Farewell, Mary Rudge

Editor:

Alameda did lose a great poet, and a great human being.
("Alameda Loses Poet Laureate," Jan. 30). I befriended this wonderful lady at a workshop I sponsored to help give parents options for alternative childcare when the future of Woodstock Child Development Center was threatened with closure due to the California budget cuts in 2010.

I was in awe to see this white-haired lady who stood up in the back of the room to give her testimony of how important this center was for her when she had to work. She had seven children with two of them in that very center and program my child was enrolled in. She spoke up for all of us and she decided to help me in a four-month struggle to victory saving this center from eminent closure at three different school sites. We became allies and good friends over that time and thereafter.

In your report of her passing on it stated that, "her efforts were tireless and her friends are many." That is so true of Mary Rudge, as she was always calling me or responding to my emails on what we (about 200) parents and our children had to face during the uncertainty of this center.

She was always there at the school board meetings to support us with her presence or her testimony. She kept me going and believed in our efforts to keep open this historical icon of Alameda since 1943. Heaven has her now. She was my inspiration, our friend, our voice, and we will miss her greatly.

— Caroline Topeé