Carpooling to Wayne State

Created by dstrasheim 6 years ago
I met John in January of 1960, when I was not quite 20 and he was not quite 22. I had just transferred to Wayne State College and had decided to live at home and commute the 30 miles back and forth between Norfolk and Wayne for two semesters. I soon got word that there was a group of four other guys who also commuted back and forth to Wayne every day, so I found out who they were and asked if I could join them. Fortunately, they were happy to welcome a fifth member to the car pool. The other four guys--Tom Bruckner, Dick Jones, Leo Moschenross, and John Reiner--were all older than I was, and I believe that all but possibly one of them were veterans. Let's just say that in addition to my classes at Wayne State, I acquired a real education in the world of common sense during those many trips back and forth to Wayne. All four of those guys became friends and mentors to me. I've lost track of Leo, but the others are all gone now. So sad. The only one of the guys I really hung out with was John. We used to go to the Double K Drive-In on Friday nights and order burgers at 11:55 p.m., so that the beef wouldn't be served to us until after midnight Saturday morning. I was a weekend musician at the time, and when I decided to join a rock band, John gave me endless grief about it, accusing me of playing what he called my "Rock 'n' Roll Sackophone." John and I continued to communicate regularly after graduation, partly because we both became administrators in higher education, partly because Julie was one of my classmates at Norfolk High School, but mostly because we were just close friends to begin with. I'll miss John's thoughtfully-written Christmas messages, his sometimes funny--sometimes politically-charged--e-mails, his helpful advice about assessment and accreditation in higher education, and even his good-natured taunting after his Cardinals had swept my Reds in a crucial series--which happened quite regularly. What a great guy John was! He had such a positive influence on our lives that we're all better persons for having known him.