Saturday, April 21, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 7

Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on December 27th, 2012, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 42 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 13, Issue 42

Hobnobbing with Helen


Let’s hear it for Cindy Ransick, new executive director of the Santa Maria Historical Society.

Since she took the job, she’s been working with Jim Zemaitis, president of the Historical Society, and volunteers to organize the storage room, which is packed and overflowing with local memorabilia.

Noontime Altrusa members gathered at the grand opening of the new Orcutt library on Saturday, Dec. 8, to present a check for $5,000 to the library.

She’s also rearranged some exhibits and thought up some events to spice up member interest.

To celebrate the holidays, she highlighted Victorian furniture left to the museum by the late Patty Boyd, a music teacher fondly remembered by many, and planned a Victorian Christmas Tea to showcase the Boyd gift. Was this not a fun idea?

Ransick had some help. The Women’s Network assisted her by funding the tea with a grant. Noontime Altrusa donated a large tree, and noontime Altrusa member Norma DeBernardi lent many lovely old-fashioned tree ornaments handmade by a relative. DeBernardi and her daughter-in-law Cathi decorated the tree—no small task.

It all came together on Saturday afternoon, Dec. 8, after a “Santa Maria Speaks” program at the Santa Maria Library. Historical Society members and Altrusa folks convened in the museum on South Broadway for the event, which included—in addition to tea—coffee, finger foods, and many, many raffle items (free raffle tickets!).

Norma DeBernardi on the left and Cindy Ransick, executive director of the SMV Historical Museum, admire the Victorian Christmas tree now on display at the museum.

For everyone, there were also English “crackers,” those pretty wrapped tubes that you pull at both ends to reveal a loud “pop” and a prize, which is usually a paper hat.

The tea was not all just for fun. They took care of business, too!

Midway through the tea, Mayor-elect Alice Patino presented Historical Society member and long-time volunteer Marjorie Martin with a framed official proclamation from the city, recognizing her service to the community.

Martin’s father was an important local person history-wise. He was the architect of our lovely City Hall, as well as of many other important buildings up and down the Central Coast.

(l-r) Shirley Contreras, Marjorie Martin and Dawn Kamiya discuss business in the conference room of the SMV Historical Society Museum.

Born and raised in Santa Maria, the petite Ms. Martin has been volunteering at Marian Hospital and the Landmark Advisory Committee as well as the Historical Society for quite some time.

Zemaitis topped off Marjorie’s honors by presenting her with a bouquet of flowers.

Former Historical Society executive director Marilyn Cronk was one of the guests. Cronk went on to head the Elverhoj Museum in Solvang. A talented artist, she also recently had a one-woman exhibit in Shepard Hall.

Glenn and Janice Battles, Jimmy Enos, Monique James, and Hattie Stoddard were a few of the folks on hand for the festivities. I shared some laughs with Dawn Kamiya and Shirley Contreras.

Everyone at the tea had a grand time browsing the showcases and reminiscing over photographs. The Historical Museum space is large and can accommodate a nice crowd. This space just screams out to be used for more social events. We look to Ransick to see that this happens.

Noontime Altrusa member Laura Lee Dias reported that she, along with several other Altrusans from her group, had that morning gathered in Orcutt library to present the new library there with a check for $5,000 for children’s programs.

Dias’ noontime Altrusa colleagues who were with her at the library were Melinda Aguirre, Donna Giles, Bea Goyette, Joyce Ellen Lippman, Mary Oliver, Nancy Preskitt, and Letitia Villanueva.

If you want to hobnob with Helen, you may contact her at

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