Joshua. Our middle kid. Only one of the 3 who arrived on his due date without much fuss or fanfare. His name was the only one we did not have to compromise on. We both loved the name Joshua. He had so much beautiful hair I took pictures of the back of his head. Probably got all that hair from the strange cravings during my pregnancy. Lemon meringue pie and sauerkraut. Not always at the same time, but more often than not. I could and did eat whole cans of sauerkraut. Usually right out of the can, cold. Kind of surprised I still like both those foods. Though Josh arrived on time, he was pokey with everything else. I guess the word is contented. He was not in a hurry to do anything too soon. Crawl, walk, or talk. Except get rid of his bottle. From day one on this earth he always preferred his thumb. At 8 months he gave his bottle a major league toss across the room, strongly indicating he was done with that thing.
The summer Josh turned 3, we noticed he was having trouble getting some of his words out. He’d hesitate, kind of stutter over a word, then finish the sentence. Usually his sister Shannon, age 7-1/2 would just finish the sentence for him. That fall, once take-charge-of-everything-big-Sis was back in school during the day, all stammering stopped. Josh was our second child to get through life unscathed on the killer rocking horse.
|My little cowboy Joshua, 1979…|
We were living in Spencer, Iowa. Great little town. Often the second coldest spot in the country during the winter. Right behind International Falls, Mn. Really not my favorite trivia tidbit about the town. I was having a major tooth problem. Had been to the dentist several times trying to clear up the infection with an abscess. My regular dentist was out of town when I woke up one morning, lip and gum very swollen. I saw the guy filling in for my dentist who ordered some different antibiotics and a pain pill. After 3-1/2 year old Josh and I got back home, I took both new prescriptions. Wasn’t long before I felt really sick. Fell and passed out on the kitchen floor. To this day I don’t know how Josh managed to call his dad at work. On a wall landline phone, dialing 7 digits, getting through the operator to John’s extension. He calmly told Daddy that Mommy was on the floor sick and wouldn’t wake up. John flew home, only a couple miles away, and carried me out to the car. Loaded up Josh and zipped us to the hospital. I was fine after a few hours. Combining the new and old medicine with the pain pill was just too much. Thanks Josh. Pretty sure you saved your mom that day.
|Joshua practicing his fine motor skills, 1980…|
The summer before he started kindergarten, we were frantically trying to figure out how to get 5 year old Josh to stop sucking his thumb. Something he did unconsciously when he was tired or watching TV. There were some nasty products available with a guaranteed success rate, but using them seemed mean (and nasty). John and I decided we would first try good old bribery. Told Josh he could have anything “in the world” if he would stop sucking his thumb for 7 days. “Is there anything you really, really want?” “A Hershey candy bar,” he said quickly. We laughed. Who couldn’t love this kid to pieces? John got out the Christmas catalog. Remember those catalogs? Kids went through them with a fine tooth comb, circling or checking off all the things they wanted for Christmas. John told Josh to look through the catalog and choose the biggest, best present of all time. Then if he would stop sucking his thumb for 7 days, we’d order that present for him. Took him a couple days to decide. Probably a ruse while he sucked his thumb, contemplating if giving it up was really worth it. Finally he picked something out he felt worthy of giving up his favorite thumb for a whole week. A-Super-Duper-Double-Looper. In other words, a race track where the tiny cars literally took loops. It was fancy and expensive. We should have quit while we were ahead with the Hershey Bar. As I remember he had to start over after a small thumb-sucking flub-up and had already made it through day 2. Smooth sailing after that. Must say that race track was worth it to us and certainly to him. Don’t know if there was a toy he loved or played with more.
|First day of kindergarten for Josh, 1980…|
Soon after we moved to Davenport, Josh was just old enough to show an interest in sports. We signed him up for little league. Josh and Dad went shopping for equipment. Cutest little leather glove. And his first ever–cup. He begged us constantly to play catch with him. The diamonds these little squirts played on were nothing but weed filled dust patches. Looked like they were playing during a blizzard with all the dandelion seeds floating through the air. Josh was playing seldom used left field. Boys this age had the interest span of 30 seconds, max. After closely examining the nearby 40 varieties of weeds, and blowing off so many dandelions seeds he was turning blue, Josh plopped down on the ground, barely visible way out there. Might have been bored with his fast paced, exciting baseball game. He was sitting with his legs sprawled out like a frogs. Don’t know if he had a chigger bite, dirt in his pants, or was chaffed, but suddenly he raised his right hand high above his head, swung it down, smacked himself on “the cup.” Shock and almost delight spread across his face cause it didn’t hurt. Wow. It didn’t hurt. Decides he needs to try that again. Hitting his cup in amazement and wonder. Amazement wasn’t the emotion I was feeling. Thankfully the other team only scored 17 runs during their half of the inning, so he wasn’t out there all day.
Our house in Davenport had an octopus type furnace in the basement. Gigantic, with all these “arms” that fed heat to different parts of the house. The kids really didn’t play down there very often. The rest of the house seemed huge after our year long stint in the tiny rental, and the lure of playing outdoors almost always won out. But that day they were playing dodgeball in the basement. Josh came up from the basement, went over to his dad and quietly admitted he had kicked the ball hard and it had hit the furnace. Now it was making a funny hissing noise. “Please don’t be mad at me Dad. I didn’t mean to break it.” John had the good sense not to switch the light on when he went to examine he damage. Yikes. When Josh kicked the ball, it hit a small pipe. The pipe had split and was leaking gas. John shut it down, flew to the hardware store to get a section of replacement pipe and had it fixed in an hour. I still wonder how many kids Joshua’s age would so easily admit their mistake. He probably saved all of us that day from a gas explosion. He was and still is thoughtful, truthful, tolerant and one of a kind.
Josh was in driver’s training and was anxious to get his own set of wheels when he turned 16. He talked to John and said he would like to get an old truck. John thought this was a great idea. Trouble was, neither one talked to each other about what the word “old” meant. This was 1990. To Josh an “old truck” was about a 1983. To John an “old truck” was something older than a 1960. Great minds not always thinking alike here. John’s brother Les had a friend, who had a friend, who knew a guy. Yeah, one of those deals. When we went back to Iowa for spring break to visit parents and relatives, holy smokes, there was an old truck. Really dirt cheap, through this whole maze of virtually unknown people. A 1949 Ford pick-up. Kind of a mess, but it looked pretty good. Bed wasn’t attached, tires were shot, but some restoration had been haphazardly started. The bench seat had been recovered in a dark maroon fabric. That was the extent of the work done. But hey, the seat looked great. John was intrigued, excited and ready to put in some bucks and back-breaking work to get the thing running by Joshua’s 16th birthday. Josh was not quite as enthusiastic, but that didn’t damper his or dad’s spirit.
The engine was shot, but John had talked to a guy in Detroit who knew where there was a wrecked ’49. It was still stored indoors in Bad Axe, Mi. Yeah, one of those deals again, and yup that’s the name of a real town. Next business trip the guy stopped and convinced the old man to sell him (us) the engine for $500. The motor purred like a kitten. New brakes, tires, headliner, paint, oak bed-boards, and a year later the truck was done. Looked sharp and ready to go. Josh finally and carefully worded his reluctance about the truck. Admitted to his dad he thought he would be laughed off the face of the earth if he drove that old truck to school. John assured Josh he would be the coolest guy on the planet once they saw his amazing truck. Good old Dad was right for a change. Josh was the envy of all the guys at school with his own, very cool, vintage truck.
|Joshua’s 1949 pickup, 1992…|
A couple of years and semi-crummy jobs after college graduation, Joshua decided to start his own company with his partner Tim. 15 years ago they opened Sourcepath. Computer software networking systems. Back then, Josh had to work the oddest hours. If he was doing “an install” it usually had to be done when the company wasn’t open for business. Josh would go in at closing time on Friday and work solid through the weekend. That way, new system would be up and running by Monday morning when everyone came back to work. Sourcepath continued to thrive and grow. A few years ago they changed the name of the company to Motor City Technology. A true commitment to working in and with the city of Detroit and it’s long standing Big 3 car history. Josh loves Detroit, always has. I really can’t tell you much about his company. I’m almost computer illiterate. It’s all Greek to me. They manage IT services, network, server, desktop. Backup disaster recovery, and filtering and firewall protection. They now employ quite a few people.
A little over 3 years ago Joshua met “the one.” It was a fast and furious romance. Josh was 35, and beautiful, smart engineer Erica, a couple years younger. Neither had been married before or had kids “from a previous relationship.” Very unusual in this day and age. They had a beautiful wedding in Cancun with 45 of their closest friends and family in November, 2012. Now happily married, a CEO, with a successful business. I really couldn’t be more proud of my middle kid.
|Josh and Erica’s Cancun wedding, 2012…|