It seems that my mother’s parenting—like her mother’s before her—was highly effective in at least one regard: I have a well-developed sense of guilt. I feel remorse when I look back at perceived lost opportunities. I am ashamed that I do not do more for those less fortunate. I feel responsibility for my adult children’s missteps (which are thankfully few and far between). And I am more than willing to take culpability for so many things which are totally out of my control. These things can keep me up at night, but mostly they propel me forward.
So I would be remiss, or at least greatly bothered, if I did not take a moment to say thank you. 'Tis the season after all. There seems to be a connection, at least for me, between guilt and thankfulness. My own guilt over perceived sins, “things done and left undone,” has deepened my appreciation and thankfulness for those who have made so many things so much better in my life and the life of my community.
Of course, top of mind for me these days is always the Cedarburg Cultural Center. The Center is nothing if not a monument to the belief by members of our community that Cedarburg and the whole of Ozaukee County is very special. And that incredibly special quality was—and is—worth nurturing, celebrating, and preserving. It’s evident everywhere you turn. It’s in the architecture which we celebrate in our annual Architectural Treasures Tour. It’s in the arts community, the creativity of whom we joyously hang on the walls and experience on the stage of the Center. It’s woven through our rich history which we bring alive through books published by the Center and thousands of historic photos from the Ed Rappold and Harold Dobberpohl collections made available to the public. It’s in the belief that little seeds of talent, watered in our classrooms, can grow into careers or at least a lifelong appreciation for the arts.
I think about the founders of the Cedarburg Cultural Center who still pour their passion into this place: Mal Hepburn, Phil Schmidt, Dick Ellefson, Nancy Messinger, Vic DiCristo, Susan Hale. And there was the late Carl Edquist, whose commitment has become a philanthropic benchmark for so many. Our presidents, some of whom are still involved on an almost-daily basis, include: Jim Meinert, Fred Beyer, Herbert Neuer, John Stevens, Jim Yarger, Gail Ostermann, Allen Caucutt, James Myers, Philia Hayes, Ann Murray, Barbara Hunt, and current president Larry Gergens.
And so, in the spirit of the season, I thank them all. I thank also our members and those who support us by attending performances, buying artwork, and taking classes. I thank our talented, loyal, and long-standing staff. Have a meaningful holiday season, and if you are thankful for the Cedarburg Cultural Center, please share us with others.