Many Homes & Many Blessings: The Marla Burkhardt Story

From her home in California to a new home in Georgia, Marla Burkhardt and her family enjoyed close ties, happy memories, and shared living spaces. Eventually, Marla found the Chateau – a welcoming place for building new bonds and memories.

Growing Up in a Shaky World

Marla Burkhardt grew up in the Los Angeles County suburbs during the 1960s and 1970s, and she still remembers the troubling events of the times. Numerous earthquakes, including the Northridge Quake, rocked her world, with the epicenter only eight miles away from her home. She and her family slept on the first floor of their home for five months. At work, people chose the seats closest to the door, and thought out potential escape plans in the event of another earthquake. In addition, the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War were in full swing, and some of her fellow high school students were leaving for Vietnam. It was an unsettling time.

Serving, Learning & Growing

However, there were good times, too. From age 12 to age 20, Marla enjoyed active participation in The International Order of Rainbow for Girls, a Masonic youth service organization. This involvement had a transformative impact on her life, helping her develop domestic, interpersonal, and international business skills. It was a meaningful, enriching experience that allowed her to serve in several leadership positions, and she still maintains lifelong friendships developed while in the group.

From California to Georgia

After her high school graduation, Marla attended two extended American Banking Schools with a focus on the credit card business. She entered the banking industry during the 1970s and developed her skills in credit card processing. After a few decades, banks started downsizing and merging, and many people lost their jobs. However, the credit card industry was evolving and expanding rapidly. Divorced and with two young daughters, Marla decided to leave California and accept a job in credit card processing that was based in Columbus, Georgia. After enjoying a successful career in this field, Marla retired in 2017 and sold her home near Lake Harding. Then, she gifted each of her two daughters with a house and split her time living with each of them, caring for her grandchildren and enjoying beach life in Destin, Florida. Eventually, she decided it was time to find a place of her own, and chose The Chateau.

Not the Newest Newbie

When she arrived at the Chateau, people were welcoming and friendly.  “Everyone here has a different story, and you are not required to tell your story if you don’t want to – there’s no judging. There’s a mixture of ages and backgrounds, and people are courteous.” She has shown up for many events, and each time it seems like they are adding new tables for new people.  “I’m always grateful to find newer newbies than myself,” says Marla with a smile.

More About Marla

Marla feels truly blessed in both her personal and professional life. She had enjoyed a satisfying career that allowed her to travel more of the world than she ever thought she would. Her daughter’s life milestones were her greatest joys and she is thrilled to be a grandmother three times over. An open and honest person, Marla smiles easily and has the gift of gab, which helps people feel at ease in social situations. If she could transfer some of her life wisdom to her grandchildren, it might be this: “Take your time when making lifelong decisions, because you have to live with these decisions for a long time. If you don’t like your life, change it!” She also includes some wise advice from her father, who told her to “Save and invest. Money isn’t everything, but it does make life more enjoyable.”

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