Monday, February 14, 2011

Luis (Happy to Make Your Acquaintance)

It’s February 14, and you know what holiday it is! If at the beginning of the story, you think we are talking about politics… think again. Oh, I don’t know, anyone in the mood for some romance?

Luis Fuentes
I Am Happy to Make Your Acquaintance

Paul O’Dywer was a good man with good intentions. He was passionate in his beliefs and committed to human rights.

I met Paul during the good, the bad, and the ugly years of the Civil Rights Movement in the sixties- the years leading up to the infamous year of 1968. We marched, picketed, and campaigned together. It was rumored that Paul ran guns to the IRA, the Irish Republican Army, during the conflict in England. Knowing Paul, I believed every word of it.

Paul was the younger brother of the former, two-termed mayor of New York City, William O’Dywer. Paul, himself, campaigned for and was successfully elected as the President of the New York City Council.

Over the years, knowing I was widowed, Paul always had someone he wanted me to meet. Although we stayed in touched, our careers took different paths.

In 1966, we met again at a political fundraiser. We greeted each other warmly. As always, he had someone he wanted me to meet. Before I could respond, he called her over- expressing how politically active she was. He said she had earned respect as a community activist and was a deputy commissioner in the government.

“Alberta, I’d like you to meet Louis. Louis, Alberta.”

She smiled and said, “Happy to make your acquaintance.”

Also responding, I took her hand and responded, “The pleasure is all mine.”

We turned to Paul, laughing hysterically, and I said, “Paul, not only is Alberta my campaign manager, she is also my wife.”