By Shana LiVIGNI
On Tuesday, Oct. 27, the La Cañada Flintridge Orthopaedic Guild held its annual Book & Authors Luncheon at the La Cañada Country Club. President Mary Lou Morrison welcomed the 200+ attendees then introduced one of the recipients of the Guild’s funds, 21-year-old Melissa Sanchez. Sanchez suffers from several major disabilities and from early on was told by teachers and possible employers that she would never make it in the world and to just accept it. Today, equipped with a wheelchair, she is a graduate of USC and is an occasional speaker for the Guild.
Caroline Stutz welcomed the first of the three featured guest speakers, George McClements, commercial animator and the author/illustrator of six children’s books. He shared his writing experience in a very humorous way capturing the attention, and laughter, of the audience. One of his books, “Night of the Veggie Monster,” was born from the experience of trying to get his son to eat vegetables and to help other parents who are facing the same eating obstacles with their kids. McClements’ latest book is called, “Dinosaur Woods”.
Former L.A. Times journalist and critically-acclaimed author Denise Hamilton took the stage and discussed her years with the newspaper and her affinity for murder/mystery books. She’s delivered her first standalone novel, “The Last Embrace L.A. Noir,” a sexy, atmospheric and seductive thriller that takes place in 1949 Los Angeles. She shared how the concept came to her, from a $5 vintage store dress to the true story of a missing actress in the 1940s.
Finally, Marie Baker introduced 95-year-old author Marthe Cohn who wrote “Behind Enemy Lines.”
“She shared her true story about her Jewish family’s experience during WWII Holocaust and her daring work as a young spy,” recalled Guild member Danette Erickson. “She is so tiny (under five feet tall). We had to have a stool for her to be seen while she speaks. She had an amazing story to tell and everyone was mesmerized by her compelling story and video.”
During the luncheon, Marthe chatted with many guests and was very accessible considering she had just flown in from Paris. When asked about how dangerous and scary it must have been to be a woman in her 20s working as a war spy, she remarked, “Conditions were so extraordinary that it was normal to do things out of the ordinary.”
Anyone wanting more information on “Behind Enemy Lines” can e-mail Marthe Cohn at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Orthopedic Hospital of Los Angeles and Calexico will receive 100% of the proceeds from the luncheon.