Dodging past the Santa Anita Handicap traffic, we made our way to the Arcadia Community Center for Arcadia Rotary’s major fund-raiser, Monte Carlo Night. This was reminiscent of a time when we were on a tour bus in Monaco driving past Monte Carlo’s legendary casino up into the mountains above where a famous car race could be seen below near the casino. Here, however it was a major horse race across the street at Santa Anita Park and the “casino” in question was Arcadia’s Community Center. And so the analogy ends.
Inside the “casino” some were very much wearing the “Monte Carlo look.” Such committee members as e.g., Barbara and Ray Bushnell, and Patricia and Frank Hall were “dressed to the nines”. Other committee members who were also dressed formally were Andrea Bundesmann, Mike Hoey, Mike Ojeda, Erich Rail, and Eszylfie Taylor. Some other participants were dressed far less formally.
And then there were a few who were formal in one respect and informal (to put it mildly) in another. Supervising the event were co-chairs Mike Real and Jim Rider. They were decorated alike: (a) above (i.e., over the upper body) in formal white dinner jackets and white bow ties, but (b) below (i.e., over the lower body) in contrasting breezy colorful shorts and flip-flops. Some analogy to the inverse of “losing one’s shirt” came to mind. Sharon Hudson and June Fee (who apparently had peeked) agreed that the shorts looked “Caribbean” (rather than Mediterranean or Hawaiian).
Sandra Caldero was on hand to photograph those in attendance, thus preventing anonymity and insuring proper etiquette.
Upon entry we were given unlimited drink tickets and coupons for wagering chips. Somehow the two processes are expected to go together (the former serving as a lubricant for the latter). Nevertheless, the drinks were dispensed in the northwest corner of the room and the gaming in the southeast portion (as if to say “never the twain shall meet”).
Inside the casino we exchanged our coupons with Mike Ojeda who gave us each gaming chips (said to be the equivalent of $250). Meanwhile, in the southeast sector, waiting to accept the chips, were five types of gaming tables: (1) roulette tables, (2) [excuse the expression] “crap” tables, (3) poker tables, (4) blackjack tables, and (5) a Pai Gow table (where Mimi Hennessy and Sharon and Bob Novell were learning the game).
In addition, there were also lounge tables where people could sit, eat, plan and reflect on their wagers. Providing the energy necessary to refuel the gaming process was the Derby Restaurant which offered trays of fruit, assorted cheeses and crackers along with tomatoes, macaroni and cheese balls, stuffed mushrooms, bacon-wrapped vegetables, tender beef nuggets in gravy, and shrimp. Later the Derby brought out bread pudding for dessert. The food was exceptional (Peter Dills would have loved it).
Since lounge table space was scarce compared to the number of participants, some (who did not wish to eat while standing) brought their food outside the casino area into the outer library area. This made possible friendly relaxed conversations away from the excited shouts and exclamations of the gaming table crowds. An idea that came to mind was that in the future this area could be used for bingo.
At the end of the evening chips were exchanged for raffle tickets. Some of the raffle winners were as follows: Jim Gleason won a golf bag and two other prizes. Jean Parrille won a Lake Arrowhead vacation package. Pat Barnes won two tickets to Methodist Hospital’s 25th Anniversary Crystal Ball. His wife Barbara won two tickets to the June 22 Beach Boys Concert at the Arboretum. John Davis won four Dodger tickets. Floretta Lauber won a California Philharmonic basket. The mountain bicycle was won by the same person (identity unknown) who won last year’s counterpart. Also Ana Ojeda won three prizes and Patricia Hall won two prizes. A separate event was the $750 spin which was won by the son of Sandy and Jim Rider.
Major support for the Monte Carlo Night event was provided by the Derby and Opera restaurants, Foothill Federal Credit Union and Brian Hall, Ash Rizk and Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Methodist Hospital and Dan Ausman, Matt Denny’s Ale House and Matt McSweeny, Post Alarm and Rob Post, Westfield Santa Anita, and Imy Dulake, Realtor, Coldwell Banker Previews International. In addition there were numerous gaming table sponsors, lounge table sponsors, advertisers, and prize donors (contributors identified in the program). Kudos to all who contributed to the success of Arcadia Rotary’s annual fund-raising event.