Alas, I have been tagged by two fine friends, Jim McGee and Phil Ferris. So, the meme goes forth, I have thought long and hard about five things that people don’t know about me, and have tried to further this meme, with my desire in this phase of my life to be as transparent as I can be…but here goes..
Most of my friends know that I spent a long time practicing law, but very few know that one of my greatest successes was representing Arthur “Pappy” Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy was a very fine Black man, who was the maitre de at the Beef and Bottle Restaurant in Winter Park, FL 32789. I had landed in Winter Park, FL 32789, the day after labor day in 1971 ready to begin practicing law. Degree in hand, and totally clueless. I came to know Mr. Kennedy at the restaurant he worked at, just down the block from our offices. He and I enjoyed a most wonderful relationship, and in the late summer of 1972, he decided to run for the Orlando City council.
There had not been an elected Black politician in Orlando, since slightly after reconstruction. Kennedy ran hard, and garnered all kinds of support, but Orlando at that time was still mostly segregated. I watched as the campaign went on, marveling at how hard he worked. I gave him some ideas, and he would smile and mull over my suggestions. Ultimately election day came, and when the votes were counted he had a very slim lead, but when the absentee ballots were counted he had lost. I was very disappointed!
The next day I was sitting in my office, and the managing partner of the firm walked in, and with him was Mr. Kennedy. He told me that Mr. Kennedy was my new client, and that I needed to figure out how to challenge the election. I shook hands with Mr. Kennedy, accepted the assignment and I grabbed a legal pad and headed for the law library. I spent all night in the law library, reading every statute, every case, and anything I could find. The next day, I showered, put on my best suit, and met Mr. Kennedy and a limo from Brunson’s funeral home. We drove to City Hall, and walked up the steps. I was incredibly scared, and it was about 100 degrees as I recall. When I got into the Mayor’s conference room, the three TV networks had their cameras on, and I found myself, sitting with the Mayor, the City Attorney and Clerk, and three stacks.
The outer envelopes, the inner envelopes and the ballots. I realized in a few minutes that in their hurry to count the ballots, the officials had mixed the good ballots with the bad ones, i.e. the ones that did not meet the statutory requirements. I realized that all of the absentee ballots were tainted, and there was no way to put the “genie back into the bottle” so to speak.
A day later we filed suit, a few months later, at trial, the Judge Barker, agreed with my theory, and Mr. Kennedy was declared the winner. It was a glorious day, perhaps the best day of my legal career. For once, perhaps the first time in a 100 years in Central Florida, the system had been made to work for a truly deserving man.
In 1971, I graduated from Duke Law School. That summer, I bought a 650 Triumph Bonneville motor cycle in Elephant and Castle neighbor hood of London. I then rode it 2,600 miles around Europe. On the good days it was great, and when it rained, it was cold and miserable. I am not sure I have ridden a motorcycle since.
There have been only three generations of my family since the Civil War.
My grandfather William Howard Keenan, i.e. 1865–1953
My sainted mother, Lucille Kathleen Keenan, i.e. 1911–1985
Me, 1946 to date…
Four Generations on the Bruggeman side.
Leo Bruggeman 1849–1911, and depending on which portion of the family legend you believe, was a 14 year old drummer boy at Gettysburg.
Burton Louis Bruggeman 1879–1956 ( I need to check the dates.)
Burton Louis Bruggeman II 1911–1969
Burton Louis Bruggeman III (me) 1946–date.
When my genes are mapped, they will find a new one, i.e. “The road trip gene”!
It would be my fondest desire in life to be an excellent writer. Stories I can tell, but writing I haven’t figured out yet. A shameless romantic I am, and a great friend I seek to be.
I will need a day or two to figure out who to tag next, but fear not, I shall!