Over 100 guests attend luncheon in Glendale featuring “Women of Jewelia”
By Michael BRUER
“Everything is circular. If you put it out there, it will come back to you,” said Tina Osborne, her words ringing through the Impressions Banquet Hall last week as guests dined on authentic Armenian cuisine. Guests were treated to a selection of appetizers including hummus, Greek salad and warm bread, and were given the opportunity to bid on a number of silent auction items that included gift baskets loaded with beauty supplies, makeup, books and DVDs, as well as handbags, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and memberships to the YMCA. The event raised money for the Play to Learn Pediatric Center at the Glendale Adventist Medical Center (GAMC).
Prior to the authors of the critically acclaimed book, “The Necklace” taking center stage, a brief presentation was given highlighting the benefits of the work done in the Play to Learn Center. Attendees were shown how the program works with speech therapists to help children speak through a computer, and how future programs such as an interactive metronome will help children of the center once the proper funding is achieved.
The Women of Jewelia were then introduced by Liz Mirzaian, the co-president of the Founders Guild at GAMC, before opening remarks were given by one of the group’s members, Mary O’Connor. Joining O’Connor were Nancy Huff, Dale Muegenburg, Mary Osborn, Tina Osborne and Pricilla Van Gundy. O’Connor made an announcement at the luncheon that the group signed a contract for the book, “The Necklace” (written by Cheryl Jarvis, 2008), to be made into a motion picture with Fox Searchlight Films.
“It’s funny because I had spoken to them on the phone and I had read the book twice, and I said, ‘This would be such a lovely story to tell on the screen…’ and Mary laughed and said, ‘Well we might have a surprise for you when we come,’” said Auxiliary Services Manager Hilda Bogossian.
O’Connor noted that some of the characters would be combined to keep the film condensed and stressed the importance of reading the book to get the full details. Also of note was that the women have appeared at 88 speaking engagements since their previous GAMC visit in 2009, a staggering number.
Highlights of the speaking opportunities for the women during the luncheon included Osborne’s story of nearly leaving the group. She discussed her low morale going into another fundraising event, but then the success of the night helped her to realize, “I didn’t have to do it all, I felt a different kind of joy, and realized that I don’t have to do it all myself.”
Latecomer to the group Van Gundy also had interesting anecdotes to share with the audience, including a trip to Hershey, Pa. when she and other women met with executives of the famed American chocolatier to discuss a release of the candy Bliss to promote the book. She also reminisced about the influence of the book and the original 13 women when talking to a friend and fellow jeweler in Shreveport, La. It was there that a new necklace with an entirely new cast of women wearers was born, “Gemma.” Van Gundy went on to describe the beautiful necklace as containing 36 gems to represent the three groups of 12 women that have been created to share in its beauty. Her story was especially compelling.
“I didn’t appreciate women’s companionship before joining this group,” she said, “and now I have a lot of women friends.”
“I’m very delighted that the women came, because they’re very inspirational,” said Bogossian. “I think everybody likes beautiful things – but to take something beautiful and make something even more beautiful out of it is very commendable.”