Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy
Life and Arts

In the heat of the anniversary

Hey, was it hot enough for you last weekend? I thought I was stuck in a pressure cooker and would never get out. I’m wishing that June gloom was back again.

I have never run my air conditioning 24/7 before, but I sure did from Wednesday through Sunday. It was delightful to wake up on Monday to have it feel like a normal beginning to a summer day.


Needless to say, I’ve been moving in slow motion because of the heat, but I feel almost perky now. I don’t know about you, but the long heat spell had me out of sorts and feeling cranky, which is very unusual for mild-tempered me.



A happy summer event to talk about is the fabulous 50th wedding anniversary party that was held for former longtime La Cañadans Charlotte (Char) and Alan Rubendall.

More than 150 people trekked to Carlsbad to the party that was held at their daughter Cheryl’s lovely home in Carlsbad. The party was hosted by all of their children: Cheryl and her husband Steve, Ken and his wife Jennifer, Dan and his wife Sherri, and Tom and his wife Kelly.

Of course the grandchildren joined in the celebration too. The grandkids are Jake, Tyler, Rachel, Ryan, Cody, Mason, Kelly and Jack.

It was a loving gathering of family and friends who came to honor the anniversary couple who were wed in the Presbyterian church here in town those many years ago.


Just to give you some background: Alan moved to La Cañada with his parents Don and Inez from Ogallala, Neb. in 1951 along with his brother Bob and sister Julie. Char moved to La Cañada from Glendale in the early ‘40s with her parents Geary and Doris Smith, along with her brothers Fred, Charlie, David and sisters Dian and Denise.

Char and Alan were high school sweethearts at John Muir, just across the Arroyo Seco from here, before La Cañada High School was built. They went their separate ways for college — Alan to Stanford and Char to San Jose State.

All of Char and Alan’s kids attended elementary and high school here. Dan and Ken and their families still live here.

When all of the kids left their nest, Char and Alan moved on too. They lived in Malibu, Westlake Village, Palm Springs and now San Marcos. Their constant get-away is their Big Bear Lake house where the family often gathers.


Char and Alan are intrepid travelers who have seen much of the world. In fact their travel-bug ways was the perfect theme for the party.

Guests gathered in the backyard of Cheryl and Steve’s home where they sipped beverages and talked about the “old days.” The food stations were set up according to some of the areas in the world Char and Alan had visited, along with photos of them in each place.

Europe was represented by an Italian feast, Mexico with South-of-the-border foods, and Asia with oriental epicurean delights. Another food station gave a nod to Germany with different sausages and other Bavarian specialties. The Rubendalls have visited Germany several times in the past and are also on their way again to Oberammergau and its famed Passion Play that occurs every 10 years.

Throughout the evening a talented magician, who often performs at the “Magic Castle,” amazed guests with his many fetes and sleight of hand.

After dinner, all the children and grandchildren called on the anniversary couple to take their bows. Of course there was a standing ovation by all the guests who came to honor Char and Alan. The two began the “first dance,” just as they did 50 years ago. They then invited guests to come join them on the dance floor.

Some of the folks traveling from La Cañada Flintridge to the party were Ralph and Linda Malmquist, Arnie and Barbara Cotton, Larry and Nina Ratliff, Roz and David Hilton; Frank and Hailey Paton with kids Eli and Gracie; Jeff and Michelle Stephens with kids Luke, Sarah, John and Hannah; Chuck and Becky Gelhaar. Former La Cañadans Joe and Sue Skenderian drove down from their Carpinteria home for the festivities.

Since it was a planned two-day event, many of the guests spent the night in nearby hotels and then gathered the next morning at the beautiful San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas for coffee and a light breakfast. This very important wedding anniversary was well celebrated and fun for everyone who attended.

JANE NAPIER NEELY covers the La Cañada social scene. E-mail her at