Niagara Gazette

Opinion

February 22, 2013

HAMILTON: Oh, yes! I remember Catherine Golanka

Niagara Gazette — Though it could not compare to the city council meetings of old, from what I heard, that last city council meeting was not only a rip-roaring one, it was also one of the best-attended meetings that they had in quite some time.

Though I am there at many of them, I couldn’t make it to that particular Tuesday meeting, though I doubt if I was missed. The news sources were abuzz with information and I guess what they said happened is what happened.

Niagara Gazette contributing columnist Norma Higgs apparently spoke, and later posted the remarks that she made to city council onto Dan Davis’ Niagara Community Forum Facebook page for all to see. In her speech, she cited one of our local, and largely unsung heroes, Mrs. Catherine Golanka.

Higgs said, “Not many in this room will remember Mrs. Golanka, the elderly woman from the Polish community who attended city council meetings and kept everyone on their toes with questions and comments about city matters and government. “

Well, as I said, I was not in that room; but oh boy, do I remember Catherine Golanka? And yes, she was Polish.

It is for a very good reason that I reiterate the fact that Golanka was Polish, a reason from which we could all learn.

In the early ‘80s, during the time that I first started speaking before the council, and after about the third time that I ever spoke, the fearless Mrs. Golanka approached me. She was both well known and inspiring to me in that she remembered everything that the council said and what every member did. I didn’t think that her friends — Josephine Fera and Victoria Fama — and she even knew someone as insignificant as was I.

And I was wrong. On that night, as usual, I had gotten up and spoken on issues that were important to Highland Avenue; and then I walked proudly towards my seat. Mrs. Golanka then buttoned-holed me and gave me some, well, motherly, civic advice — right there in front of everybody.

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