An eight-foot stuffed anteater made an impressive figurehead at the bow of the yacht. On the dock, a jukebox blared the Beach Boys' "Be True to Your School." Farther up on shore, SCHOOL Xing signs were posted and colored chalk claimed nine squares of the sidewalk for hopscotch.
"School Days" was the theme of the Character Boat Parade on Sunday in Newport Beach; Len and Mary Ann Miller took the opportunity to invite 200 supporters and friends of the Medical Research and Education Society, a support group for the UC Irvine California College of Medicine, for a lawn and boat party.
Scrawled on a blackboard was the schedule of the afternoon's events, beginning with homeroom at noon and continuing with a field trip, recess and snack break. At 5 o'clock, the itinerary said, "School's out!"
Two cheerleaders and about 70 of the guests, all in yellow and blue--UCI's colors--opted for the field trip, a spin around the harbor in the Millers' new 45-foot Bayliner as part of the parade. Among those on board was Stanley van den Noort, former dean of the medical school, who tried to settle discussions as to whether the mascot was actually an aardvark or an anteater. "Aardvark is Afrikaans for anteater," van den Noort explained. "They're the same thing."
(In fact, aardvark is Afrikaans for "earth pig," according to the New Encyclopaedia Britannica. Furthermore, though "formerly classified with the true anteaters, sloths and armadillos, aardvarks differ from them and from all other mammals in having permanent teeth traversed by tubules that radiate from a central pulp cavity.")
But, back to more water-bound creatures.
Because of the large number of people on board, some had difficulty seeing. "The idea isn't to see," chided florist Xavier. "It's to be seen ." Xavier, who goes by only one name, meant the boat, of course, on the side of which hung a huge banner with the letters "UCI." The vessel won a trophy for "Best Club-Decorated Boat."
Waiting back at shore were sack lunches. "If you don't like what you get, you can trade," advised Connie Edwards as she passed out the brown paper bags. Each contained a sandwich--peanut butter and jelly, ham and cheese, tuna or bologna--fruit and candy--M & M's, Ding Dongs or Twinkies.
"The only thing good for me in there is Ding Dongs," said Richard Hurwitz of Laguna Beach, a radiologist who's long professed an interest in nutrition.
Less typical school fare was the beverages: splits of champagne served with a straw.
Len Miller's mother, 86-year-old Hjordis Miller, had gooseflesh upon being introduced to former astronaut Col. Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin. "Every time I see the moon, I think of you," she said.
Terry and B. J. Stewart-O'Neil and Ben and Barbara Harris arrived via electric bay boat; Barbara Harris yielded a squirt gun. They were tardy, as was acting dean of the medical school Gerald Weinstein. (MRES president Jack Baldridge, on the other hand, was on time.)
Candidates for detention were posted: tardy, Orange County Supervisor Harriett Wieder; talking in class, Len Miller, and chewing gum, county Supervisor Thomas F. Riley.
"I haven't chewed gum since 1938," Riley said.
Git along, little bogey?
Supporters of the Food Distribution Center gathered Monday at the Yorba Linda Country Club for a golf tournament and "Blowout Western Barbecue." More than 150 golfers and their spouses helped raise $8,000 for the center, which collects surplus and salvaged food for distribution to the needy.
Executive Director Dan Harney said the Orange-based center delivered its 15-millionth pound of food in July since beginning operations in 1983; nearly 700,000 pounds of food is delivered each month to 182 nonprofit agencies.
"We are serving 95,000 of the at-risk population, that is to say, those who are at risk of going to bed hungry sometime during the month," Harney said.
"If that sounds impressive, in fact it only scratches the surface. We provide only seven pounds of food per month to (each of) those 95,000--and they represent less than 30% of the at-risk population. Those on fixed incomes, senior citizens, for instance, do well in the first half of the month, but then they're in danger. People at the poverty level or below have to get shelter first--food comes second.
"The problem in Orange County is not like Africa, where there is continual hunger. But the problem in Orange County, which is generally perceived as very affluent, is real nevertheless."
Tournament results were announced back at the clubhouse, where board members Charles Markles and Jack Crosby were among those devouring cowboy fare such as barbecued beef, ribs and chicken, chili and baked beans, corn bread and corn on the cob.
Bishop John T. Steinbock of the Diocese of Orange hit several double bogeys for a score of 84. The winner of the tournament was Scott Morey, who posted a 74. In the women's division, Maria de Lapena turned in a 90.
Tom Linnert registered the longest drive, 320 yards on the 10th hole; Tom Donovan, a full-time volunteer at the center, came within three inches of the 13th hole to earn him the award for "Closest to the Pin."