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East Meets West in Pasadena Wedding

March 22, 1985|PAUL DEAN | Paul Dean

Miss Janice Jones, daughter of Mrs. Dorothy Jones of Westminster and Mr. Don Jones of Harbor City, has just announced her marriage to Kuan Tai (KT) Mao, son of Mr. and Mrs. T. S. Mao of Singapore and Denver . . . that took place in absolute secrecy three months ago at a Los Angeles Municipal Court.

And that's guaranteed to knock the confetti out of friends and family who have been presuming that Saturday's ornate, colorful, alfresco, thoroughly Oriental ceremony at the Huntington-Sheraton in Pasadena will be the first and only wedding for Janice and KT.

As Jones explains it, two ceremonies became unavoidable once the couple considered all preferences. KT, president of Hysen International, a firm specializing in trade with China, suggested a traditional Chinese celebration. His East meeting her West. The only drawback, they noted, is that ancient Chinese weddings are more of a business agreement executed privately among elders. The subsequent meeting of bride, bridegroom and guests is simply a ceremonial epilogue.

Jones, a psychologist and president of Chartwell & Co., a Los Angeles financial services company, added another thought. A wedding party should be a warm, complete festival for family, friends and the couple. But who could plan such an event, let along relax and enjoy it, while preparing for or recovering from the immediate stress and anxieties of getting married?

There was agreement. Business first--and marriage in December, the Occidental way. Pleasure second--and Saturday's celebration amid all the richness, charm, pageantry and antiquity of the Orient.

"We decided not to tell anyone so we wouldn't spoil the effect," Jones said. "We want our friends to have something deep and beautiful to live with for the rest of their lives."

So among the ceremony's formal attendants will be the required Person of Good Fortune, a man selected for his successes with career and family. Two matchmakers will escort the couple. "They're not really the people who introduced us," Jones said, "but two ladies who listened to most of the problems associated with fast-paced career persons."

KT will wear a Mandarin robe of royal-blue silk. Janice will be in an original, hand-beaded wedding gown. She also will wear a 2 1/2-foot-high headdress--with long silk tassels veiling her face.

There will, however, be one hefty departure from tradition.

The already Mrs. Mao will be pulled into the hotel gardens by rickshaw. A rickshaw? Shades of Hong Kong nights and drunken sailors.

"Upper-crust Chinese," Jones said, "were carried everywhere in a sedan chair. We looked for a sedan chair, but they all looked Arabian. So we settled for a rickshaw."

Why not walk into her second wedding?

"With all those tassels," she explained, "I can't see to walk."

Highbrow Hold

"Pepperdine University, please hold."

Then music is piped from the can into the telephone. But no elevator standards here. None of Mantovani's plastic strings. At Pepperdine, the music-on-hold is Bach, Haydn, Mozart, Vivaldi and others of the late Baroque and early Classic era.

Highbrowing the school's telephone system was a decision of Pepperdine administrators. Organizing the change fell to Network Services director Lee Smith. It was not accomplished without much thought, several trials and a couple of errors.

Tests of Tchaikovsky did not come across well because of a 4KHz telephone frequency that effectively filtered out the strings. "It was like listening through a very primitive loudspeaker," Smith said.

Tchaikovsky's 6th Symphony was lighter on the strings but heavier on mood. "It's kind of a downer when you're on hold," Smith added.

But Bach, Vivaldi, Haydn and Mozart "came across very well through the telephone noise. . . . You can hear the melodic line even if you can't hear the subtleties of every chord."

Reaction from campus and callers, Smith reported, has been positive. Only two persons have suggested a switch to country-Western. And staff members seem to have endorsed the system by playing musical wiretaps.

"They call their administrative assistants and ask to be put on hold," Smith said. "Then they use their speaker phones as makeshift radios."

Taking Unretirement

Richard Carlson, quite clearly, was a precise fit for the profile of the modern retiree. His wife of 37 years had died. Four children had their own lives and families. That left just Carlson and a Sheltie-Corgi mutt named Barbara.

So Carlson sold his financial business in Pasadena. Also the 2,500-square-foot home that had become a barn for one man and his dog. Carlson quietly curled up alongside life in the slow lane at Alhambra Royale, one in a 26-facility chain of California retirement homes.

He was 63.

"But after three months my life had become stagnant," he said. "I was bored stiff, and I couldn't bear staring at four walls any longer. I'd always had a direction to go, a reason for getting up in the morning, but no longer."

That's when he decided to unretire.

Just for the heck of it, just to flex his faculties, you understand, he took the relatively minor job of assistant administrator at Alhambra Royale. He did quite well. Carlson went up the ladder to become administrator.

And now he has moved to Palm Springs--as administrator of Sunrise Royale in charge of a 23-person staff and 104 residents ranging in age from the early 60s to late 90s.

He will be 65 next week. And Barbara?

She's also out of retirement. "Barbara is the official mascot at Sunrise Royale," Carlson said.

She was 18 last week.

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