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Adopting New Approach at Museum

November 21, 1986|BETH ANN KRIER | Beth Ann Krier

The Los Angeles Children's Museum is known for its innovative approach to anything that benefits kids. So it should come as no surprise that the museum--which has held fund-raisers in bowling alleys, once persuaded singer Carole King to christen its mini-recording studio, has taken kids on an all-night tour of L.A. and has starred children in Kabuki-style presentations of Grimm fairy tales--will become an adoption agency for a few hours this afternoon.

Well, sort of. Today, from 4 to 7 p.m., 52 black children, most of whom are living with foster families, are expected to visit the museum. (It closes to the public at 1:30 p.m. on Fridays.)

Prospective parents are also scheduled to be there so they can have an opportunity to meet and play with the kids.

According to Taliba June, a volunteer with Room for One More, an adoption referral service that is a part of Ward African Methodist Episcopal Church, the museum was chosen as a meeting ground because its playful environment would be one in which both children and prospective parents could feel at ease. She said that three adoption agencies (Holy Family Services, L.A. County Department of Adoptions and Children's Home Society) are also involved in the project.

Betty Johnson, the museum's associate director for administration, said the museum agreed to provide the meeting ground because it was ideally suited "for parents and children to interact in a non-forced way. It's a participatory museum for children, a non-judgmental way for the adults to meet the kids."

Johnson added that for the event the museum "is doing the same kind of exhibits we always do except our instructions to the staff this time are to encourage as much interaction as possible. This way we keep the play atmosphere and the children don't feel as if they're being scrutinized and perhaps even rejected."

By choice, Danny and Martha Brewer of Victorville live without a telephone. They're afraid a phone would mean monthly bills of $200--or more--because virtually all their relatives are back in a tiny farming community near Richland Center, Wis., where the couple grew up on dairy farms.

But while the Brewers fear high telephone bills, they have had no trouble spending what Danny estimates at between $4,000 and $5,000 to create a miniature dairy farm in their backyard. (That price included just the materials; Danny provided all the labor.)

The half-acre farm--which includes a barn (complete with a hay loft), water tower, windmill, working water pump, livestock corrals, plus four chickens, one rabbit, one duck, one cat, one kitten and one dog--recently won the $500 first prize in the Liberty Village Green Thumb Landscape Contest, sponsored by Inco Homes, the developer of the Liberty Village community.

"We built the farm with no intention of entering the contest," said Danny, an electronics inspector for Rockwell International, assigned to checking such weapons as the B-1 bomber and the M-X missile.

He and his wife, an assistant manager for Carl's Jr., both wanted their 5-year-old son, Shandon, to have some of the farm experience with which they were brought up.

"My wife and I both thought growing up on farms was good for us and it would be good for our son," explained Danny. "You have a sense of responsibility when you take care of animals."

The annual search for the nation's longest-married couple is under way, and a Northridge couple is the current front-runner. Salvatore and Providenza Caito, who will be celebrating their 80th anniversary Jan. 10, are currently leading the pack of nominees.

The search is conducted each year by the Worldwide Marriage Encounter, a nondenominational, nonprofit marriage-enrichment movement. The winning couple will be honored on Feb. 8, World Marriage Day.

"One of the purposes of World Marriage Day is to show that marriage is alive and well in our society--that we're married and loving it," said Jeanne Gorman, who with her husband Tom, is coordinating World Marriage Day.

Last year's winning couple, Oliver and Cora Lee Glenn of Elmore, Ala., have been married for 82 years, and they're still alive. According to Tom Gorman, they will be put in an emeritus category so another couple can win.

Nominations for this year's longest-married couple should be sent to World Marriage Day's Longest Married Couple Search, P.O. Box 7095, Loveland, Colo. 80537. Deadline for nominations is Nov. 30.

Nominations should include the name, address, telephone number and wedding date and year of the couple being nominated as well as the name, address and telephone number of the person making the nomination.

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