March 15th and 16th

On Saturday we drove to Painesville to attend an Open House for the Morse Avenue Community Center’s Computer Lab hosted by Bryant and Stratton College and the N.A.A.C.P. This facility provides free tutoring for middle and high school students in addition to computers, printers, and free financial aid workshops. We got to visit with our friend Judge Colleen Mary O’Toole from the 11th District Court of Appeals as well as representatives from the Lake County N.A.A.C.P., HOLA, and Bryant-Stratton College who were all very committed to making the future better for their community and its people.
Saturday evening was a real treat because it was the night of the Annual Claddagh Ball at the West Side Irish American Club. We got to sit with Mark Owens, the 2014 Parade Co-Chair as well as Tom Coyne, the cousin of the former Mayor John M. Coyne of Brooklyn, Ohio. What’s more, we actually caught the ear of Pulitzer Prize Winning Washington Post journalist and author Mary Jordan, who was the evening’s guest speaker. Ms. Jordan was flattered when we complimented her for her extensive writings about injustices and discrimination against women in certain places of the world. Along these lines, Ms. Jordan and her husband Kevin Sullivan (also a journalist) are currently working with Cleveland kidnap/hostage victims Amanda Berry and Gina DeJesus to tell the story of their ordeal. The book will be published in 2015.

We were informed by about a noteworthy event on Sunday, March 16th, titled “Commemoration of the March 15, 1848 Revolution for Freedom and Independence of the Hungarian People” to be held at the Hungarian Reformed Church in Walton Hills. So off we went and we were so much the better for doing so. The entire event was conducted in Hungarian and while we didn’t understand a word, the visual beauty, the music, and the sincerity were so powerful that it didn’t matter. We also ran into old friends like Laurel A. Tombazzi of the Eastern European Congress of Ohio, John and Marika Megyimori of the Cleveland Hungarian Development Panel, and Mike Horvath of the Hungarian Scouts. Naturally we made some new friends also like Laszlo Bojtos, Honorary Consul to Hungary, and Dr. Krasznai Csaba, the Minister of the Hungarian Reformed Church. During our time there on Sunday afternoon, we had a long conversation with Ernie Mihaly, who will be honored this May by the Cleveland International Hall of Fame. Mr. Mihaly took several of our cards to pass out to the various groups he is involved in and promised to keep us posted of upcoming events.

About this time we were ready to unwind. And unwind we did at the Irish Coffee Night. This event was held at the East Side Irish American Club and we were able to kick back and have some coffee (minus alcohol in our case) and listen to the Craic Brothers band and watch the Ladies Drill Team skillfully perform. In addition, we made reservations to ride Lolly the Trolley to the Cleveland St. Patrick’s Day Parade the next day and actually take part in the parade by riding on Lolly! As we left that evening we mentioned to one of the club officers that we worked for Margaret W. Wong & Associates and he exclaimed, “How could anyone in Cleveland not have heard of Margaret Wong?”