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Glen Ellen has permanent postmaster; firefighters dance coming

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Sylvia Crawford/Glen Ellen Columnist

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Kiddo signups

You’ve still got time to sign your kiddo into the Glen Ellen Community Church’s annual vacation Bible School, beginning Monday, June 30, through Thursday, July 3. All the details were in last week’s column, but if you still have questions, either visit the church’s website, gechurch.com, or call Pastor Jim Hill at 996-1479.

A postmaster for Glen Ellen

Congratulations to Erika Mysliwczyk. Her good news is also lucky for us folks in Glen Ellen. Erika (whose last name is easier to pronounce than it initially appears: try Mislifchek), has been assigned permanently as our Glen Ellen postmaster. Hooray! Erika brings a bright and sunny countenance to our local post office.

She’s warm and friendly and greets most local folks by name. That’s because she been in Glen Ellen for a long time, longer than I first thought.

Since October of 2013, Erika has been working as our officer-in-charge of the Glen Ellen Post Office, after Kip Fogarty retired. But it was long before then that Erika landed in our town. In 1997, Erika was appointed as a postal clerk in Glen Ellen. Not surprising then, that she knows lots of local folks already.

Before Erika came to Glen Ellen, she had an interesting international life. Erika was born and raised in Colombia, South America. In 1984, she moved to Chicago where she attended college. Following that, she held a couple of jobs in banking before responding to the lure of California. She moved here in 1988.

Many details later

Erika started working at the Alamo (California) Post Office as a distribution and window clerk in 1990, staying there for six years. That’s when she transferred to our area, which she obviously loves. In 2007, Erika became the postmaster in El Verano, later being detailed (as they say in postal lingo) to Petaluma as the finance supervisor in 2008.

Following that, Erika returned to El Verano for one year, then to Boyes Hot Springs for another year. Following that, in October 2013, we welcomed her home to Glen Ellen.

Yes, even though I say her “home” is our town, Erika actually lives in Sonoma, where she’s been for the last 18 years, but her days are happily passed in our town. Erika has four children, who, no doubt, keep her busy, which is also truly the rule at the Glen Ellen Post Office.

Busy days, smiling faces

Despite the busy days and hard work, I never fail to find smiling faces, helpful manners and gracious attention in our local post office. Erika’s trusty and helpful crew includes Cassandra Volker (whom we all call Sandé) and Herman Ojascastro in the front office. Traveling up and down, around and about on the rural routes are Sunni Anken, Sarah Livingston, Colleen Cox and Thaileah De Rocher-Schome. Thanks to the whole team for all you do; you are all much appreciated by the folks in your village.) We send congratulations especially to Erika on her permanent assignment as the Glen Ellen postmaster.

How old?

Events that are almost as old as I am can’t help but impress me. But how old is that, really? The bright blue brochure that all good folks in Glen Ellen received last week announced the 67th annual Glen Ellen Firefighters Association Annual Dinner and Dance. Hey, that’s the same number of years I hope to soon attain. However, if you check the glenellenfire.org website for events, up pops an old time poster from 1933 advertising a barbecue and dance to benefit our Volunteer Fire Department.

I’m often confused about a lot of facts, but this I know: I sure wasn’t born in 1933. So, when our fire folks claim “the longest continuously running event in the Sonoma Valley,” they are spot on. Because, even by my spurious math, I’d say that party’s been going for 81 years. Maybe it’s the “continuous” factor that makes the difference here. I’ll defer to our fire folks and agree: 67 years.

In any case, our firehouse dance is, undoubtedly, the Glen Ellen social event of the season. Lots of good food, great music and plenty of whoop-de-do promised.

Some folks in these parts dress to the nines (I’ve even seen elegant ball gowns and moth-eaten tuxes), but not usually. Most dancers come in casual duds ready to dance the night away. Whether you favor blue jeans, satin, or something in between, join your friends and neighbors on Saturday evening, June 28, for a party to long be remembered.

While it’s the dark of the moon that night, there’ll be plenty of bright lights at the firehouse to keep folks happy from 7 p.m. until midnight.

While the evening’s cost is only $25 a person, they consider $15 of that a donation. That’s the best $10 dinner I ever expect to have. You’ll relish the homemade beans, barbecued tri-tip, potato salad, green salad, bread and a grand selection of homemade desserts. Plenty of other folks agree it’s the best meal going, so be sure to get up to the firehouse between 7 and 9 p.m. for your dinner and then work it off by dancing until midnight. Local beers on tap, and local wines abound, with a bar for those who prefer a stronger hooch. Again, keep dancing until closing so your walk or ride home is accomplished safely.

303 calls for help

The silent auction is one of the best around, with more than 200 items, with a total value over $15,000. Bidding lots include fine wines, restaurants, trips, schools, classes, B&Bs and much more.

If you’d like to donate a service or merchandise to the auction, call the firehouse soon at 996-9266. For your donation, you’ll receive two tickets to the event and help raise funds to support our Glen Ellen community firefighters.

In fact, this whole evening is one of the firefighters’ major fundraisers. Do they matter to us? You betcha they do, and in more ways than you might imagine. Last year, our Glen Ellen Fire Department responded to 303 calls for help, and not just cats up a tree or dogs wandering loose. There were 162 medical emergencies, 33 automobile accidents, 15 home and business fires, 14 grass and brush fires, and a whole lot more. They save lives and they save property and they spend endless hours training to do that. Theirs is a gift beyond measure. A small way to show your appreciation is with a donation.

For dinner/dance tickets send your check, $25 for each person, to Glen Ellen Firefighters Association, 13445 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen, CA 95442, same location as the dance. If you are feeling flush this season, add a few dollars more as a token of your gratitude. Early responses for dance tickets help with the planning and you get added to the door prize drawing, too.

To motivate you to respond now, view the photo gallery of past dances on their website, glenellenfire.org. Check out that 1933 wood type poster there, too.

Retired in revelry

One event where you won’t find me is the “Revelry in Retirement.” Believe me, if I qualified, I’d be there. Yep, I’m retired, yep, I love a bit of revelry, but, as organizer Teresa Murphy tells me, this is for former SDC employees.

Here’s Teresa’s good news: “The 4th Revelry in Retirement gathering for DDS/SDC retirees will be on Wednesday, Aug. 6, at the hospitable La Casa Restaurant on the Sonoma Plaza. This is a very casual gathering of former SDC folks who wish to enjoy and celebrate their heritage as Department of Developmental Services employees. All are welcome to come, but please email Teresa at glenellencav@comcast.net with a name and number in your party … Ya never know who will pop up, so join us for the afternoon at 1 p.m. for the social hour and lunch off the menu at 2 p.m.” Teresa sends “special gratitude  to La Casa for providing a welcoming environment to all us oldsters of SDC.”

Norwegian, Spanish and Italian

Heloisa Heinen sends news of another great opportunity for folks in Glen Ellen, but you need to respond to her soon. Educational Homestay Programs, a nonprofit organization, is seeking interested families to host 85 Norwegian, Spanish and Italian high school students arriving in Sonoma County (including Glen Ellen) June 25 – July 21 for a 3½-week Northern California experience. We still need homes for some of them, who are dreaming about coming to our area to live with a host family. Students are bused to Sonoma Academy for morning English language classes and organized cultural activities, Monday through Friday. Make a lasting impact on a young person’s life by opening your home and heart to one of our students. Students do not need their own room. A network of host families is developing to coordinate summer time gatherings to heighten the cultural exchange and community experience these programs create.

For more information, please contact local program leader Heloisa Heinen at 504-994-4159 or email her at heloisaheinenef@gmail.com. To learn more about EF Homestay Programs, find its website at ef.edu/ehp.

Want to see your own name in the news? Call or write me at 707 996-5995 or P.O. Box 518, GE 95442. Or email me at Creekbottom@earthlink.net. Glen Ellen chatter rarely requires timeliness; however, if your news does, please be sure to contact me at least two weeks before your desired publication date.