Movies. I love them. Especially those that capture the “3 Es” (enlighten, educate AND entertain). It naturally follows that one of my favorite genres is the documentary. With a lifelong fascination of the movie making process, I am one of those people who always stays until the end of the movie. And by the END, I mean the REAL end, after all of the credits have stopped, we’ve been assured no animals were harmed in the making of the film, and the popcorn sweepers are storming the theater.
In considering whom I should approach for my next “What I Love About My Job!” 60-second interview, my friend Jeanne Rawlings immediately came to mind. A beautiful, talented filmmaker (who also happens to love and live in Chico), Jeanne’s impressive 30-year background includes being honored with TWO Emmy Awards (nominated for SIX) and working with the likes of National Geographic Society, Discovery, ABC, and the Army National Guard,
Jeanne’s company, Dustlight Productions, also offers commercial production, writing and editing services.
And what does Jeanne love about her job? Take a 51-second listen:
If there is one thing I love more than documentaries, it’s animals. Check out Jeanne’s promotional video for Butte Humane Society’s recent fundraising gala: https://vimeo.com/56798436
As a first-time home buyer, it was an absolute joy to work with Laura.
I found her very helpful and informative, but never pushy. She was on the ball when it came down to business, and she continued to follow
through with support long after the papers were signed. For anyone who’s nervous about the home buying process, I strongly recommend
This is a personal story, but I write it in honor of Mother’s Day, for a very extraordinary Mom (who happens to be my Mom, Margaret Burghardt).
The year was 1963, and the EIGHT of us (yes, six kids, each born in a different state!) lived in Navy housing in Alameda (in a 3 bed, ONE bath house, but I digress). Our country was midway through the Vietnam “military conflict.” Our Navy pilot dad, Louis Burghardt, had already served during World War II and the Korean conflict; thankfully he did not go to Vietnam (although my brother, John, served on a Navy aircraft carrier off the coast).
Sometime during that year, a neighbor told my parents about a young Marine, Gordon Gunter, who had survived a horrific helicopter crash in Vietnam and was being treated for massive burns at Oak Knoll Hospital in Oakland, CA. (He and his co-pilot had kicked out the windshield and managed to escape the crash site, but not the flames.)
Gordon was from Texas, and he knew no one in California. Enter my wonderful parents, who took it upon themselves to fill in where his family was unable to. During his three-month Oak Knoll stay, my mom (and dad, when he could) visited Gordon nearly daily, often taking flowers and treats like cut-up, de-seeded watermelon and ice cream to spoon-feed him while his face was still bandaged. Ever the elegant woman, Mom always wore a dress, “heels” and pearls.
Considering Gordon’s significant injuries (even requiring grafting of tissue for new eyelids) and the ever-present threat of infection, it was amazing that he survived at all. I know there were times when he talked of giving up. But my beautiful mom was always there to let him express himself, to encourage him, or just sit quietly with him. How do I know this? Because she was also brave and caring enough to take me or one of my siblings along on some of these visits.
I don’t recall having fear or anxiety during these visits, just the curiosity of a typical 8 year old. In looking back, the lesson I learned from that experience was how selfless and considerate people can truly be, even toward total strangers in extremely challenging circumstances.
Gordon visited our family a number of times over the years that followed. So we knew he had returned to Texas, become an attorney, married (twice) and had several children (even giving one the middle name “Burghardt” in honor of my parents). But then somehow we lost track. Mom has talked so often about wishing she could find Gordon again to check up on him.
Through the magic of Facebook (and a natural tenacity), my sister Nancy recently found Gordon’s daughter Chanelle and put her in touch with our Mom. Turns out Gordon is now in a military hospital battling Parkinson’s Disease (and, unfortunately, rapidly losing the battle this time). But Chanelle put him on the phone. Mom did the talking, catching him up on family events (including, sadly, the passing of my father nearly four years ago), and Chanelle said she thought her dad understood and actually smiled when he heard her voice. In spite of the circumstances, Mom was so glad to have found Gordon again, and to know that he had lead a full life and is now being cared for by his loved ones.
As heartrending as some of this story is, I feel it is also a testament to the human spirit and how we touch each other’s lives as we move through our individual journeys. And it’s a tribute both to Gordon (and all the courageous people like him who risk their lives daily for the well-being of the rest of us) and to my mom, who took time out of her busy life to bring comfort and hope to a lonely, traumatized young man.
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. Love you.
In one of those interesting, quirky “coincidences,” two days after I wrote my last blog entry about the value of long-term friendships, my son Gabe surprised us with a visit for Easter weekend. Two of his best lifelong friends, twins Shad and Darrell, were in town visiting family as well, and we all met up at Bidwell Perk to sip our java on the patio on a picture-perfect spring day. I’m so impressed with the fine young men these three have become and am thrilled they have maintained their friendship