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San Diego at Large

It's Prom Time at the Edgemoor

June 10, 1986|TOM GORMAN

It's prom season, and while they may not be exactly kicking up their heels at the county's Edgemoor Geriatric Hospital, by golly they're going to be putting on the dog this Friday night for their version of a senior prom.

Now keep in mind that this is the place where the county's elderly, handicapped and mentally ill patients end up if they've got nowhere else to turn.

So, prom night?

"It's making a lot of people talk, not only in the community but on the staff, too," said Ruth DeLaune, an administrative assistant at the 294-patient hospital. "But then, holding a prom night is Florence McCarthy's style."

McCarthy was hired three months ago as administrator of the beleaguered hospital, which had come under fire from both local and state health officials for the quality of care there. She's trying to turn things around for the better, and that includes morale.

Last month, McCarthy hosted a tea reception for the hospital's volunteer auxiliary. The guests realized this wasn't going to be just any ordinary tea when they saw the silver candelabra centerpieces. The volunteers were astounded by the extent to which McCarthy went to say "Thank you," DeLaune said.

But, prom night?

"I don't know who's more excited, the staff or the residents," said McCarthy.

Volunteers are coming in during the afternoon to help the ladies with their makeup.

The prom itself will begin at 6 p.m. with a "Grand March" entrance into the hospital's dining room, with prom-goers joining the parade as it weaves pass their ward. There will be live music, hors d'oeuvres, corsages and boutonnieres. Tuxedos and evening gowns are being offered for the evening (donations are being accepted at the hospital), and women will have dance cards as souvenirs of the event. Those who aren't ambulatory will be dancing in their wheelchairs, McCarthy promised.

The prom's theme is "Butterflies are Free."

It'll be over at 8.

"This is quite a change of pace for us," said DeLaune. "Some of our residents are actually making dates with one another."

A Beautiful Occasion

It's taken 63 years, but the Miss California pageant finally comes to San Diego this week. Today, the 41 scholars (officially, this is a Scholarship Pageant, lest anyone be fooled by appearances) will be welcomed formally to the city by acting Mayor Ed Struiksma during noontime ceremonies at the Community Concourse next to City Hall.

"It beats chairing a council session by about 5 to 1," Struiksma said of his chores.

One young lady who won't have far to travel is Maria Ostapiej of Bonita, a 20-year-old San Diego State University senior who was Miss Chula Vista before being crowned Miss San Diego City-County.

For the past 62 years, the state pageant--whose winner will compete in the Miss America Contest--has been hosted by the city of Santa Cruz. But directors moved it to San Diego this year because it has better hotel accommodations, a better facility for live television broadcasting (Monday night at the Civic Theatre) and--at least compared to Santa Cruz--a better airport.

Of course, other cities might have qualified. But then, the president of the Miss California board is Robert Arnhym, the executive vice president of San Diego's COMBO.

Today, Struiksma will be giving each of the girls a lapel pin replica of the city seal.

Laying (Golden) Eggs

In a brilliant transition from beauty to the beast, we bring you news of this year's celebrity spokes-animals for the Del Mar Fair, which opens June 19 for an 18-day run.

The folks who brought us Petey the Purple Pig are, this year, presenting us with (ta da) Gus and Gertrude (as in Goose) and all their little goslings. They'll be on view at Gosling Gardens.

You'd rather the fair adopt a corporate logo?

"Quack up at the Del Mar Fair!" suggests Roger Vitaich, general manager of the fair, testing several slogans. "Honk if you love fairs!" "Take a gander at the fair!"

We figure "Get Goosed at the Fair" didn't fly.

Proceed at Peril

We've all groaned at those yellow "Caution, so-and-so on board" car sign spinoffs germinated by the "Baby on Board" craze. But here's one that may actually cause someone to drive more carefully:

"Caution, Sam Spital On Board."

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