Rose’s View: Gay Paradise

Cherry Grove

2018 CGCAI Honorees: Anita Auricchio, Valerie Perez, Jack Dowling, Susan Freedner, and Ruth Freedner. Evelyn Danko was absent due to illness. (Photo by Susan Kravitz)

By Robert Levine

The 2018 Honors Dinner, sponsored by Cherry Grove Community Association Inc. (CGCAI), was held at the Community House on Saturday, Aug. 18. Two open bars were set up: one on the main floor, the next on the upper level roof patio with the new pergola overlooking the bay. The baby lamb chops, crab cakes, and more were passed around by the handsome young wait staff. Then everyone was invited into the dining room where each table was tastefully set with white tablecloths, napkins, a blue runner, and a lilac colored rose all donated by Ed Haggerty. Only George McGarvey could transform the theatre into an elegant ballroom. Diane Romano, the president of CGCAI, opened the program and Vice President Joyce Yaeger introduced the honorees: Anita Aurricchio, Jack Dowling, Ruth and Susan Freedner (the Twins), Valerie Perez, and Evelyn Danko. Unfortunately due to illness, Evelyn was unable to attend. Each honoree had a close friend introduce them including Sharon Weinberg, Todd Erickson, Francine Sardone, Thom “Panzi” Hansen, and Sal Piro. The speeches were funny and poignant. Thanks to all the volunteers who worked alongside George to make this grand night happen.

Our one and only Jason Versace left Cherry Grove five years ago to attend Argos University in Tampa, Florida, where he studied to become a psychologist. He married Ray Sinnelli and now they are happily living in Scottsdale, Arizona, where he is working in a hospital and will soon be a full-fledged doctor. Ray has never been to Fire Island, and Jason cannot wait to return. They spent three days here visiting. Larry Lane and Mark Levy sold their Grove house three years ago, but returned to host a dinner for Jason’s Fire Island family. It was good to see Jason and finally meet Ray.

Gay Nathan and Julie Paradise had a party to name their house “Gay Paradise.” Welcome back to the Grove Joan and Lorraine who spent three weeks in Maine. Peggy and Ceejay spent a week in Saratoga Springs. Peggy Samson and her husband, Marty Byman, who was back from London, had Marty’s mother, Beryl, from Chicago as their guest. Michael Moran and Matthew George (M & M) both celebrated their birthdays in August. It was a two-week celebration with dinner parties, lunches, brunches, cocktails, and pool parties.

Fidel Patel hosted a Celebration of Life party for his late partner, Jean Pierre, who was an accomplished pianist. Jean Pierre’s students Jose Mendez, Petr Vancura and Hilen Shyu each played a piece on the piano in his honor. Michael Goldfried played and sang “Le Vie en Rose,” while Bruce-Michael Gelbert sang “Panis Angelicus” by Cesar Franck. It was a lovely tribute.

Farewell and good luck to our bingo heroes Chris and Eileen Alley, who ran bingo at the community house for many years. They announced that they are retiring this season. Hopefully bingo can continue without them. They did a marvelous job organizing, keeping records and working very hard to make this event successful. They live on Long Island and came to the Grove for many events and never missed a Sunday night. I attended Fairy Tale bingo on Aug. 19. Bobby Michel from the Pines was the host. He donated many wonderful books to the raffle winners, and to those who answered the correct answers to his fairy tale questions.

Cherry Grove resident soprano Shirley Ritenour performed “When She Loved Me” at the Community House Arts Project Cabaret Thursday. She sang a range that included Rodgers and Hammerstein to operatic arias in which she excels. Her accompanist was Brian Holman, a wonderful pianist. The audience was thrilled.

Sadly we lost Craig Eberhardt to cancer. With his husband Julian Dorcelien Eberhardt, they kept the legacy of John Eberhardt’s vision of Belvedere alive. Please read his obituary on page 49 of this paper. A memorial service is planned at the Belvedere on Saturday, Sept. 15.

Upcoming Events

• The Arts Project of Cherry Grove presents “Those Were The Days” at the Community House on Sept. 1, from 7-10 p.m. The show has an allstar Cherry Grove cast, directed by Matt Baney and Demitasse. Tickets at the Community House or online at artsprojectcg.org.

• Bakers Wanted: The annual bake sale, sponsored by the Cherry Grove Garden Club, will be held on Sept. 2, at 11 a.m., at the Community House.

• The annual Toga Tea, a benefit for the Arts Project hosted by Roland and Joe, will once again be held at “High Fidelity” on Sunday, Sept. 2, from 4-7 p.m.

• Parker Sargent’s hit film “Grove Girls” will have an encore performance on Saturday, Sept. 2, at 8 p.m. at the Community House.

• “An Evening of Romance and Discovery,” directed by Joe Anania, will play on Saturday, Sept. 8, at 8 p.m. The evening will include two one-act plays “The Bear” by Anton Chekhov, and “Penguin Blues” by Ethan Phillipe, presented at the Community House Theatre.

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