Club 34 Goes Back To School!!

Yesterday was one of the busiest days Club 34 has ever seen.  We reached our all time total number of attendees in one day when 28 and 17 came to the IHOP for lots of scrabbling.  This is just off our all time highs of 32 and 18 so we are moving in the right direction.

We welcomed back Sara Jacobson from Tucson who hasnt been with us for several months but now promises to be here for at least a month.  And to show you what kind of a team player she is, Sara brought along Maxine Gordon, a long time fixture at Bruce’s West LA club, for her inaugural appearance.  David Postal and Alan Stern made rare appearances and spent the entire day with us.  Amnon Meyer dropped by in the evening after spending the day trying to qualify for jury duty.

Our Christmas party will be next week with 28 signed up for the occasion.  There will be plenty of food catered by the IHOP and lots of live entertainment.  LOL…  If anyone wishes to bring a dessert, feel free to do so.  4 prizes will be given to 4 very worthy members of Club 34 who have shown a lot of support and participation in Club activities throughout the years.  Yesterday one member of Club 34 went beyond the call of duty.  For the second time since I established the voluntary donation box, a member donated $100.  Hats off to Lorry Higgins for her  love and support for Club 34.  Two years ago James Cassidy was the first.  Now Lorry so our 100 club has 2 lifetime members…

During the afternoon session I was notified that two people joined the Meetup Site.  I was too busy to notify them but lo and behold they showed up for the evening session.  Gary Smart known to many of us is visiting Southern California on business and always tries to attend a local Scrabble club.  He did so last night, all the way from Phoenix, where he lives, works and attends 3 Scrabble clubs.

But the most exciting part of the day happened last night when Jason Marks came by with family in tow.  Jason called and texted me during the day to let me know he wanted to come in the evening for dinner with his family and to check out Club 34.  And he did just that.  Jason is a computer programmer from Stanton and brought his wife Yohanna plus two daughters Amelie 12 and Kaelie 10 to watch us play.  They are very interested in Scrabble and would like to join Club 34.

They observed two games and promised to return after the first of the year.  When I took over the directorship of Club 34 5 years ago, I tried desperately to bring in younger players.  I advertised at some local places of higher learning including Orange Coast College and Golden West College as well as Cal State Long Beach.  It was not a success but if Amelie and Kaelie Marks start playing at Club 34, the average age of our group will drop substantially.  As a matter of fact, Lisa Ocone told me last night she may bring her 10 year old son to play with us too.

Now if I could only persuade Itzi Burns to bring her 6 kids with the 7th on its way,  the average age of Club 34 will drop from 83 to 17…  Wouldnt that be wonderful….

We shall see all of you next week for more fun and games…


David Poder, Club Director

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Mrs. Brown, You Have a Lovely Daughter!

25 and 10 players showed up yesterday for another day of scrabbling.  Fun was had by all who attended!!  In 2 weeks Club 34 will be holding its next Christmas party.  25 have signed up so far.  We have space for a few others so you better sign up next week or else..  The IHOP will cater the food as always but if anyone wants to bring a dessert, feel free to do so.  I am trying to line up some live entertainment.  All I know at this time is that the Beatles and the 4 Tops arent available.

Soon after this party I will be issuing the 2019 State of the Union Address.  I will speak of the players who joined our family this year and of some who we have lost.  Club 34 continues to move in a positive and upward direction. I am always trying to find new players, keep the ones we have, and always trying to keep the Club as exciting as a Scrabble club can be.  That aint easy but quite challenging.

December 18 will be our last session of the year since the following 2 Tuesdays fall on Christmas and New Years.  Before we begin action, I will talk about a very sensitive subject by many of us:  Club re-division.  Some of us in Div B will find themselves in Div A and maybe vice versa.  I cant make everyone happy.  The members who like to whine and complain will continue to do so but i will make a directorial decision as to who goes up and who goes down.  But I will discuss this with all members who show up that day before making any final decisions.

These decisions will be based on their record for 2018 and what other members have to say.  I will try to be fair to all but ultimately I will make the final decision.  After all, that is why all of you are paying me the big bucks…

Monday of last week I had the pleasure of attending one heckuva football game at the LA coliseum.  While at the game I received a text message from James ‘Hoppalong’ Cassidy who told me that he was also watching the game but from a hospital bed at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach.  The day before Jim was quite short of breath, called the paramedics, and was rushed to Hoag Hospital.  He was diagnosed with a pulmonary embolism but when I spoke with him the following day, he sounded normal and said he would be going home the next day.  He did go home then, rested all week and came with me to Yuki’s club last Monday night.  Jim is quite a warrior, has been through alot with his health in recent years but manages to recover and do what he loves to do best:  play Scrabble.  All of us at Club 34 wish him a speedy and full recovery.  When I told him that pulmonary embolisms usually kill people, he wasnt thrilled to hear this.  He is quite fortunate that the blood clot didnt hit a major pulmonary vessel.

The title of this Blog posting is somewhat deceptive.  It is the title of one of my favorite songs from the 1960s but in this case there is no Mrs. Brown nor is there a lovely daughter.  But Tom Brown is one of the nicest guys I have ever met!!

Tom Brown was born in Rochester, Minnesota, sometime in the last century.  His father was serving a residency in vascular surgery at the Mayo Clinic at the time but when Tom was 3, the family moved to San Diego, not a bad place to grow up.  Tom attended and graduated from San Diego State in 1977 with a BA degree in comparative literature.  For the next several years Tom traveled to San Francisco, New York City and Mexico City.  During this time he played in a punk rock band as a drummer.  He probably had this dream of becoming the next Ringo Starr.  In 1984 Tom found himself in Los Angeles, did several jobs including one at the UCLA Medical Center.  However, a work related injury got in his way but this actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise.  Through Vocational Rehab Tom was able to get a teaching certificate for ESL(English as a second language).  He proceeded to work through the Berlitz language school and the LA Unified School District from 2000-2003.  In 2013 Tom became a tutor at Santa Monica College.  He continues to work there to this day.

Tom and his domestic partner of 27 years live a quiet life in Santa Monica, California.  He loves Scrabble and can actually play it in Spanish.  He attended Bruce’s club from 1998 to 2008.  But the Scrabble burnout hit him so he quit for a time.  However, the Scrabble bug got to him so he returned to live action in April 2018.  It was there at Bruce’s club where he ran into his buddy and one of our cherished members Jim Porter.  Jim told him about this amazing Scrabble club down south so Tom decided to give it a try.  Tom came 3 months ago and hasnt stopped coming.  He gets into his vehicle Tuesday morning and makes the trip down the San Diego Freeway, stays the entire day and then gets back into his car Tuesday night for the trip home.  He told me that Club 34 is his favorite Scrabble Club by far but he also enjoys going to Bruce’s and Alan’s clubs as well.

For the past 10 years Tom has directed a book and film club on Saturday afternoons at his home in Santa Monica.  He is always looking for new members so if you are interested, contact him.  Tom Brown, you may not have a lovely daughter, but you are a very welcomed addition to Club 34.  Welcome to our Family!!

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