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On the Town: Records, photos and memorabilia from Oakmont League to be digitized for future generations

On the Town: Records, photos and memorabilia from Oakmont League to be digitized for future generations
Glendale Community College student Isabelle Fishman takes digital shots of a silver candelabra, part of Oakmont League member memorabilia. (Ruth Sowby Rands / Glendale News-Press)

The Oakmont League is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, and it will have the documents to prove it.

A kickoff luncheon meeting on March 27 began a project to digitize records, photographs and various memorabilia from league members by students from Glendale Community College.

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The materials will be preserved in an archive that will be donated to UCLA. Also part of the preservation will be digitized oral histories by league members also to be taken by Glendale Community College students. They are in a class taught by Robyn Fishman, who was at the league meeting with her students.

Thirty league members gathered at the Oakmont Country Club, excited that 80 years of the club’s rich history in Glendale will be forever preserved. Allison Weir, league president, introduced Fishman, who is a professor of women’s studies at the college.

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She said one group of students will take the digitized photos. Another group of about 40 students began preliminary interviews with league members after lunch.

The next portion of oral histories will consist of in-depth, individual interviews taken over the next six weeks.

Pam Sorem, league treasurer, brought out the original charter and constitution of the Oakmont League. Those documents will be digitized, and she said she would be interviewed about them.

League sustaining member Shirley Johnstone said her father was the attorney who drew up the charter and signed it. Her mother-in-law, Dorothy Johnstone, was one of the original league members.

Juliann Budimir, past league historian, recalled an era during which silver candelabras, full tea sets, punch bowls and platters were used for annual past presidents’ teas.

According to Budimir, from 1940 to 1946, teas were important to the women in the club. Budimir, a Glendale resident, has been a league member for 27 years.

More league members present at the luncheon meeting were Mary Kay Prather, corresponding secretary; Alma Tycer, sustaining member; Lydia Brown-Trout, past president; and Jackie Kubel, recording secretary. All are Glendale residents.

Toward the end of the meeting, Weir acknowledged the recent passing and memorial of longtime league member Jeraldine Saunders. The television series “Love Boat” was based on Saunders’ career as the first female cruise director. Just before her death, Saunders had started writing a Broadway version of the show. Always glamorous, “She added sparkle to our events,” Weir said.

After lunch, the rest of Fishman’s students arrived ready to preserve the memories of some remarkable women.

Grandview Library in Glendale reopened with a flourish recently. The library’s focus is now from a kid’s point of view, with children’s technology-focused stations within an open-floor design.

Joining Elephant and Piggie at Grandview Library's reopening are, from left, Mayor Zareh Sinanyan, and City Councilmembers Paula Devine and Vreg Agajanian.
Joining Elephant and Piggie at Grandview Library's reopening are, from left, Mayor Zareh Sinanyan, and City Councilmembers Paula Devine and Vreg Agajanian. (Ruth Sowby Rands / Glendale News-Press)

On April 1, city officials gathered to celebrate the child-oriented changes. Attending were then-Mayor Zareh Sinanyan, City Council members Vreg Agajanian, Vartan Gharpetian and Paula Devine; Glendale Police Chief Carl Povilaitis, and Glendale Community College Supt./President David Viar with his wife, Jane, who is a Glendale Library Foundation board member.

Also present was Armineh Alexan, principal of Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, located just across the street from the library.

The mayor and other City Council members spoke briefly before library staff, dignitaries, a smattering of parents and the fourth- and fifth-grade classes of Thomas Jefferson Elementary School. Devine emphasized that, contrary to public opinion, “Libraries are not dead.”

Surrounded by celebratory balloons, Mayor Zareh Sinanyan speaks at the reopening.
Surrounded by celebratory balloons, Mayor Zareh Sinanyan speaks at the reopening. (Ruth Sowby Rands / Glendale News-Press)

Nikki Winslow, assistant director of library arts and culture, described the library as “reimagined.” She pointed out the new “STEAMSpace,” an area focused on 3D printing, robotic kits, audio recording and technological games. (“STEAM” is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math.)

The library originally opened in 1963 at its current location, 1535 Fifth St., Glendale. Renovations began in 2017.

Ruth Sowby Rands may be reached at ruthasowby@gmail.com.

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