During two respective events this past week, hundreds of Burbankers got a jump on celebrating the Yuletide season while others honored a woman who, during the span of her remarkable 36-year journalism career, has covered and chronicled the lives of thousands of local residents.
With the Fourth of July duly celebrated and the summer in full swing, it can only mean one thing — the women of the La Providencia Guild of Children’s' Hospital Los Angeles are deeply involved in Yuletide pride. Celebrating Christmas in July has become a tradition for guild members, who once again went all out this past Saturday in decorating their Burbank Boulevard thrift shop and offering greatly discounted deals and homemade baked goods to raise funds for Children’s Hospital.
In the shadow of a festively-adorned Christmas tree, cashiers Mary Christensen and Joan Chandler were as busy as a shopping mall retailer on Christmas Eve as they rang up and bagged the treasures being purchased by a long line of patrons. Among the guild members who made the day a success were Nancy Johnson, Sharon Terranova, Marj Overstreet, Lynn White Shelby, Diane Campbell, Rosemarie Witten, Judy Gragg, Dolly Monte, Lorelei Kelley, Sue Ann Gordon, Debbi Lowman and Fanny Belle Mound.
While the guild conjured up the magic of Christmases past and to come, Wednesday evening saw more than 50 Burbank and Glendale residents honor a very special woman who began making her mark in the eastern San Fernando Valley in 1975.
It was a time when a controversial, two-decades-long war in the jungles of Viet Nam had finally come to an end. Back home, the nation was being led by the first and only man who had never been elected to either the office of president or vice president. At that same time, a 14-year-old by the name of Barack Obama was attending prep school in Honolulu. It was also the year that saw a young cub reporter by the name of Joyce Rudolph being hired by this paper, then known as the Burbank Daily Review.
After 36 years serving as a society columnist, features writer and, ultimately, the features editor for the Glendale News Press and the Burbank Leader, Rudolph has announced she is retiring — an announcement that brought numerous colleagues, friends, community members and elected officials together to wish her well.
Rudolph was lauded by Editor Dan Evans and presented with a commendation by Burbank Mayor Jess Talamantes. A glance around the room indentified many faces of representatives of local guilds, social clubs, foundations, nonprofit organizations, merchants, restaurants and the arts that Rudolph has covered during her tenure.
On a personal note, I first met Rudolph when I didn’t have a gray hair on my head — back in the 1980s — when she did a story on a unique Christmas gift my wife had received. Shortly thereafter I came to work with her, and then for her. Throughout the ensuing years, I have both seen, and been the recipient of, her professionalism and guidance as a journalist, as well as her kindness and compassion as a person.
And so a chapter ends for Rudolph and for so many of us who have had the honor of working with her and being covered by her. As Krista Simmons now steps into the role of features editor and Rudolph begins this new chapter of her life, it is my deepest hope that it will be one of much-deserved happiness and newfound fulfillment.
Knowing her, something gives me the very strong belief that it won’t be long before she makes my hope a reality.