PCRA Becomes Family by Anne Sweazey

Our lagoon holds many memories— happy memories, funny memories-- but none holds more emotion than the memory of rowing with Carole Baker.  Carole used to say that when she was rowing, she was able to forget that she had cancer. She just left it at the dock.

Although she never smoked, it started in her lungs.  From there it progressed, as the worst ones do, and during the time we rowed together, she underwent one treatment ordeal after another.  We never mentioned to her how brave she was. She would rather join us in a joke, in a serious conversation about rowing form, in a post-row chat about plans for the coming weekend.

Her beloved husband David drove her up from the city and walked their dog in the park while we practiced, sometimes taking a picture or video of our boat.

Laura Aust had the banner made up that now hangs in the boathouse, and Carole’s rowing friends carried it across the Brooklyn Bridge when they joined her in the walk for lung cancer research.

One vivid memory: Carole was in a single in some rough water and it capsized.  I watched her as she calmly turned the boat over, managed to grab the oars and then slid herself over the side and into the seat. No drama, no fuss.  I think that by then, she had endured far worse upheavals.

Carole died last June.  We’ll never forget our gallant friend who taught us so much about poise and courage.

Picture from the bow: Patty, Carole, Peggy and Anne

Picture from the bow: Patty, Carole, Peggy and Anne

MaryAnn Provenzano