womenBy BRIAN PAULS It began with a simple idea. A few pals of Evita Smordin (Phomin) would celebrate her 75th birthday in Palm Springs a.k.a. Winnipeg south, and combine it with some others who had reached the same vintage.

It mushroomed into a reunion not only of current Winnipeggers but also of many former classmates and friends--of reminiscence, nostalgia and shared hugs. Sid Lachter, now a retired lawyer living in Tucson, was the catalyst and M.C. He began the celebratory evening of February 20 with a great gag that illuminated cleverly how it feels to be young at heart but not necessarily so in the eyes of those who "knew you when".
At our table were Earl Mindell, the vitamin genius and publisher of more than 50 books (my early pal from Gimli circa 1952), Hersh Wolch, legendary champion of the wrongfully convicted (my pal during a series of youthful and not-so-youthful escapades), and Neil Chernick (whose expensive poker lessons came my way later on).
Sam Linhart, spouse of Judy Linhart (Micay), now transplanted to Phoenix after a lengthy successful business and professional career in Winnipeg, described his memories of growing up in the north end, identified a few of the landmarks of those carefree days, and stressed what will remain with us always: the bonds formed all those decades ago, never to be broken.
Cookie Billinghurst (Bass) reported that she had just begun a new gig as a School Trustee. Rhoda Perles (Nepp) had her elbow in a cast after recently fracturing it, but was determined not to miss anything. Sharon Niznick Thompson Glass confessed to having the longest surname. Lawrence Cohen offered up the most foolhardy joke.

Dinner guests were seated at 7 tables of ten. Each table had been named after a famous institution. Credit for the idea was shared by Dick and Joanne (Lecker) Rothberg along with Earl and Suzanne (Epstein) Golden. The names:
Salisbury House
Good Earth
Nordic Pool Hall
Gunn's Bakery
Town 'n' Country
It was great to chat with Carol Woodward (Frank), a welcoming committee all by herself at Shabbat services, twins Sura-Frayda Blatt and Rochelle Zagalsky (Rice), who surely didn't need a reunion to get to see each other again, and Gerry Namak, whose comprehensive lecture  notes allowed many of us to survive law school without actually attending the place. It was fun to see Irene Corne (Genser), the hostess with the mostes', visiting with Marsha Burstein (Diamond), who travelled the furthest from home to be there. Elsewhere in the room were several of my old girl friends. On that topic, no more will be said.
What did we all talk about? Well, the primary topic of the braggadocio, which was plentiful, turned out not to be material wealth but numbers of progeny, and what they were up to. Smart phones were ubiquitous. No one graciously acknowledged the huge gap between the tech savvy of their grandchildren and their own. Thousands of photos undoubtedly were snapped. To me, all the women (girls, actually) looked better than ever. Is 75 the new 50? The answer around the room would have been an emphatic yes.
We are all indebted to the planners--Suzanne Golden, Joanne Rothberg, Dick Rothberg, and the man with Winnipeg always in his heart, Sid Lachter.
Rumours are that plans are already underway for a sequel in 10 years time. Evita and her friends have committed to be there.

Brian Pauls is a respected Winnipeg lawyer and Bridge afficianado who used to write a regular Bridge column for the Free Press. Perhaps we can get him to transition into becoming a regular writer for The Jewish Post & News