Kibbitzing with Caplan

Lois Caplan

MY FRIEND SUE SHEAR was a gutsy woman. To prove the point, Sue was recruited to run for the state legislature by the National Women’s Political Caucus of Metro St. Louis and she won.  I am told that Sue’s presence in the legislature actually changed that atmosphere from a cigar-smoking gathering of politicos to more serious, hardworking legislators. The caucus, FYI, is a multi-partisan organization that has been endorsing progressive women candidates since it was founded in 1971, the year Sue was elected. I need to digress here to tell you that my very good friend, Gwen Giles was the first African American elected to the State Senate, thanks to the caucus.

On March 8, more than 120 women who have run for the legislature will be recognized at the Gutsy Women’s Gala sponsored by the National Women’s Caucus of Metro St. Louis. It will be held at 12:30 p.m. at the Probstein Clubhouse in Forest Park, 6141 Lagoon Drive. Reservations at $75 per person may be made at or contact Renee Marver at [email protected]

Susan Block, first President of the St. Louis Caucus told me, “We’ve had many gutsy women break political glass ceilings in Missouri. Funds raised at this celebration will be used by the caucus to help other women continue this legacy of women stepping up to candidacy.” 

Block, a retired St. Louis County Circuit Judge and now a lawyer in private practice, will give remarks about the group’s formation.

The after-lunch program is to be emceed by Bonita Cornute, Channel 2 consumer investigator, and there will be musical entertainment by Michele Isam, Karen Colletti and Connie Fairchild whose special songs will include “Together Wherever We Go.” Very appropriate, don’t you think?

ONE OF MY FAVORITE EVENTS is the Spring Art Fair at Queeny Park, 550 Weidman Road. in the Greensfelder Recreation Center. This show is now in its 37th year and gets better all the time as juried artists both local and from across the country exhibit their original works ranging from printmaking, ceramics, photography, sculpture, jewelry and painting.  You will find the works of 130 selected, juried artists. Mark your calendars now – Friday, April 10 through Sunday, April 12.

ONE OF THE BEST THINGS about writing this column is that I learn something new with each issue. I fervently hope I can say the same about my readers. Today’s lesson is about Rett Syndrome, a genetic neurological disorder that occurs almost exclusively in females and becomes apparent after six to 18 months of early normal development. It results in a regression that leads to lifelong impairments, including loss of speech, seizures, scoliosis and the ability to walk.  The gene that causes Rett Syndrome was discovered in 1999. Human clinical trials began in Boston in 2010 to improve and possibly reverse the disorder’s progression.

The Rett Syndrome Foundation is hosting its eighth annual St. Louis Strollathon on Saturday, May 2. I know that the one-mile family-friendly stroll is a long way off, but you can practice your strolling, maybe even in Tilles Park, where the Strollathon will be held.  All proceeds will benefit Rett Syndrome research.

Joyce Opinsky, whose daughter has this disorder, is chairperson of the Strollathon.  All proceeds will go to Rett Syndrome research, which is currently focusing on multiple disease-modifying human clinical trials. To join the Strollathon just show up at 9 a.m. at Tilles Park Gloria Rogers Shelter where there will be a visit from Fredbird, entertainment and food. Strolling starts at 10 a.m.

THE ANCIENT SYNAGOGUE and the Colossus of Rhodes, Greece. Jews were a part of the 2,000-year history of the people of Rhodes from the third century BCE. At 7 p.m. Monday, March 16 at Central Reform Congregation, 5020 Waterman Boulevard, Professor Richard A. Freund, Director of the Maurice Goldberg Center for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford, will discuss the history of the Jews of Rhodes, their disappearance and the mystery of what happened to the Colossus of Rhodes. Freund, who recently returned from the university’s excavations project in Rhodes, claims that the destruction of Rhodes Jewry and the destruction of the ancient Colossus of Rhodes are linked. 

My interest in Rhodes and the Colossus goes back to the Middle Ages when I was a student at Washington University studying art and archeology with Professor George Mylonas who had developed an outstanding reputation as the archeologist in charge of excavation at Mycenae. The lecture is free and open to the public. There  will be a reception following the lecture to meet the speaker.