Conversation at Bonow’s provides fellowship, understanding

To the Editor:

It was cold and dreary on Sunday. But inside Carol Bonow’s home off a rural side street in Milford, French hors devours and Champagne brightened the day.

So did the conversation. 

After receiving numerous phone calls – both national and international – for her opinion on the tragedies that took place in Paris last January where French satirists from Charlie Hebdo were among 17 people murdered, Carol, a self-proclaimed Francophile whose career as French teacher and tour guide to France has spanned four decades, saw a need to reach out.

Carol contacted the Cabinet Press and told them about her idea – to invite area residents to her home to process what took place within the unique context of French culture, history and it’s people- all things she loves. The invitation was published in the Jan. 21 edition.

Looking out a large bay window onto yet another snowfall, six of us gathered in Carol’s living room as our host seemed to spin gold on a daunting topic. Though we were discussing a tragic moment in recent French history, Carol saw our gathering as a chance for each of us to delve deeper into ourselves, rather than our political pundits for meaning. She reminded us what resilience means. “We can reject the negativity and sadness that transpires when the geopolitics of the world diminish our power. But don’t just regret. We can all do something.”  

As her presentation and subsequent discussion progressed, Carol summarized her philosophy on life, drawing from French philosopher, Voltaire, and then, examples of individuals who have inspired her personally and with whom she has collaborated for her latest business innovation: Creative Genius Tours.

“We can look at Lilly Yeh, whose sculpture pyramid at the site of the genocide in Rwanda expresses what she believes – that to truly honor the dead, we have to bring beauty and to remember them in that light.

“And then there is my friend, Irv Borowsky, who gave back to the world by creating a museum for his collection of contemporary glass as a symbol for what is breakable and fragile in life – both glass and freedom.”

Without even taking a breath, Carol continued, “ And then there’s Ida Newman. This 102-year-old woman re-furbished the old-fashioned ’Smith Slide’ at Fairmont Park in Philadelphia, a hand-hewn 10-feet-high, 13-feet-wide and 44-foot-long maple wooden slide – a place where children from all socioeconomic and religious backgrounds can play in harmony and safety.” Carol toasted the day,” A votre sante” and then she laughed, “We are not so unlike these creators. We can each give back to the world something of ourselves that will bring lasting healing.” 

Thank you to the Milford Cabinet and to Carol Bonow for reaching out beyond borders and for providing a venue where a sense of fellowship and understanding could emerge about how we can engage the world and its misfortunes with vision.

If you’d like learn more about Carol’s custom tours, she can be reached at 673-6715. Currently she is registering trips for both her grandparent/grandchild tour to France and her Creative Genius Tour to Philadelphia.

Betsy Campbell