I have been reflecting on several great friends that I have had in my life.
Steve and I were born on the same day…five years apart. He and I, along with some other young men that attended our church, shared a house for about one year.
Steve is just a great guy. Nine months after I began at SIU Building Services…Steve was hired there as well.
At one time, Steve and I, were to poor to pay attention.
A had a terrible automobile accident, in the village of Elkville, many years ago. Within minutes…there was Steve…at the scene…to ensure that I was alright and provide moral support.
Jeff, is another great and lifelong friend.
I met Jeff about the time that I met Steve…in the early 1970’s. Jeff was a hippie and lived in a hippie commune that was off of the Elkville blacktop. When I first saw him…I mistook him for a girl.
Jeff had been homeless on the streets of Chicago…which is where I was born.
Jeff is Jewish…and ever since I first met him…I have been fascinated by the Jewish people.
Although, we were separated for several years…we have renewed our friendship and travelled to Europe to visit them on numerous occasions.
When I entered the doors of first grade…at Hillcrest School…in Eldorado, Illinois…I noticed a chap that had thick glasses and always forgot to take off his cap. The teacher would say to him, ‘Jackie, let’s not wear our hat in the house,’ and he would subsequently walk to the cloak room, yes that is what we called it in those days, and deposit his hat.
I soon found out that Jackie and I had the same last name…and a friendship was born.
I lost track of Jackie years ago…who at the time was preparing to move to the same area that I did…to pursue an education at SIU…with a major in Accounting.
I was the civil service representative on the chancellor search committee that brought Dr. Jo Ann Argersinger to the Carbondale Campus as chancellor.
When I first met Dr. Argersinger…I felt as if we had met previously…deja vu.
After ‘Jo Ann,’ which she insisted that everyone call her, was chosen as the Carbondale Chancellor…but before she took office…she called me to see ask that I facilitate the storage of her books on the Campus…until she arrived.
Chancellor Argersinger asked my opinion on a multitude of University issues and indicated that she wanted to advance me to a higher position to assist her with the physical needs of the Campus. I told her that I did not seek a higher job title but that I would be honored to assist her, behind the scenes, where I could.
Jo Ann and her wonderful husband Peter…became our dear friends…after her untimely termination.
I hired Elizabeth…when she was younger that I even realized. She was such an efficient assistant to me and her husband Ryan…was an extraordinary person.
My Director, Phil Gatton, asked me repeatedly if I would consent to a retirement reception…to which I told him that I preferred to sneak out…just like I snuck in.
Phil, then told me…that Elizabeth would be disappointed if I did not consent to a retirement reception. I knew then…that Elizabeth was my friend.
Bill V., was a constant sounding-board for me…during my years as Superintendent of Building Services. His support was unfailing…and he and I thought a lot alike.
We traveled together, many times, and had a lot of fun and interesting conversations.
Gary, started with me when I was a crew supervisor, a Building Custodian, and he was unfailingly loyal to me…and a great friend.
Gary, took care of numerous operational needs in our department and I relied on him heavily.
Jewel, was my counselor. I consider her one of the wisest people that it has ever been my privilege to know.
Joan, was inspirational! She treated me like a king…and was the hardest worker that I have ever known.
Jody, was a sweet kind woman who always had my back…and I loved her for it.
Bill W., was a brilliant person…with so many life experiences, I admired him and I am honored to call him my friend.
Gerald, and I came into the office duties the same day. He as the Training Officer and I as a foreman. When I became Assistant Superintendent…he took my place as foreman. He was such a hard worker and and dedicated to me and our vision of cleanliness for the Carbondale Campus.
My dear Brother in law, Ron, is my friend. I am never with him…that I do not feel better for the experience!
My long lost brother, Brock, is my friend. It is as if we have grown up together…although we met just a little over a year ago.
This is not the entire list…but these people come to mind as ‘True Blue’ friends and I think of each of them…often.
‘The greatest gift of life is friendship, and I have received it.’ Hubert H. Humphrey
”Friends show their love in times of trouble, not in happiness.’ Euripides
‘One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.’ Lucas Annaeus Seneca