The beginning and ending of careers…

I really expected that with two of my three children (Brian in Jupiter, Florida and Claire in Boston) now living out of town and working, and one both working and finishing school (Aidan in Rochester) that the phone would ring less. I assumed that in time, because of their new and blessing careers and excitement over future careers, that I would hear less from them. As my own 84 year old mother, Joanie, would say: “Yes, they grow up and call less and less!” Mom says that with a raised brow sending me a clear message, “Yes, I am talking to you, young lady!!”


At this point they are calling for a variety of things:

  • “Mom, can you send me your ‘Kick Ass Chili’ recipe?”
  • “Mom, how do I get red wine out of a white blouse?” “Yes, Mom, I am 22 and can drink red wine!”
  • “Mom, what do I do with this bill from Dr. So & So?” To which I reply: “You pay it!”
  • “Mom, my house in Boston is really hilly, and I am terrified about the Boston winter, and how I will get up and down the hill, what do I do?” To which I replied: “Once the snow really starts falling, find a true Boston friend, and ask for some hilly-street lessons!”
  • “Mom, I had this email the other day at work about…what should I do?” To which I replied: “Get out from behind the email and go have a conversation.”
  • “Mom, I have this project team I have to work with on a class project, and they did not show up for our meeting, what do I do?” To which I replied: “Send them a message securing the next team meeting date, and if they fail to show up a second time, let them know, you will have to seek counsel from the Professor.”
  • “Mom, my money is a little tight this month, any ideas?” To which I replied: “Yes, stop going out, eat more cereal and be sure you take your multi-day vitamin.”
  • “Mom, do you have a minute?” To which I reply: “No, it is 10:30 pm and I was asleep. If you are safe, call me in the morning!”

I trust as the years go on, their careers progress, their lives become busier than they already are, they meet someone and fall in love, break-up (call Mom again for words of comfort and a hug or home-cooked meal for lucky Aidan), meet someone new again, really fall in love this time, and in time (many years from now because they are all way too young yet) perhaps marry and maybe even make me a grandmother (even more years from now) and the little ones will learn to call me, Marmi, after the beloved mother in Little Women.

Life goes by so incredibly fast. I was a young career woman once, and then a mom, and now I am still a “young at heart career woman” with many years of experience, and a much wiser mom to the young adults in my life. They are at the start of their lives, making career choices, making decisions (some with me; and most without me as I encourage their independence). It is a time of excitement and uncertainty — some of the best days of our lives, right?

I have the annual privilege of a sneak peak at the incredible memorials that have been prepared for our MCBA Memorial Service to be held tomorrow, Friday, November 13th at 12:30 pm in Courtroom 404 in the Hall of Justice. The Honorable Craig Doran, our Administrative Judge, will be presiding over this session of Court, with tributes being read by the dedicated members of the Memorial Committee, chaired by the Honorable Dandrea Ruhlmann. This year we will be honoring 20 extraordinary members of the profession that we have lost this past year.

memorial honoree

Extraordinary is really the best word to describe this very special group of people. Having just celebrated Veteran’s Day yesterday, so many of this group of honorees are veterans. For example, Al Boylan. Al was in Harvard Law when WWII started, and he was allowed to complete his final year of law school and take the bar exam. Then Al was immediately sent to Officer Candidate School. Be sure to read Al’s memorial to see where he was assigned to guard, and that as a result of this assignment, it provided Al with great story telling opportunities over the years.

Another sign of the extraordinary times was Helen Brooks. Helen received her law degree from Cornell Law, most likely one of few women in law school in that time. She went on to spend her entire career at Lawyers Co-op in Rochester. Helen became a well-known and much sought after volunteer by the Landmark Society, Ellwanger Garden’s. If you want to know where Helen lived when she first re-located to Rochester, I would encourage you to come to tomorrow’s service.

Another giant in this group is Jay Friedman. I remember meeting Jay when I first arrived at the MCBA, and he told me that we needed to resurrect the famous MCBA and Monroe County Medical Society Clambake/Picnic. Jay loved that event, and was one of the active participants in its organization. Having spent many years on the physician side of the community, Jay was convinced we could make this happen. I am disappointed that we never did get that initiative restarted. Perhaps it is not too late, and we re-launch the picnic in Jay’s honor. To find out the “scariest and most exciting thing” that Jay ever did in his life, I again invite you to attend tomorrow’s service.

A fierce advocate for giving back, David Merkel, did not require any kind of mandate or encouragement on taking pro bono cases. It came naturally, but David performed this service very quietly. In a family known for their big personalities, it sounds like this commitment to pro bono was the only thing David did quietly. Though not a veteran himself, learn how David was honored by the American Legion. To find out why David was honored, please join us for tomorrow’s service.

I could go on and on and on with more stories, teases and reasons as to why you should attend tomorrow’s Memorial Service. You are not required to know anyone on the list to attend, simply come and listen. You are not required to be in your own sunset years to attend. If you are a young attorney, or a mid-career attorney, I would encourage you to come, listen and learn.

There will be extraordinary life and law lessons learned tomorrow from an even more extraordinary group of dedicated professionals that deserve to have their life celebrated. I am planning to send each of my young adults a copy of this incredible tribute book so they can learn some life lessons.

Please join us tomorrow in this one hour of gratitude. I promise, it will be worth canceling the lunch or rescheduling the not-so-critical meeting.

Thanks for checking in,