[Editor’s note: The following is the first in a series of occasional updates regarding MSBA members whose interests, hobbies and pastimes were previously featured in the Bar Bulletin.]
In April 2004, the Bar Bulletin followed Rosemary McDermott, a trial attorney from Thurmont, Maryland, as she embarked on a volksmarch – in essence, a walking tour – of the South Baltimore neighborhoods of Federal Hill and Locust Point, including Fort McHenry. The volksmarch (“people’s walk”) tradition, McDermott explained, traces its roots to war-torn Germany.
“Following [World War II], the German people were poor and depressed and living with post-war defeat,” she told the Bulletin in 2004. “Their [civic] leaders began these walks between towns to raise the people’s morale, and the people turned out in large numbers. If they completed the walk, they received a little trinket [such as a medal or patch]. Our servicemen liked the concept and brought it back to the States.”
"I think of him often. He gave me a second chance at life."
Sadly, McDermott’s goal to participate in volksmarches in all 50 state capitals was put on involuntary hiatus when, in December 2008, she contracted an extremely severe case of pneumonia.
“It so weakened my heart that my cardiologist told me to begin my good-byes – or get a new heart,” she explains. “Within a month, I found a lawyer to take over my office temporarily, and I ended up at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital [in Philadelphia], awaiting a heart transplant.”
“On March 7, 2009, I received a heart from an unfortunate young man who had died in an accident,” she continues. “I think of him often. He gave me a second chance at life.”
Though McDermott’s doctors are impressed by her subsequent progress, she remains in Philadelphia for treatment to ensure that her body does not reject the transplanted organ. Nevertheless, she hopes to be back in her office practicing law by this fall.
“The doctors called me a miracle patient for how well I did,” says McDermott. “I owe some of the success to those wonderful volksmarches, which helped keep me in shape. And I owe a big thanks to my wonderful colleagues in the Frederick County Bar Association for all their encouraging e-mails, cards and prayers.”
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Beginning in late August 2004 – the same month her story appeared in the Bulletin – Reston, Virginia-based playwright Mary E. Goulet saw her musical Worlds Away come to life in 10 performances at the Producers Club Theater II in New York City. The engagement ran through September 5 that same year.
"How often do you hear about creative people being happy with eachother; as opposed to having differences and going in seperate directions?"
Mary E. Goulet
“We had a cast of 15 singers/actors and a live, five-member orchestra that played every show,” Goulet says of the metaphysical production centering on inter-dimensional travel and a young woman named Monet. “I was really pleased with the job that everyone did. We continued working together on other projects in succeeding years. I’m especially pleased about that, because how often do you hear about creative people being happy with each other, as opposed to having differences and going in separate directions?”
Since then, the patent law attorney has spent “much time that otherwise would have gone into music and theater” working pro bono homeowner cases, especially in the wake of the foreclosure crisis. Still, Goulet has fostered her creative side by focusing on writing non-musical productions, including a play about a 21st-century law student named Alice set in the year 2030, as well as one “about the boy who later came to be known as Genghis Khan.”
“Non-musicals seem to be somewhat less complicated to stage than musicals,” Goulet admits, “but I’m not necessarily done with musicals.”