Miracles Can And Do Happen!!

A few days ago I saw a wonderful movie ‘Miracles from Heaven’ about a young girl with a terrible illness that had no treatment.  Her parents desperate for help brought their daughter to Boston to see the world’s foremost expert in this type of disease.  He had little to offer so the girl went home to Texas.  Feeling good one day, she played with her siblings only to fall from a tree landing on her head!  This cured her of her illness.  No one could say why but it did happen and now she lives a happy life with her family!

Patty Duke passed away a few days ago.  She started her remarkable career portraying Helen Keller in ‘The Miracle Worker’ in 1962.  Her passing brought to light our own mortality as all of us grew up watching her movies et al with great admiration.

On Monday night another miracle happened but this time it involved Scrabble and the Monday night club in Yorba Linda run very capably by Yuki Loritz.  Club 34’s Jeff Polan was there and ran through some of the Murderer’s Row offered by that Club.  He played and conquered the likes of Roy Kamen, Maddy Kamen and David Pearl in no particular order.  Unfortunately, Jeff could not leave unscathed as he met his only defeat to yours truly.  But this doesnt take away from his remarkable feat and only goes to show all of us what a little bit of studying and a whole lot of weekly visits to Club 34 can do for your Scrabble game.  This should make up for the innocent oversight when I forgot to mention his 7 of 8 game victory march a few weeks ago at Club 34!  Way to go Jeff………..

Last Tuesday 24 and 13 showed up for more battles at the IHOP.  We seem to be stuck on those numbers but not for a lack of trying.  We have not had a new player in several weeks but continue to try to find them with local newspaper advertising, Meetup and the like.  Even if Club 34 did not grow anymore(god forbid), it still would be one of the largest Scrabble clubs in the world.  But I still have a vision of reaching 30 and above this year so lets make it happen.  I again want to plead with existing members to bring friends, family, acquaintances and enemies to the Club so we can continue to witness this growth.

Last Tuesday night saw the return of Barbara Ring after a 2 month absence due to illness.  My hat goes out to Amnon Meyers for driving Barbara to the Club.  The evening session now sees on a regular basis Inge Weinfeld, Joanie Scafuto,Elaine Dauncey and Richard Stein.

Just to give all of you a headsup!  Baseball season starts Sunday night and you all know what that means.  I will be gone most of the year following the World Champion Royals around the country.  My travels will include Oakland, Anaheim, Kansas City, New York City and Boston.  When Im not traveling, I will be home watching them even if its on Tuesdays.  I sure hope Tom Titus will be back by then…

Speaking of Tom, I just spoke with him.  He is in good spirits and still recovering at home.  He sees his orthopedist tomorrow hoping to remove the brace and then return to Club 34 in 2 weeks.  He wants to thank all those who sent him the get-well cards.  He continues working as a theater critic while he recovers from his injuries.  He has seen 2 dentists who feel that he will need 4 or 5 teeth extracted with bridges or crowns or both to follow.  Estimated cost $5000.  He still has not heard from the IHOP insurance company so I advised him to call Hector for its phone number so he could follow up.

And now for this week’s featured player!!  Drumroll please………….

Cynthia Simer Helphrey was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota a few years back.  She moved around quite a bit in her early years but graduated from Minneapolis West High School in 1962.  Prior to this she spent 2 years in Omaha.  In 1958 she was attending Omaha Central and in her algebra class, who could possibly be sitting in front of her??   Gayle Sayers of course.  I hope all my members know who that is!!

Cynthia found her way to Los Angeles and attended Occidental College in 1962.  When I asked her why she came out here, her answer made alot of sense to me.  She told me that she has a brother who attended Harvard and a sister who went to Smith College, both in the Boston area, so she wanted to get as far away from them as possible.  She married soon after husband David and had 2 kids, a son and daughter.  During all this time, Cynthia worked for a wholesaler in the firearm control business.  She is proud to let everyone know that she is a breast cancer survivor now for 16 years.  She also wanted everyone to know that Eugene McCarthy is her mother’s first cousin.  I hope all members know who that was…

In 1986 Cynthia received her teaching credentials and spent 27 years teaching english and journalism at La Puente High School, finally retiring in May, 2015.  She has spent the past 15 years living in Duarte, a city 39 miles from Huntington Beach at the 605 and 210 freeways.  And who originally owned the land that Duarte sits on today?  None other than Glen Miller.  Now I sure hope everyone knows who that was???

Cynthia lives a quiet life in Duarte with daughter Caitlin.  She goes everyday to the YMCA for water aerobics and spends time at the Duarte Historical Museum scanning highly sensitive documents for the Government.  That maybe an embellishment on my part, the last part at least but whos paying attention anyway….???

How Cynthia got involved in Scrabble is somewhat interesting.  She moved to OC in 1978 and found herself at the HB club run by Geneva Akers.  She attended our Club from 1983-1995 but then dropped out due to a busy life and a long distance to drive everday so she tells me.  After she retired last May, she found herself on the Internet, looking to see if our Club even existed anymore.  She showed up in July and has been coming ever since on a weekly basis hardly missing a beat.  I can still remember seeing her walk into our playroom that day, amazed to find Tom Titus, Gretchen Cowan, Tom Singleton and Paul Trachtenberg.  When I was told she lived in Duarte, I thought to myself ‘there’s noway she will be coming very often’.   Boy was I wrong!!!!  Welcome to Club 34 and our family Cynthia Helphrey…..


David Poder, Director

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