Thursday, April 30, 2015

Today’s NFL Draft is very special to me and it is all about the sacrifices made in the Theater.

Today’s NFL Draft will be taking place at the Auditorium Theater of Roosevelt University, a place that is very special to my family and me. My father started as a young apprentice painter at Roosevelt University in the early 1960’s located in the historic Auditorium Building on Michigan Avenue in Chicago which was originally build in 1889 as hotel and theater. My father worked in the theater during the restoration in the mid 60’s and laid much of the gold leaf high on the ceilings. As a kid, my dad would bring the family downtown to see numerous shows and I have many joyous memories of seeing my mom’s favorites performers. Another benefit of being an employee of Roosevelt was that your children received free college tuition therefore my dad stayed on that job for over 35 years in order to allow my siblings and I to take advantage of the free private school education.

During my time at the University I blossomed, I worked in the school library during the days and as it was mostly a night school at the time I filled my time by became active in some of the schools activities. I became a Resident Assistant in the school dorm that was attached to the building and therefore had back door access to balcony’s of the Theater to see any show I wanted to see. I ran and was elected to the Student Senate and the following year I was elected “President of the Student Body”. During my term, a new President of the University was hired and it was on the stage of the Auditorium Theater that I gave the welcome speech from the student body. I made him aware that in the history of the school that there had never been a student serving on the Board of Trustees therefore in 1989, I was selected to be the first student in the history of the University to sit on the Board of Trustees of Roosevelt University. The next year I crossed the stage of the Auditorium to pick up my Bachelors and I was working on my Masters when permanent full time employment pulled me away. My brother & sister both crossed that stage to pick up their degrees too.

Today the stage of the Auditorium Theater will be a magical time for a few athletes who hear their name called out so they can put on a baseball cap from the their future employer. That being said, my views of the NFL draft will only remind me of the sacrifices that my father laid down for the betterment of his four children.

Thanks Dad for everything!


Max said...

Great share John!

Apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. I am sure your Dad is proud of your work.

Think of the day when a vibrant young man from Dunwoody shares a similar uplifting story about OUR theater, where ever it may be.

Council and Mayor are pragmatically evaluating our theater options.

What a wonderful situation to be in; that is, considering options on where to place a Dunwoody public theater!

GaryRayBetz said...

Ah, I too have memories of Roosevelt University! Only I bitterly recall, when working as a bellhop at the Palmer House, carrying bags for a few arrogant pre-law students whose parents were so wealthy that they could use the posh Palmer House as a dormitory - never a tip, of course (thinking they were ironically majoring in "Civics"). But I know that wasn't your situation - you weren't one of the entitled, you worked your way through college as the son of a working-class hero should do, and acquired the grit and character you have today and impart to your own sons.

But then there were the pleasant memories for me at Roosevelt University's Auditorium Theater, what a great venue! First big rock concert for me there - Robin Trower! Up in the balcony smoking bad dope for three hours. Good times!!!