“At first I was distressed because there were so few [members] there,” said Joan Belaval during a recent interview. She was commenting on the attendance at SISCA’s April 20th meeting at Fellowship Hall. “But then I got caught up in the fun. I spent $7 during the gift auction and took home a set of guest towels and a crystal cross on a stand. But I won two games of “zingo” at $5 a game, so I actually cleared $3.”
Mollie Strugats was another big bidder. She took home a bottle of “Sweet Pea” cologne and, to her delight, a pen and pencil sketch of a bird, a grouse she thinks, ready for framing.
Jeanne Woods has served as the SISCA auctioneer for at least 10 years. For my money, she is a professional caller whose “Going once, going twice … SOLD” reaches the rafters at Fellowship Hall. She could be Sotheby’s eastern Suffolk auctioneer if she ever had the time to audition for the job.
“Zingo” is a variation on the ages-old game of Bingo. Robert Strugats, well known in certain select circles as the Dinner Bell’s jokemeister, called the numbers with his usual elan. His wife Mollie thought he was funny; Joan Belaval thought he was hilarious. And Bob Gundlach was just pleased to be able to turn the job over to Robert — from one World War II vet to another.
The auction raised $49 according to President Emily Hallman. Zingo probably paid for itself, with players paying $5 a card. The big winner was Lorraine Hoppler, whom I could not reach at home Monday morning. Perhaps she had taken her $15 in winnings to the gaming tables at Atlantic City.
Although there was regret among the SISCA leadership over the small numbers in attendance at the April meeting, there was general agreement that those who came got their money’s worth of fun and games.