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Keep it real Wednesday, March 27, 2019

What is courage?

Courage is doing for others. In the great depression, being poor was common, but so was helping those less fortunate. Many grew up poor and often sacrificed from their own need to help another.  Stories are told of households leaving bowls of oatmeal on the doorstep for people less fortunate passing by.  Rosemary grew up in one of those households. Her mother Marie provided a meal every day to a stranger on the porch as they ate their own breakfast in the kitchen. Rosemary and her parents were courageous and brave in showing love to others in need, despite the little they had.

Courage is taking a step forward and answering a call. In 1948, a young woman (who grew up on very Irish Catholic west side of Cleveland) answered a phone call to her home.  The call was a wrong number  from a stranger asking for another woman.  The young woman continued to talk to the young man and after a while he asked her on a date.  The woman’s mother told her, “tell him yes and we will see what he looks like when he gets here”.  The man arrived to the home, the mother nodded in approval at the tall handsome Italian man.  Raymond Sorce and Rosemary O’Malley  went on their first date.  They were later married in 1949 and Ray passed away in 1995.  They had a courageous love and commitment to each other.

Courage is allowing others to do for you. Courage is trusting your mother in 1929 when polio is making a huge impact to public health.  It is following your mother’s instruction to repeatedly swing a bucket of rocks in the front yard in order to strengthen a polio stricken arm.  It is being lathered in cocoa butter and put in the sun to allow the warm sunshine to help the weak muscles relax after the treacherous rock conditioning.  It is turning the other cheek when called a “cripple” by strangers and learning that your value is not what others determine.  Courage is surviving polio.  Rosemary is a polio survivor.

Here’s to courageous women everywhere.

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