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Crittenton Center Welcomes Jihan Sadat

March 07, 1986|MARY LOU LOPER | Times Staff Writer

She held Ricky and combed his hair. She patted infant Kerry's head. She hugged Steven. And she kissed Lakita on both cheeks. Their teen-age mothers beamed adoringly, some with tears in their eyes.

Madame Jihan Sadat, widow of Egypt's Anwar Sadat, was touring Crittenton Center for Young Woman and Infants with the same graciousness and style that she exhibited later in the evening at a black-tie dinner where she was awarded Crittenton's first International Humanitarian Award.

When Dr. Sharon G. Watson, Crittenton's executive director, ushered her into the living room to meet the abused and neglected girls--some of them pregnant, others unwed mothers holding their babies--there were a few awkward moments that go along with getting acquainted.

One girl sat with her jacket covering her head. Mrs. Sadat walked over to the girl, offered to sit beside her and peeked into the girl's jacket.

"I forgot to comb my hair," the girl complained. "I look awful."

"You look beautiful," the visitor said.

"This is terrible," the teen-ager said. And eventually the exchange developed into giggles for all, with Mrs. Sadat charging, "You're fishing for compliments."

She told the girls she teaches at two universities, that her grandchildren call her from England, and that they ask for Oreo cookies.

At the home, one girl presented her with a poster that read, "We admire you very much." Someone gave her flowers. Four others crowded into her waiting limousine for a fantasy sitting. Mrs. Peter Knudson, Crittenton chairman, and Scott Smigel, dinner chairman, explained the institution has just raised $1 1/2 million to refurbish the residence.

Later, she sat a few minutes and in quiet conversation noted that women and peace are her two major concerns as well as the SOS childrens villages in Egypt, which she initiated to help orphans lead a more normal family life.

"One of my main interests is to raise the standards of women in the rural areas. By training them for jobs, we raise their standards of living."

For the last year she has resided in Virginia, teaching once a week on the status of women at both the University of South Carolina and Radford University, but she returns to Egypt for the summer and holidays. Her autobiography will be published by Simon & Schuster later this year.

As a widow and world figure, has life been lonely? "I believe in faith in God. Whatever we are going to see, nothing will prevent it. But, in his quest for peace, my husband left behind a legacy that will survive."

How did she view the transfer of power in the Philippines? "I think Mrs. Aquino will be a good example for her people. We shared some of the same experiences. Both of our husbands were killed. I have sympathy for her," Mrs. Sadat said.

At the tribute that night, KABC Radio talk show host Michael Jackson interviewed the honoree on stage at the Century Plaza before an audience including Mrs. Howard Ahmanson, the Sidney Poitiers, Alana Jackson, the Lew Wassermans, Quincy Jones, Red Buttons, Ted Lange, Robert Guillaume, Howard Keel, Ernest and Tova Borgnine, Gregory Peck, Byron Allen, Fred MacMurray and June Haver, Blake Garner with Sybil Brand, Leon Bibb (who sang "September Song") and Murray Korda who played for dancing.

There's a crowded weekend ahead. It includes:

Tonight's official grand opening gala for the New Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel honoring the Diamond Circle of the City of Hope at its "Last Great Hollywood Party-Part IX." Irwin Jay Deutch, A. Bruce Rozet, Larry Shupnick, Harold Nay and Lou Cicalese head the arrangements for black-tie cocktails and buffet. Golden Globe-winner Amanda McBroom will entertain in the famed Cinegrill . . .

Patti Fox, Saks' fashion director, will commentate the Jill Richards Fashion Frolic for the Westwood Hills Women's Club luncheon today at the Beverly Wilshire Ballroom. President Mrs. John Foster, ways and means chairman Mrs. Paul Houser, reservations chairman Evelyn Bott and Rosemary Herd are staging the affair for the UCLA Rehabilitation Center . . .

And all on Saturday:

Spring fashions will get the gaze of the Women's Committee of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Assn. at its "Network in Style" show sponsored by Connections Unlimited. Mrs. Howard Siskel is co-chairman with Paula Lindberg . . .

Angel View auxiliary members in Palm Springs are resurrecting their white bucks, crinolines, Peter Pan collars, letterman jackets and cashmere sweaters for a nostalgic "The Way We Were" night of swing, bop and jitterbug at the Sheraton Plaza in Palm Springs. Stephanie and Mel Haber and Jennifer Weinberg and Raphael Correnti are among those "in the mood" . . .

The Women's Committee of the Glendale Symphony Orchestra Assn. hosts a fund-raiser and will dance to the music of Tex Beneke's Big Band in the Glendale Civic Auditorium . . .

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