Friends #41 and 42: Adam and Joe

I met up for lunch in Chicago with high school marching band mates Adam and Joe.  They hadn’t seen each other in awhile either, so they were excited to reunite, as well.  Adam became drum major after I was drum major (so if you’re following the line through Facebook friends I’ve thus visited, it went from Leslie to Janise and me to Adam), and Joe was in the trumpet section.  Joe’s family moved to Chicago for his senior year of high school, and he has never left.  The three of us met for lunch, then Joe and I went to tour the small campus where he teaches.

Both Adam and Joe were in Chicago for college, at Northwestern and DePaul respectively.  And both stuck around.  And both still cheer for St. Louis sports teams (atta boys!).  Adam got his MBA from the Kellogg School at Northwestern and works in the upper echelons of administration at Northwestern University Hospital in downtown Chicago.  He is obviously very capable and talented in his field.  And he also genuinely cares about people.  You can tell by the way he asks questions and by the details he remembers about people’s lives.  He was very intentional about getting together on my visit to Chicago with the short amount of time he had on his lunch hour.  He was also deliberate about making plans with Joe for the future.  And he means it.  It’s unfortunate how rare that is and how much it stood out.

I often remember Adam’s much younger sister Cathryn who would come along to band competitions and football games.  She was about 7 when I was a senior, and Adam posted something on Facebook about her having an internship for college this summer.  To exercise the denial I felt at feeling so old, I posted what I remembered about her singing this song with all the president’s names in order in a little tiny voice when she was so young.  Then Adam’s mom commented about remembering that song, too.  It was a funny Facebook moment.  And I still felt old when it was all over.

When lunch was over, Joe and I walked Adam back to work before heading north to Wrigleyville.  It was clear even in our goodbyes, that Adam enthusiastically welcomes any kind of visit with such a friendliness.  It was such an encouragement.

Adam and Joe

Joe and I hopped on the “L” and sneered in the direction of Wrigley Field when we got off the train.  Joe studied music in college.  Now he teaches music at the Salvation Army Officer Training School in Chicago.

Most people are familiar with the Salvation Army.  What most people might not know (and I didn’t until I met Joe and his sister Jenny and their family), is that the Salvation Army is basically a denomination like Baptist or Lutheran, and they have churches with pastors.  But since they’ve adopted the model of army offices, the pastors of the churches are called “officers.”  The school where Joe works is the seminary to train the people who will be pastors in the Salvation Army churches.  Joe teaches music–from how to lead and direct to how to choose music for different occasions.

The campus of the school is nestled on a square block right in the middle of the city, which is quite appropriate for the work that they do.  The Salvation Army excels across the board in truly investing in and transforming the lives of people in the urban environments that most people would steer clear of.  Joe is proud of the work that he does, and he has found quite a niche, but he also sees it through a realistic lens, which is a delicate balance, difficult to master, one that didn’t even register until I was reflecting on our visit.  He and his wife have refrained from going through officer training, which is a very rare choice for someone in their position.  But the officers in the Salvation Army are a lot like Catholic priests, in that the church can call them to or away from a location at any time.  By not being officers, Joe and his wife can maintain a certain level of stability and freedom, especially as they welcome their first child.

The highlights of the campus tour were both in a historic mansion that served as the original school building: the second oldest elevator in the city of Chicago and the vintage era uniforms used in productions of “Guys and Dolls.”

The second oldest working elevator in the city of Chicago, located in one of the buildings, a former residence, on the Salvation Army campus.

This uniform was one of many uniforms from different eras that are set aside and used for performances of "Guys and Dolls."

My visits with Adam and Joe got my time in Chi-town off to such a great start, especially after such a harrowing time the previous day with car trouble in Kenosha.


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