This past Saturday morning, I had the pleasure of attending the funeral of the incredible Peggy Bauer, mother of MCBA member & trustee, Bill Bauer. Bill and I both grew up on Seneca Parkway, attended our parish school of Sacred Heart Cathedral, and on Sunday’s we were all marched into church by our parents. My family consisted of 2 parents and 6 children–but in the Bauer family there were 2 parents and 9 children. Bill’s younger sister, Bernadette, affectionately known as “Bern”, was one of my best friends on the street.
As I returned to Sacred Heart on Saturday with my mom, Joan Loewenguth, and celebrated the life of Peggy & Bob Bauer (who passed several years ago), I could not help but think back to our life as children, and the many communities we experienced.
Our community began on our street, Seneca Parkway, where life was lived in the big lush parkway that ran down the center of the street, and where the parents hosted the Annual Seneca Parkway Family Picnic. Our community extended to our backyards, especially those with pools in the summer months. Our community extended to the vast playground in the Aquinas fields, or even “The Woods” behind the AQ fields, where we ventured as young kids. As we grew older, The Woods became the place you may have gone for your first beer with some friends. No, I was not one of them, of course!
Our community extended to when it was time to walk to Sacred Heart. There were no buses that picked us up. It was just over 1 mile from Seneca to Sacred Heart, and in those days, we went home for lunch. So each day we were walking, as a BIG pack, 4 miles a day. We were a community of Seneca Parkway kids, of all ages, and we looked out for each other. This was such an incredible community event.
Our community extended to Aquinas for the boys and Nazareth for the girls. The boys had the shortest hike, as they cut thru the many yards and driveways, our’s being one of them, that gave them the quick access to Aquinas. However, once again the girls had the longer, uphill walk. So Bern would walk down, meet up with me and our good friend Mary Crilly. The three of us would make our way up to Nazareth.
The Bauer Family, all 11 of them, were clearly their own community. A home that was filled with warmth, love and laughter. It was a place I found community growing up. Mrs. Bauer, described by one of her son’s on Saturday as “steel wrapped in velvet,” represented the extraordinary group of mothers that watched over us night and day. One never knew who might show up at the dinner table at night, as we were always in and out of each other’s homes.
Also present for the Bauer celebration on Saturday was the Woods Oviatt community — all there to support Bill and his entire clan.
As we drove away from this walk down memory lane, I had to rally my 84 year-old mom who was experiencing a bit of the sweet memory blues. Mom misses her old communities, especially her six children. Only two of us reside here in town; three brothers live out of town, and as many of you know, we lost my oldest brother, Peter, seven years ago to cancer. Our own Loewenguth community has changed forever. But a little lunch for mom, and the promise that we will be gathering next week around the Thanksgiving table at my brother Tom’s house, brought a smile to her face. We will have the majority of our community in one place.
Later that night I finally had the chance to catch up on the tragedy that had unfolded in Paris over night. Images streamed in of strangers helping strangers. The poignant photo of the pregnant woman hanging and screaming for assistance from a second floor window caught my attention along with reports of people in apartments opening their doors to people running for their lives. In recent days we have seen not only the Paris community, but our entire world community come together as a sign of solidarity with the Paris community, as they did with our country on September 11.
Then bringing this message of community back home again, we have our community of justice champions that come to work every day at the Telesca Center for Justice. We are taking care of the community of the poor and under-served, also fighting to care for their families. After 11 years as partners in the TCFJ, as partners, we come to decisions in a matter of hours on some big topics that many years ago would have taken us weeks to months. We have found our groove at the Telesca Center.
And then up on the 10th floor of the Telesca Center for Justice, is the home or the community space of the 2,000 members of the Monroe County Bar Association. The MCBA community is the place you come to for meeting with colleagues in your area of practice, but perhaps from another firm, where perspectives and differences can be debated. The MCBA community is the place lawyers and many of our fine judges come to teach and learn from more of your very smart colleagues. The MCBA community is the place lawyers can come to celebrate the holiday season together as we will on Thursday, December 3rd at the Annual MCBA Holiday Bench & Bar Party in the beautiful Wintergarden. This is where members of the bench and bar come together to enjoy some holiday cheer, and to celebrate the profession that we are all so dedicated to.
The MCBA community is also a place where legal professionals can come for support for either themselves, a colleague or perhaps a family member. As we all know, the legal community recently lost Jerry Murphy. Jerry and his wife, Bonnie, heard about our Solace Program, and were encouraged to allow our community to support them. With the careful hand of Paul Leclair, our SOLACE Caretaker, our legal community made an incredible difference in the lives of Jerry, Bonnie and their family in these final months. They were overwhelmed by the incredible outpouring of messages and other symbols of support they received from people they did not know. This is the MCBA community.
And when life does become simply a bit too overwhelming, the MCBA has started a new program called Health & Well-Being. Having penned an agreement with the good folks over at The Tree of Hope, and established a direct number to our good friends at the Tree of Hope. We now have a place for any member of the legal community, both members and non-members, paralegals, legal assistants, judges, clerks, PDs and DAs, and the list goes on, to call 585-353-1541, and with no worries about confidentiality or concern for paying the bill, you will be taken care of.
So where do you find community?
Thanks for checking in,