Wednesday, July 1, 2020


When Johanne Santori/MSNJSA'06 and Chairperson of Ms. NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA, INC needed a Director of Pageants, she searched for Jersey's best, and so it came to pass that she appointed Terry Meade.


Over the years, Terry's boundless energy and tireless efforts have been recognized by Ms. NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA, INC, for creating and directing  magnificent Pageants at Harrah's in Atlantic City.

She does, however, share this same energy and passion for another organization, the NEW JERSEY SHARING NETWORK.  Mark, her husband suffered a serious heart attack, and for many months, he laid in a hospital bed, waiting for a heart transplant.  Luckily his story ended happily, because the NEW JERSEY SHARING NETWORK found a matching donor.

Today, Terry and Mark, live each day, giving thanks to their anonymous donor, who upon dying, gave Mark the gift of life.  They have become one of many spokespersons for the NEW JERSEY SHARING NETWORK, and have been involved in many activities that promote the awareness of how organ and tissue transplants can save lives.  Together, they have become warriors for such a worthy cause.

Jersey's Best magazine, wrote an article about the NEW JERSEY SHARING NETWORK, entitled, "The Gift Of A Lifetime," which is featured presently in their summer edition, and can be read on line at:

 cover, courtesy Terry Meade
Terry was pleased to have been selected by the magazine to be on the cover, and recognized as one of "Jersey's Best."  The article acknowledges the many individuals who have donated lifesaving organs in 2019, yet, the need still falls short of the demand. 

The NEW JERSEY SHARING NETWORK, had planned to celebrate their 30th Anniversary, by staging the 2020 Donate Life Transplant Games later this month in New Jersey at the Meadowlands Entertainment Complex.  However, due to COVID-19, the 6 day event has been rescheduled to July 16 - 21, 2021.  The mission of the Transplant Games is "to allow people to come together to demonstrate the amazing gift of life, the miracle of transplantation, and the need for more organs."

Sunday, June 21, 2020


Sadly, the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2020 had to be cancelled earlier this month, as well as the ongoing activities of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, due to the coronavirus pandemic.  The time honored Pageant which dates back to the 1970's, has given hundreds of ladies 60 and over, a once in a lifetime opportunity to win a crown and State title, just as their younger counterparts, and the chance go further to compete for a national title as well.  For many ladies, participation in this Pageant has been a life altering experience, that has changed the way they view themselves, and how they plan to live out the rest of their lives.  This year, the dreaded COVID-19 virus has robbed many of this chance.

During these hard times, 2 ladies have emerged, who have tried to keep the ladies together.  As they were highlighted in the April issue, Norma McGhie/MSNJSA'95, and daughter Sherri/MSNJSA'15 deserve continued mention.

 photos, courtesy Sherri McGhie
Norma continues to write poetry on themes which cover current events.  One poem, in particular, she adapted new words to a popular World War II song, "When the Lights Go On Again", sung by English songstress, Vera Lyn in 1942.  The song was also recorded in America by bandleader/singer, Vaughn Monroe.  Renditions by both artists can be heard on  By permission of the author, the following are Norma's lyrics:

When days are bright again all over the world,
When good health returns again all over the world,
When Quarantines and Distancing will no longer exist,
We'll shake hands again, and maybe kiss.

When days are bright again all over the world,
And life is normal again all over the world,
We'll cherish life's little things and our hearts will sing.
When days are bright again all over the world!

When everything's right again all over the world,
And our hearts are light again all over the world,
We'll congregate, celebrate and thank God in Heav'n above.
When days are bright again all over the world!

Note: Josephine Araniti/MSNJSA'07 tweaked the poem just a little to allow the words to flow easier with the melody.  Readers are encouraged to go to the You Tube website and sing with Lyn or Monroe, using the new lyrics.  For those more independent singers, who want more of a challenge, there are karaoke versions as well.

Kudos continue to Sherri McGhie/MSNJSA'15, for sending weekly email invitations to join her Zoom meetings.  More ladies are encouraged to join her and the "regulars", every Monday evening at 7:00 PM.

Another important happening was the meeting of the new board, on Tuesday, June 16th.  The MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT has been re-established, and is now an official non-profit organization, with a slightly new name as: MS. NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA, INC.

 photos, courtesy Mark Meade
Jo Ann Gordon/MSNJSA'08 and Vice President, hosted the board meeting at her home in Brick.  Behind the masks are: Johanne Santori/MSNJSA'06 and Chairperson of the Board; Terry Meade/Director of Pageants; Denise Mechan/Director of Communications & NJCC Showcase Coordinator; Carolyn Harden/MSNJSA'17 & MSSA'17, Director of Finance; and Becky  Orsatti/MSNJSA'10, Director of Research and Development. 

The new board also took the time to celebrate members' birthdays during the hiatus.  Terry's will be in July.  So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to her and to all the "Sisters", who are having birthdays during the summer as well!

Here's wishing all the fabulous "ladies of elegance" a safe and happy summer.  If you have families nearby cherish every moment with them, even if you cannot physically embrace them.  For those ladies living alone, try not to despair.  Find ways to lift your spirit.  Here's one suggestion: try  reading/singing Norma's poem!

Wednesday, April 29, 2020


This not too "age old question", has been addressed and answered, by one special lady.  Sherri McGhie, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2015, found a way to keep the ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, connected during the 45 day government mandated nationwide self quarantine, that was enforced to fight the deadly spread of the coronavirus, or COVID-19.

 file photo
During March and April, QUEEN Sherri has been holding Zoom meetings with her "sisters" across the State.  Zoom is the video conferencing app that has soared in popularity since the coronavirous pandemic.  While the coronavirus chaos wreaks mayhem across the world, Zoom has become an essential tool for keeping people in touch and close to their family and friends.

Monday evenings between 7:00 PM and 8:00 PM is the scheduled time for the video get together, which is called the "Virtual Cocktail Hour".  The Zoom meetings are easy to join.  Sherri, who is the host, sends everyone an email invitation, which contains the day, date and time of the meeting, and the link to click on to join.  Then, you follow the instructions, and Sherri lets you in.  The meeting usually lasts for an hour, and the ladies are invited to participate anyway they wish.

photo courtesy, Carolyn Harden/MSSA2017
Each week, different ladies join in on the fun. That evening in particular, Carol Dugan/MSNJSA2011, top row, second on the right, who lives in Florida, sang.  Ferlie and Christine, friends of the CLUB, lower right hand corner, were there, as was young Caitlin Tompkins, middle row second on the right. She and Sherri set up a very helpful tutorial video about Zoom for the ladies. 

The daily updates from President Trump and his coronavirous task force, indicate that the cornonavirus pandemic will not end anytime soon.  Even though the country is starting to open up, it will be slow and measured State by State.  Also, senior citizens still need to continue with self quarantine.  It seems we ladies who live in the "age of elegance" are in this group!  Everyone has to wear facial masks, and practice social distancing when going out.

Hopefully, Sherri will continue with her weekly "Virtual Cocktail Hour", via Zoom in the weeks ahead, and that more ladies will join.  Kudos to this sweet QUEEN for this humanitarian effort.

Sunday, March 29, 2020


The month of March is usually the time when people look forward to welcoming the coming of Spring.  However, during the month, people all over the world learned about a serious disease, which is named the coronavirus, or COVID-19.  Public health officials around the world have declared an all out war to defeat this insidious disease.  In particular, United States' President Trump ordered a national 2 week quarantine for all Americans, which began on Monday March 16 and ends on Monday March 30.  Citizens were asked to stay home during this period, and not to go out unless it was absolutely necessary. 

New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy has stated frequently that, "this is no time to panic, but it's just as much no time for business as usual".  He urged Jerseyans to make the right call, if not for themselves, but for their families, friends and community, to help to stop the spread of the coronavirus. 

Schools are closed, as well as industry and non essential businesses.   The ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB have had to cancel all Showcases throughout the State for the immediate future.  Last week, it was announced that the MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT 2020, which was scheduled for Wednesday, June 3rd at Harrah's was also canceled.

Not all was doom and gloom though.  Before the national quarantine and lockdown was declared, certain events did take place.  Dr. Debra Canale, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2019,  participated in the St. Patrick's Day Parade which was held in Belmar the first weekend of March.

This photo is in sharp contrast to what she is doing these days!  As a nurse, QUEEN Debra is out there with her colleagues, working long hours, helping patients who come in with coronavirus symptoms.

Sunday, March 8th was the last Showcase of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB.  The ladies gave a stellar performance to a full house at the Monmouth County Library in Manalapan.  Little did they know that it would be their last one for the foreseeable future.

This photo was pulled out from the archives once again to show these fabulous ladies in a happier time, at the Christmas Party in December of 2019.  Although a few ladies are suffering from other illness,  happily none of the CLUB'S members have contracted the dreaded coronavirus.  As time goes by, hopefully none will.

Tomorrow is Monday, March 30th, and the end of the two week national self quarantine and lockdown.  Has this been enough to stop the spread of this silent killer, or will there be more hard times ahead?  We can use the religious phrase, "only God knows", but in this case, so do our country's leaders and scientists.  Jerseyans, as well as the rest of the nation await what tomorrow's news will bring.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020


The winter hiatus was halted in February in order to accommodate requests from two senior living facilities for a NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB SHOWCASE.  So, these fabulous ladies, troupers all, were only too happy to oblige.

The weather on Valentine's Day was picture perfect for the First NJCC SHOWCASE at Spring Oaks Assisted Living in Toms River.  The auditorium was adorned in Valentine's Day decor, and the residents were in a festive mood.

Dr. Debra Canale, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2019, opened the Showcase, and got the joint rockin' with her aerobic routine and dance.  Two male residents joined her along with some "Sisters", who can be seen in the background.

Carolyn Slade Harden, MS SENIOR AMERICA 2017,  performed one of her signature songs, "I Love Being Here With You".   Her style and grace made everyone feel welcomed, and set the tone for more great performances that followed.

Norma Mc Ghie, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 1995, has been entertaining audiences for many years since her coronation.  Her comedy routine made everyone happy.

Joan Kaplan, another long time member of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, went down memory lane, by telling stories of how much her mother loved music.  In her honor, she sang a popular WWII favorite.

The ladies and audience joined together for the finale to sing a patriotic medley.

The second NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB SHOWCASE, was at Cambridge Senior Living, in Moorestown, on February 28th.   

Another opening of another great show, as the ladies took their well deserved bow.

Although the spirit of Valentine's Day was still in the air, Denise Mechan, Showcase Coordinator, announced the theme for the day was to celebrate "All Matters of the Heart".  The purpose of the Showcase that day was to honor those club members and their their spouses who have suffered illnesses during the recent past and have survived.  The following is just a short list of brave ladies and/or their spouses.
Terry Meade, MSNJSA EXECUTIVE STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, sang "I Can't Smile Without You", to her husband Mark of 55 years.  Since receiving a new heart 11 years ago, they have become spokesmen for organ transplant awareness.

Johanne Santori, MSNJSA 2006, and MSNJSA STATE PAGEANT ADMINISTRATOR, a cancer survivor, is performing again. 

Nancy Bassett, another exceptional songstress, who underwent open heart surgery a few years ago, is living with chronic heart disease.  She was awarded a trophy from the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, for having attended the most Showcases in 2019.

Millie Tate of Linwood, is also a cancer survivor. Her humor and vitality are contagious every time she sings.  Her saucy rendition of "Big Spender", was fun to watch.

Every NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB SHOWCASE, begins with the current QUEEN, Dr. Debra Canale, MSNJSA 2019.  An accomplished gymnist, she wears tights for her routine, and ties her hair up in a pony tail.  She also closes the Showcase, and, at that time, the audience gets a chance to see how lovely she is when dressed in evening wear.  

After honoring the survivors, she invited them to the floor for a final dance.  After they started, she invited everyone else in the room to join them.

With the last note of the finale sung, the ladies clenched hands and raised their arms high over their heads, proudly proclaiming victory over their illnesses and adversities.  Kudos to all, with best wishes and good health for the 2020 performance season.

Saturday, February 1, 2020


January meant the beginning of the 2020 school year, when students returned to the traditional "three R's".  At the same time, the ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, observed several "R's" of their own.

"Relaxation and Reconnecting" was the theme for the 1st quarterly meeting on January 7th, and the perfect weather allowed the members to gather together at the Manahawkin Elks Lodge.  Each lady brought her favorite covered dish to the annual pot luck luncheon which followed the meeting

The afternoon's agenda was full of items of interest to all.  Although not in any particular order, some of the highlights included: Terry Meade, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA EXECUTIVE STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, announced the date of the 2020 PAGEANT as Wednesday, June 3rd at Harrah's, and the theme is "That's Entertainment".   Denise Mechan, COORDINATOR, NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB SHOWCASES, reported that 2019 was a very successful season, with a record number Showcases throughout the State, and thanked all the ladies for their fantastic talents and efforts.  She also announced an hiatus during the month of January, which would allow the ladies to "Recharge", and return "Rejuvinated" for the 2020 season.  Johanne Santori/MSNJSA 2006, and ADMINISTRATOR, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT", thanked everyone for their prayers and words of encouragement, as she fought a life threatening illness in 2019.  As she looks forward to further "Recovery",  she wished everyone good health in the year ahead.

 photos, courtesy Sherri McGhie
After the meeting, the fun and camaraderie began: the ladies enjoyed each others' company, and were treated to a delicious variety of covered dishes.  Millie Tate, REFRESHMENT COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN, standing on the left, did an outstanding job of coordinating the pot luck event.   She and her 3 sisters who will be celebrating their birthdays during the next 3 month were honored, and they are: Diane Deluca/MSNJSA'16; Johanne Santori/MSNJSA'06, & ADMINISTRATOR, MSNJSA PAGEANT; Renee Tompkins, member NJCC.

Besides the large assortment of sweets, Millie brought in a 3 tiered arrangement of cupcakes, and topped each  one with a candle.  YUM!

President Carole Lelli adjourned the meeting shortly before 2:00 PM, to allow the ladies to watch the Rachel Rae Show.  Three QUEENS representing the MS SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT organization, were her special guests that day.

From left to right are: Sherri McGhie/MSNJSA2015; Esmeralda Ybarra Hetrick/MSSA2019; and Nancy Witter/MSNYSA2019.

The pretaped interview showed the ladies at their homes as they prepared themselves for the day.  Each lady gave her beauty tip secrets on makeup and wardrobe.  Then Rachel Ray introduced each QUEEN to the live studio audience, and included film clips and photos from past PAGEANTS.  Sherri suggested that older women wear stylish shoes with a lower heel, and when wearing a dress, to choose a hemline that accents the best part of the leg.  Esmeralda, had more makep hints, and Nancy demonstrated the correct way of getting up from the floor safely.  Kudos to the three QUEENS who represented the MS SENIOR AMERICA PAGEANT organization excellently.

 photo, courtesy  Debra Canale
New Jersey's current QUEEN was out fullfilling her schedule of speaking engagements.  Dr. Debra Canale, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2019, was the guest speaker at Stockton University, at their annual Conference on Aging.  She spoke about the positive aspects on aging, with energy, great positivity and sense of humor.

What are the rest of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB members doing during their hiatus?  Hibernating is not one of them!  The "snowbirds" are basking in sun of some southern state or carribean island, while others are staying home, nursing some "bug".  This has been a terrible season for colds and the flu.  Some members belong to drama groups or choral societies and rehearse/perform with them, while others are still working full time jobs.

Then there are the caregivers who take care of their loved one 24/7, 365 days a year.  One caregiver, in particular, Terry Meade, needs prayers as she looks after her husband Mark, who was diagnosed with pneumonia and is currently in the hospital.  May he be restored to full health very soon!

Tuesday, December 17, 2019


Neither age nor physical malady kept these fabulous ladies of elegance, all 60 plus, from keeping their appointed shows during the holiday season which started from Thanksgiving and ended this month. 

The kickoff began at Brandall Estates, in Linwood on Thursday, November 14th.  The residents clapped enthusiastically in appreciation of the opening number.  They held their own Pageant that  day as well, and one of the residents was crowned Miss Brandall Estates. Those who received awards wore maroon sashes, and were seated in the audience.

The NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB entertained the veterans at the Manahawkin Elks Lodge on Tuesday, November 19th.  Opening ceremonies included:  the Presentation of the Flag by the New Jersey State Troopers Honor Guard,

and was followed by the National Anthem, sung by Carolyn Slade-Harden, MS SENIOR AMERICA 2017.

 NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB member Millie Tate, lead the singing with a soulful rendition of "Proud to Be An American".

  The five branches of the military were honored in a musical salute, conducted by Josephine Araniti, MSNJSA 2007 and MUSIC DIRECTOR of the Grande Dames Chorus.

The residents at Bartley Healthcare in Jackson, were treated to a great Holiday Showcase, on Thursday, December 5th, and they participated in the  Christmas sing-a-long with great gusto.

By now, you know how our Showcases always begin and end.  So, with the Monmouth Crossing Showcase, in Freehold, on December 9th, the focus is on highlighting the individual performers.

Denise Mechan/NJCC SHOWCASE COORDINATOR, was a kindergarten school teacher, and at Christmastime, she taught her children the song, "Must Be Santa".  It is a cumulative song, that has many verses describing Santa, that repeats backwards, over and over, and the kids had to remember it!  She sang it as her signature song at all the Christmas Showcases and invited the "Sisters" to sing along.   At the the last Showcase, more and more "Sisters" actually remembered a lot of the song!

 Nancy Bassett jazzed up the rhythm a bit, when she sang the popular carol, "Silent Night".

 Renee Tompkins sang a popular Christmas ballad, while Jo Ann Gordon/MSNJSA 2008 signed it.

 Santa's favorite elf, Rose Majofsky, dressed in red, and armed at the wrists with jingle bells, shimmied and shaked to a popular Christmas jingle.

As QUEEN For A Day, Jo Ann Gordon/MSNJSA 2008, entertained the audience with a Christmas favorite. 

Josephine Araniti/MSNJSA 2007, & MUSIC DIRECTOR of the Grande Dames Chorus, also sang a Christmas song called, "Mistletoe and Love".

Crestwood Manor in Whiting is always a great venue to perform at, and the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB is a frequent guest there.  The usual black evening wear was interspersed this day with festive reds and green velvet to heighten the holiday spirit.

 Becky Orsatti/MSNJSA 2010, sang a beautiful and stirring rendition of "White Christmas".

The final Showcase for 2019 was on Monday December 16th.  As expected, the ladies set the mood for the opening,

and finished with a fabulous ending.
But what about in between?   There was a Christmas sing-a-long, and great performances.  Two members in particular, deserve special mention.  Whenever Terry Meade, MSNJSA EXECUTIVE STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, performs, she always promotes her platform for organ transplants.  Dressed as a beautiful candy cane, she mimed to the song, "All I Want For Christmas is You".  At the end, she kissed her husband Mark, a heart transplant recipient of 11 years.

Another highlight of the afternoon, was a toe tapping, finger snapping, hand clapping rendition of the classic Christmas favorite "Jingle Bell Rock", joyfully sung by Jo Ann Gordon/MSNJSA 2008.

The Holiday Party is the time when the ladies gather together to celebrate the season, have a good time, and renew the bonds of  the "Sisterhood".  Many sisters came from far and near to attend the CLUB's annual event, which was held at the Clarion Hotel, on Thursday, December 12th.  Of special mention is "Sister" and friend, Bernadette Dudek/MSNJSA 2009, seated on the floor next to Jo Ann Gordon, who came all the way from South Carolina.

The evening's festivities began with a welcome from Jo Ann Gordon/MSNJSA 2008, and Chairman of the Holiday Party, followed by Carole Lelli, President/NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB, who acknowledged and thanked those members for their contributions to the CLUB this past year.  She passed the microphone back to those who then made special presentations. 

Terry Meade/MSNJSA EXECUTIVE STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, presented Josephine Araniti/MSNJSA 2007, & MUSIC DIRECTOR of the Grande Dames Chorus, the Sister of the Year trophy.

Nancy Bassett was awarded the Performer of the Year trophy by Denise Mechan, SHOWCASE COORDINATOR/NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB.

Another hightlight of the evening was the chance to win a great prize at the raffle table!

A beautiful backdrop of a crown was set up outside the banquet hall for photo ops, and members took many pictures to remember the great time they had.  Dr. Al Mott, the founder of  MS SENIOR AMERICA, INC was an honored guest, and he posed alongside Terry Meade/MSNJSA EXECUTIVE STATE PAGEANT DIRECTOR, and Johanne Santori/MSNJSA STATE PAGEANT ADMINISTRATOR.

The food was great as was the music for dancing the night away, provided by Steve and Debbie Berger.  Here is the couple leading the ladies in a popular line dance.

Meanwhile, where has New Jersey's pride and joy, Dr. Debra Canale, MS NEW JERSEY SENIOR AMERICA 2019 been?  To be sure, she has been the featured performer in the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB SHOWCASES, as can be seen in the above photos.  Dr. Debra had a schedule of her own, which included parades, with the latest one held in Atlantic City.

The annual Atlantic City Christmas Parade was held on the boardwalk, on Saturday, December 14th. Dr. Debra stopped at the casino to have a bite to eat.  She wore her new jacket which was given to her by the officers of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB at the Christmas Party a few days earlier.

Then, she took it off to model her beautiful white sequenced gown by the Christmas tree.  Oo lah lah!

And now, we know why, don't we?  Because it was so cold that she couldn't show it at the parade!  But, she wore a lovely fur coat anyway.  Looks like mink.  She and her younger counterpart, the current MS NEW JERSEY, pose as they shiver together!

That's QUEEN Debra again ... this time posing with a youth group marching band.  Thanks for including the young in your travels. 

"Fast away the old year passes ... hail the the new, ye lads and lasses"!  So the song goes.  Kudos to these fabulous ladies of the NEW JERSEY CAMEO CLUB.   May they rest secure in the knowledge of a job well done in 2019.  Enjoy the holidays and your well earned hiatus, because 2020 is just around the corner ... see you then!