A 21st birthday party to remember


SEEN ON THE SCENE: Elizabeth "Liz" Townsend Derby celebrated her 21st birthday last Tuesday at a wonderful party given by her mom, Elizabeth Derby, Steve Miller, mom's fiance and the construction manager who's building the Children's House at Hopkins, and Dr. and Mrs. Lou Miller and their son Steve. Liz, a senior at Tulane University, greeted more than 70 guests, all of whom have played some part in her young life.

Among those chatting with Liz were Randy and Ned Wight, he owns Sterling Chemicals, and their sons, Clark and Ted; Barbara Foster, an attorney; Ed and Maggie Furman, Fullerton Supply Co. owner -- she's a potter whose work has been exhibited at the National Gallery; Paul and Arlene Bekman, he's an attorney; Dr. Hammond Dugan, who has just taken over as head of pediatrics at Prince George's Hospital, and his wife, Bunny, 1991 chair of the Opera Ball, and Dr. Annie Bestebreurtje, both of those doctors were Liz's pediatricians; Graham Menzies, a Gilman teacher who gave Liz her first car; a charming Mrs. John Fisher, Liz's surrogate grandmother; Ann and Harvey Clapp, Cafe des Artistes owners; Tina and Butch Darrell, he taught Liz at Garrison Forest School; and Alice Orr, an expert on cruising at Cruises Only, who cruised Liz's mom up and down bumpy roads to hasten the blessed event.

The appetizers were divine, thanks to J.T. Zimmerman and his wife, Stephanie, of Culinary Jules caterers, who served wonderful Cajun shrimp, crab meat in mushroom caps and garlicky mussels. Dinner, however, was prepared by Elizabeth and the Millers, and included yummy gnocchi and pesto, tomatoes and basil, pork tenderloin in Marsala sauce, cold salmon and aromatic veggies in tarragon sauce.

Others enjoying the good food and conversation were Tom and Ann Bailliere, Robert Black and son Robby, Dick Gatchell and son Richard, Jeremy Miller, Sibby and Dixon Gibbs, Dr. Jim Weiss and his daughter Lisa, Sharon and Hill Michaels, Debbie Callard, Rosie Healy, Lindsay Beetson and Matt and Sue Dillon.

HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE: If you like the food at the Center Club, you're certain to like The Orchid Restaurant on Charles Street. I understand that Chef Richard Wong, who has owned The Orchid Restaurant for seven years, did some of the cooking at the Center Club for about 18 months, before returning to his own kitchen last year. The Orchid features French and Asian cooking that is good and good-looking. Oh yes, the man who greets you, Rick Williams, is also a former Center Club employee.

Vera Schell was wined and dined in style at her retirement party last week. Schell retired as an administrative secretary at the Baltimore City Jail, where she had worked for 42 years.

Congratulations to Lt. Commander (ret.) of the Royal Navy Roy Birch, who was made an Honorary Colonel of the Fort McHenry Guard at a Tattoo Ceremony recently. We've come a long way, baby.

More than 100 members of the Benjamin-Rogers family will be in Baltimore next weekend (July 19-21) for their annual reunion. Activities include a banquet, which will honor Geneva Turner, oldest living descendant, and Daisy West, the descendant who has done the most to keep up with the family lineage. On Sunday, they're having a family picnic at the home of the Rev. Carroll Johnson. Anyone in the family who hasn't heard about the reunion and would like to attend can call Natalie Joy Best at 625-4677.

JULY BIRTHDAYS: State Sen. Jack Cade, 2nd; Maryland Attorney General Joe Curran, 7th; Duke Brooks, traffic report announcer, 11th.

Our Guy Friday

NAME: Salvatore "Charlie" Grasso Sr.

WORK LIFE: 31 years at Crown Cork & Seal Co, Inc.

PASSION: Involvement. I've always been involved, politically, socially and fraternally.

CLAIM TO FAME: Chairman of this weekend's Italian Festival.

HEROES: Baltimore City Circuit Court Judge Edward J. Angeletti.

QUOTE: "If you treat people with respect, you will receive the same in return."

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