Sunday, October 17, 2010

It’s a Small World After All

By Kevin Gillogly.

One of the things I love about the politics is all the people you meet. You just never know when you are going to run into to someone you know from another endeavor, an old friend, or someone who knows your family. The latter is so much harder for me, since I am from Chicago.^

But it did happen to me on Sunday. In the middle of setting up for the 1,000 Women for O’Malley, Brown & Mikulski, a woman stopped to ask me some personal questions. Her name: Barbara Suelzer. Why is that important? Read on….

Barbara A. Suelzer, like me, is a Midwesterner. She hails from Fort Wayne, Indiana. Like Barbara I now live in Rockville. She married and raised her children in the city proper and I live in Aspen Hill.

But we met while I was running around helping to set up things for the rally at Blair High School as a member of the Host Committee. I was stickered up with all of the candidate lapel stickers and I had a name tag with my full name. It was the name tag that caught Barbara’s attention. My surname is unique. Once you learn it you rarely forget it. So she begins to ask questions: where I was from, and the name of my father (also Kevin).

Well Barbara knew my father from their time in the Young Democrats. Imagine that. One thousand miles from my hometown and someone remembers parts of my family history before I was born. What are the odds?

So we talk some more. She tells me that she works part-time for Sen. Mikulski and that we talked when we both worked for Democratic Senators back in the 1980s. It is all coming back to me. Yes, we did talk twenty plus years ago on the phone. Barbara found me when she saw my last name in the Senate phone directory; that name again. She was also kind enough to send me a photo of my father with her and other members of the 1952 Young Democrats of America (YDA) Host committee that appeared in the Fort Wayne Journal with one of the rising stars of the US Senate, a liberal University of Chicago professor from the south side of Chicago named Paul Douglas.

Why post this? Besides showing off a picture of my dad, his best friend (Joe McMahon) and Barbara? Well, she is still active in politics. It was the reason she and I were at Blair HS. She married and became Barbara O’Malley. You know her as our Governor’s mother. I know her as the person who gave me this treasured memory of my father. Thanks, Barbara. It’s a small world, after all.

It also shows a level of consistency for both her family and mine. That six decades later the O’Malleys and the Gilloglys are still fighting to move us forward on a range of issues. She and my dad were doing it in the 1950s. Fast forward to the 21st century and we have Barbara, her son, and me (albeit to a lesser extent) still trying to move Maryland forward.

Dad would be proud.

^ = To those from Chicago, yes I am not from Chicago. I am from the ‘burbs.