Tag Archives: Carol Klem

A walk down memory lane in honor of Carol Klem

30 Dec

I’ve been thinking a lot about Carol Klem lately.

Last month I posted a blog reminding everyone that November 21 is, and will always be, Carol Klem Day in the Village of Webster. (If you didn’t know Carol, check out the blog to understand what a village treasure she was.)

More recently, I was asked to craft a biography for Carol to be posted on the Webster Museum’s Webster Through the Years page. As I was scrolling through old blogs looking for a photo to accompany that biography, I came across one post that really made me smile.

Those of you who knew Carol and her Village Focus column in the Webster Herald will remember how Carol would pen an epic holiday poem every year, highlighting all of the great Village of Webster people and events she encountered that year. It was always published in the Herald between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

As a writer and blogger myself, I was a huge Carol Klem fan, and I feel blessed to have considered her a good friend before she passed in 2018. I always enjoyed her annual poems and in 2012, they inspired me to write one of my own.

I had emailed her that year to tell her how impressed I was with her latest installment. When she responded, she lamented that since she wrote for the Village of Webster, she couldn’t really include anything about the greater Town of Webster.

Since I was more familiar with the town than the village at that point (I actually was living in North Penfield then) I tried to fill in some of the blanks with a poem of my own.

In memory of Carol Klem, here is that poem (originally posted nine years ago today, Dec. 30, 2012, which is why it’s a bit out of date.)

AN ODE TO WEBSTER TOWN

Last night I tossed and turned in bed,
no visions of sugarplums in MY head.
Carol’s poem I’d just read.
(She does one every year.)

It really was a work of art,
which came directly from the heart,
‘bout the people and places that are a part
of this village we hold so dear.

A role model, Carol is to me.
The Webster village crier is she.
Just like her I want to be
when I grow up (if I do).

But this time she has gone too far.
She has really raised the bar
by adding to her repertoire
an epic poem so sweet and true.

But I will do my very best.
I’ll put my ‘puter to the test,
and till it’s done I will not rest
We’ll see how far it goes.

But unlike Carol, I must say
there absolutely is NO way,
I canNOT, to my great dismay,
name everyone I knows.

Carol has, luckily,
covered the village quite thoroughly.
So the only thing that’s left for me
is to “report” on the rest of the town.

Webster Village, we love you, true,
but there’s much more to our town than you.
There are businesses, people, festivals, too.
The best community, hands down.

Like all our parks (you know the ones),
for picnics, games and playground fun.
There’s even one where kids can run
beneath a spraying whale.

There’s Webster Park to barbecue,
Finn, Ridge and Kent and Empire, too.
There’s Sandbar with its sunset views,
and North Ponds with its biking trail.

The town’s natural beauty does not end there.
There are hiking trails just everywhere.
The Friends keep them in good repair
so we can all enjoy them.

Like Vosburg, Whiting, Gosnell, Finn.
Midnight, Ungar, and Arboretum,
Hojack (where the trains have been),
and Four Mile Creek (the new one).

Even driving can be fun
(If 104 is ever done),
but stay off Ridge Road, everyone
at lunch and dinner time.

Our schools do make us very proud.
By the marching band are people wowed.
School concerts always draw a crowd,
and the musicals are prime.

An open house the Town does host,
a summer party with fireworks,
the Fiesta at St. Rita’s Church,
and Community Arts Day.

At the Aquatic Center you can take a swim.
With ice skates at the arena you’ll skim,
and at the library a good book begin,
while the kids enjoy a puppet play.

You can take a class at the Rec,
buy fruit at Obbie’s Farm Market,
see a movie (like 3-D Shrek!),
then go next door to knock some pins.

Want to get something good to eat?
Webster’s offerings can’t be beat.
Like Bill Gray’s, Hedge’s, Charlie’s, T’s,
then an Abbott’s ice cream for some grins.

And at the head of this great town,
Supervisor Nesbitt can be found,
And the talented staff he keeps around
To keep things running well.

They keep our streets clear when it snows,
their free mulch helps our flowers grow.
They keep sewers clear and police our roads.
(Yes, and tax us for it all…)

Now, I’ve only just begun to list
the great things in Webster that exist.
Many people and places I have missed
in this overly long poem.

But I think that I have proved my case
that Webster is a special place.
I’m glad it’s become MY home base.
(Or, as I call it, “home”).

* * *

email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram (@missyblog)

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

In memory of a village treasure

21 Nov

On March 3, 2018, the Village of Webster lost one of its most precious people, Carol Klem.

I had known Carol for less than 10 years, but we shared a passion for local journalism, and a love for the village. When we first met — I don’t remember when or where it was, but it was probably at some village event — we immediately hit it off.  Aside from bonding over our love of writing and journalism, we recognized in each other the same determination to live life fully, not take life too seriously, and never completely grow up.

For more than ten years, Carol penned the Village Focus column in the Webster Herald, and was basically the village’s biggest cheerleader. On November 21, 2017, the Webster Village Board returned the favor. To show Carol how much her efforts were appreciated, they presented her with a proclamation and named the day after her. Every year hence, November 21 would officially be Carol Klem Day in the Village of Webster.

Given that today is Carol Klem Day 2021, I wanted to post something in memory of my friend. What follows is an article I wrote for the Webster Herald which ran the week before the proclamation.


If you’ve lived in the Village of Webster for any length of time, chances are very good you know Carol Klem — or at least know about her.

It helps that for the last 12 years, as Village Focus columnist, Carol’s smiling face has appeared every two weeks on the village website and in the Webster Herald.

But even if you don’t regularly read her column, you’ve almost certainly seen Carol around town, chatting with fellow journalists at Barry’s Old School Irish or at Golden Boys, visiting with local business owners, or darting back and forth during parades, festivals and other special events, snapping photos for her column.

Basically, the name Carol Klem has become synonymous with all things good about the Village of Webster. For years, she’s been the eyes and ears of Webster, like a town crier, using her column to cheer accomplishments both big and small. She has introduced us to new businesses and old businesses. She has written tender obituaries, announced births and anniversaries. She has told us about upcoming special events and charmed us with personal musings about small-town life. And every Christmas she has delighted us all with her epic holiday poem.

Carol was born in Rochester in 1938, the oldest of three children, and lived with her family in the Beechwood section of the city. While she was attending high school at Nazareth Academy, her parents decided to move to Webster, in a home they built on Basket Road.

At that time, Webster was very rural, and was really considered the “boondocks.” Moving from the city to farm country was a big adjustment, but it gave Carol lots of handy excuses for being late for school. One of them, her daughter Mary Kay remembers, was “the Schreiber cows were loose on Basket Road.”

Carol attended Nazareth College, where she studied English and music, and was hired at Holy Trinity School, where she taught first through third grades.

Carol was the school’s first lay teacher. “It was mom and all the nuns,” Mary Kay said. “It was really quite funny. I think she was very different from the nuns. I can’t imagine a bunch of nuns and my mom!”

It was while she was teaching at Holy Trinity that she met Gene, her husband of 57 years. They were introduced by then-pastor Fr. William Kalb in 1959, married the following year, and immediately started a family. Mary Kay was born in 1961, followed closely by Tom, Greg and Doug. Many years later, in 1978, little sister Meg joined the family.

Carol worked through her first pregnancy, then became a stay-at-home mom. It was only after all the kids had all grown and moved on that she re-entered the workforce, finding part-time work with the Webster Post, writing wedding announcements and obituaries.

At 47 years old, Carol Klem the journalist was born.

“I remember her starting with a portable typewriter,” Mary Kay said. “I couldn’t imagine she would ever be computer-literate, and Word proficient. Although she still has a knack for losing files.”

In 2005 Carol left the Post and was asked to join the Webster Herald as the Village Focus columnist. She had finally found her true calling: writing about the village she loves so dearly.

And she does love Webster dearly. In September 2015, in an interview she recorded for the non-profit Webster Together organization, Carol called the village “the heart of Webster.”

“I just love our town. I love the people in it, and I love the spirit,” she said. “I’d love to see the village definitely take off. I think that whatever happens, we have the right people to make the decisions.”


I think Carol would be happy with the direction the village is going. She’d be sad to see long-standing businesses like The Music Store close, but happy about all of the new shops that have moved into the village. And given the social butterfly she was, this COVID stuff would have driven her up a wall. I don’t think it would have slowed her down too much, though. I can picture her in a mask, swinging her little digital camera as she chronicled life getting back to normal.

I miss her ever-present smile, boundless energy and joie de vivre. I’ll be raising a glass to her today.

* * *

email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

Some thoughts about the Village Board

11 Mar

It had been a long time since I’d attended a Webster Village Board meeting, but last Thursday, on the advice of the fine ladies at the Village Hall (where I’d gone to renew my passport), I decided to go. And I’m glad I did.

The evening was marked by two important events. The first was a moment of silence in honor of one of the village’s finest people, Carol Klem, who passed away about a week ago.

Village Trustee Karl Laurer added some thoughts. He said that Carol was “instrumental in helping me be in the position I am now. … She was a fine example of humility, integrity, decency, honor, and a solid part of our village meetings.”

Village Trustee Jude Lancy added that Carol’s funeral, held the previous day, was a “great celebration of her life….As sorrowful as we felt, (the officiants) made us laugh.”

Mark

The next order of business was another celebration of service to the community, but a bit happier one, when David Mayer was recognized for his almost 21 years of service as the village’s Planning and Zoning attorney.

During his tenure he served under seven different mayors of different political parties, earning respect from them all.

On a side note, I have to say that attending the Village Board meetings is a pleasant experience once again.

I had gotten out of the habit of attending these meetings because I was a bit put off by the shenanigans and the circus it had become under the previous administration. I had both a prurient interest in attending just to see what might happen, but also felt frustrated, embarrassed and annoyed by what did transpire.

But now they’re back where they belong: civil, not contentious. There’s a lot of dry procedural matters that necessarily have to be part of village business, but there’s usually also a lot of interesting information for our day-to-day village living.

For example, at one meeting late last year, one resident brought up his concerns about the clock tower in Veterans Park, and how it had been broken for so long. He by the way, was one of the residents who worked so hard to raise money to purchase it.

I encourage every village resident to check out a meeting every once in a while. It’s a good way to become an informed citizen, and a great avenue by which to express your concerns about what’s going on in the village. There aren’t many opportunities these days when we can look a government leader in the eye and share our gripes.

Village Board meetings are held the second and fourth Thursday of every month beginning at 7 p.m., in the Village Community Meeting Hall, 29 South Avenue. (This is a new time. Meetings used to begin at 7:30, but were moved as of March 1.)

* * *

email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

Goodbye, my friend

6 Mar

carol_klemWebster began the painful process today of saying goodbye to one of the village’s most precious people, Carol Klem.

Carol passed away peacefully on Saturday March 3, surrounded by her family.

I know I was just one of hundreds to file through Willard Scott Funeral Home this afternoon and evening. But I’m certain that each and every one of those mourners came with a different story, a different memory, a different reason that Carol will be sorely missed.

I knew Carol for less than 10 years, but we shared a passion for local journalism, and a love for the village. When we first met — I don’t remember when or where it was, but it was probably at some village event — we immediately hit it off.  Aside from bonding over our love of writing and journalism, we recognized in each other the same determination to live life fully, not take life too seriously, and never completely grow up.

I will miss our gab sessions at Barry’s and Golden Boys, when we would get together to swap story ideas and gossip. I will miss seeing her swinging her little digital camera at village events. I will miss her ever-present smile, boundless energy and joie de vivre.

Her passing has created an ache in my heart and a rip in the fabric of our village which will take a long time to heal.

Carol Klem’s funeral will be held on Wednesday March 7, at  11:30 a.m. at Holy Trinity Church, 1460 Ridge Rd., Webster. Interment will follow at Holy Trinity Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Webster Arboretum. Click here to read the complete obituary.

Also, if you haven’t found it yet, here is the link to the article I wrote for the Webster Herald in November in anticipation of Carol Klem Day in the village.

* * *

email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

Carol Klem Day declaration packed the house

23 Nov

crowd

It was standing room only in the Community Meeting Hall for Tuesday night’s Village Board meeting, and not a one of them had come to complain about some problem they were having in the village.

No, the Board had announced that Tuesday November 21 would forever be known as Carol Klem Day, and almost 100 of Carol’s friends, family members and business owners had come to witness the official proclamation.

Trying to get the large, chatty crowd organized so they could start the meeting on time was kind of like herding cats. But eventually everyone found a seat or a spot along the wall, and Mayor Darrell Byerts called the meeting to order.

The proclamation was the first order of business. Carol Carol with proclamationjoined the board members at the podium as Mayor Byerts read the official document. There were a lot of “whereas”es and at least one “let it be known,” but the gist of the document were these paragraphs, which related to Carol’s work with the Webster Herald:

Whereas her (Village Voice) articles helped to support local organizations and businesses old and new and to promote community events all year long,

and whereas her journalistic expertise has ultimately strengthened the village and everything it stands for as a close-knit, supportive and fun community by bringing people together.

Following the presentation of the official document, several others stepped up to the podium to express their gratitude.

Village Trustee Jude Lancy, who helped pull this event together, sent along this list of thank-yous for helping make the evening’s festivities successful:

Thank you to:

  • Mayor Darrell Byerts for coming up with the the idea of Carol Klem Day, and the beautiful plaque commemorating this event.
  • Carol’s daughter MaryKay, for gathering early information on Carol’s life and bringing the family to the presentation;
  • Robyn Whitaker for the plaque presented to Carol from the Business Improvement District, in appreciation of her support;
  • Bill Horeth and Kathy Mills, representing Kittelberger Florist for the presentation of long-stemmed red roses in thanks for Carol’s contribution to the village and businesses;
  • Sharon Pratt, representing the Museum, who gave thanks for all of Carol’s contributions to the welfare of the museum;
  • Jake Swingly and Steve Small for “starring” Carol Klem on the digital billboard in front of the South Avenue fire house;
  • Dorothea Ciccarelli for showing the Village Hall’s appreciation and her own appreciation for the support given to her daughter, Lacey;
  • Maegan Lessing for her efforts in preparing the proclamation, getting everyone’s signatures and finding a suitable frame;
  • and thanks to everyone in attendance for a standing-room only gathering for our one and only Carol Klem.

Erin and CarolLater in the meeting, after most of the well-wishers had left, another notable event happened.

Mayor Byerts announced that a new columnist had been found who will be taking the Village Focus reins from Carol. The new columnist will soon be starting up the weekly column again, plus a new blog to be posted on the village website.

Then he officially introduced — and the Board officially approved — my daughter, Erin Rosenberry.

Several details have yet to be worked out.  But as soon as Erin gets an email up and running, I hope the Village of Webster will support her — as you have supported me — as she shares all the good things our community has to offer.

Carol with Village Board

* * *

email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

Village to honor Carol Klem

18 Nov

Carol_Klem-

(The blog below is an article I wrote for the Webster Herald about a great person and good friend who’s getting some well-deserved recognition at the Village Board meeting next Tuesday.)  

If you’ve lived in the Village of Webster for any length of time, chances are very good you know Carol Klem — or at least know about her.

It helps that for the last 12 years, as Village Focus columnist, Carol’s smiling face has appeared every two weeks on the village website and in the Webster Herald.

But even if you don’t regularly read her column, you’ve almost certainly seen Carol around town, chatting with fellow journalists at Barry’s Old School Irish or at Golden Boys, visiting with local business owners, or darting back and forth during parades, festivals and other special events, snapping photos for her column.

Basically, the name Carol Klem has become synonymous with all things good about the village of Webster. For years, she’s been the eyes and ears of Webster, like a town crier, using her column to cheer accomplishments both big and small. She has introduced us to new businesses and old businesses. She has written tender obituaries, announced births and anniversaries. She has told us about upcoming special events and charmed us with personal musings about small-town life. And every Christmas she has delighted us all with her epic holiday poem.

Next week, the village will recognize Carol’s devotion to Webster by proclaiming November 21 Carol Klem Day in the Village.

Carol was born in Rochester in 1938, the oldest of three children, and lived with her family in the Beechwood section of the city. While she was attending high school at Nazareth Academy, her parents decided to move to Webster, in a home they built on Basket Road.

At that time, Webster was very rural, and was really considered the “boondocks.” Moving from the city to farm country was a big adjustment, but it gave Carol lots of handy excuses for being late for school. One of them, her daughter Mary Kay remembers, was “the Schreiber cows were loose on Basket Road.”

Carol attended Nazareth College, where she studied English and music, and was hired at Holy Trinity School, where she taught first through third grades.

Carol was the school’s first lay teacher. “It was mom and all the nuns,” Mary Kay said. “It was really quite funny. I think she was very different from the nuns. I can’t imagine a bunch of nuns and my mom!”

It was while she was teaching at Holy Trinity that she met Gene, her husband of 57 years. They were introduced by then-pastor Fr. William Kalb in 1959, married the following year, and immediately started a family. Mary Kay was born in 1961, followed closely by Tom, Greg and Doug. Many years later, in 1978, little sister Meg joined the family.

Carol worked through her first pregnancy, then became a stay-at-home mom. It was only after all the kids had all grown and moved on that she re-entered the workforce, finding part-time work with the Webster Post, writing wedding announcements and obituaries.

At 47 years old, Carol Klem the journalist was born.

“I remember her starting with a portable typewriter,” Mary Kay said. “I couldn’t imagine she would ever be computer-literate, and Word proficient. Although she still has a knack for losing files.”

In 2005 Carol left the Post and was asked to join the Webster Herald as the Village Focus columnist. She had finally found her true calling: writing about the village she loves so dearly.

And she does love Webster dearly. In September 2015, in an interview she recorded for the non-profit Webster Together organization, Carol called the village “the heart of Webster.”

“I just love our town. I love the people in it, and I love the spirit,” she said. “I’d love to see the village definitely take off. I think that whatever happens, we have the right people to make the decisions.”

For years, Carol Klem has been Webster’s biggest cheerleader. Now the village wants to return the favor.

In recognition of everything Carol has done for our community, The Webster Village Board will officially designate Tuesday, November 21 as “Carol Klem Day” in the village of Webster.

Mayor Darrell Byerts will present the official proclamation at the regular Village Board meeting, Tuesday November 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the Community Meeting Hall, 29 South Ave. (The meeting has been rescheduled from Thanksgiving Day). The entire Webster community is invited to attend.

* * *

email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.

 

Fund raiser will help village “worker bee”

1 Aug

FB_IMG_1498324941683Thank you to my friend Carol Klem for the following information about an important village fundraiser for a wonderful person.

This Saturday August 5, the village of Webster will come together to support Penny Swingly, whom Carol characterizes as “one of the hardest working folks in our village.”

Penny is a self-employed hair stylist in the village and former secretary of the Business Improvement District, and she helps at every village event that she can. Lately, Penny has been fighting some serious health issues, which have made it difficult for her to keep up with her business.

In March Penny went into the hospital for a routine surgery. But something went wrong, and she didn’t leave the hospital for  more than two months. Even then, it was only to be discharged to St. Ann’s home, which she then had to leave when her insurance ran out.

Frail and weak, Penny’s not going to be able to return to work for a long time. But we are Webster, and Webster rallies together when one of our own is in need.

This Saturday, the “Benny for Penny” will take place at 22 North Avenue, near Veterans Memorial Park and the gazebo. It’s a pig roast and chicken barbecue, with beverages and raffles, starting at noon and continuing all afternoon. Entertainment will be provided by Rochester-based cover band The Fallen. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to Penny.

If you’d like like to contribute a raffle item, or money to the cause, call Sherry at (585) 259-1619.

* * *

email me  at missyblog@gmail.com“Like” this blog on Facebook and follow me on Twitter and Instagram

You can also get email notifications every time I post a new blog by using the “Follow Me” link on the right side of this page.