At last, the skinny on GAULD, at WVRC on Feb.11th
GORDON FELL led the Pledge, rewarded, no doubt, by the fulsome praise for his performance from Mr. GAULD. This led to PP STEVE DAY, who provided not only the Invocation but all kinds of information about something called Valentine’s Day. It seems there is legend that Valentine was a priest who served during the 3rd Century, in the time of Claudius II. Claudius and Valentine had a difference of opinion about the value of marriage in his young army, with Valentine choosing to marry young couples secretly. This caused Claudius to have Valentine killed but there is more. Another version is that Valentine, while imprisoned, fell in love with his jailor’s daughter, and sent her the first Valentine Card. Whatever, all this goes back to the Middle Ages, and brings us to DAY’S joke. A very shy man enters a pub on Valentine’s Day night and sees a beautiful woman at the bar. He finally manages to walk over to her, saying “Um, would you mind if I share a drink with you?” She made a furious face and yelled at the top of her lungs, “How dare you ask me to sleep with you tonight?” All eyes turned on the man, much to his embarrassment. Shortly after, the woman walked over to him and apologized, “You see, I am a student of psychology and studying how people respond to embarrassing situations. I am sorry but I was just doing my experiment!” The young man suddenly gave a loud yell, “What do you mean $500?” And once these preliminaries were out of the way, came the Invocation: God of the Universe, since we are not conscious enough to fathom your ebb and flow, help us then to bring our best efforts to what we can know. To love our friends and family. To treat our employees and fellow workers fairly. To seek Justice. To help those in need. To be the best that we can be, and to live by the four way test: Of all the things we think, say or do Is it the Truth? Is it Fair to all concerned? Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS? Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned? Amen. STEVE, I gotta tell you that’s a high bar to beat well done! And LENNY was then summoned forward, and Prexy ED explained that it has been unusually cold thus donning the Russian Fur Hat worn in other climes, and suggesting this was what LENNY would have worn. What else could we do than sing Let Me Call You Sweetheart?
We had two Visiting Rotarians PDG John Colville from the Paramount Club, and Special Guest Alijah Levin from Manhattan Beach (via Bill Bloomfield). Other guests included SHARON BRADFORD with CHRIS, SUNNY with LENNY, KATHY GAULD with ED, and LYNN ROGO with MARK. PP STEVE SCHERER had two Special Guests, Abraham Carons and Dr. Colby Smith, who are being circularized in this issue. DWIGHT HEIKKILA introduced Kency Nittler, our Rotaract President and Maggie Rodriguez, on her Board. Our Ambassadorial Scholar, Masaki Nakoda was introduced. Those chosen to sit at the Head Table were then recognized STEVE LOHR, ED JACKSON, NEVIN SENKAN, DWIGHT HEIKKILA and Kency Nittler. All of these names led to some fines you gotta be careful during this time, apparently with LENNY being called for $25, then $30, DAVID FRIEDMAN earning $25, MARCIA BROUS nicked for $50, STEVE LOHR for a mere $12. Amid this flurry of costs, someone got a $61 fine, but I’m not sure who that was no doubt, they’ll step forward, right?
It was announcement time.
DICK ROBINSON is ill, and cards or calls would be nice.
February 20th the 111th Golden Dragon Parade will start at 2pm in historic Chinatown, celebrating Chinese New Year 4708. The contact is Angi Ma Wong.
MARCIA BROUS reminded us that we will be assembling WAPI’s at Marymount High School. Last year we assembled over 800, so we are shooting for a full 1000 this time!
Saturday, April 17th, we are offering a Benefit for Polio Plus the baseball game that day with the Dodgers and Giants starts at 2pm, and tickets are $35. For an extra $10 you can be in a drawing to select whoever will throw out the first pitch.
Our District Conference is set for La Quinta from May 13th to the 16th. The District Website has all details. CURT SMITH has copies of his Dad’s book, and will distribute them after the meeting today.
Kency Nittler, President of UCLA Rotaract, gave us an excellent report of their many activities. They have strongly rebounded from last year, and now have 42 dues-paying members! (applause) This Thursday they will go to the Salvation Army facility on Sepulveda with Valentine’s Day cards. They are participating in the UCLA Marathon Dance Contest, with each of five students raising $208! On Feb. 21st, they will be involved with Project Chicken Soup to help those with AIDS. They have teamed up with the Red Cross, carrying on a Remember Haiti campaign. They are also selling tee shirts, which are quite colorful. She then asked Maggie Rodriguez to speak about her committee. They are involved with outreach, and helping students learn more about their majors. Prexy ED first suggested that he would be glad to attend one of their meetings to talk about being an Actuary, but recovered when he presented Kency with one of our special clocks. These two lovely young students were warmly applauded.
It was birthday time. LEO TSENG was first in February, on the 3rd in Shanghai. DORIS GREATHEAD had her 99th on the 7th, and she came along in Whittier. Both RICK BROUSE and LENNY FRIENDMAN liked the 8th, RICK in New York City, and LENNY in Chicago. ART HENRY preferred the 11th, in Cambridge, MASS, while KEVIN KOMATSU chose the 13th in nearby Fullerton. PDG BILL GOODWYN, as you probably remember, is from Louisville, and I must remind everyone that it’s pronounced Lulville his date is the 23rd. Our last February arrival is DONN CONNER, on the 25th in Tulsa. They were warmly serenaded, of course. And Prexy ED reminded us all that items of personal news should be passed along to him, please.
Based on the unavailability of the UCLA Police Chief, James Herrin, Prexy ED next called on our Resident Philosopher, Dr. ERIC LOBERG, to give us a few words on Existensalism. Overcoming a bit of obviously misplaced catcalls and heckling, ERIC proceeded as follows: Actually, he wanted to further fulfill his classification of Spiritual Guidance, and thus began to describe an ongoing argument between Jesus and Satan. “Who was better at the Computer?” This had been going on for several days, and God was tiring of hearing the bickering. Finally, God said, “That’s it! I’ve had enough. I will now give you a two-hour test, and that will settle whoever does the better job.” So Jesus and Satan settled down at their keyboards and typed away. They moused, they faxed, they emailed, they emailed w/attachments, they downloaded, they uploaded, they did spread sheets, they wrote reports, created labels and cards, they created charts and graphs, they did genealogy reports, they did every job known to man. Jesus worked with heavenly efficiency, and Satan was faster than hell. Then, ten minutes before the time was supposed to be up, lightening flashed across the sky, rain poured, and of course the power went off. Satan stared at his blank screen and swore every curse word that had ever been known. Jesus just sighed.. When the electricity came back on, they started their computers, and Satan started searching frantically, screaming, “It’s gone, it’s all gone! I lost everything when the power went out.” Meanwhile, Jesus started calmly printing all his files from the two hours of work. Satan observed this, and shouted, “Wait this isn’t fair. He cheated! How come he has all his work and I don’t have any?” God just shrugged and said, “Jesus Saves.” (to be fair, there was a growing crescendo of comment and approval…)
And lo, true to my title, Prexy ED now, for the first time, gave his Craft Talk. He introduced himself. “I was born (some small audience comments here -) during the Great Depression in Long Island City, which is part of NY City in Queens County. His father worked for a bank and was a Director of a Savings and Loan. My Mother was a legal secretary and played the piano quite well. My Mother was a great influence in my life-long love of classical music. I had one younger sibling, a sister, who died in 2006. When I was four, the family moved to Sea Cliff, Long Island, which is located 25 miles east of Manhattan. Sea Cliff sits upon a 120 foot bluff on Long Island Sound. It is one square mile and has a population of 5,000. Sea Cliff started as a Methodist Campground in 1870. Because of their religious affiliation, my Father’s ancestors vacationed in Sea Cliff which is why we moved there. The street we lived on was the favorite route of the banker J.P. Morgan when he was being chauffeured from his estate east of Sea Cliff to Wall Street because of its picturesque Victorian homes, large trees, and a sweeping view of Long Island Sound.
When I was in eighth grade, and to my delight, a pool hall which I frequented, opened a few blocks up the street. I can say that I had a misspent childhood. I attended the Sea Cliff Schools, all housed in one building, for 13 years. My graduating class was 54 strong. There were advantages in attending a very small school. For example, I had the opportunity to participate in most sports, and play the horn in the band and orchestra. I also played the horn in a local fire department band. There is nothing like a parade.
Growing up, I was the pitcher for a local police athletic league team. Along with two other pitchers, I was selected to compete for best pitcher before a home game at Ebbets Field, the home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. One of my competitors was the future football Hall of Fame and movie star Jim Brown. I won, which pleased my father. Because of its size, Sea Cliff High School did not field a football team. As a result, I played soccer and I continued to do so.
Upon graduation from high school I attended Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. I majored in Math, one reason being that the Registration Lines for Advanced Calculus were quite short. Plus there were no labs, book reports, or papers. While at Duke I explored joining the Beta frat house, but thought better of it so I decided to join Phi Kappa Psi. Because of my high school soccer, I played all four years at Duke, and was Team Captain, leading the ACC in scoring and gathering All-American honors. And because of my misspent childhood in the pool hall, I represented the University in the Intercollegiate Billiards Tournament. I was also intramural swimming champion and President of the Newman Club, the Catholic Organization on campus. As a freshman, I signed up for the Naval Reserve Officers Training Program, and upon graduation, received a commission in the United States Navy. During my senior year at Duke, I was blessed when I met my future wife Kathie, an Angelino, who was a freshman. Our first date was at the Duke Chapel, which dominates the Duke Campus, to hear Handel’s Messiah. I vowed at the time that I would someday sing with the Duke Choir, which occurred 50 years later when we attended my 50th Class Reunion.
Upon graduation, I reported aboard the Attack Carrier FDR (CVA-42) as a naval officer. I was assigned to the Engineering Department with responsibility for 230 men and officers. The home port of the ship was Mayport, Florida. I participated in two very interesting and enlightening Mediterranean cruises. A collateral billet was being the Officer-in-Charge and Captain of the Ship’s Soccer Team, which played in Navy tournaments in the Caribbean, and in various Mediterranean countries including Spain, France, Italy, and Greece. I also was a member of the ship’s softball team which played in Navy tournaments.
After my Navy Tour I decided to become a teacher because of the influence of wonderful and inspiring teachers during my school days. I attended Columbia University in New York City, receiving a Masters Degree in education. At the time I was completing my studies, Kathie, my future wife, was finishing up at Duke. We then got married at St. Paul’s The Apostle Church in Westwood. After a long honeymoon driving across the United States, we moved to long Island.
I then taught a year of high school math on Long Island. Teaching was enjoyable and challenging. In my high school homeroom, I noticed a circular about the Actuarial Profession. I decided to take the First Actuarial Exam which I passed. I then interviewed for an Actuarial Training Position at an insurance company in New York City. The first Actuary who interviewed me sat at his desk eating his tie. I knew I had found a home (laughter). I was offered a position and accepted it. I spent 13 years at the insurance company, leaving for a series of Actuarial Consulting Firms, specializing in Retirement Schemes.
A word about the Actuarial Profession. For those of you who are not too sure what actuary’s do, they evaluate the financial impact of risk on an organization. Speaking of risk, I like to tell young people that one objective in life is to reduce risk. But one can reduce it, for example, by not bungee jumping. Actuaries enjoy and understand numbers in a fast-paced business environment. The benchmark for becoming an actuary is to become a fellow of the Society of Actuaries, which I attained after passing ten exams. There are only 12,677 Fellows in the World, slightly fewer than the number of attorneys (sotto voce, in Westwood). Actuaries work for life insurance companies, consulting firms, the Government, Colleges, and financial institutions. Interestingly, being an actuary landed at the top of a new study reported recently in The Wall Street Journal ranking the 200 best and worst jobs. The worst job was a roustabout. During my Actuarial career, it was interesting to observe the increase in life expectancy which caused the cost of annuities to increase and the cost of life insurance to decrease. But living to a ripe old age has caused havoc with respect to the cost of medical care. One-half of the country’s medical costs are devoted to the last year of a person’s life.
In the late 1980’s, I recall valuing a self-insured Life Insurance Trust Fund for a very large organization with millions of members. At that time mortality was increasing at an alarming rate and no one knew when it would subside. Fortunately, risky behavior was reduced and drug therapies became available, both of which ameliorated the condition. In summary, working as an actuary was great but if I was wrong, there were severe consequences. It was because of this I always kept a one way ticket to Brazil on my bedside table.
During the 35 years I worked as an actuary back east, my wife and I lived in Port Washington, New York, a bedroom community on the north shore of Long Island. I was blessed with a fantastic wife who I should note will be the Auxiliary President next Rotary year, and three wonderful children, all of whom graduated from Duke and live in the west but not in Southern California. For recreation, I played club soccer until I was 38. Some say I took too many head balls. After retiring from soccer, I migrated to Tennis which I play to this day. At the urging of a close friend, at age 40 I took up choral singing which I enjoy immensely. Over the years, I have valued my association with the church, community, country, and college. Along with my wife, we have contributed time and money to these institutions. At the church level, I was and continue to be a member of the choir. I have also been involved in Lay Leadership and Fund Raising. Regarding the Community, I have served on the Board of the local homeowners Association and have been campaign chairman of the local United Way. At the country level, I remained in the Naval Reserve for 26 years, retiring as a Commander. One of my responsibilities as a Reservist was to recruit and interview young men and women for the United States Naval academy and NROTC Program. One of the young men I interviewed was Commander John Wade, USN, who spoke to us in December. At the University level, I have played various roles including interviewing, fund raising, and various class activities for Duke.
After retiring in 1998, and after listening to Horace Greeley, we decided to move to Westwood in 2001. After all, Kathie had grown up in Los Angeles, and our three children live in the west. Shortly after moving, I met Steward Gilman and his date at a church music guild function. His date had recognized Kathie from Marlborough. Stew and I had a lot in common including good looks, intelligence and personality. Stew invited me to attend a WVRC Meeting at the august Bel Air Hotel and the rest is history.
Now what life lessons have I learned from my experiences? I treasure the institutions that I have been associated with throughout my life. I also treasure the friendships I have made. For example, growing up in a small town gave me values such as a sense of community and people caring for one another. Participating in athletics has given me the concept of team work, competition, fair play and work ethic. Being a member of a church community has reinforced my moral and ethical standards. Being in the Naval Reserve has strengthened the importance of duty, honor, country. My association with Rotary and all of its good works and service projects, and all of its remarkable members, has been a gift to me.
It has been an honor and a privilege to give my craft talk.
Thank you very much.
And YOE says, ED, it’s great getting to know you. Thanks to you.
Closing Comment: This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever: in its place is something that you have left behind…let it be something good.