Red Hatters

Gayle Migden, flanked by her mother, Sadie Migden, right, and Queen Andrea Allen, was the guest of honor as the local Red Hatters celebrated their 10th anniversary. (Photo by Dave Laurell / February 11, 2013)

Whether generated by poets, politicians, priests or plebeians, through the course of history few things have moved the human soul and spirit like the written word — an acknowledgment made by author Edward Bulwer-Lytton via his character Cardinal Richelieu, who said: "The pen is mightier than the sword."

One of the bazillion bits of evidence that stands as a testament to the power of the written word comes from the first line of the English poet Jenny Joseph’s "Warning," in which she writes: "When I am an old woman I shall wear purple with a red hat which doesn't go, and doesn’t suit me."

Inspired by Joseph’s poem, Sue Ellen Cooper of Fullerton, encouraged by a handful of friends, established the Red Hat Society in the late-1990s. Today, the organization that promotes bonding and social interaction among women over 50 boasts over 40,000 chapters. Overseen by chapter presidents (known as "queens"), Red Hat Society chapters have sprung up in 30 foreign countries and every corner of the United States, including the local group known as the Burbank Beauties.

Last week, local Red Hatters, led by Queen Andrea Allen, convened at the downtown Holiday Inn to celebrate their chapter’s 10th anniversary and honor Gayle Migden who serves as the recreation supervisor at the Joslyn Adult Center.

"You’ve touched my heart," said Migden, whose mother, Sadie Migden from Long Island, N.Y. was among the special guests in attendance. "It’s such an honor to be with such a vibrant group of women who know how to have fun. You are who I want to be as I grow in years — someone who is always having fun."

Migden, who has played a vital role with the Joslyn and Tuttle Centers for 32 years, oversees recreation programs and works closely with the Burbank Retired Senior Volunteer Program.

"When it comes to enjoying your life, it’s all about how you live your life," Migden continued. "All of you are living the lives of the young."

While Migden did her best to fit in as she entered the luncheon by donning a red sailor hat, she left in far grander style as the local Red Hats presented her with her very own crimson chapeau.

Entertained by the Van Bloem Singers under the director of Elaine Paonessa and comprised of Mike Roby, Marian LeSuer, Marcia Melcombe, Steve Jensen, Marilyn Strong and Teri O’Neal, last week’s celebration was made possible by the group’s vice queen, Carrie Cabunoc, and the event committee that included Carol Scholl, Julia Romero and Barbara Hyndman.

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DAVID LAURELL may be reached by email at dlaurell@aol.com or (818) 563-1007.