Rossmoor-Los Alamitos Republican Women Federated (RLARWF), founded in 1961, celebrated fifty years on March 24 at Old Ranch Country Club.
Prominent in the audience were local politicians and candidates for office in this year’s elections, including State Assemblyman Jim Silva, Los Alamitos Mayor Troy Edgar, Long Beach Councilman Gary DeLong and former Congressman Steve Kuykendall.
The meeting room was decorated in a black and gold theme, with numerous table-top displays celebrating the fifty year history of the RLARWF.
Another notable exhibit was brought by Rev. Gary B. Beard, invited to attend in his historical re-enactment role as George Washington. Rev. Beard maintains a personal collection of historical memorabilia. The items on display from his collection included a photograph of St. Paul’s Chapel in New York City, where Washington worshiped; old American paper money and coins; a canon ball; a photograph of a participant of the Battle of Bunker Hill, taken at the age of 102; a stereopticon; and a shadow box containing a George Washington “action figure.”
The meeting was opened with an invocation given by U.S. Navy Captain Robert D. Crossan.
The history of the Pledge of Allegiance was related by Cypress City Council Member and Air Force Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Leroy Mills, who then led the assembly in reciting the Pledge.
Former RLARWF President Sophie Happel, age 97, read the roll of past presidents, beginning with Founding President Jean Ingersoll in 1961 through current President Wendy Grose (2011-2012), including her own tenure in 1986-1987.
The California Federation of Republican Women maintains an active advocacy role in state government, and has had professional lobbyist in Sacramento since 1975. Immediately following the Spring Board of Director’s Meeting and Conference, several hundred women lobby the State legislature in support of or in opposition to current legislation. Since the 1990s, the California Federation has encourage the participation of high school students in this lobbying effort.
The RLARWF Advocacy Student for 2011, Zach Goulhiane, spoke about his experiences in Sacramento and his successful effort (with others) to establish a Republican Club at Los Alamitos High School. This year’s Advocacy Student, Justine Cocchi, was introduced.
In his role as George Washington — and wearing a replica of Washington’s blue-and-buff uniform as displayed at Mount Vernon — Rev. Beard recounted stories related to the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army and First President of the United States, who declined any title beyond “Mr. President,” and ad-libbed an addition to the presidential oath of office as it appears in Article II, Section 1, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution:
Washington appended “So help me God!”
In his role as Abe Lincoln, Robert Broski told stories about his wife, Mary Todd, whom everyone called, “Molly.” He contrasted her upbringing in the genteel society of Lexington, Kentucky, to his own rough-and-ready frontier upbringing, how they met through a friend of Lincoln’s who invited him to a cotillion held at Molly’s sister’s home, how they became engaged, how they broke the engagement and a year later again became engaged.
He described his fascination with Molly and her ability to argue with the best in Springfield, the new capital of the State of Illinois. He admitted his reluctance to marry her because he was afraid of his own ability to support her in the proper manner.
He recounted a story about Molly declaring as a child that she would someday marry a man who would become the President of the United States, and how she held her own in a household of sixteen children. (Her father married twice.)
And in this presidential election year, RLARWF will hear from more politicians — although perhaps not of a similar caliber — at their April meeting, when the group will host a Republican candidate forum for State Assembly, Congress and the District Central Committee. For more information on April’s candidate forum, call 562-857-3962.
Past President Sophie Happel calls the roll of all past presidents of the Rossmoor-Los Alamitos Republican Women Federated. All photos by C.E.H. Wiedel.
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