Thursday, October 30, 2014

Women's Club Celebrates Centennial In Grand Style

By Burton Cantara, Quilt Staff


It was a century ago today, October 30, when handsome L.C. Kimball, known locally as “the firebrand of Farralone Avenue” gathered up the constricting burlap of her signature hobble skirt from around her ankles, and stamped her sensible high button shoe on the plank sidewalk lining Sherman Way outside the 9¢ Only store (today, 99¢ Only) and announced “Ladies! What we need here is a Woman’s Club! And by Edison’s talking-machine, I’m just the woman to found it!  That way, we’ll have something to do while our husbands are out shopping for spats and buggy whips.”
A vision in gossamer and ostrich feathers:
Women's Club Founder L.C. Kimball.

Whether it was her rousing speech or the sharp, gunshot-like report of the Bakelite heel of her Sears Roebuck-bought patent leather Storm Queens slamming down on the wooden walkway (Kimball played the pump organ fourteen hours a day and was said to have calves the size of Virginia hams), the female contingent of the local populace agreed and the Owensmouth (later Canoga Park) First Wednesday of the Month Women’s Club was formed.

“The local ladies club was essentially born that very day in October,” says Bob Farrell of the Owensmouth / Canoga Historical Society. “And it continued to flourish as an important and beloved part of the Canoga Park community for the next seventy-five years or so, my goodness, well into the early 1990s.”

Today, the club still exists, such as it is. 

Last week, Canoga Park First Wednesday of the Month Women’s Club Vice President In Charge of Neighborhood Cacophony Doreen Farber made a rare non-First Wednesday of the Month appearance at the clubhouse on the occasion of the Club’s impending 100th anniversary to attend to matters in her other official capacity, Chief Financial Officer.

Passing a last-minute yet earnest tribute set up on a rickety TV tray in the foyer on her way to the club’s money-counting area, Farber shrugged, “Oh, right, that’s today, huh? Well, anyway, I better get to work.”

The venerable headquarters of the Canoga Park First Wednesday of the Month Women's
Club, or as it's better known by the surrounding neighborhood, The Copacanoga. File photo.
While she pulled on sleeve garters, donned a green visor, lit up a stogie which she clenched between her teeth, rubbed her hands together excitedly and began “counting up last weekend’s take” - profits from the women’s club’s main source of income: a lucrative reception hall rental business - three other veteran club members milled about and discussed the makeshift centennial shrine.
Flossie Brown donated a lovely balloon to
the gala celebration. Photo: Walter Brown.

“That’s from me,” says Flossie Brown, the club’s Vice President in Charge of Saving Twist Ties from Bags of Bread, pointing to a deflated mylar balloon. “It was Walter and my fiftieth anniversary three weeks ago. My daughter brought that to the party - such a pretty design! - so I saved it. Pretty clever, eh?”

“I put out the pastel mints,” smiles the Women's Club's recently appointed Sciatica Czar, Gertie Johnson. “I found them way in the back of a bottom drawer in the club’s kitchen, although I don't know what I was thinking getting down on my hands and knees like that - I very nearly couldn't get up. Anyway, the bag says they’re from 1983, but I’m sure they’re still good.  They’re kind of clumped together, so if you want one you have to bang the whole wad against the candy dish until a piece breaks off.”
“You’re probably curious about the pretty curls of ribbon on the table and I’m going to tell you all about that,” confides Myrtle Hipkins, the club’s Grand High Exalted Forwarder of Cautionary Emails. “Well, I used to work in the May Company gift-wrapping department when I was a teenager. And we would curl the ribbon as a decorative embellishment on the packages--”
Pulling Out All The Stops: Members outdid themselves with this astoundingly elaborate display
celebrating 100 years of the Canoga Park First Wednesday of the Month Women's Club. Staff photo.
“Oh, goodnight, Irene - here she goes with the ribbon story again,” whispers Brown to the others.

“--And it’s a trick: here I’ll show you. You hold a length of ribbon against the edge of a scissor and you pull it a across like this...  Oh!  Oh dear. Gertie, be a lamb and run and get me a Band-Aid.”

“Did you want a pastel mint? They’re from 1983 but that’s only last year so they’re still good!”

“Has anyone seen my Jitterbug? I had it a minute ago; I swear, I’d lose my head if it wasn’t screwed on.”
100 Years and Counting: Gertie Johnson donated a slightly used '1' candle from her 81st birthday
party, while Myrtle Hipkins, who recently turned 90 saved the '0' from her cake. Ever-resourceful
Flossie Brown drew the additional '0' on an old AARP envelope she had in her purse. Staff photo.
Back at the money-counting area, Doreen Farber deftly jabs the keys on an adding machine, pulls the crank, and tears off the paper tape that ratchets out. Looking over the top of her glasses, she compares the result at the bottom of the paper to that on scribbled on her blotter. Satisfied, she notes the total on a deposit slip and with that, finishes her financial duties for the day. “Well, another week, another big wad of cash. I need to go to the bank and deposit this before they close.”

Canoga Park First-Wednesday-of-the-
Month Women's Club member Doreen
Farber. Photo: Fred Farber.
“But Ethel [Hepplewhite, the Club’s Secretary in Charge of Watching Wheel of Fortune and Notifying Other Members If Their Spin ID Is Announced] dropped off cake and ice cream!  We were going to celebrate our big anniversary!” exclaims Hipkins as she carries a tray from the kitchen with bran muffins and small Melmac dishes of Light ‘n’ Lively ice milk.

“Knock yourselves out, ladies. Just clear out before five because this place is rented tonight. There’s going to be a Who Can Scream the Loudest contest in the parking lot and, dear God, I don’t want to be anywhere near this place when those kids start shrieking.”

Asked what founder L.C. Kimball might think of how the Canoga Park First Wednesday of the Month Women’s Club has evolved into the proud, money-making nightclub-based entity it is today, Doreen Farber, hurrying to her car suddenly becomes pensive - almost lost in thought for a moment - while rifling through her purse for her keys.


Congratulations to the Canoga Park First Wednesday of the Month Women’s Club on their hundred year anniversary, and here’s to another seventy-five years of magnificent community service and relevance!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Hart Street Woman Sets New Complimentary Salsa Record

By Nita Keswick, Quilt Staff


Evie Speriglio, a 33 year-old mother of two, has set a new world record for number of miniature cups filled with free salsa for potential consumption with a single burrito, with an astonishing 27 little containers.

The record was set Thursday evening at El Pollo Loco at the corner of Topanga Canyon & Roscoe Boulevards in Canoga Park’s bustling Roscopanga neighborhood.

“She ordered the Classic Chicken Burrito combo meal, which comes with the burrito, chips and a drink,” says cashier Lupe Darula. “I told her to help herself to our free salsa bar while we got her order ready. And, uh, boy, did she ever.”

The El Pollo Loco restaurant at Topanga Canyon and Roscoe - the site of Thursday's record-
breaking complimentary salsa achievement, or salsachievement, by Evie Speriglio. Staff photo.
Eyewitnesses note that the single mother then pushed her way between two other customers already at the salsa bar and then began pulling miniature “cup after cup after cup” from the dispenser which she systematically laid out on the stainless steel counter, effectively forcing the others to quickly grab what little salsa they had already spooned into containers, and “just kind of, yeah, get out of the way,” according to Brian Rauschebart, whose salsa-doling was cut short. “I ordered a 12-piece meal because we were having friends over for a binge-watch primer on Dr. Who. And, yeah, all I managed to get was some chopped onions and half a little container of pico de gallo before she kind of took over.”
Queen of the Salsa Bar: Evie Speriglio.
Photo courtesy Dept. of CPS of Los Angeles
When an ever-increasing number of others in want of the spicy tomato-based sauce began complaining, Speriglio at first acted like she didn’t hear them, and then actively ignored them. Once remarks such as “What are you, opening a frickin' restaurant?” “Dios mio, how much salsa do you need, woman?!” “Come on, I only get a half-hour for my dinner break!” and “Jesus Christ, let’s go, lady!” became more frequent and too difficult to tune out, the unemployed former cable television customer service rep then passive-aggressively took out her smartphone and started making calls.

“Oh, that was just great,” grouses Ted Pasternak, who just wanted to get “one little container” of the avocado salsa to go with his meal. “She was already slow and then once the phone came out, she’s doing it one-handed and going even slower.” 

When told she was breaking a world salsa record, Pasternak surmised that “it certainly wasn’t for speed.”

The Classic Chicken Burrito.
“I was behind her in line,” says Trenice Campbell, a donation intake coordinator with Salvation Army. “And all she got was the $5 combo burrito. That’s like the smallest burrito they got. It comes with this rinky-dink little sack of chips. What the hell she need all that salsa for?”

But Speriglio held her ground as she spooned complimentary salsa into little cups and yelled into her phone. “Yeah, well, that asshole ex of mine better have my kids home by seven p.m.! I don’t care if I’m not home! You tell him he can have the asshole super let them into my place! If not I’ll get that asshole from CPS on his ass!” she said, keeping up a steady stream of peppery dialogue other patrons seemed too intimidated to interrupt. 

At one point, Speriglio briefly dropped the serving spoon back into one of the salsa bowls and Pasternak leaned in and reached for it. He was unsuccessful.

“She must have seen me out of the corner of her eye and grabbed it back before I could get it and told me to ‘wait my turn,’” he reports. “Oh, and she called me an asshole.”

When she finally left after 11 minutes, 47 seconds at the salsa bar, she had filled 28 1.5 ounce plastic Dixie brand containers, known in the service industry as “souffle cups.”

“I woulda got more, but I emptied the bowl of House Salsa and those assholes couldn’t be bothered to refill it,” she says of the employees. Add to that the fact that she hadn’t properly snapped the lid on one of the cups, its contents spilling in the large plastic bag she carried her food home in, and it brings her official total down to 27 cups.
The official weigh-in. Staff photo.

But it didn’t matter - she beat the old record (18 little cups of salsa for consumption with a Ranchero Burrito, set by customer Dawn Haberlind at El Pollo Loco on Sherman Way & Winnetka in 2011) handily.

“To be honest, I wasn’t even thinking about settin' no record,” Speriglio says. “I just wanted some salsa with my burrito. I was more focused on getting home to watch me some Family Feud with Steve Harvey.”

Speriglio’s record will likely stand for the foreseeable future, experts note. “Her burrito weighed 10.6 ounces. Add the little bag of tortilla chips - 13 chips and some broken pieces - and they weigh a combined 12.2 ounces,” reports Bob Farrell of the Owensmouth / Canoga Historical Society, who performed official adjudicating services by counting the filled cups and weighing their contents at Speriglio's Hart Street apartment. 

“The salsa alone weighed 2 lbs, 1.7 ounces. That’s a remarkable salsa-to-burrito-and-chips ratio. We’re not likely to see anything like this again in our lifetime. I’ve already submitted it to Guinness.”
Evie Speriglio's TV tray laden with her record-breaking salsa haul photographed mid-meal. Staff photo.
As to how she enjoyed the salsa, Speriglio responds with surprise. “Huh? It was okay, I guess. Except the assholes who designed the cups made them too shallow - you can’t really dip your chips and get much on them. I had like two cups and threw the rest out. Now shut the f___ up - the Fast Money Round’s coming up next and I want to see these assholes lose!”

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Introducing The Canoga Park Quilt Junior News Possum Reporters Club

Today we launch an exciting new feature in the Canoga Park Quilt - The Junior News Possum Reporters Club. It's important for kids to take an active interest in their world around them, and for Canoga Park children, that world around them is Canoga Park (and occasionally Winnetka, when the entire family heads out to dinner after the Burger King coupons come in the mail). Here at the Quilt we encourage all kids to be curious about the world around them, and not be afraid to ask questions - unless some union goons start threatening them, which is why half of the stories filed by Quilt reporters never see print.

Oh, look, we've already got the first two letters. Well then, let's get started, hmm? --Owen Smouth, editor-in-chief, Canoga Park Quilt (and "president" of the Canoga Park Quilt Junior News Possum Reporters Club).
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Dear Junior News Possums Reporters Club:
An important job that benefits all man kind is selling cases for your cell phone at the Topanga Mall. Today many people have cell phones today but they do not come with a case but you can get a case at the mall there is a lady she is my aunt and she sells cases for your phone there. She has a shop but it is not a shop like you and I no, it is called a keyoss. Sometimes if she has to go to the bathroom she asks the man who sells sunglasses at the keyoss next door to watch her keyoss but Mr. Barsamian who is her boss does not like it if she leaves her keoyss. Cellphone cases come in many varities and colors. Some even have dimonds on them (NOT real of corse!!!!) One time I saw one shaped like hello kitty!!!!! Selling cases for your cell phone is an important job for todays society that also benefits society. Maybe someday I will work at the keyoss like Aunt Milka.  By Susana Gusmão.

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Dear Junior News Possums Reporters Club, I am going to tell you about a importint thing: it is called Third Thursday and it happens every week on Thursday in the summer once a month on the third thursday of the month and it happens three times: and that is in June and July and August. On Third thursdays what happens is: they close the street so cars can’t drive there and people sell their drawings of Marylin Monroe and there is a bounce house you can go in on the corner. Also you can buy a grill cheese sanwich from a big yellow truck even though daddy said: for that price I can make ten grill cheese sanwiches at home jesus christ eight dollars never again. I love third thursday and i can’t wait until the next time it happins!!!  Love: Rodel

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Kids! Do you want to be a Junior News Possum? You bet you would! And how'd you like to have your own Junior News Possum Reporters Club membership card? Gee, don't that sound swell! If you'd like to be a member of the Junior News Possum Reporters Club and become an official Junior News Possum Reporters Club cub reporter, send 25¢ in coin (no Cash For Gold business cards found on the sidewalk, please) to You will receive your official membership card, a four-color pen, a pin-back button, a large packet of canceled triangle stamps from Mongolia (on approval), this month's Listener's Selection on your choice of MP3, LP, or 8-track tape format plus various offers and discounts through our myriad of advertising partners and unvetted third-party affiliates. Oh boy!