Geoff’s visit to WFBHS

May 24, 2013

I arrived in Milwaukee on Tuesday right (May 21, 2013) around 3:00 and made my journey to Conijito’s for my regular tune up; Four (4) chopped meat with cheese taco’s and a cold Tecate and then made my way north to WFB.

I drove past the High School; actually went around the block twice. It seems that there is a large addition on the front of the building attached to the auditorium and another on the rear of the building under the English wing. It is still the same place but with a nice little face-lift (not a Bruce Jenner or Kenny Rogers kind of thing, thank goodness). It was nice to see the football field, the field house, the pool and the bike racks along the west side of the building…they all brought back memories and a few smiles. I took particular notice of the sign on the south-west corner of the property that proudly read “Awards Night 22nd” and thought that it was going to be a great night for our company but more importantly, for the class of 1982.

I had a good rest that afternoon and then went to see Beth Brahe at her home. We chatted for a bit and decided to meet up with John O’Neil later in the evening. Silver Spring House at 8:30 was settled upon.

It only took about 2 minutes after arriving that my stomach ached and I was wiping my eyes. So much laughter and so many smiles……we need more of that. We stayed until about 10:30 or so and made plans to meet the following evening before the Awards ceremony.

On Wednesday morning, I met Jon Wallace at the HS for a private meeting with the counselor that we have been communicating with, Bill Barbeau. He graciously led us on a tour of the building, pointing out the “all-new” music wing and taking us through the hallways I remember from so long ago. In the field house I read the names of John Smilanich and Alex Sellers on the wall, saw a “Hall of Fame” picture of Bob Albrightson & Lois Wolf. I took in the familiar sounds (and smells) of kids playing basketball, volleyball and walking the track. The school is the same but different in some ways; all doors are locked during school hours (a sign of the times I guess), a double entry secures the school and the administrative offices are newly remodeled, but the feeling of the students and the hallways is the same. I touched my old locker and thought of trying my “combo” to see if it would work. I let that one go. All-in-all, the tour and meeting went well and we were made to feel at home and very comfortable.

Jon and I had a nice lunch together in Shorewood and we ran a few ideas past each other for future projects. At one point I said, “Did you ever think that the two of us would be doing this together?” It made me think about why this is all being done and each of us coming out of our comfort zones and working together. Jon and I probably spoke once or twice through our 4 years at Bay. We may have waved politely if we were the only 2 in the hallway but for the most part I think I was invisible to some classmates and sadly, some were invisible to me. I truly regret that. To those I missed, I’m sorry.

We chose a spot to meet around 5 o’clock that night to make final arrangements for the evening. There, we had a chance to high-five each other and celebrate getting to that point. It was a pretty fast pace getting there and everyone lent a helping hand. For that I am grateful. Just before we left for the Ceremony, I signed the check, holding in my emotions of both joy and sorrow but smiling as I wrote.

I want you to take a minute and watch the video of the presentation. I think a couple things will jump out at you with reference to the crowd and their enthusiasm. Please watch the video and then read the rest of this.

As I went back and watched the video of the presentation myself, I noticed a time near the end where I called out “We, The ‘82 Project and fellow 1982 Alumni….” I didn’t plan that, it came out as I was standing there. I didn’t realize that what I inadvertently did was separated the two; the company from the rest of the 1982 Alumni. After seeing that, I knew I needed to bring the two together as one, to bring everyone in and let the crowd know that we are all one class, but it didn’t come out as I planned. We are not a bunch of Officers directing a business, but a powerful group of classmates as a whole, that can make a big difference in the lives of so many.

This needs to be a company of our entire class. It needs to be about all of us sharing and caring and giving. I want to stop calling out names of the officers as if they are something or someone grander than the masses. We are simply the catalyst; the engine of this locomotive. In order to carry what we need to carry and deliver what we need to deliver, we need more engines, box cars, dining cars, grain and oil cars…..a caboose bringing up the rear and completing the train.

The company needs all of you. It is your company. It is a company that can’t live and breathe life into others without you. I want it to be all of us. I hope it becomes all of us. I think we all need it to become all of us.

Join in. Come out of your comfort zone. Pick up the phone and call someone you haven’t called in a long time and say hello. Take a minute to make a little difference in someone’s life. Smile……

To quote Ferris Bueller;

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

— Geoff Heeren


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