Page 26 THE VILLADOM TIMES I • May 6, 2009 got three of my colleagues who had well-defined personalities -- the Shy Guy, the Scoundrel, the Control Freak -- to write a few words and a signature, and took these with me. After the graphologist offered his speech, I took him aside and asked for his verdict on the four signatures. “This one indicates a really troubled personality – a walking time bomb,” he said. I folded up my own signature, tucked it back in my pocket, and decided he knew what he was talking about. I next attended a club meeting as a speaker when I was producing my own newspaper in the 1980s. The topics that had made me famous were not those that would have appealed to club’s membership. My first big story was to chronicle the life and times of a heroin addict and to report that smack had made it over the river and was into the woods of Northwest Bergen County. Other featured attractions included a story on outlaw motorcycle gangs, the rise and fall of the American Indian Movement, and a meticulous study of how a Passaic County official had been framed, and later murdered, as a Nazi war criminal when he wasn’t one. I spoke about the sinking of the “Titanic,” which had an anniversary coming up. My talk also sank, but the women were gracious enough not to tell me so. The Ridgewood Woman’s Club has provided a kaleidoscope of excellent programs. More to the point, the Club has provided a number of other activities that went far beyond genteel entertainment. The club’s first project was to fit out a room at Ridgewood High School for the teaching of domestic science. Sewing classes for young girls were offered on Saturday mornings. This service is perhaps underrated. Even before women officially got the vote, the Ridgewood Woman’s Club has championed the right of women to serve on the Ridgewood Board of Education. With voting by women finally legalized by Constitutional amendment in 1920, victory was at hand, and in 1921 Club Member Henrietta Hawes became the first woman member of the board. The club has sponsored a girl from Ridgewood to attend the Girls Career Institute since 1949. In 1959, the group established the Scholarship Trust Fund with a bequest of $1,000. The scholarships are available to either female or male students and last year the scholarships reached a total of $38,000. The club has also sponsored a local Boy Scout troop, helped in the formation of Ridgewood’s Red Cross chapter, and supported Ridgewood Social Services, which provides emergency help for families in need. After the Wall Street Crash of 1929, which hit Ridgewood particularly hard, the Ridgewood Woman’s Club formed the Ridgewood Emergency Relief Foundation to help people stay afloat when their world seemed to be falling apart. During World War II, the club joined churches and other groups to form a War Emergency Committee to help provide housing for refugee children. The club sponsored the Family Counseling Service from its outset, and has provided significant donations both to Valley Hospital in Ridgewood and Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Paterson. The donations to various local groups, not counting the sizable scholarship program, are generally in the vicinity of $60,000, subsidized in part by a house tour that generates funds for the charities and the scholarships. Beyond a doubt, the Ridgewood Woman’s Club does a tremendous amount of good for the entire community, not just for its own membership. There is a lesson to be learned from all this. Scoundrels sometimes succeed for a short time, but people who build successful and prosperous lives generation after generation generally do so because they have their values straight. Once they are okay themselves, they reach out to help others, not as an insurance against possible catastrophes, but because it is the right thing to do. The cultural activities were enjoyable, but the Ridgewood Woman’s Club’s humane activities during the Depression and World War II show the kind of resolution and concern that may help us all get through the present mess. Above all these women raise the money they give away and don’t expect the government or the people who are being crushed with property taxes to come up with it. The Ridgewood Woman’s Club isn’t just a nice building; it’s a beacon showing us how to do the right thing. Here’s hoping for another 100 years of service and compassion from a classy organization. What news is there for us to celebrate? The 100th Anniversary of the Ridgewood Woman’s Club. While I may not add up to Ridgewood Woman’s Club in terms of elegance and general deportment, I have followed the club’s operations for a significant part of the century, and am glad this group is still around. My first contact with the Ridgewood Woman’s Club was in the early 1970s, when I was working for a daily newspaper in the vicinity. Knowing that my wife was Japanese and that I understood a little of that arduous language, the city editor sent me to the Ridgewood Woman’s Club to cover a speech that was being given by the Japanese consul to New York City. The guest of honor arrived in a limousine and made a brief speech. His English was better than my Japanese, but the Japanese admit that the Koreans are the great linguists of Asia. My wife, Countess Obo, was once approached by the father of one of my tutorial students who asked her permission to converse in Japanese after she had given a lecture about her book, “Hachi-Ko, The Samurai Dog.” She nodded her assent and they spoke, rapid-fire, for about two minutes. I understood about two words. “How long did you live in Japan?” my wife asked. “About two years,” the Korean man replied. “You Koreans are really the linguists. Your Japanese is better than my English!” she said laughing. Well, her English was a lot better than the consul’s. The Japanese consul showed a beautifully photographed Technicolor movie called “Japanese Women,” which was just the opposite of what one would expect if one did one’s traveling at the expense of the U.S. Department of Defense. The three women depicted were a grade-school teacher who was in her 20s but looked about 15 and acted that way at recess, a female executive who wore tailored suits and worked 14-hour days, and a mature woman who wore a kimono and lived in a traditional Japanese house with pine trees in the background. Reiko Dan, the leading cute tomboy of Japanese feature films in that era, could always get her female fans to shriek out a shrill “Banzai!” when she shouted, “I’ve never worn a kimono in my life!” It’s sort of a badge of traditionalist whatever. The consul was making the point that most Japanese women were quite respectable if you avoided certain sections of Tokyo by night, and in this he was quite correct. The members of the woman’s club enjoyed the film, and were split over whether they identified with the executive or the elegant mature woman who still wore a kimono. The teacher in the baseball hat and shorts was out of the loop. My next visit to the club came when the city editor discovered that a Jesuit priest who was also an expert in determining character by handwriting – graphoanalysis -- would be speaking. I know something about forensics and parapsychology, where the standards of evidence are absolutely Draconian because mainstream scientists tend to dismiss the topic as a hoax. I prepared a control test: I A century of service and a beacon to everyone Letters to the Editor Dear Editor: I want to wish all members of the board the best of luck for a productive year. As a veteran board member of 12 years I urge you all to stay focused on the task at hand. I must say however that I am troubled and perplexed with the comments made by Mrs. Pierce at the budget presentation at Valley Middle School concerning the minutes from the April 28, 2009 board meeting being deliberately removed from our website. Could someone explain? I am still confused and I found it offensive to hear these comments that this board was involved in removing minutes critical of board members from the website. I was also troubled to read an advertisement quoting directly from Ira Belsky and critical of veteran trustees. Where then did those comments come from? Mrs. Pierce, can you explain? These comments were never part of the minutes! As a board member, I voted on, and this board approved, the minutes of April 28, 2009 and those comments were not part of the minutes. Now, if Ira Belsky gave you those comments, that’s different, but please be careful of your accusations as those comments were never part of the minutes. Remember that all board members are bound by a code of ethics. I just hope that additional ethical violations do not present themselves. Thank you again. Tom Madigan Wyckoff Dear Editor: We want to urge all to participate in this year’s celebration of the 58th Annual National Day of Prayer. In 1776, the Continental Congress called on the colonies to pray for guidance as they founded a nation. Lincoln bowed on his knees before Gettysburg, and FDR called the nation to prayer on D-Day. Because of the documented faith of our founding fathers, many presidents had called for a day set aside for prayer. In 1952, President Harry Truman signed a joint resolution of Congress that established a National Day of Prayer. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan signed into law Missing minutes? Urge participation in NDP the designation of the first Thursday in May as the annual observance for the NDP. In recent years, the president and all 50 governors have done the same. It is important to remember the real purpose and meaning of the First Amendment: to prohibit the government from establishing an official religious denomination, while at the same time permitting elected leaders to promote the religious welfare of the people for the purpose of civil government. The combination of the Establishment Clause and Free Exercise Clause of the Constitution was intended to create a government attitude of “benevolent neutrality” toward religion. At this time of economic downturn, terrorist threats, and relentless assaults upon foundational biblical principles, it’s heartening to reflect that we serve a God who has repeatedly shown himself “mighty to save” (Zephaniah 3:17) in the lives of those who trust in him. Inspired by this uplifting truth, the NDP Task Force has selected “Prayer...America’s Hope!” as the theme for the 2009 observance, based upon the words of Psalm 33:22: “May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you.” Beth Moore, a well known author and passionate communicator dedicated to Bible literacy and guiding believers to love and live on God’s word, is this year’s honorary chairman. NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip recently filmed a television commercial calling Americans to unite for this year’s NDP. In this commercial, he talks about the vital role that prayer has played throughout his life saying that “no moment is more significant than one moment spent on your knees in prayer.” (PrayerLines Newsletter-Spring 2009). Between noon and 1 p.m. on May 7, people across the country will gather to pray for America in seven centers of power: church, education, family, government, media, military, and business. We encourage you to remain diligent in praying for our nation’s leaders. Remember Paul’s exhortation in 1 Timothy 2:1-2: “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” Phyllis and Ken Johnson Midland Park