is very social.
Fran and Vic Smith filled out the Royal Court, as their 70th wedding anniversary is nearing.
With a talk entitled “The Power of the Human Spirit,” featured speaker Bernat (Bernie) Rosner related his experiences as a Holocaust survivor. As a youngster, Rosner spent more than a year in concentration camps, lost his entire family and landed in an Italian refugee camp at the age of 13. Rosner went on to graduate from Cornell University and Harvard Law School. He spent 35 years in the legal department of Safeway, and the last 10 as the company’s chief legal officer.
Rosner says he tells his story as an obligation to his three children who grew up in Orinda; a debt to the family he lost plus the millions who were murdered in the Holocaust; and because it’s an important story to tell.
Indeed, the power of the human spirit was on full display at the luncheon as everyone seemed to be looking ahead to adding another year to their age or years married.