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Aunt Helena
Aunt Helena

Aunt Helena

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Today I present to you a centenarian newlywed, a delightful salutation, thrills and chills, and The Case of the Disappearing Keys. Read on …

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It’s never too late to find true love. So discovered Howard Halla, a 100-year-old resident of the Veterans Home in Yountville. On July 8 he married Joanne Yates, the St. Helenan who helped him publish “Skies Over China,” which collected the memories of former airmen who fought in China during World War II. My best wishes to the newlyweds.

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My heart melted as soon as I saw the salutation “My Dearest Sweet Aunt Helena” on a note from the Federated Women of the Upper Napa Valley. In this strangest of years, none of us will have the pleasure of buying fresh pies from the club’s booth at the Harvest Festival, which raises money for St. Helena High School scholarships, the VOICES program for foster youth, the Veterans Home, Rianda House, and the Reading Is Fun book distribution program. Fortunately, the resourceful ladies are “baking” virtual pies to sell at a Virtual Pie Booth. Says the club, “If your kind readers would please write a check of any amount and mail it to FWoUNV, PO Box 383, Saint Helena, CA 94574, we Federated Women would be most grateful.”

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Farewell, Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch. Hello, Jameson Humane. Coming off a virtual WineaPAWlooza 2020: ‘Pawlooza in Place event that raised more than $1 million, the local nonprofit has announced a new name. Regardless of the animal-friendly organization’s name, humans seem to be eating it up; more than 500 people tuned into the July 25 fundraiser hosted by Fritz Hatton and Vanessa Conlin.

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Seeing Darth Vader deliver the chilling words “I am your father” to the maimed and terrified Luke Skywalker has to have been one of the highlights thus far of the Cameo Cinema’s drive-in theater. But movie buffs would be remiss in overlooking the Cameo@Home program, which is streaming some intriguing documentaries on everything from health care (“The American Nurse”) to fashion (“Helmut Newton: The Bad and the Beautiful) to art (“Ai WeiWei: Yours Truly”). But the most enticing films might be the musical documentaries about Bob Marley, Gordon Lightfoot, and the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival featuring Louis Armstrong, Thelonius Monk, Chuck Berry (!), Dinah Washington, and the great Mahalia Jackson. Find out how to stream them at cameocinema.com/on-demand.

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I’m sure some of my readers will recall the glorious heyday of radio dramas, a genre which is enjoying a resurgence under the name “podcasts.” The height of the genre might be the gripping “Sorry, Wrong Number,” featuring the increasingly frantic voice of Agnes Moorehead, a woman alone in her home who overhears a murder plot. The original recording, which you can find online, still packs a punch today. I was thrilled to learn that Rianda House Readers’ Theater is performing “Sorry, Wrong Number” via Zoom at 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15. Directed by Carol Gruetzner, it’s guaranteed to be a scream. Reserve your virtual tickets by calling Elizabeth Cobb-Bruno at 963-8555 ext. 101.

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In other Rianda House news, Veronna Ladd of Collabria Care is presenting a combined Mind Boosters & Brain Fitness program for those who are in the early stages of memory loss or are just a little concerned about their absent-mindedness after misplacing their house keys for the third time in a day (a scenario which I assure you bears no similarity whatsoever to Aunt Helena’s own experience last Saturday). The program will be offered from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursdays, Aug. 13 and 27. Register by calling 258-9087 or emailing vladd@collabriacare.org.

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For those of you who weren’t fooled by my denial: Yes, I did lose my keys three times in the span of a day, but I hasten to note that they were never missing for more than 10 minutes at a time. (OK, maybe 15.) I found them next to the front door, on the bathroom counter and (blush) in my pocket.

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