The folks in La Jolla never go for want of an outstanding grand marshal, chosen from the ranks of its citizenry, for its annual Holiday Parade in December. Last year it was Ted (Dr. Seuss) Geisel; the year before, Joan Kroc; the year before that, Cliff Robertson.
And this year the sponsors, the La Jolla Town Council, could have picked Gregory Peck or Raquel Welch--or Jonas Salk or a half-dozen other Nobel prize winners who live in the community.
Instead--and rightfully so--the group this year has selected La Jolla's First Lady to be the grand marshal: Ellen Browning Scripps.
Never mind that she died in 1933, at the age of 96.
"Since La Jolla is coming up in 1987 on its centennial birthday, and this year is her (Scripps') 150th birthday, we thought she would be an outstanding choice as our grand marshal," said parade chairman Mike Townsend.
The parade will be Dec. 7, starting at 1:30 p.m. at the corner of Pearl Street and Girard Avenue. It will proceed down to Prospect Street and end up at the La Jolla Recreation Center, where a crafts fair and town party will be under way, according to La Jolla Town Council general manage Dave Ish.
This year's parade organizers are looking for fewer "professional parade participants" and more local, albeit less flashy, marchers, they say. "We're trying to bring back the small village atmosphere," Townsend said.
About the unanimous selection of Miss Scripps as the grand marshal, in memoriam:
"We try to honor a La Jollan who has contributed to the community, and she certainly has," Ish said.
Indeed. Just about everything with the name Scripps in La Jolla is a gift to the community from Ellen Browning Scripps, a most beloved philanthropist via newspaper publishing. Her legacy lives on through Scripps Memorial Hospital, UC San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Bishop's School and even the lion grotto at the San Diego Zoo.
The question that needs to be answered, of course, is, how will she be represented in the parade?
"We will have a suitable tribute for her in the grand marshal's car, and we'll have family members in the parade as well," Townsend said. "But we don't want to say a whole lot more than that. We want to leave it as a surprise, to draw people to the parade."
Added Ish, "We've always tried to take the leading edge on every idea."
Cruise With Care
For all those folks out there who have wanted to go on a Caribbean cruise but have not been in good enough health, this ship's for you:
Holland America Lines has worked out a package with a couple of Rancho Bernardo outfits--Homeside Care Group and Oaks North Travel--for a "care-giving cruise" designed for people who need nursing care.
"Many people who deserve to get away are deprived the privilege because of physical ailments, even though mentally they are ready to get away from it all," said Jeneane Brian, with Homeside Care Group. This particular cruise will leave March 21 for seven days in the Caribbean, and the cost includes round-trip air fare between San Diego and Ft. Lauderdale. Prices range from $1,591 per person for a large, inside double cabin with a "low" level of nursing assistance, to $1,991 for the same room if the person needs a higher degree of nursing care for such matters as dressing, bathing and hygiene. One or more nurses will go along, depending on the number who sign up, to provide care.
The idea is not exactly new, of course. Anyone with the money and who needs nursing care could simply book package for his own nurse. The idea here is that a number of passengers can share a single nurse's attention, thereby also sharing the cost among them.
Wait till they mention this perk at nursing school.
No Takers for Toys?
They say, "It ain't love till you give it away," and the Old Mission Beach Athletic Club, the folks who bring you the Over-the-Line tournament at Fiesta Island, are having trouble giving away hundreds of Christmas toys that may be yours for the asking, no strings attached.
The same group is looking to renovate a church, school or public building in San Diego, at no charge. Again, no strings.
Both activities are part of OMBAC's annual charity giving, and group spokesman Fred Thompson can't figure out why the give-aways have no takers.
"We've got close to 500 toys to give away--to an orphanage, to needy families, to a hospital, to an Indian reservation--and not a single person has asked us for them. I don't understand it," he said.
All that's required is a letter to OMBAC (at 752 1/2 Isthmus Court, San Diego CA 92109) explaining why the toys are needed and how they would be used or distributed.
"We've had lots of people call us about the toys and when we tell them to drop us a letter, we don't hear from them again. All it takes is 22 cents and a few minutes, and they don't bother. We haven't had a single request. Now, you explain that!"
Every year, OMBAC also renovates a local building for the public good. Two years ago it was a battered children's shelter in East San Diego; last year, it was St. Jude's Academy in Southeast San Diego. The place got new windows, a new flagpole, fixed-up bathrooms, new floors, new electrical wiring and a new coat of paint. The material was valued at $30,000; 200 men volunteered their time doing the work as a public service.
This year, three buildings have been nominated so far for rejuvenation. Deadline for suggestions is Dec. 7.
Merry Christmas, from OMBAC.