As we approach the holiday season, thoughts of home and fond memories of years gone by seem to stream through our consciousness. I had a heart warming down home feeling as a guest at the recent dedication of the ICU Waiting Room in East Orange General Hospital. I accompanied my childhood friend Dionne Warwick there to an afternoon affair filled with pride and appreciation. Where the waiting room name was officially changed in honor of Delia "Dee Dee" Warrick, Dionne's deceased sister.
We were greeted and treated to a delightful champagne reception. Cissy Houston along with close family and friends reminisced about Dee Dee prior to the ceremony. I was very touched by so many hometown friends who now are in positions of such high esteem. An air of professionalism and compassion permeated the event.
Hospital administrators Dr. Antoinette Williams and Tony Hall left no stone unturned. Long time associates, Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver and Mayor Robert Bowser made presentations and remarks that were touching and heartfelt, representing the communities appreciation for the contributions made by Dee Dee and the members of her famous musical family.
East Orange Council members included William Holt a former classmate of Dionne's. Chaplin, Rev. Arnold Fox expressed spiritual love and demonstrated extraordinary attention and caring during the families watch over their loved one. Attending nurses also marveled at the close relationship between the ailing and the caring sisters.
The afternoon included a delightful performance by the Dionne Warwick School Choir. A school song penned to the melody of " Do you know the way to San Jose" and "What the World needs Now is love" brought the audience to their feet. Choir director Jean James and Principal, Gloria Watson can be proud of the students superb performance, behavior and appearance. Kudos to Pres. and CEO Kevin Slavin; his sensitivity to the needs of the community are paired with his respect and acknowledgment of those both past and present who make the town of East Orange so special.