Luke McQuade, Phil Stiles, Tony Howe and Me hanging out in Gunzenhauser Hall, Eureka College, October 1987

Got an email from Luke McQuade the other day with a link to some of his family photos. It’s weird when you photos of people, especially friends whom you have not seen for many years.

The last time I saw Luke was in the summer of 1990. Back then he had come down to the Illinois Valley with his girlfriend for a weekend getaway. I showed him around my hometown, took him and his girlfriend to The Igloo, a landmark eatery in Peru, Illinois and then we went to a festival in Oglesby where we saw Peter Noone (of Herman’s Hermits fame) perform.
Since I have been in Korea, we have kept in touch as much as we could (not as much as I would to have, though) over the years. He’s the only person from Eureka College that I have kept in touch with over the years other than his brother Kevin.
Leaving Korea after all these years has made me think about a lot of things both past and present. It has made me take stock in my life—not just about the time I have spent in Korea—but also the time before I came here.
The other day I was teaching a lesson where students had to talk about any summer jobs that they might have had. In Korea, most students don’t have the kinds of summer jobs that students would have in the States. If a Korean University student has a part time job, it is usually tutoring students in mathematics, English, or some other subject. Once in awhile you’ll have that rare student in class who has worked in a convenience store or in one case, a young woman who worked at a Starbucks (and got to use her English language skills every day on the job).
Anyway, a few students wanted to know if I had any interesting summer jobs and I told them about the job I had the summer after I graduated from Eureka when Luke and I worked on a paint crew. Luke had already done that the previous summer and he put in a good word for me with his supervisor. It was a lot of fun working along side Luke. We shared many of the same interests and I was always under the impression that he sort of looked up to me like an older brother.
It was really hot that summer, so we persuaded our boss to let us work at night on some of the hotter days. That summer, the rooms in Lida’s Wood, which was a dormitory for women, were being repainted. Luke and I didn’t do any major painting, we just had to prepare the rooms (taping off molding and the windows for example) for Denny our boss, who would come in with a spray gun and paint the rooms. It really wasn’t that much work, more tedious than anything else, but it was really cool to hang out with Luke while we were working before I left for graduate school in the middle of August.
That was really the last time we hung out. I would only see Luke two more times, in October of that same year when I came back to Eureka for homecoming and again in 1989 when I came back for Luke’s graduation before I saw him the last time in 1990.