Friend #46: Mark (Deb, Jackson, and Harlow)

I spent the Saturday I was in Chicago retrieving my car from Kenosha.  Took the Metra train to Kenosha.  Took a cab to the shop where I’d had my car towed.  Had them jump the car so I could drive it to Sears, where my battery (the problem) was still under warranty.  Instead of the $272 the shop wanted to replace the battery, Sears did it for free.  Love it.

On my drive back to the city, I stopped in Evanston (Big Ten college town #3) for a quick visit with Mark and family.  Mark was a year behind me in grad school, and he is definitely using our training in Entrepreneurial Leadership.  In fact, as his wife Deb pointed out, he always has.  They have never lived off of a regular 9 to 5 income.  Deb working at Starbucks while Mark was in grad school was the closest they ever came.

Right now, Mark does personal training and personal coaching in basketball.  Basically, he tutors high school guys in basketball the way I tutor them in SAT or ACT.  He also does nutrition counseling and health coaching using AdvoCare.  It’s actually a pretty killer entrepreneurial combination.  They have a great apartment smack dab in the middle of a neighborhood of beautiful older homes and have gotten to know some of their neighbors, some of whom are Mark’s clients.  We talked about what it was like to be working with certain families who embody the upper of upper middle class.

I wondered, too, if they had found community in Chicago.  Mark’s cohort in grad school excelled at going through the process with a real sense of unity.  The spouses of the cohortians would also regularly get together, so I can imagine it was difficult for both of them to uproot and move to a new city.  They have found a niche in Chicago.  Deb, especially has a network of other moms she has connected with.  Much like with Joy all the way back in Berkeley, kids can often be a conduit to their parents becoming friends.

It was also really fun to interact with the kids.  Jackson was pretty little when they got to California.  And, since Mark is from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada, this little toddler was a Canadian (which I always thought was pretty cool).  Harlow was born right before they left LA, so this was my first time meeting her.  If Mark and Deb and I were talking, Jackson would raise his hand to let us know he had something to say (cute!).  He gave me a very thorough tour of the apartment.  The plan after I left was that they were going to eat dinner and then go swimming, and Harlow already had her swimsuit on.  She was so excited!  We played a couple rounds of hide and seek with Harlow’s stuffed bunny, with hiding places as cryptic as the middle of the kitchen floor.  I was reminded of the beauty and fun of lazy summer evenings of childhood when it seemed to stay light so late that it was hard to ever fall asleep.  And when the fun of hide and seek was the moment of discovery followed by a flow of giggles.

Mark and Deb embody hospitality, which is already being passed down to tour guide Jackson.  It was such a relaxing respite to spend time in their home to detox from the weight of my car fiasco.

(Insert invisible picture here) (sad face)

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