Gordy in Switzerland

Gordon (“Gordy”) Hardey, manager of Jeannine’s on Coast Village Road and upper State Street is off to Switzerland … for a year … to study… cooking … at a culinary institute near Lake Lucerne! Which may come as a surprise to regular customers who have only seen Gordy frantically busing tables, changing specials, running the cash register, training new employees, taking out the garbage, and whatever else an owner-manager of a busy popular eatery would do. That he is in Switzerland, however, would come as no surprise to anyone that knows Gordy’s background and/or history.

As a high school student, Gordy was elected governor of Boys’ State (chosen from among over two-thousand high-school students), and consequently met George Deukmejian, who was governor of California at the time. After high school, Gordy attended Claremont, majored in Political Science, and became an intern at the the White House, assigned to President Reagan’s personal staff. Gordy’s position required him to tackle advance planning, and required his team to have several private meetings with Reagan. While in high school Hardey studied in Italy, where he learned to speak Italian. He developed a fondness for travel and later served as an American Field Service representative in Nairobi, Kenya for six months. During college, he chose to attend Beijing University in order to study Chinese, but decided he would rather learn Japanese and enrolled in Sophia University in Tokyo, where he spent two and a half years and where he became fluent in Japanese. Gordy found work with a Japanese company and was stationed in New York, spending, “half his life in an airplane,” according to his dad, Gordon Hardey Sr., the former owner of Sunset Realty and Prudential California Realty, and co-owner of Jeannine’s with his wife, a former teacher at Roosevelt Elementary School, Eleanor.

Mr. Hardey Sr., observes (during a short telephone conversation) that working in New York and all that flying “burned [Gordy] out after nine years, and he decided to come back to Santa Barbara and join his mother at Jeannine’s and become a partner in the business.” Gordy is now general manager of both stores, the Gelsen’s outlet, and the bakery warehouse in Carpinteria (the same building where Pritikin once made its cheesecakes). “He took charge of the bakery, and he wanted to learn more about baking,” Mr. Hardey says in explanation of why his son is in Switzerland. “We’re now starting to realize that our business is getting so large we need to have more controls,” he concludes. So, Gordy is studying cost analysis, production, and other things, including the German language. Gordy expects to graduate from culinary school in March (it’s an abbreviated session), but in order to graduate, he must serve as an intern at a five-star hotel for three months, and speak fluent German.

“Then he’ll be certified and then, maybe, he’ll come home to the bakery,” Hardey Sr. says with more than just a soupcon of optimism.

No Barbecue for Julian

While most of us were busy stoking up the grills for Labor Day barbecues (and adding more than our allotted portion of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere), scientist and world-renowned high-altitude balloonist Julian Nott had to leave his comfortable lair on Santa Barbara’s Riviera to join a NASA project to observe what he says was “a very rare meteor shower” from high altitude. Julian is Brit-born, but his wife, Anne Luther, is an all-American girl who moved to Santa Barbara from the East Coast to help open Bacara Resort. She owns Anne Luther Antiques and sells through the Summerland Antique Collective, Whimsy in Carpinteria, and the Antique Center in Goleta.

But, back to Julian: “The meteors are of great scientific interest and may provide insight into the formation of the solar system and the very basis of our existence,” he writes via e-mail while flying at 47,000 feet off the coast of California.

“Even though I became involved because of my work with high altitude scientific balloons,” Mr. Nott muses, “these observations are being made not with balloons, but in two Gulfstream jets” (lent by Silicon Valley Internet billionaires, who wish to remain anonymous, for the project).

Julian then waxes poetic: “In 'Spirit of Saint Louis,' Lindbergh wrote ‘Science, freedom, beauty, adventure. What more could you ask of life? Aviation combined all the elements I loved.’ These words are an equally perfect description of this flight. Science of course, freedom to fly high above other air traffic, an extraordinary view of San Francisco from 47,000 feet in the middle of the night, a magic sunrise on the way back over the Pacific, and most of all, beautiful meteors showering down all around the plane.”

We spoke with Julian by telephone when he returned, and although he quipped that, “It’s great to have both feet back on mother Earth,” he almost immediately took that back, saying that he loved the trip and the project. “I loved it because in a lot of cases,” he said, “it’s best to send instruments up on unmanned flights, but this was a case of where it was best to have sent people.”

On board, Julian operated two different cameras, one of which was a “Cool CCD Astronomical camera.” He took simultaneous pictures of the meteors – “about 7,000 to 8,000 pictures,” he says, explaining that it will take “a little bit of time to go through them.” The cameras are equipped with what is called a diffraction grating that splits light into different colors and which will help determine the makeup of the meteors.

Julian forwarded a series of photographs taken of various meteors and says they represent “magic to scientists.” Unfortunately, they are too dim for newspaper reproduction. “Meteors,” he explains, “occur as grains of dust burn up as they hit the atmosphere. This particular dust is thought to have existed unchanged since the formation of the solar system over four billion years ago. It will take time to analyze but even on brief examination there are some interesting results.” Although “It will be months before it all gets deciphered,” Julian is upbeat about what he and the team are likely to discover.

A Tatami Room Of One’s Own

Noted photographer (and former Montecito resident) Larry Dale Gordon (“The Marlboro Man”) is moving his lower East Side studio and is looking to sell a custom-built authentic 9’ x 9’ Tatami Room.

Larry’s wife, Corinna Gordon (she of Spenderella Jewelry fame at Saks Fifth Avenue) says the room “would make a sensational meditation spot for someone. It is beautifully and authentically constructed by a master carpenter,” she adds, “and has beautiful antique pieces inside.”

Larry had the structure built on a raised platform so he could store files, photographs, negatives, and other goods underneath. The platform can be removed so that the room sits on the floor, but that would mean losing the antique wooden Tansu steps that lead up to it.

We didn’t get a price, but if you are interested, you can contact Larry directly at 805-624-6466.

Team Village Properties

Saturday afternoon, August 25, “Team Village Properties” – made up of athletic real-estate agents Cara M. Gamberdella, Sue McDonald, Kristy White, and Village Properties co-owner Renee Grubb – raised over $10,000 by finishing either the long or short Santa Barbara Triathlon course, consisting of swimming, running, and bicycling.

The Village Properties Teacher’s Fund is a five-year-old non-profit that donates 100% of whatever money it raises directly to local elementary and middle-school teachers to help them purchase items like pens, pencils, copy paper, computers, outdoor garden projects, and even playground equipment. To date over $360,000 has been donated to an estimated 878 different classrooms.

Last year, with the help of the Orfalea Family Foundation, Village Properties was able to extend its mission to include middle schoolers, and this year, again with the help of the Orfalea Foundation, all elementary schools in Santa Barbara County – from Carpinteria to Santa Maria – are now eligible for funds. Any teacher in any of those grades can apply, and “no amount is too small and there is no limit to the number of requests submitted per teacher,” says Ms Grubb. A copy of the form is available online at www.teachersfund.org/form.htm.

The Fund is always on the lookout for volunteers and donations. “It’s very easy for the community to get involved,” says Ed Edick, co-founder of the Teacher’s Fund, and co-owner of Village Properties Realtors. “We would love to have you involved. The teachers need you, and the students really appreciate everything they’ve gotten from the community.”

More information about the Teacher’s Fund can be found at www.teachersfund.org.