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I love, I laugh; as a mother, a girlfriend, a daughter, a sibling, a friend. I change. I volunteer. I make a difference. I make things happen. I get lazy; then way to high strung. I stay up all night, and pay the next day. I piss people off. I make people love. I believe in fate. and karma. I laugh at myself. I've even been called an "angel"... more than once. I've been rocked to my core by angels among us. I am a journalist for our small town newspapers, including the Muskego Chronicle, the Hales Corners Citizen, and the Franklin Citizen; I love writing for our chicken-soup-for-the-small-town-soul publications! I am right where I want to be. I am 34, and proud of my age (every birthday is another gift); the greatest thing I have done is contribute the beauty that my clone-like daughter Sophia has to offer. She is my legacy. I am a total mama’s girl; always have been, always will be. I have a Black-Irish bond (unbreakable) with my siblings. I am comfortable in my own skin. I have never been insecure, not once. I love people; but prefer kids to adults. I am not the least bit judgmental; but can hold a grudge to my grave. I follow my heart more than my head. Intentionally.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Hello Neighbor, How Are You Doing Today?

Opinion column, “Muskego, 53150”
By Noelle Lorraine

Hello Neighbor, How Are You Doing Today?

We’ve all heard the old adage, “keeping up with the Jones’s”, and with Muskego rapidly expanding into a suburban metropolis, it seems the domestic Olympics have begun. With population steadily rising, we all have more neighbors. For the most part, we all agree that the best neighbor is the one that offers a friendly wave or a cup of flour, but beyond that they pretty much mind their own business. Most of the time we do not know much about who lives next door except; what they drive, how many kids they have, and which stray dog is theirs, and most people seem to prefer it that way. But what if you live next to someone who is extraordinary, or heroic? What about unfortunate or in need? Either way, maybe instead of trying to keep up with the Jones’s, we should try to help them out instead.
In 2004, my daughter attended Tess Corners Elementary where she developed a fondness for a fellow classmate, in Mrs. Ferguson’s first grade class. The new friend began to visit our home on occasion, she was part of the brownie troop I assisted with, and she was our neighbor, or as it goes on a “country block”. She lived several houses up the road from us, which was about a half mile, with her parents and her older sister. It became clear rather quickly that the family of four was a very tight knit team. It seemed they were mutually involved in everything for one another, where there was one; the others were in close proximity.
I got to know the little girl’s mom better and better as time went on. It was obvious to me that she was a loving, involved mother, and we also had a mutual friend, whom also had a daughter in the same class, and she spoke very highly of my neighbor. Our conversations typically revolved around our daughters, and never extended much to a personal level. With the busy life we orchestrate for our children, we neglect even adult conversations at times, and this was the case with my neighbor.
By nature, I am a person that observes and tries to put the hypothetical puzzle together to figure out someone’s story. This is what I concluded about my neighbor; she is an active & involved mom and wife, and she is respected not only by her daughters and husband, but the teachers and other moms too. I noticed she always keeps a tidy house and her husband keeps the outdoor landscape impeccable. She is pretty, with a timeless elegance, in fact, I have never seen her in public with that “just woke up” look, that I myself am sometimes guilty of. Even then, I knew there was something remarkable about her character, and certainly deserving of the respect she is given by others in the community.
I remember her telling me when we were at a school skate, that she used to go roller skating all the time when she was younger. That particular night I was doing my best not to run over the kids, because they had talked me into skating. I asked my neighbor to join, and she said something along the lines of; my balance isn’t that great tonight, but maybe next time. Puzzled, I accepted her answer and did not ask any more questions, which is totally out of my character. I remember thinking; maybe she bumped her head, or maybe she is getting over the flu, because I could not bear the thought of my neighbor and friend being a victim of something worse. Dazed I looked around to spot my daughter, there she was, skating along side of her classmate and neighbor. My heart ached at the possibility of something adversely affecting this family. The thought of it was enough to send me outside for fresh air. It was not long before I learned my neighbor is in fact a victim to a disease that can be enormously challenging at times.
Her name is Luann Schreiber and she has multiple sclerosis. You may remember a story that was run last week. Luann is all of the great things that I initially concluded, but she is so much more. She is a survivor, she is support for anyone who calls on her, she is an advocate for this disease, and she leads the local MS fundraising team (LMS).
There have been changes in her health over the last several years, which you can’t help but notice at times, if you’re aware of her situation. I will admit, there was a day I noticed she seemed particularly affected by MS, judging by her movements, and it broke my heart. She did not see me that day, and I am grateful because I drove down the road with tears in my eyes, and I think the last thing she wants or expects is sympathy. According to information I gathered from her for last week’s story, it is support, awareness and funding to find a cure that my brave friend seeks, not pity. When I asked her about her future goals, she informed me that she is driven and compelled to help raise funding. I think its time to “HELP OUT the Jones’s”, or the Schreiber’s, in this case.
The next time I see Luann, even if it is a day where the disease has taken its toll, I will swell with pride rather than tears. My neighbor is a fighter, a heroic advocate and a survivor. I will see a strong woman on a mission, rather than MS and its victim.
I will attempt to contribute what I am able, and urge others to do the same. If a monetary donation is not a possibility, you could always contribute to Luann’s mission by helping to generate awareness, or something of that nature. To contact me for comments and/ or ideas or to contact my amazing neighbor and friend, Luann Schreiber of “Team LMS”, email me at- All emails for Luann will be forwarded directly to her.

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