Food, glorious food--not the tea poured from gleaming silver service--had the women talking at the Adoption Guild Patroness Tea on Thursday.
"The lemon bars are the best in Newport," said Hyla Bertea, licking a speck of powdered sugar from a perfectly manicured finger. "One pound per tea. That's what I gain every time I come to one of these."
Bertea, in a black and petal-pink silk by Ungaro, had joined nearly 350 other members and patrons of the Adoption Guild of Southern California for afternoon tea at the Big Canyon home of Linda and Tony Moiso.
Proceeds estimated at $15,000 would go to Holy Family Adoption and Counseling Services in Santa Ana.
"I've been going from table to table, eating the entire time," said Olivia Johnson, brown eyes scanning the Moisos' rambling, two-story entry. "The food is always wonderful. And this house has a rustic charm, don't you think? A classy ranch house that really belongs on 1,500 acres."
Pauline Nelson, wandering about the manse with Johnson, said it wasn't only the good food that kept her coming to the affair. "The homes are always glorious," she said. "And the event is perfectly organized."
Indeed. In the formal dining room, hot tea was poured by guild member Pat Alleborn. In the living room, a vase of towering red and white tulips graced an ebony grand piano where romantic ballads were played. On the terrace overlooking Big Canyon's golf course, a bartender poured chilled Perrier and vin blanc. And maids proffered an endless variety of incredible edibles, homemade by the guild's 50 members, from doily-clad silver trays.
For Adoption Guild vice president Bobbie Stabler, the two-hour event provided the chance to talk up the guild's annual doubles tennis tournament. Preliminaries will be held in seven Newport area clubs May 23-25. Finals will be May 30-31 at the Newport Beach Tennis Club in East Bluff, with 720 doubles teams competing.
Said Stabler, tournament chairman: "We hope to be able to donate $35,000 to Holy Family Services."
Judie Argyros, dressed in black and ruby red, arrived 15 minutes before the tea was to end. "The food is always so wonderful, I decided to miss it this year," she said
Denise Hopkins and Beverly Peters co-chaired the event. Sara Booty is guild president. Holy Family Adoption and Counseling Services is a nondenominational agency serving Orange County. Besides adoption placement, the agency offers pregnancy and post-delivery counseling, child care services, foster home selection and care for the battered child.
Orange County Arthritis Foundation poster child Scott Warneke, 8, greeted the 400 women attending the foundation's Women's Auxiliary luncheon last week.
"Hello," he said from the stage. "Are you having fun? Good. I am having fun, too."
Scott said his doctor had given him a pass from Childrens Hospital to attend the event at the Newporter Resort. "A lot of people wonder what it's like to have arthritis and be in the hospital for a month at a time. Well, it's a lot of hard work. Blood tests, X-rays and ... food. I hate that food." Warneke, a victim of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, attended the event with his parents, David and Lauren Warneke of Dana Point.
"And, with all those tests," he continued, "I think I should be out of college by now. But with all the hard work, pain and torture and the food , there's that light of hope. Hope that you will be able to do more. Without your help, there is no hope for a cure. Thank you."
Proceeds of $10,000 from the benefit, which included a fast-paced fashion show staged by Holly Mitchell of Beverly Hills, will go to the Arthritis Clinic at Childrens Hospital in Orange, said Municipal Judge Betty L. Elias, also an arthritis victim who was a special guest.
Chairing the event was auxiliary president Phyllis Salyer. Assisting her were Fran Hall, Marian Fuller, Lillis Morgan, Elaine Vafiadis, Claire Van Horn, Sis Elliott and Pat Pierce.