Ellynne and Joyce taught with St. Mary’s County Public Schools in Maryland (SMCPS). Ellynne taught elementary school music and then English as a Second Language; Joyce was a middle-school art teacher. In 1993, they had the opportunity to travel with a team of teachers to Japan on a Fulbright Summer Scholarship to explore the educational system there. Upon their return to the US, they collaborated on an Evening of Japanese Music and Art for elementary and middle-school students. They continued to enrich their respective curriculums with Japanese culture throughout the remainder of their public school teaching careers.
They retired from SMCPS in June of 2009. In August of 2009, Ellynne was declared the winner of the Third Annual Washington Post Top Tomato Contest. Joyce suggested a cookbook: if Ellynne would write the recipes, she would illustrate. In September of 2012, Ellynne’s Top Tomato Cookbook, illustrated by Joyce Judd and edited by Myra Raspa, was published. It has subsequently been reprinted three times. The cookbook features 59 of Ellynne’s original tomato recipes, and dozens of Joyce’s colorful illustrations. The book also contains some surprises: a special section of children’s recipes, and wine recommendations for each of the remaining recipes especially created by Masae Grace and Rich Fuller of the award-winning Port of Leonardtown Winery. (Masae Grace was instrum ental as an advisor with the St. Mary’s County team of teachers that had travelled to Japan in 1993).
After the cookbook’s success, Ellynne and Joyce turned their talents to children’s books set in the Chesapeake Bay area, resulting in Halloween Fright on a Chesapeake Night (2013), and The Chesapeake Cats and the Easter Surprise (2015). Both of these books were also expertly edited by Myra Raspa, who was a SMCPS English and Publications teacher; at retirement she was the writing specialist for SMCPS.
Future book projects are planned to reflect the history and traditions of the Chesapeake region.