Every year readers look forward to my annual Valentine's Day charity luncheon for The Caring Place at Teibel's restaurant and the announcement of the year's theme.
My 5th Annual Valentine's Day Luncheon for The Caring Place is from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10 and this year's theme is "Hats and Hearts" featuring displays and a salute program to the legendary gossip columnist Hedda Hopper.
Included will be rare displays of her personally owned clothes, jewelry, and, of course, her hats.
Only 17 seats remain.
Since the theme is about Hedda "the Hat" Hopper, I'm especially hoping I get at least some our readership's always adventurous Red Hat Society Ladies to attend to add an additional splash of fun and excitement to the afternoon.
It's all reserved seating at each of the tables, which will seat eight. Doors open at noon with lunch served at 1 p.m. On the day of the luncheon, guests will be asked to pick from a choice of three main course entrees: Teibel's Fried Chicken or Beef Sirloin Tips or Teibel's Famous Boned and Buttered Lake Perch. Each will come with a dinner roll and cole slaw first course, and the entrees will be served with baby red potatoes, and a vegetable blend of young yellow summer squash, red peppers, onions and green zucchini. Each lunch also comes with choice of beverage, including coffee, hot tea, iced tea or milk. Dessert will be fresh vanilla ice cream served with a recipe featured in my second cookbook: Mock Hostess Ho-Ho Cake.
Luncheon tickets are still $30 per person, which includes tax and tip and a portion of each ticket sold will benefit one of my favorite nonprofit groups, The Caring Place, the Valparaiso shelter for victims of domestic violence.
Reservations are required by calling (219) 933-4173 and leaving name, contact telephone number and the number in your party attending. And yes, lots of chances to once again win wonderful prizes, including the vases of long-stem red roses that will adorn each table.
Among my favorite prize giveaways this year are a generous gift card to pick out jewelry at Albert's Diamond Jewelers and a voucher for both tickets and dinner at Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook to see the new stage production of "Sunset Boulevard" now running until March 24. It's based on the classic 1950 film starring Gloria Swanson and Bill Holden, which even featured a cameo appearance of Hedda Hopper playing herself in the final scene.
During my presentation, guests will get the scoop on Hedda, who wasn't always the nicest person to those who crossed her:
• She referred to her Beverly Hills mansion as "the house that fear built" and used movie stars like Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell to help her move into the new house and unpack boxes.
• She reported in her column that matinee idol Clark Gable had false teeth.
• On Valentine's Day 1952, she received a gift-wrapped cage containing a (de-scented) skunk from actress Joan Bennett, who was enraged about remarks Hopper had printed in her column about Bennett's manager-husband Walter Wanger. The anonymously attached note read: "Won't you be my Valentine? No one else will. I stink and so do you." Hopper kept the skunk as a pet and named it "Joan."