President: Ann Arabian   Editor: Charlotte Ruffner

September 2020 Newsletter

President's Message

It’s September, the start of my favorite season.  Fall may look a little different this year, but its pleasures should be just as we remember.  A chilly bite in the morning air.  The coziness of oversized sweaters. The fun of changing our d├ęcor.  The smell of apple cinnamon cobbler. The exhilaration of raking leaves.  The glorious sight of vineyards magically changing colors.  

As Newcomers, we can also look forward to social distance gatherings this Fall.   My three dining groups meet once a month in members’ backyards.  We all agree that these gatherings feed our souls in ways we never thought possible.  We feel renewed, refreshed, and thankful as we share this special time together.  One topic we often talk about is cleaning!  I’ve heard tales of items presumed lost and of special treasures unearthed since the pandemic began. Here are some stories from our members that may give you a smile: 

  • My pandemic treasure is a ring that I completely forgot I had. Truly the ugliest thing ever, but it was my mom’s!
  • I opened the box that has held my wedding dress and wore it for our 25th anniversary dinner. 
  • I found the cameo brooch my grandmother gave me before she passed.  Finding it brought back memories of my Granny, all dressed up in her suit with the cameo pinned to the neck of her blouse, wearing white gloves as we headed downtown for lunch at Blum's and shopping at I. Magnin. 
  • I’m not sure it’s a treasure, but I unearthed 12 pounds!
  • I found a favorite earring that I thought I had lost but discovered it behind a dresser while cleaning. Of course, the other “treasures” were way too many cobwebs!
  • It’s been such a joy going down memory lane as I pour through boxes of photos that have been sitting in the basement for 50 years.  There are family photos of my parents and grandparents as well as photographs of my siblings and me growing up, and the birth of my daughter and her life ... now with her own children.
  • While cleaning out a deep dark cabinet, I found my ‘grabber’ that had been missing for years. You can’t believe all the uses I’ve found for it! I’m not sure how I functioned without it.   
  • I found a ceramic plate my daughter had bought for me. I thought I had lost or broken it when I moved. I was thrilled to find it in the closet, buried under a lot of junk!
  • I discovered a LOT of little things behind my dryer… the winner being my favorite stain remover, Kiss Off, just in time to remove some salad dressing that had splattered on my linen top.  
  • I found a Portuguese rooster wine stopper that brought back fine memories.  The rooster is a symbol of faith and justice based on the story of a pilgrim who was accused of stealing silver, and who told the judge that the roast chicken he (the judge) was about to eat would stand up and crow if he was innocent of the crime (which he was)!
  • I found the bottom of my closet again!

The treasure that I’ve unearthed since the pandemic began is a dear friend!  In 1984, Susan Walker and I were United Airlines flight attendants living on the Peninsula.  One evening we drove to San Francisco for dinner at Prego’s, and as we waited for a table at the bar, in walked my future husband. Precisely 6 months later, George proposed. We’ve always considered Susan our good luck charm and mention her every year on our anniversary. I lost track of Susan in 1989 and tried over the years to find her, always coming up empty-handed.  Then, a month ago, she called!  I was beyond thrilled to learn that she and her husband had recently moved to Sonoma.  We’ve had such fun catching up, and one of the best parts is that Susan is excited to become a member of SVNC!  

No wonder I love Fall.  It truly is a time of remembering, refreshing, and renewing in so many ways.  Here’s to enjoying this special time of year!  


Membership News


As of August 25th, 2020, we have 371 members.

There are no new members to report.  Ann Arabian and I are planning a socially distanced Prospective Member Coffee on the Sonoma Plaza in mid September.  Hopefully, we’ll have some new members to announce in the October Newsletter!

Please stay safe and healthy!  


Dining Activities

Hopeful that weather and air quality will cooperate so you will be able to continue supporting Sonoma Al Fresco.  Whether you are with a Newcomer group, a family group, or a group of friends, be smart and stay safe.


Social Activities

As we all continue to exercise safety in our social encounters, a few groups are meeting online via zoom, including some of the book groups. On occasion, a pop up hike has happened, and a couple of groups have met outside with safe distance.

Get in touch with me, if you are interested in any of the Newcomer activity groups —I can be reached at


Saying Goodbye

It is difficult to mourn a friend during a pandemic.  Information about funeral and memorial services, if any, are limited to a few close family members and friends.  There is no hugging one another for support during the grieving process.  Indeed it is a hard time to say good bye.

At the August 2020 Newcomers Board meeting, the Board voted to make a donation to F.i.S.H. In DJ’s honor.


“In loving memory of Newcomer and board member, DJ Johnson, SVNC has sent a $200 contribution to ‘Friends in Sonoma Helping’ (F.i.S.H.),  an all-volunteer organization that provides basic human services for Sonoma Valley residents in need.”

Volunteer Opportunity for Newcomers

To Newcomers looking to give back to the community,

The events of the past few months have been unprecedented.  Now more than ever our senior community needs support!

To date Vintage House Staff and volunteers have been working to provide assistance by grocery shopping, picking up prescriptions, delivering meals, and making daily welfare calls.  To those of you who have been volunteering, we extend a HUGE thank you.  We continue to look for opportunities to support our senior population stay healthy and safe.  

Our current needs are as follows:

Grocery Shopping and Prescription Pick-up and Delivery (under age 65 only please) - Shop when you are available! (evenings and weekends are a possibility).

Meal Delivery - Monday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons at noon.

Food Basket Delivery - one Tuesday per month at 10:00 am.

Care Calls - daily phone calls to isolated seniors, generally in the morning, or early afternoon; can be done from home.

myRide Drivers (when we can safely resume this program) - drive seniors to appointments, classes, and errands. 

Special Events - occasionally, as needed, opportunities will vary.

Please respond and let us know of your interest and availability for any  of the above opportunities and we will be happy to provide you with complete details.  Our greatest need now is for grocery shoppers.

Thank you for helping Vintage House navigate this "new normal."  We appreciate your willingness to help our senior community remain strong, hopeful and encouraged.


Denise Wilbanks

Transportation Coordinator

Susan Holzer

Community Resource Coordinator

Newcomers in the News

                                        Photo by Robbi Pengelly / Index-Tribune

In case you missed it Newcomer Bonnie Walner was front page news in the Sonoma Index Tribune on August 18.

Bonnie says that because of the constraints of the Covid-19 Pandemic, more and more Sonomans are changing their design priorities from inside the house to the backyard.  As a result, Bonnie and other area designers are creating more livable, comfortable spaces in the backyard.  Click on the link to read about Bonnie and check out the many photos of her beautiful garden.  You can also look at Bonnie's website:  Congratulations Bonnie! 

 Index Tribune Article 

Let’s Listen to Some Favorites


Waters of March

Here are two favorite songs: Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen and Waters of March by Elis Regina and Tom Jobim.  If you have a favorite song or two that you would like to share In the October issue, please feel free to send them to the Newsletter Editor, Charlotte Ruffner at


Let’s Go to Transcendence Theater Company

Due to COVID-19, Transcendence is unable to hold performances at Jack London State Historic Park this Summer.  However, they are thrilled to present a virtual Gala Celebration.

Eight years of sensational performance footage has been weaved into an amazing virtual concert to be shown at no charge. Located at  Reserve your shows and you will be sent a link to watch on your computer.

SHOW TIMES September 11-13

7:00 p.m. (PST) Pre Show | 7:30 p.m. (PST) Showtime

Saturday and Sunday
1:30p.m. (PST) Pre Show | 2:00 p.m. (PST) Showtime
7:00 p.m. (PST) Pre Show | 7:30 p.m. (PST) Showtime

For more Info and to reserve your “seat” click on the button:

Best Night Ever

The Candlestick Bids Sonoma Plaza Farewell

The whimsical and fun shop, “the Candlestick” is going out of business because of the pandemic.  Dan the Candle man has been in the historic shop located at 38 West Spain Street for many years. Originally established in Sausalito in 1957, Dan is Calling it quits after 63 years.  Stop by during the months September and October to say good bye and to pick up some bargains— every thing in the store is 50% off.  Dan will be restocking his shelves this month with Christmas items.  So get a jump on your holiday shopping.  In the past, Candlestick has supported Sonoma Valley Newcomers by donating items to our silent auctions. Thank you, Dan.  Your lovely store will be missed.

Candlestick is open Thursdays through Sundays.

Save the Date

October 15th - 5:00 pm

 a Zoom Wine Tasting Event with Count Haraszthy at Buena Vista Winery

A Zoom Event with the Count

Thursday, October 15, at 5:00 pm

This Special Zoom event will be limited to 30 people and benefits the Sonoma Valley Historical Society.  Admission to the event is a $100 donation to the Historical Society.  Included in the price of admission is a bottle of Merlot from Buena Vista winery, cheese, crackers, two logo wine glasses and other goodies from Sonoma, all of which will be delivered to your doorstep the day of or before the event.  

in addition to the wine tasting, you’ll be able to talk to Count Haraszthy (played by George Webber) and hear all about a beautiful Ferenc Daday painting that Is housed at Buena Vista winery on loan from the Sonoma Valley Historical Society.

If you would like to reserve a spot at this truly un event, pease email me at  Remember the event is limited to 30 guests and Newcomers are the first to be invited!

Charlotte Ruffner

Board Member, Sonoma Valley Historical Society

From the Desk of Past President,

Maria Campbell

See the video below from a Ted talk.  It just confirms how important gatherings with SV Newcomers are so important to our well-being and longevity!!


Importance of Social Interaction

Dear California Voter, 

The General Election is around the corner:  November 3, 2020!

All California voters will be sent a vote-by-mail ballot with prepaid postage for the General Election.

To make sure you get your ballot, we are asking all California voters to double-check their voter registration at:

Voter Status

You can ensure a smooth voting experience by:

  • Confirming your mailing address
  • Signing up for ballot tracking notifications 

For voters unable to take advantage of vote-by-mail, you can still visit your local polling place for safe in-person voting and same-day registration.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to have your ballot mailed directly to your home!

On behalf of the California Secretary of State’s Office, thank you!

P.S. Help us spread the word! Forward this email to 3 friends or family members and remind them it’s important to double-check their voter registration before the November election. Do you know Someone who is eligible to vote but may not be registered?  Forward this email and tell them to register at

The Sonoma Valley Newcomers Club is here to help you form friendships as you ease into your new life. 
By offering an array of activities in a group setting, our hope is that you can 
meet other women who share your interests.

"Sonoma Valley Newcomers Club" is a 501(c)7 non-profit organization. Wild Apricot Customization by POP.

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