History

This section is designed as a resource for Board Members and Committee Chairs, as well as for OCM “Old Timers” who want to reminisce about old friends and fun times.

Who Did What When?

OCM has been served by our wonderful member volunteers who generously gave their time and talents for the benefit of the group. Click on the links below for details:

 Down Memory Lane

The following are from articles written for the Oracle by Art Mattson, OCM’s first President, who now serves as the group’s Historian. Click on the links below to read each article:

 

OCM… How We Began

 The Beginnings of Orange County Mensa

 by Art Mattson

Orange County Mensa began independent operations on April 1, 1980. Prior to that date, OCM was an independent group that chose to be affiliated with Greater Los Angeles Area Mensa (GLAAM); twice we attempted to operate independently but were unable to sustain operations. The Oracle was conceived and was first published during one of those early beginnings.

From 1973 until 1979, Nina Brazelton served as our Area Representative on the GLAAM Board of Directors. Nina arranged a monthly Open House and sometimes a Happy Hour, too. We usually had one or two other events scheduled in Orange County as well. Nina vacationed away from Orange County each summer, with the result that we were essentially dark for three months.

In 1979, Tanya Crouch was elected as our Area Rep. At one of Tanya’s first meeings, she appointed an Area Treasurer; thus began my Mensa career. I was given charge of something like $60.61.

Together with Sandra Rosenthal, who had become our Area Delegate the year before, Tanya began the dialogue that culminated in Orange County Mensa once again operating independently from GLAAM.

A ballot was published in the August, 1979 Lament (GLAAM’s newsletter) — for use only by members residing in Orange County — to determine whether we should indeed declare our independence. The vote was in favor by something like 47 – 21. Our independence date was established as April 1, 1980, and we have commemorated our anniversaries from that date.

Ray Bradbury

The late science fiction writer Ray Bradbury (left) was the guest speaker at the OCM Anniversary Dinner on April 1, 1982. Also pictured are Nikki Deal (no longer of Orange County) and Art Mattson (right)

Sandra Rosenthal was our first editor. Several times, she and I put The Oracle out ourselves, but we usually had the help of Bob Swanson, and sometimes Franci Taylor, Karol HawnNancy Anger and one or two others. It was only 1980, but it seems like the dark ages now. We did not have the benefit of computers, much less e-mail, page layout programs, and digital photography. Everything was typed, and corrections were very difficult. Press lettering was fun for a time or two, but got old fast!

Before we were a year old, our crack debating team of Joe Perel, Franci Taylor, and David Lubman defeated the two-time defending national JC champions from Orange Coast College in The Great Unicorn Debate. Orchestrated by Bill Harvey, the event drew an audience of between 150 and 200 (including reporters from the LA Times, theRegister, the Daily Pilot, and a crew from KOCE Channel 50). Our side settled the question “Do unicorns exist?” by producing living proof, when Ann Harvey led a “unicorn” across the stage as OCC’s final debater spoke in vain. (The “unicorn” was a donkey with a horn attached.)

During that first year, we increased our membership significantly, and added many more activities to the Calendar. Before the year was out, we appointed Franci Taylor to chair our first RG, scheduled for July, 1981.

Enthusiasm was everywhere!