S: Memories for Ben February 21, 2011
BC: by Susan, John, Abbey, Dan, Tracey, Mike, Cassie, Emma, Sophie, Torey, Danny, and Joey
FC: For Ben Jakubowski 70 Years of Memories With Love February 21, 2011
1: "When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses." ~Joyce Brothers
4: Growing Up
7: "But Tracey, I said, I will help you collect memories from others but don't ask me to try and pick out one memory of Ben after all these years. The task would be overwhelming. Where would I begin?" If I did start at the "beginning" of my memories, I would have to go back to 1955 when I was a freshman in high school. I was 14 and you, Ben, were a mature 15 years old. When we met it didn't take us long to realize that we had a strong common bond......we both hated Sister Michael's history class. Even though we finally passed that class, our friendship continued to grow. You chose to date or "go steady" with almost all of my close girlfriends. I had to do the listening and the counseling when you broke off the relationships. I dried a lot of teenage tears over those four years. I remember one of my toughest "counseling" sessions was trying to convince Mary F. that she was really too young to run away and marry you and "No, I would not lie to her mother and tell her Mary was staying with me." I also have a vivid picture of another one of my friends sitting on my bed and saying to me, " Well, maybe YOU should marry Ben since you seem to understand him better than anyone else!" | SUSAN
8: Even though we were great friends, life moves on and both of us chose different colleges miles apart. I could never explain (and still cannot explain) why we kept in touch over the years and the miles. Every once in a while you would just "show up" with a bunch of friends. We would all have a great time and then you would be gone again. Months later, I would hear from you and it was like we had just talked the day before. We always had an undemanding and easy relationship. I never questioned why I had so many last minute invitations. Sometimes you would ask me to take a three hour bus ride to U of Dayton for a dance or a party. Often you would arrive with five of your friends and ask me to "find some girls" for them. I still have to smile when I think about the time my roommate Nancy and I arrived at the university, at your request, for the infamous raft races and homecoming dance. We were in the elevator and Nancy mentioned your name. A cute brunette turned to me and said, "Did you say you were here for Ben Jakubowski?" I answered yes and she replied, "Hmmm, what a coincidence...so am I." Our dating was never consistent but it was always interesting. As everyone knows, our friendship did not stay platonic. Our first serious argument in all the years we were friends came about because you arrived at my apartment unannounced and heard me returning with my date. The young man had said something humorous and I was laughing. You met me at the door and were furious. Later, while trying to explain why you were so angry, you shouted indignantly, "But that was the very same way you laugh when you are with me!" I knew that things would never be the same between us. And they weren't.
10: We talked about marriage but needed to fit it in before you went back to school in the fall. I needed to find a new job in Dayton. You borrowed money from your Dad for a ring. Because you were always a family guy, you waited to give me my ring at your family dinner table. Not many girls get their engagement ring pressed into a hamburger with the whole family sitting around laughing. It was fun. Both of us are "family people". It was a good sign.
11: Maybe my favorite memory should be something from our early married years. We still laugh about how incredibly poor we were and "borrowed" food from our downstairs neighbor. I remember that the bathroom was the largest room in our house and we had lots of parties there until some of our friends almost burned it down lighting birthday sparklers. Do you remember how our weekend entertainment appetizers were rationed because our friends were also economically challenged? Remember the night we were playing Risk with Jerry, Mary, Barb and Jerry G? We were allowed two beers each and two large pretzels. Jerry G. ate too many pretzels and Barb got so mad at him that they left early.
12: You finally made it through school (again) and things improved with your first job. We were invincible and the arrival of John into our lives proved it. At the same time we felt so blessed, Vietnam hung over our heads like a black cloud. You joined the Air National Guard. We were overjoyed by our second pregnancy and when your unit was activated and sent to Columbus, we packed up our home and moved there. We could at least be together for the birth of our second child. It didn't go as we had planned. Three weeks before Dan was born your unit was sent to Korea and John and I went to live with my parents until your return. I am sure one of your best memories is your return home over a year later and seeing Dan for the first time. I know you will always remember John's cryptic greeting, " "Hi Dad. I haven't seen you in a long time."
13: Maybe I should choose my "best memory" from our middle years. We have so many wonderful and chaotic memories from those times. When we moved to Detroit for a job opportunity, Michael was born and completed our family. He brought such joy but with his arrival, we had the staggering realization that we now had a whole family that was growing before our eyes. We could see the years passing in the faces of our children We suddenly needed lots of shoes, cereal, team outfits, school fees and in the not too distant future, college tuition.We noticed that our friends began talking less about social issues and more about local education. Our neighbors, who used to discuss politics far into the night, were now more concerned with chicken pox and property taxes. I quit my job as a Social Worker, you gave back the fresh turkey you had gotten for your Christmas bonus, we put away our psychology books and started our own business.
14: Jay Marketing thrived and so did our family. You and I were like ships passing in the night. Our life was car pool, rushed dinners, soccer games, packing lunches, basketball practice and endless late night strategy talks about the business. Life kept happening. It was good.
15: We now know that all our efforts were worthwhile. Our children turned out perfectly and married perfect women To make it even better, we now have perfect grandchildren. No one debates us on this issue. It is the one sure thing in our lives. We are prouder of this than of anything we have done.
16: Ben, how could I ever write my favorite memories without mentioning our travels together? I know how hard you work to plan the perfect vacations for me but each time you suggest a trip, I find reasons to stay home. I whine about being too busy, leaving the family or hating to fly. I try to subvert your efforts any way I can. You always listen to my objections but continue to make plans. We go. We have a wonderful time. In fact, I have a better time than anyone. I tell everyone how fantastic it was. I tell my friends how many unforgettable memories we have of our adventures. You smile. You begin to plan the next trip.
17: So on and on I write, not able to make a choice. Some of our memories are of years ago when we wore shoes that would not fit us today. Some of our memories are too personal to put in a book. Some memories feel like they happened yesterday. Maybe that IS my favorite memory......yesterday. We got up early because it was MLK day and the office was closed. We took our coffee into the living room and sat by the fire and talked. We talked about Dan and Tracey having a day together and that they would probably make 40 loaves of bread or build an extension on their house or finish some other high energy project. We talked about Abbey and John and our new baby and John's good news that their final scan is showing a perfect baby. We talked about Mike and Cassie inspiring us to begin our exercise program once again. We talked about the National Geographic article and how many words were added to Webster's dictionary in 2011. We talked about Torey's new haircut. Danny's soccer game and laughed about how we never closed the office on MLK day until we had our wonderful Joey. "It's all about connection", we said. You reminded me to get movies and popcorn for Emma and Sophie's overnight. Then we talked about our plan to eat better. We sat through another cup of coffee and discussed the Arizona shooting and the best way to make oatmeal. We talked about our next trip and I suggested we get new dining room chairs instead. You smiled. We talked and talked. Some of our conversations over all these many years have been important, some mundane, but what amazes me is that we still have so much to say to each other. We grow older but we are still the same people who talked about anything and everything when we were 16, 25, 40, 65 and now 70. Yesterday, I looked at the face I have loved for so many years and treasured every smile line and every wrinkle. I know you will say that I put most of them there. Happy birthday, best friend.
18: john benjamin | I remember... dad building a blue sandbox for us and ordering sand from a dump truck--super cool dad coaching me on the Red Sox
19: As I travel around this small rock, I meet many people, and they all have different ideas of Family. I've never known anything more important to my Dad. If there is anything true in this life, it's that he loves his family. Always has - always will.
20: dad feeding us raw liver that he thought was "just fine, your mom's a good cook - eat your dinner " dad blaring 'Kool and the Gang' at 7am every Christmas | i don't remember anything about the sombrero, but it's just how i want to remember him
21: dad came down to visit, help move, and generally get my life together down in Orlando dad and I in Florida trying to break the "Lee and Rick's" oyster record. - so close. dad finding out I was engaged to the wrong girl ( again ) He never said a thing.
22: i remember dad coming out to Minneapolis to help "build out" my warehouse flat (notice the Ben-date right on the picture) | i remember Dad teaching me that cars actually needed oil -stupid machines
23: i remember dad taking me from the California monastery straight to a sold out U of M /Ohio State game. One the more bizarre transitions of my life. The man loves his sports. | (and taking an entire roll of photos with the focus off ) | i remember dad coming to my Ordination and hangin' with P*man | i remember dad helping me build the trellis on Liberty and trying to kill me with a nail gun
24: i remember the beach with Dad, and how I must have inherited his sense of adventure. I got my sense of direction from Mom. | i remember dad bailing me out to come home from Europe because I had 'run out of money'. kids ...
25: i remember sitting with Mom and Dad Christmas of 2009 around the fire watching the snowflakes, the first time since the 90's. He told me how proud he was to have me as a son. How lucky am I.
27: From the crooked little finger, to driving around the Midwest looking for 'higher education' there is one memory that stands out in my shallow middle aged mind. I had received a call from the concierge at ( said Hotel ), alerting me that there was a problem with the bill - my presence was requested 'immediately'. I remember walking into the lobby and there he was, like some Kris Kringle on vacation, beaming from ear to ear. He had traveled all the way to (insert city here ) to see his son off into a new life. I remember looking at him and his shimmering whiteness, and embraced him like the bear that he is. I looked around at the opulence surrounding us and all I could think about was how proud I was that he was my dad. I was not an easy child, when I look back at all the compulsive, irrational decisions I made and my nine lives of which you weren't aware, you were always there. Mom would send me money, but you were always there ; > There are countless memories and my wife already thinks I already have too many pages. So I will close with saying that if I had a choice in parenthood, I couldn't have been any luckier. I love you Pop. May the next 70 be as fulfilling and bright as the last "Ben ! Softer ! Softer - it's not like you're punishing her ! " - Pat Downes ( in said city ) oOXoxoxooxOOx JJ
28: Dear Dad, It was the Fall of 2006 and John and I had recently moved into 429 Liberty together after a whirlwind 7 month courtship (of which John was in the Bahamas at yoga school more than a month of it!). You came to visit, and gave us a beautiful rock engraved with "John and Abbey 2006." Though it would take us another four years to make it to the altar, I still remember how touched I was that you had such faith in our relationship that you thought it was worth commemorating in stone. Your instincts were spot on, and five years later I am so honored to be part of your family. Thank you for your unwavering love and acceptance of me, and your support and encouragement of John and I. Happy, happy birthday to you! Abbey
29: Ben, As a new addition to the extended Jakubowski family circle, I am just beginning to get to know you and to create memories of special times with you. My favorite memory is of the after party following John and Abbey's wedding at The Girl and the Fig. You and I were seated on the bench along the wall watching the activity in the room. Without so many words being spoken I think we were sharing similar emotions. Two proud parents watching our children, now adults, share the joy of their wedding day. I am sure we were both thinking that this wedding was long overdue and we were so happy that they had made the leap. We probably should have stood on a table and raised our glasses in a toast but we were just content to sit and watch. The last I saw of you that evening, you had climbed in the front seat of the cab that had come to take Abbey and John to the Kenwood Inn for their honeymoon night. Luckily for them you decided to let them go alone and got out. Letting go can be hard. May we share many more special moments as we become grandparents of John and Abbey's children. Happy Birthday, Ben! | Karen and Jeff Banks
30: I remember my Dad coaching my basketball and baseball teams and always willing to play a pick up game with us. I remember going to the Thanksgiving Parade and having the best seats on Woodward (because Dad set up two step ladders with a 2 x 8 as our raised bleacher seats). I remember my Dad staying up all night with Mr. Downes digging dirt, mixing cement, and setting up our swing set. I remember skinny dipping in South Carolina with my Dad. I remember my Dad setting up an indoor and outdoor basketball hoop in both our Plymouth houses. I remember when Dad turned 60 and he made his birthday toast, "It's balls to the wall from here!" | I remember when two bullies were giving Mike a hard time at Pioneer after a basketball game. Dad threw me at the bullies and said, "Pick on someone your own size." I stood there frozen, but Dad knew they would not do anything to me. When they ran, Dad smashed one of their hands in the exit door. Mike and I smiled. I remember stopping after soccer practice on 8 mile for a free 3 wheeler ride. Dad bought us the 3 wheeler on the spot. Who could have known it was the most dangerous vehicle ever made. I remember my dad could do anything...except speak after he rolled down his car window...Speak a da French? Or God forbid trying to order McDonalds drive thru. I remember my dad making sure we grew up as men, but always showed us love too. I remember my dad teaching us to be proud. | Dan
31: I remember getting beat up by our neighbor twins Ray and Eric. Dad not only came to the rescue, but pounded on their front door so hard I thought it was going to come off the hinges. I remember waking up dad on Saturday afternoons after he had dozed off in front of TV watching a game. I would say, "You forgot to pay us allowance for the last few weeks". Dad would give me money to go and buy candy and gum at Wringlers. | My favorite memory is sitting on top of my dad's work bench in the basement. While my dad fixed things, I watched and he answered all my questions. The workbench was an old door covered in many coats of white paint. He knew I had a very difficult time sitting still, so "my job" was to use a scraper and remove the old paint. When we shared this time together, each time I would uncover about one square inch of the original wood. Dad would tell me each time what a great job I was doing. To this day, about half of the door is still covered in paint. | Love, Your Middle Son
32: Dad, Too many float around in my head and heart to choose just one. Remember our beautiful engagement party at your house? I still have the cork from the bottle of wine we shared after your toast. As we were saying our goodbyes, you placed it into my hand and gave it a squeeze. It was the first time I got anything from you with the date on it. Remember that night in Chicago back in the 90’s when you, Mom, Dan, and I ate at that nice Italian restaurant with the melt-in-your mouth lobster risotto? It was one of the best meals I’d ever had. After we left, you pulled the inside pages of their fancy menu out of your sport coat and handed them to me. “I thought you might like this,” you said. Remember all the times we’ve looked for a mailbox on the way out of town to mail your bills? Or the time your car got towed after the Michigan-Michigan State game? You make me laugh. Remember sitting at our kitchen table after finishing a meal of pot roast and mashed potatoes? You said, “Will you please invite me over the next time you make this?” My heart sang. Remember how much I love you? It’s easy to do. Thank you for always showing me your feelings and not just saying them. I’m so proud to call you “Dad.” | Happy Birthday! XOXO | Remember the day we met? You were building the “steps to nowhere.” Peter was visiting and Mike and John were there. We were all in the library talking after dinner. I patiently listened to a multi-hour discussion about Bobby Knight (whom I knew nothing about) and offered the occasional nod or smile as my meek contributions. All of the sudden, you looked right at me and said, “I thought Dan said you were fun.” From somewhere, I heard my own voice shoot back, “Get the glow-in-the dark frisbee and I’ll meet you in the back yard.” You laughed. We understood each other. | Tracey
33: I like to make a sandwich for Dziadek. I love to play games with Dziadek. Dziadek almost won when we played Go Fish. It was so fun when we buried Dziadek in the sand at Cross Village! I love you, Dziadek! | Torey
34: On my Sha Sha Day, I went to go drive the remote control monster truck with Dziadek and we had a lot of fun. Happy Birthday, Dziadek! | Danny
35: Dziadek teased me on Christmas about keeping Mr. Lotso (my present from Santa). He wanted to sleep with him. I love my Dziadek." | Joey
36: Dear Ben, A memory that we will always hold in our hearts is when, on August 16, 2004, you called us to tell us that Tracey and Dan would be arriving from Texas in an hour or so with Torey and Danny. We had been waiting and waiting for that day! We met at the airport and welcomed home our new grandbabies together. We have enjoyed celebrating grandchildren's birthdays with you and Susan ever since. Happy 70th and may you enjoy many more birthdays! | Bill and Marcia Garrigan
37: My memories of Benjamin Jakubowski are many and varied. From his abrupt first impression, the silly grin, the flat out laughter, the sweet smile, the giant laugh, to the gentle tear sliding from his cheek, to the genuine sob. I have so many memories it is difficult to pick. Instead I will write in story form. Ben has given of himself in so many ways. He quietly sits by and lets others make plans that he makes happen. He loves life and family and friends. He is generous beyond belief and gets a kick out of seeing and participating in the kind of things with those he loves, having fun and making great memories. When my daughter became Ben's daughter through my precious Michael, he became to me, one of the greatest human beings God has given breath to. He loves my daughter Cassie as his own and it shows. He cherishes our granddaughters with all his heart and it shows. Playrooms, get aways, daily visits and most recently church activities. He even hung the moon for someone or got stars in their name. I watched him beam at his mother when the kids married and the music was the Ave Maria. He wants everyone to be happy and is content to make it so in his many ways. Ben is not the grump he likes to portray, he is a gentle loving man that when studied, we should all strive to be. I will forever be indebted to this great man who genuinely lives to see that others are as happy as it is humanly possible to be under all circumstances. I thank God that Cassie, Emma, Ellie, and Sophie have been loved by Ben Jakubowski. I could have told some rip roaring tales and observations, but decided to focus on my love for Ben. | "Nunu" Linda Cummins
38: "What’s your handle good buddy?" Dad always had an intuition about bringing home, ‘items of electronic interest’. Dad installed a CB radio in one of our many station wagons back in the 70s. During our cruises we would all lean in-between Mom and Dad’s two front seats, holding the CB Mic, sending shout-outs to anyone that would listen. Green bean was my handle name and talking with traffic was our game. Thanks Dad! | Dad, you always find a way to take what people like and make it better. Remember..... All our evenings playing catch All our basketball moves on one another All our weekend travels to play soccer All our nights of math homework All our rounds of golf together All our frigid walks to Chrysler All our Christmases like each one is our first To have a father and a friend who lives right down the street is absolutely priceless. | I remember the first time we ever saw you hit a golf ball and you almost got a hole-in-one. Good enough for a new set of clubs....nice shot Dad!
39: The best Cow sound I’ve ever heard came from Dad cruising 65 on the interstate. “Don’t make me pull this car over!”. Now, at times three boys can get a bit obnoxious while all in a car together. This happens when an argument or an unexpected nuggie presents itself. When this would happen, Dad would casually alert us boys to stop. After the casual alert failed, dad would then begin to slow down the car. Slowing down the car got our attention and we would clean-up our act pretty quickly, but over time the “slow down” lost its effectiveness, as well. We knew that Dad needed to pull over in order to get one of us and we also knew Dad didn’t want to pull over, and at times couldn’t. It was these times when Dad was left with no other choice but to reach back while driving, hoping to nail one of us. I remember Dad’s arm swaying side to side, reaching back to grab any part of any son. As luck would have it I was always the youngest and the lightest so John and Dan would routinely offer me up as a sacrifice. Hey Dad, Thanks for not being too rough! Love you, Michael
40: Dad, I remember when you approached me about calling you dad. It was just before Mike and I got married. You gave me some time to let your proposal sink in, with the idea that once our marriage was official, you would go from"Mr. J." to "Dad". I remember thinking that I could do it, but it might be weird due to the fact that I already had a dad. What I knew then was that I really, really liked you, and calling you dad would just be a term of endearment. What I didn't know was that you would in-fact become my dad in every sense of the word. Since my marriage to your son, you and I have been through a hell of a lot together. I have needed you and counted on you so many times, and you know what? You have never, ever let me down. That's just the kind of dad you are...my dad. I love you with all my heart! Happy Birthday! Love, Cassie
41: One of your best qualities is your loyalty and devotion to those that you love. Our family experienced this first-hand in Laguna Beach this past August. You and mom had taken us out for our anniversary. We went to a fantastic restaurant, and ate like royalty, while enjoying a breathtaking sunset. The evening was superb! Our family took our sweet time, savoring every morsel of ambience we could, and finally prepared to leave. By this time, it was quite late, and keep in mind, we had Emma and Sophie with us. Well, for some reason the Jakubowski family requires a bit of excitement from time to time. And we got it just as we stepped outside of the restaurant. Three foul-mouthed men were having a ridiculously inappropriate conversation, while in the presence of your beloved granddaughters. Would it be your style to allow any such thing? Hell no!!! You at 69 years old, prepared for battle as if you had been training for the Olympics. Words began to fly, voices rose, and at one point mom feared that your "gloves" would come off. Well, they got theirs, and somehow we managed to regain our composure as we piled into your white rental car. It was a night we'll never forget! Don't mess with dad's family! We love you! Love, Michael, Cassie, Emma and Sophie
42: Dear Dziadek, I love playing Spite and Malice with you. You taught me to be a tough player because you never let me win. I love our family vacations. You always wake up first. I always wake up last. You are the early bird. I'm the night owl. I love watching mysteries with you. I love telling you about things I like because you listen. I love that when I'm interested in something, you are too. I love everything about you! You are a wonderful grandfather. | Emma
43: Thanks for taking us to Hamtramck for all those years. I had a great time with you and Baci. Love you, Em | I love playing in your backyard. I love playing Pick-Up Sticks. I love when you play charades with us. Eating grapes and Cheeze-Its while we read books is one of my favorite things to do with you. Sophie loves Dziadek! | I'll never forget this birthday!
44: These are things I love to do with Dziadek... | Pick-Up Sticks Charades Eating Grapes and Cheeze-Its Playing in your backyard | My best thing with Dziadek is cuddling on Wednesdays and Fridays when we read books and watch movies. Love, Soph | Sophie
45: Sophie's Prayer Dear Jesus, Thank you for this food. Thank you for my family. And thank you that we can go at Cross Village with Sha-Sha and Dziadek. Amen!
46: HAPPY BIRTHDAY BROTHER! Well it is a big one! Congrats! I do hope that I too have your energy and love of life when I turn the big “70”! Well as you know I have been calling you 'Brother' for quite a few years now – no religious reference, it is just that I have never resolved the Bud vs. Ben issue. You see you were always Bud to me, but to Susan you are Ben. Even Dan knows you as Ben in a work setting. I guess the dilemma really took off when Stevie and Benny started talking, you needed a name, and Uncle Bud was a silly character in a childrens book. Everyone on the Kidder side knew you as Uncle Ben. It seemed a shame to change so you became Uncle Ben...so Ben it is...I guess, Bud, or Brother! Oh well, Happy Birthday! I try to go back to my earliest memory of having a big brother... and I can't. You see I knew that I was stuck in that small room upstairs on School Street, but by the time I started to really become aware of the other bedroom it was usually empty. You were already off to college. I really like the pictures of you and me when I was small. I see a lot of joy in sharing that big brother-little brother experience. My favorite picture is my birthday party-maybe 3 or 4 years old...1957/8! I wasn't going to send the picture because you were not in it...Then I realized that YOU HAD TO HAVE TAKEN THE PICTURE! Thanks. Mom and Dad told me that I spent a lot of time at St. V's (that is now St. Vincent – St. Mary). Something about me (as a cute baby) being a 'chick magnet' for my big brother. Gosh I wish I could remember, but all that I could find was this one prom picture with you in it... Now this letter is being sent to Tracey and Susan, and I wonder if this prom picture with this 'other girl' will ever make your memory book! An early memory for me was our family portrait, the one done professionally. I remember going to the photographer and you were not there. Mom and Dad were upset because they thought you might not make it. Then in you came, I remember thinking 'Who are you?' But, the rest of the family was happy you made it! Traveling to Dayton was a great adventure. Visiting UD (University of Dayton) was so much fun. Visiting Stuart Hall (dorm) was neat. Then later I remember the apartment Susan and you had in Dayton-it was decorated in orange! Then later living in Kettering; the one story house with the beautiful blooming tree where we took family photos. I think that was the neighborhood where John and Dan discovered candy. It was where I discovered Playboy magazines in the garage...great articles, or cartoons... I remember visiting your townhouse apartment in Columbus when Mom, Dad, Chris, and I were going on vacation. I remember stopping on the way home and finding it empty...your having left for Korea. I remember your returning home, Henry Hartge and I painting the sign on the garage. When Susan brought your car over so I could wash the fancy green Chrysler, and four hours later I was still cleaning and Susan was still visiting with Mom (Baci).
47: When one thinks of memories there is Christmas, especially at the School Street house. I found one photo that was not very good, but it was a perfect picture of the stairs going up from the living room. I loved my job of making sure that Santa got all of the presents around the tree. Sometimes at 2 or 3 am! I am so thankful for all of the years that Susan and you shared your family with Mom and Dad and myself on Christmas day...the memories are too numerous to write about. Hey remember canoeing the Cuyahoga River on Christmas Day? Out of college and working with Dad (Jock), I used to stop and have a drink with him. One time when you were in town the three of us got together for a drink. We met at Lannings, a nice steak house in the Bath/Fairlawn area. We sat down and were having a great time. Dad finished his drink, got up, said that he would see or talk to us later and walked out. You looked amazed, turned to me and asked what did I do wrong. I laughed and explained that Dad always had one drink-no more, no exceptions. He knew we would try to talk him into staying so he just left, knowing we would stay on for awhile. Talking about getting together for a drink, what about Tokyo?! What a magical experience meeting up with you in that remarkable city on the other side of the globe. The shopping and dining, the meeting with the pearl lady...remarkable. I was so honored that you adjusted your business schedule to work around my academic trip. As I write this letter thinking about my adventures as a young child going to Dayton, I realize they were the primer for my visits later in life to Detroit. From the visits to your home on Faust to the apartment in Colony Farms to your beautiful home on Northampton you have always made me feel welcome and a part of the family-which I know that I am-but still special; like a big brother-little brother thing! My final special memory is recent; John and Abbey's wedding in California. More specific the elegance and class that you (and Susan) brought to a very special weekend. It was great fun, but more important an honor to be 'Uncle Joe'-or the brother of the father of the groom. A true honor and a great memory. Happy Birthday! I hope you look back on the years with great joy-deservedly! And look forward to many more wonderful experiences! Always remember to include your little brother and his family in some of them. | Joe | Love, | You were interviewing for a job in Cincinnati and you took me along as a companion for the drive. We ate at some cool bar restaurant. Talked about the Reds and Crosley field. Isn't it amazing what things influence what you do in the future, like your love of a city.
48: Dearest brother-in-law Bud – Happy BIG Birthday! It has been fun reminiscing with Joe the last weeks and with the boys about all the fun times our families have had together. There are just too many times to count that are filled with laughter and love. From the very first time I met you, and Susan you've made me feel at home. You have a welcoming way of asking questions about someone when you first meet them, and make each person feel special and interesting, I expect that is why you have so very many dear friends in business. I remember your interest in my international travels and your help in giving me an international time zone alarm clock and guide to global taxi costs at the time I was traveling for work. And those puzzles I worked on at your house and puzzle gifts given have been therapeutic and fun. You perceive what people enjoy most and provide it. Whenever we visit we're tickled that you'd been anxiously awaiting us. Thank you for being such a wonderful godfather for Steve and giving Ben the same special Uncle's love. You are a very sensitive man, sentimental about life's deepest treasures. I recall many occasions – Thanksgivings and Easters at your home, many Christmases together at Mom's. One year after Jock's passing, Joe found and gave you Dad's toolbox and you were so moved – I could watch your face and see you cast your memory back to times with your Dad. I think of how you cared for Baci, you could both help and tease – and certainly love thoroughly. Life is a balance of risks, of joy and much love. You have it all. I remember Joe telling me years and years ago that he'd asked you 'when do you start feeling like an adult' and your response remained with both of us – that 'you change on the outside, but you always feel the same inside – young!' I can not refrain from including a few quotations by others that celebrate seven decades of living, some people just say things | Perhaps one has to be very old before one learns to be amused rather than shocked. To keep the heart unwrinkled, to be hopeful, kindly, cheerful, reverent-- that is to triumph over old age. Age is a matter of feeling, not of years. Nature gives you the face you have at twenty, but it's up to you to merit the face you have at seventy. | On my seventieth birthday I felt as if I were standing on a mountain height, at whose foot the ocean of eternity was audibly rushing; while before me, life with its deserts and flower-gardens, its sunny days and its stormy days, spread out green, wild, and beautiful. | so well...
49: "The seventieth birthday! It is the time of life when you arrive at a new and awful dignity; when you may throw aside the decent reserves which have oppressed you for a generation, and stand unafraid and unabashed upon your seven-terraced summit and look down and teach - unrebuked. You can tell the world how you got there. It is what they all do. I have been anxious to explain my own system this long time, and now at last I have the right. | I have achieved my seventy years in the usual way: by sticking strictly to a scheme of life which would kill anybody else. It sounds like an exaggeration, but that is really the common rule for attaining old age. When we examine the programme of any of these garrulous old people we always find that the habits which have preserved them would have decayed us. I will offer here, as a sound maxim this: that we can't reach old age by another man's road. I will now teach, offering my way of life to whomsoever desires to commit suicide by scheme which has enabled me to beat the doctor and the hangman for seventy years. Some of the details may sound untrue, but they are not. I am not here to deceive. I am here to teach. We have no permanent habits until we are 40. Then they begin to harden, presently they petrify, then business begins. Since 40 I have been regular about going to bed and getting up - and that is one of the main things. I have made it a rule to go to bed when there wasn't anybody left to sit up with; and I have made it a rule to get up when I had to. This has resulted in an unswerving regularity of irregularity. In the matter of diet - which is another main thing - I have been persistently strict in sticking to the things which didn't agree with me until one or the other got the best of it. Until lately, I got the best of it myself. But last Spring I stopped frolicking with mince pie after midnight; up to then I had always believed it wasn't loaded. For thirty years I have taken coffee and bread at 8 in the morning, and no bite nor sup till 7:30 in the evening. Eleven hours. That is all right for me. Headachy people would not reach 70 comfortably by that road. And I wish to urge upon you this - which I think is wisdom - that if you find you can't make 70 by any but an uncomfortable road, don't you go." | And from The New York Times, December 6, 1905 on Mark Twain's 70th birthday dinner celebration: Twain Recipe for Long Life | Bud, your love of life and love for your family is apparent, I feel blessed to part of the Jakubowski family. I love you and wish you wonderful decades more! Very Big Hugs, | Carol | ~Mark Twain | He Goes to Bed Sometimes.
50: Uncle Ben! Happy 70th birthday! For as long as I can remember, one of the greatest treats ever was coming to Michigan, it is accompanied with so many happy memories and always a ton of excitement and anticipation. I remember vaguely the Christmases at Baci’s from when I was really, really little. Even though I only have foggy memories of them they just make me feel happy. Probably one of my most favorite memories from a trip to Michigan was one from when I was eight or nine and John was home. I had figured out where the button for the buzzer in the basement was and was having plenty of fun teasing Ben and Emma with my knowledge of where the button was. I went upstairs and John called me into the den (room with T.V.) and asked me where the button was. I immediately excitedly told him where the button was, only to find that Ben was hiding behind the chair and John had just tricked me into saying exactly where the buzzer was. Yet another one of my favorite memories from our trips to Michigan was about fifteen minutes before we left, I decided that it would be an intelligent idea to see if I could fit my head in between the stairs on the way up to the second floor. This of course as we all remember ended in me having my head caught in between stairs. Luckily, a half hour later my head was unstuck and we were none the worse. Also, while going through pictures I uncovered another wonderful memory from going to Michigan, your hot-tub. To a seven year old kid (and now that I think about it, to anyone) that thing is AWESOME. But, especially to little kid that thing seemed like your own personal pool. I remember playing with ben in there and it was just the epitome of cool. Any time we have ever met up or visited with you guys it has been so much fun, I can’t remember a time it wasn’t. My first communion/birthday (more specifically Great Bear Lodge beforehand) was yet another amazing endeavor, one that I will remember forever, it was my first big indoor waterpark, and with the family, I loved it. I remember playing you in air hockey about a million times, and never getting tired of it. The fun we had in the waterpark and then in the arcade was amazing. Well Happy Birthday Uncle Ben, to an awesome godfather! Hopefully we will see you soon! | Lots of Love! Stephen
51: Ben | Happy Birthday Uncle Ben! I’m honored that we share the same name. I've got a lot to live up to! It’s always ton of fun when we come over (you should come over here once and a while!). Talking and finding out what’s happening or happened. I enjoyed hearing about your trip to Poland. I would love to take a look at that salt mine! The picture of the ballroom-like room that they carved in the mine was stunning! Also I enjoy playing Catch Phrase too. That’s always fun (FYI I got the new Catch Phrase for Christmas. I was very excited to play it. Steve begged me to let him take it with him on his trip to Florida. I decided to be nice and let him take it. He lost it on the way to Florida. We hope that we’ll get a new one soon)! Thank you so much for that awesome soccer bag for Christmas! I will love that thing to death. Live Long and Prosper,
52: Dear Buddy, You are celebrating 70 years. It is such a special occasion. We hope you celebrate many more & enjoy them as much as you are enjoying your life now. Life is a lot of fun & we have so much to look forward to sharing with our family & friends. I also think we are lucky for our past & present life. Below is a picture of gifts you gave me. I have the gifts around the house. When I see the mementos, they make me smile. Enjoy & have fun! Love & Best Wishes, Joe & Chris | Happy Birthday, Buddy! | Happy Birthday to our Uncle and Great Uncle Bud! We had a great time celebrating Baci's 8oth birthday with you and the rest of the family, even though we spent a lot of the party in the basement! Thank goodness for the pool table. Love, Laura, Greg, Sean Henry and Brendan | Happy Birthday to our Uncle/Great-Uncle Bud, Happy Birthday! My best memories of spending time with you are playing pool in Baci's basement at her 80th Birthday Party. I loved watching you with your grandchildren and seeing how much you love and enjoy them. Happy Birthday Uncle Bud! Love, Catie, John, Olivia, and JJ
53: Happy Birthday, Ben, from the Meagrow Family! | Memories of moments shared with Brother in law Ben: St. Patrick's Day dinners. Golfing in Hilton Head and watching Ben and John use every ball in their bags and not get over a par 3 water hazard. Always being there when asked. | Dave | I remember about Uncle Ben... 1) Receiving great big bear hugs 2) He shows deep concern for other people and wants to make sure they are all right. Every time I was in the hospital, Uncle Ben was one of my first visitors. 3) Uncle Ben took an interest with my school projects. I especially remember when he shared his Japan experiences with me to help me with a report on Japan. For this and many more, I am extremely appreciative to have an Uncle like Uncle Ben in my life. | Sarah | Dave Marie Jason Laura Kierstyn Sarah Glenn Ava Abigail Drew
54: TRUST is the word that I associate with Ben - more than 50 years of trust. | I can always trust Ben to choose the right thing to say. Of course there was that time in the 1960’s. When Ben and Susan lived in Dayton, Ben would stop for his second cup of morning coffee on his way through Cincinnati on business. He told me one morning that my coffee was the worst coffee he ever drank – even worse than gas station coffee. And then Ben invented Starbucks. | You can always trust Ben to leave a place better than he found it. Of course there was that vacation with Baci in South Carolina. Many of us recall his separating the front door from the door frame after he locked himself out of our Hilton Head condo for the fourth time.
55: When there is a family celebration or times are difficult or there is sadness, we can always trust that Ben will drive miles to be supportive and stay as long as he is needed. Of course there was that Easter celebration in Cincinnati. On Easter Sunday, Ben arrived in Cincinnati with baby John – but no Susan. Thinking it was a joke I scanned the landscape and checked the trunk of his car attempting to find Susan... Finally, I implored Ben to tell us where Susan was hiding. He casually answered, “I came alone because she was having a crabby morning.” I am sure there is a passive aggressive explanation for his flight from conflict. | I trust Ben to be consistently generous with his time, talents, and hospitality. Of course he does have a kleptomaniac gene that rears its ugly head around the holidays. Following our gathering for New Years 2011 in Cincinnati, Ben packed my new Jones of New York jacket and transported said article of clothing to Plymouth, Michigan. Over the years, all our relatives avoid opening their Christmas gifts next to Ben. Somehow Ben can pack your presents in the Jakubowski box and have them in his car before you finish crumpling the wrapping paper. Ask Ben about the year he took home 3 duplicate gifts from Rosemary and was the proud owner of 3 plastic wiener keepers.
56: I have never known Ben to break a confidence. Of course there was that Saturday in the hardware store. Ben offered to improve my new laundry room by installing shelves. We visited Lowe's Hardware store and purchased the needed materials. Ben decided to load his car with the shelving and head for Grandin Road while Susan and I completed the transaction with the cashier and then use the second car to grocery shop. Ben made his exit from the crowded hardware store, then re-appeared at the front doors and yelled clearly, “Kay, is your Grandin Road security code still 9853 ? " ( I do not trust Ben anymore with my security code.) | But, I would trust him with my life, because TRUST is the word I associate with Ben – more than 50 years of trust. | Kay Cassini
57: When I was a little boy, Uncle Ben brought me Match Box cars whenever he would come to California. | I remember playing chess with Uncle Ben in the study at house when we visited Michigan. | I remember playing catch and chess with Uncle Ben at Gram's house. I also think of Uncle Ben as the best listener in the entire family. | There are so many wonderful things about Uncle Ben. The thing I like most about him is that he always gave Peter shit about moving to California and even after being here over 15 years he still asks if there is any chance we will ever end up back in Michigan. He does this because he loves his family, all of his family! We feel your love Uncle Ben and we love you right back!!! | Peter | Declan | Aaron | Angela
58: I've been mulling this over for quite awhile and continue to come back to the same anecdote. Though I have countless warm memories of Uncle Ben, for some strange reason this is the one I think of most often. Its short and sweet. Well. It’s short. Let me begin by saying, I was 12. John was 8 and Dan was 7. (December 1975) We were visiting Quaker Station Mall in Akron, OH during one of our annual holiday ‘vacations’ to Grandma and Grandpa Kidders house. Quaker Square was built in 1936 as a storage facility for the then Akron-based Quaker Oats Company. Out in a courtyard area of the complex was an old passenger train car, which I believe was converted into a diner. Let me preface the following by adding that Kay and Susan were not with us during this outing. | We were going to be treated to a soda in the train car which was a big deal. The only pop back at West Exchange Street was Tab and Squirt. John and Dan had been at-each-other most of the morning. They started pushing, quarreling and clawing each other to be the first one up the train car steps. Ben arrived at his limit. He reached out and grabbed a handful of hair from each of the boys’ heads and slammed their skulls together in a deafening “CRACK”. Ben then quietly warned John and Dan about the expectations of future behavior and we all proceeded to enter the train car. John and Dan were placidly obedient the rest of the day. I highly doubt, due to the force of the collision that neither John nor Dan have much recollection of this event. | Todd Cassini
59: (To the Tune of... Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf!) One evening Aunt Susan and Uncle Ben had the pleasure of watching Peter and I, ages three and two. In a way that only a three year old can, I paraded Peter around the house singing: "Who's afraid of Uncle Ben, Uncle Ben, Uncle Ben, ...who's afraid of Uncle Ben..." At this point I came face to face with Uncle Ben's knees - looked up - and in a quiet three year old voice sang... "I am!" and ran the other way. | Lisa Witte | Love you much, Uncle Ben! We are so blessed to have you in our lives.
60: In Geometry class, we were taught that the fastest way from point A to point B was a straight line. Ben Jakubowski has never traveled in a straight line in the thirty plus years we have known each other. Like Lewis & Clark, he zigzags his way through life, exploring the unexplored and taking us all along for the adventure. In the Winter prior to The Wedding of ‘87, a weekend trip to Chicago was planned for dress shopping, to which Ben and I were invited. Ben of course, had the weekend “planned." Lisa, Kay, Susan, Rose and Ben had arrived in Chicago earlier on a Friday and I joined them later that evening at Su Casa, a little treasure of a restaurant on Ontario. By the time I arrived, Kay and Susan were sloshed and singing childhood tunes in the restroom, just loud enough for the entire restaurant to hear. Ben was unfazed by it all, a lesson that I quickly learned from him when it came to the Kidder girls – just let it go. The following day as the women headed out to shop, Ben suggested we go for a walk. Nine hours later, we made it back to the hotel after covering all of downtown Chicago – from Water Tower to the Financial District to the antique shops on Kinzie to Sears Tower to Grant Park to Shuckers for oysters, chowder and a couple beers – and all points in between. We went down alleyways and hidden stairwells that most Chicagoans don’t even know exist. We stopped at Hottix for show tickets but that is a whole other story. I not only received a history and geography lesson, but also a new found love for Chicago. (As an aside, I made multiple business trips to Chicago in the following years. Associates would always ask how often I visit Chicago to know it so well. I would simply explain that, “I spent a day here with Ben Jakubowski.”) It was a remarkable, unforgettable day. And along the journey, he went from Uncle Ben, a future relative, to Ben, a dear close friend. There have been many adventures over the years and it all started with a walk in Chicago. | Rick Witte
61: Zyczenia urodzinowe mój przyjaciel (Happy Birthday my friend)! Keep exploring and never travel in a straight line when you can serpentine!
62: Although I could have secured an Ohio driver’s license at the age of 16, I had not done so. Ben must have felt this was wrong. Soon after my 18th birthday he decided to put me in my father’s ’63 Chevy and drive me up Tallmadge Ave. to take the test. I passed with flying colors and left the Bureau with a brand new license in hand. I was to drive home. However, on the way down Tallmadge Ave. Ben learned that... Although I could have secured a drink in a bar at the age of 18 in Ohio, I had not done so. Ben must have felt this was wrong. There could be no better way to “try out” a brand new license than to stop in the Valley at the Lodge for a drink. We spent the rest of the morning doing just that; celebrating my brand new license with glasses of beer. Although I had never driven a car in Ohio after having consumed beer, I knew by now that if I hesitated to do so Ben would have felt this was wrong. So, I got behind the wheel of that '63 Chevy, with my brand new driver’s license in hand and drove all the way to 1376 West Exchange St without a care in the world where we found Rosemary waiting to welcome us home... I lovingly entitle this memory... Life in the ‘60’s with Ben as my Brother-in-Law | Linda Kidder
63: For a couple of years, part of Linda’s birthday was celebrated by a trip to the Toledo Zoo which afforded me the opportunity of a “Photo Shoot.” The fun of it was that Ben and Susan would join us so that Susan could learn to be a photographer “just like me.” I took pictures of the animal’s expressive and wonderful faces only to learn that Susan had chosen to take pictures of their asses. She blamed this on Ben and although he never denied it, I have always had my doubts about the origin of the idea. After a day at the zoo, we proceeded to Biblos for dinner. Since I get car sick, I sat up front with Ben. As I was moving his items (hat, coat, camera bag) off of the front seat, I made the mistake of mentioning aloud,the fact that all of them had his initials and a date on them. Let me tell you Susan can really go on and on about that subject if you get her going. Ben just smiled as Susan gave us a long, detailed and very funny list of the dated and initialed items in their home. Ben is a very patient and loving man who adds a dimension to Susan’s story telling that is joy to experience. | Linda Davis
64: I loved my Aunt Helen very much. She never forgot my birthday whether it was a hand crocheted handkerchief or, later on, a mascara from Clinique (Susan’s influence) or a card. I felt she truly cared about me. The last years of her life, I cherished my phone calls with her. Bud has that same gift of love within him. I have so many memories of being with Bud, Susan, and your family. Most recently, my godmother’s (Aunt Helen, Bud’s Mom’s) 90th birthday party in Michigan; last year in Sonoma, California for John and Abbey’s wedding. What fun! What joy! What happiness! | My funniest memory was when Bud was at the University of Dayton. The boys dorm was in the Gibbons Hotel in downtown Dayton and it was off limits to females. Well, two of my crazy girlfriends and I decided to sneak in and visit Bud. We got all the way up to his room but were discovered and Bud said we had to hurry back out before we were found out and he’d get in trouble so we ran down the stairs. When we got to the main landing, my one girlfriend tripped and tumbled head over heels and landed sprawled at the bottom. We never got Bud into trouble but we sure had fun trying. Tee Hee. | Happy, Happy Birthday, Dear Cousin, Bud!! My wish for you is health, wealth, happiness, love, joy, and laughter. With love and best wishes, Pat (Jay) and Barry Sleight
65: "Ah, how good it feels! The hand of an old friend." ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
66: I first met Ben and Susan when Ken was interviewing for a position with Jay Marketing. As part of the interview process, Ben and Susan took Ken and I out to dinner at McKinnon's a very fancy and popular restaurant in Northville. I was terrified to go! I was a stay at home Mom and not used to going out with adults! It is a wonder I did not reach over and cut Ben's meat for him! I really had nothing to worry about. Both Ben and Susan were so kind and easy to talk to from the very first meeting. We spent many happy times in their home. They were the ones who taught us to make individual home made pizzas. From that time on we made pizza every Saturday night until the kids left home. Now they clamor to have a family night and come back and make them again! Ben and Susan also took our family out for a special Christmas brunch every year. The kids have wonderful memories of these times! | Diane Carty
67: Ben and Susan were so helpful to us after Ken became ill. There are just so many things they did for our family to help us through that terrible time. Perhaps the most touching was to come every Sunday morning to stay with Ken so the rest of us could attend church as a family. They would fix a wonderful breakfast for Ken and we were able to leave a very stressful situation for a few hours. Ben even fixed my griddle that had been broken for years! I have so many memories of Ben (and Susan) coming to the kids games, helping with class rings when they were seniors, sending flowers on the anniversary of Ken's death...there are just so many special moments...
68: I have a hard time writing about Mr. J without including Mrs. J. They have always treated us as family. They were like adopted parents for us. Ever since I have known the J’s, we were always treated as if we were one of their own. The first time we went to their house, we played Blades of Steel in their basement and made homemade pizza. We have since created our own tradition of making homemade pizza, surprisingly we never thought of that before! I will never forget the generosity of Mr. J. He has done so much for our family. Even after my Dad had left Jay Marketing, they remained a part of our family. They attended our games, spent time with us at Christmas, and were at all of our big events (weddings, engagements, etc). I have vivid memories of Christmases spent at the Gandy Dancer, Fox Hills, and J. Alexanders. When I sit back and think about it, the generosity from the J’s is overwhelming. Mr. & Mrs. J bought me a class ring, when my parents could not afford it (my daughter loves it and asks to play with it ALL the time!) Mr. J took my brothers and I golfing for my “bachelor party,” which was just the four of us hanging out at Fox Hills, but I will remember that day until I die. I am sure he had better things to do than spend it with three guys hacking at a golf ball. But I am so appreciative of that day! I am so thankful that God brought the Jakubowski’s into my life. Happy Birthday, Mr. J! | Scott Carty
69: Ben has always been a prominent figure in my teenage and later years. Ever since I can remember Ben and Dan have been like father figures to me teaching me life lessons. One of my favorite memories of Ben is his Aurora. The trust and fondness he showed to me in allowing me to borrow his car for my junior and senior homecoming dances. You couldn’t tell me anything riding in that beautiful bullet. I remember sitting at the stop sign in front of Salem high school and thanking God that he would trust me so much to let me have it for the weekend and that I wouldn’t let him down by somehow damaging it. Thank goodness nothing happened. Another fond memory that I have is the work ethic Ben instilled in me. His trust in me to help place his big ol’ bridge across his back creek was a challenge. Yet, with Ben’s guidance the bridge happened to make it and actually stay looking quite nice in the yard. As I stated before, Ben and his family have always been there for me. Taking a high energy, probably very annoying kid to their home for sleepovers is something I look back and thank him for repeatedly. His generosity in yearly Christmas dinners still ranks as some of the best food and company that I have ever had. I believe it was at the Gandy Dancer I had my first taste of Lox. Though very apprehensive that moment, I believe it has been built into my blood to now have no fear in playing with food in my new career and passion for making delicious food. Another very important thing was Ben's patience in golf, helping my confidence on the basketball court by showing up for every game he could, and the love he showed my father. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. May God bless you and keep you with my every breath. | David Carty
70: happy memories
71: My favorite memories of Mr. J are: Watching the 1997 Rose Bowl: U of M vs. Washington St. at his house. All those holiday dinners we went to every year. I looked forward to those all year long. They were so much fun. I love the J's. | Dan Carty
72: I have so many memories of Mr. J, it is very hard to pick! As a real little kid, like maybe 3 or 4 at most, I remember him assuring me I would have a good time doing my first sleep over at their house, and I can still hear him saying "you'd get to watch cartoons with the boys in the morning!" which was a Saturday. He knew how to sell, and I was sold! He also took me to the hospital when I had to get stitches on my cheekbone and calmed me down. Note to self: wearing snowmobile boots on the wrong feet is a bad way to go up icy stairs. The two things I am most grateful for: he taught John and me how to play poker (I can still remember playing in their living room right by the hallway near the front door on a rainy weekend), and he taught me how to play basketball.
73: Picking and cutting to the basket are the way to play! Putting a basketball hoop in his basement and then having an 8 foot net in the backyard were such wonderful places to play. I still have great memories of being all sweaty but not wanting to stop. He was and is a great teacher and made my life a lot more fun than it would have been without him. He is a great man who I love very much. I hope he has a wonderful birthday with the family. Pat Downes | p.s. One more thing I remember is Mr. J would take us to offbeat, fun places. I remember Mario's Italian restaurant in Detroit-delicious pasta, Eastern Market- getting candy and nuts (and the only time I went to either of these places) and a day at the Detroit Public Library- listening to records, going to the DIA and Science Center too. So I hope the birthday involves something different and cool!
74: Years ago, Ben and Sue and Sue and I went to Chicago for the weekend. On Saturday night we ate and drank into the wee hours of the morning and Ben somehow got a hold of a lampshade which he proudly wore in the hotel elevator as we were calling it a night. The next morning I rang their room to see if they wanted to have breakfast. Ben was feeling the effects of the night before and the last thing he wanted was breakfast. As I was showering, he knocked on the door. Sue answered and Ben said something to the effect, "Where is that pissant?" He then told Sue that he was headed to church to pray for his soul. All in all we had a great time. The other memory that I'll never forget is the time Ben, Ralph W. and I drove to a bar to watch a Lions game that was blacked out locally. As I recall, after the game we wound up at Ralph's house and started in on a bottle of cognac. Ben hadn't experienced cognac before and as the 3 of us proceeded to drink the entire bottle he kept saying "I don't know how you guys can drink this shit." It was good cognac, too - Remy Martin VSOP. Happy Birthday, Buddy. | Dave & Sue Turner | My biggest memories of Mr. J are from the block parties we had every year. I remember him helping us to swing at the piñata. He was always hilarious and laughing and having fun. There was the great New Year’s Day tradition, too, that my folks and his folks had of feasting on eggs benedict. I was always so jealous. Sometimes they let us sit at the adult table and sometimes not. The J’s are like my second family. Happy Birthday, Mr. J! I love you tons! | Carrie Klos
75: There are so many memories to share. I remember Ben and my Dad playing pool in our basement in Detroit as a child. Loved it when the boys and I would be playing Snooker in their basement and Ben would come down in his bathrobe with a drink in one hand and his cue stick in the other looking for action. But a recent memory strikes me the most. I was returning on the shuttle bus from John’s wedding over the summer and as I exited to make my way to the bar for the after celebration, there was Ben, sitting on a bench in front of the bar. He had his legs crossed and was holding a pair of woman’s shoes (hopefully Susan’s) and wearing a scarf all bundled around his neck. He looked like Francis Ford Coppola. I sat at the bench with him and we proceeded to have a great conversation about our families, my parents, and life in general. I feel very lucky have grown up with what I consider to be two sets of parents. Happy Birthday Ben! | Also, a great quote. I had just moved back from college and bought my first car. I immediately drove it over to show Dan and Mike. As they were sharing in my excitement Ben comes walking out and says: “Hey, nice car... too bad it was made in Mexico!” | Drew Turner
76: When I saw your invitation I immediately thought of the trip Ben and I took to Japan and South Korea together in 1985. I had been traveling to Japan once or twice a year to visit our largest principal, Hitachi Semiconductor/Electron Tube Divisions regarding business with General Motors, Zenith Data Systems and Robertshaw Controls. As our president it was important for Ben to become known to Hitachi management. Ben had spent at least a year in South Korea while serving in the Air Force (Thank you, Ben!) but I don’t think he had visited Japan. The trip was for two weeks. It was a long flight, about seventeen hours as I recall. I kept telling Ben about the traditional Japanese breakfast I had learned to savor each morning in the hotel restaurant. It consists of a wonderful rice porridge and small portions of fish and assorted pickled vegetables. So when we finally checked into our hotel, the New Otani in Tokyo, at about 5:00 AM, I took him right to the restaurant for that wonderful Japanese breakfast. Well, they would not begin serving for another hour. So I said, “Lets just go out and walk until we find an open restaurant. This traditional breakfast is the same everywhere.” We must have walked a mile before we found a place just opening up. No one spoke English but we managed to make it clear that we wanted breakfast. We were seated and waited. And waited. I told Ben this was odd because Japanese breakfast always arrived within five minutes in my experience. We concluded the delay was because they had just opened. After about forty minutes two waiters rolled up a serving cart with covered steaming dishes. They lifted off the covers with smiles and put the dishes in front of us; dishes loaded with toast, bacon and ham and eggs. The staff must have concluded that these round eye gaijin (foreigners) could not possibly want a Japanese breakfast and went out to get proper American food for their honored guests. As I am allergic to pork and most bakery bread, Ben beamed with a great smile and ate both breakfasts. He kept saying that the Japanese breakfast was really great and made just the way he liked it. We had a great time that visit. The Hitachi people were wonderful hosts.
77: After one late karioki night out with Hitachi folks we got back to the hotel and were joined in the elevator by a young woman. She made it clear she could provide a good time and persisted despite our refusals. Then she followed us to our room which we were sharing to keep costs down. She walked right in jabbering away and then stopped short upon realizing we were sharing the room. We could see the wheels turning in her head. "I don't care what Yoshi will say! My feet hurt, its too late, I'm too tired, I'm not wasting any more time on these two old farts. They are probably homos anyway." And she was gone to our great relief and laughter, conjecturing as to what she was thinking. On the weekend we took the Shinkansen Bullet Train to Kyoto and visited many castles and temples there and in Nara. Japan is a beautiful mountainous green nation and the people are just wonderful. The last weekend we went to Seoul, South Korea for free as part of a Northwest Airlines promotion. Ben was right at home, eating from street corner barbecues. I figured he might die from spoiled dog as the Koreans eat a lot of them. Ben just has an iron gut! I would only eat sushi in a Japanese restaurant. We each bought three tailor made suits for not much money (the US dollar was king then) and produced in 24 hours. The tailor told Ben that I did not have enough ass and he split a gut laughing when he told me. I didn't think it was so funny. Koreans look a lot like Japanese but are very different; boisterous, talk with their hands, love to bargain, reek of kimchee. Ben said he never tried kimchee all the time he served in Korea because he never wanted to smell like that. It was a fabulous trip with a great friend. | Lou Issel
78: Besides being an understanding and generous boss, I am truly fond of the special connection we have when it comes to sports, especially about our local Detroit teams. Whether it be Galarraga getting robbed of his perfect game, the firing of Rich Rodriguez, or the passing of Ernie Harwell, I always look forward to our little chats in the office when something major happens in the sports world. I feel special that he includes me in these conversations, as if I know what I am talking about!!! And in keeping with the sports theme, I truly appreciate how Ben always thinks of me when he has extra tickets to a U of M sporting event ~ his generosity and thoughtfulness go without saying. So here’s to you, Ben, and a wonderful 70th birthday!! Keep the party going!! | I remember the time that Ben surprised all of the women in the office on Valentines Day with song and roses. I recall looking out the window in Feb 2010 and saw a van pull in but no one in the office was expecting company. Then, 4 guys dressed in white tuxes got out. By this point I was really intrigued. Imagine my surprise when the guys, in the above picture, walked in and presented us women, myself, Cathy and Susan, a rose and began to sing love songs. We found out that Ben had pre-arranged this Valentines serenade. I had to tell my husband that I got a rose and sung to by a 4 part quartet from my boss and not my husband. We were all very surprised; it was a fun time and made for a good Valentines at the office. Thanks Ben. | Cathy Ciavattone | Laurie Bambery
79: Each year the classmates of Susan and their husbands go somewhere for a weekend. It is a weekend of fun and conversation. In 2005, we went to a lodge south of Ashville, in the mountains of North Carolina. | This year Ben got so acquainted with the husband of the owner... that we all got kicked out of the lodge! | Ben's "friend" | Bruce and Kathy DeBarr
80: Ben, Happy 70th Birthday! No doubt you are having a grand celebration with your beautiful family. We have many fond memories of good times together. One of us has memories going back over 60 years. In recent years, our yearly trips with the St V Crew have given us such treasured and fun times...John and Abbey's wedding, sipping Woodward Reserve (the velvet bourbon) in a van in Berea, Kentucky (a dry county) and, never to be forgotten, the witnessing of a "breakdown" of an innkeeper in Ashville, North Carolina. Great times with great friends always bring a smile. We look forward to many more fun times together. Our love and best wishes, | Do you remember this picture from 1989 in Lexington, Kentucky?? It is "Himself" with his bevy of beauties and do you realize this picture is over 20 years old... | Mike and Mary Alice Aldrich
81: Hi Ben, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! Can you believe that we are all going to be 70 this year!!!! Louie and I treasure the times that we were together on our summer weekends. You always added a little extra excitement, especially in Ashville/Biltmore. I don’t think any of us will ever forget that one. You are one GREAT GUY and we are fortunate to have you for our friend. We wish you many more years of good health and happiness. Have a G-R-E-A-T day. Always, Joanie and Louie Perry | I had been living with my brother and his wife until Susan graduated from college. I had a VW Bug and on this Saturday, Ben, Susan and myself were driving somewhere in Columbus, Ohio. Ben told me to turn right on the next street. Of course, wanting to be sure Ben knew that I had heard him , I turned onto the next street. However, it was a one way street. Ben (always the one to obey the rules) said to me, "This is a one way street" and I said in my best confident tone, "I'm only going one way." Of course, it was the wrong way but hey. With his eyes growing larger by the minute and Susan and me laughing , I finally did turn a corner to ensure our health and happiness. Happy Birthday, Ben! | Sandy Kremblas Paul
82: When I think about Ben the word "enthusiasm" comes to mind. Enthusiasm for life as though through a young person's eyes such as working on a 1000 piece puzzle until it is done and, if it is not done, I am to send him a picture of it completed - I did. Enthusiasm for travel to see the world and pursue out of the way places for everyone to enjoy. Bill and I loved Michigan in the autumn a little over a year ago. Ben drove the many, many miles of backroads in order for us to see and enjoy the northern parts of Michigan that he and Susan have come to love. His enthusiasm for games such as Password when he accused me of cheating on the word "plunger." I really didn't! His enthusiasm for excellent food as exemplified by his ordering and truly loving every bite of the "Sampler" (I know there is a better word than sampler, but that is what comes to mind) that he had while in the Morimoto restaurant in Napa Valley. I think we had as much fun watching him as he did eating it. I know he must be enthusiastic about toys and games for the children because Susan puts a lot of thought into that one special gift she gets for him every year. But most of all there is Ben's enthusiasm for his family - his deep and enduring love for Susan, his sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren. Happy Birthday, Ben! | Love from Bill and Terry Green
83: Jerry and I spent a lot of time with Ben and Susan when we were all first married. We remember - "What should we do tonight? - How about driving around and throw beer cans out the window" (that was the first suggestion every time).. Parties at Ben and Susan's apartment on Erie Avenue, when some of the guests would end up playing card games in the bathroom (it was a very large bathroom). Going to a different Catholic Church every Sunday morning and then back to one of our places for breakfast. Ben and Jerry were roommates in St. Joe's Hall at U.D. for at least a year, circa 1962-63. We had many mutual friends on campus and in the ghetto. Ben had a green Chevy which took some of us up to Columbus to see Susan on weekends. Ben and Susan are two of the best friends we ever had. | Mary and Jerry Huelsman
84: One of my funniest memories with Ben was when we were in the 7th or 8th grade. Both of us were traffic guards for younger students crossing the streets at St Joseph's grade school. On this particular rainy day we wore yellow rain coats and yellow hoods. Ben, Richard Corcoran and I were on traffic duty together. Richard was quite a bit bigger and stronger than Ben and I so to show off how strong he was he bent his traffic pole in half, then he put it around Ben's neck and tightened it so no matter how he tried Ben could not get it off. When the bell rang to go back to school Ben kept the pole hidden under his rain coat. Sister Herman Joseph came to check that we returned our equipment and Richard and I had already put ours away but Ben was standing there with his rain coat still on. She said "What is your problem Mr. Jakubowski!" Sheepishly he showed her the pole. Sister was quite a large nun. She straightened the pole out with ease, sending Ben and me back to class so she could discipline Mr. Cocoran. | Tony and Lynne Shannon
85: PS: From Lynne My apologies for chasing you down the stairs at our second street apartment. You and Susan have always been held in high regard in my eyes....and then, of course, there are your Mom's chocolate chip cookies that have probably been mentioned many times in the memories of your life. I asked her for the recipe and she told me it was on the bag of Nestle's chocolate pieces. Love to both of you!
86: I remember... ...when Mary Jane Langbein, a blondie who wanted to become a writer, was your 7th or 8th grade main squeeze at St. Joseph. ...when you and Vito LaCause had a fistfight on the playground in 8th grade. You didn’t get the better of that one, but our buddy, David Barbuto, got a measure of revenge not long after by pasting Vito. David is number 6 in the picture below. | John Knight
87: BASKETBALL! ...our St. Joseph basketball teams in 7th and 8th grade, with you, me, Lee Fiedler, Gordy Myers, etc. Here’s the 8th grade picture (1954-55). Dave Fate back row 2d left next to coach Tom Getzinger, and Tony Shannon, back row 2d from right. St. Sebastian almost shut us out one Saturday morning when our coach had to leave at halftime. He never did explain where he had to go. In one game which I missed, you scored 20 points. When I learned of it, I was highly motivated and got 20 the next game. At least that’s how I remember it after 56 years. ...our YMCA teams, coached by your dad. Hey, we were good! Recall that game when we beat 6’6” Bob Pratt (Falls High School player) and Mickey Gregory’s team? We had Ray Fitz, Don Krizo, Jerry Kuchenbrod, you, me, and others. ...going to the 1958 Ohio High School championship game in Columbus. Your dad picked me up after class at Hoban high School and drove us to Columbus in his Mercury Turnpike Cruiser. We watched Middletown High School beat Kent Roosevelt as Jerry Lucas scored 48 points. | ...playing basketball in your driveway with David Fate for how many hours of our lives?
88: I remember... ...summers in the mid-to-late 1950’s into the early 60’s with the 1950’s cars and the music and the girls. They could have made a movie about it. Your cousin, Bruce, would come up from Dayton with his sister (wow! – what was her name?) and we would drive around listening to Buddy Holly and Elvis and the Platters and cruise the drive-in’s. And swimming with the guys and gals at Waterworks Park. And Brady Lake with Tony and Dave and the beer and more girls as we got closer to 18 and could pass for it and after we were 18 and were legal for 3.2 beer. ...and playing Pony League baseball in the summers. I think you started a year or so after I did. You were a starting pitcher for your team and had a very nice curve ball. I was a second baseman and my Wyandotte Indians played your team and I had to face my friend. Did I get a hit? Did you strike me out? Do you remember who won? ...driving to Cleveland to see the Indians play at Municipal Stadium in 1957 or 1958. We snuck into the game by crawling under one of those big overhead doors that ringed the stadium and found some empty seats. The hot dog mustard in that stadium is the best ever invented and it’s still around (the label says, “Cleveland’s Famous Bertman Original Ball Park Mustard”). ...YOUR BASEMENT! ...your sainted mother trying to get white paint off of my new brown suede jacket after we had been fooling around in some houses being built. She knew my mother would kill me. We were in 8th grade. ...shooting pool with the guys. I liked that 18 oz stick best. ...my bloodying of Dick Corcoran’s nose in a boxing contest one day. You and I did not box -- mutual respect? ...the time your parents were gone and we put a keg of beer in the laundry room sink and partied with our dates.
89: ...the honor of being asked to be best man in your wedding. I was in the Air Force, stationed in Illinois at the time, and could not get away from school there to participate in the rehearsal. Pat Flaherty stood in for me at rehearsal and then briefed me on where I was to stand, etc., when I arrived home on Friday night. It was a beautiful wedding, and I hope I didn’t embarrass you too much when the priest actually grabbed me and re-positioned me right during the ceremony. I must have looked like a cretin to the assembled crowd. I can imagine them saying, “Is this the best Best Man he could find?” Did I forget what Pat had told me? Did Pat forget something? Anyway, it was a valid marriage which has lasted 46 years. Way to go!
90: Excerpts of College Letters from Ben (University of Dayton) to John (Kent State University):
91: Oct 19, 1960: Dear John, Well, how’s the KSU man? Study much? Drink much? Goof around much? On close observation my last time home, I think it would be a charitable and neighborly thing if you guys would crate up that dormitory across the street and send it down to us. Just kidding, of course, but you do have too many up there. Sure you do.. I caught a cold this weekend and I am really miserable. I had a test in Chemistry Tuesday. Between blowing my nose and holding my head, I couldn’t think straight. Instead of dividing, I multiplied on this problem and came up with “c to the 387 power” or some outrageous number. Who, me screw up a test!? I might come home before Thanksgiving, but I doubt it. I’m so lonely I could cry. Boo Hoo. See you, Ben | Nov 10, 1960: Dear Johnny, I read your letter when I got back here and I guess most of the questions in it we discussed on the phone. As far as women go --- I’m taking them all with a grain of salt from now on. I’ll tell you, John, I think that 75% of them wind up [scatological expletive deleted] on you if you’re too nice to them. Show them that you care and “wham-bam, watch out, Sam.” Butch and I are going to Miami U. this weekend, I think. U.D. will probably lose again; what a rut! We keep on losing games that hurt: Cinci. 27-21, Xavier 18-12, Wichita 7-6 and last week 36-6 to Holy Cross... I got another damn cold! I was taking a shower the other day and somebody came in and stole my towel, which is all I wear to the shower, and the guy in the next shower’s robe and towel. Next thing I know, my towel comes flying into the shower all knotted up. After this guy and I got done with our showers, we grabbed this freshman who we thought did it and threw him into the shower; subsequently, my towel was really sopping wet. So I pick up my stuff and walk to my room. I get there and the damn door’s locked. Where’s Jack? He went for a walk! So, there I am in my birthday suit in the hall catching another cold. You catch a cold and these contacts are plain misery to wear. I’m going to start mailing a few letters on that Calif. deal in a few days. There are a lot of complications on my end. Mainly my car. I still owe something like $600. If I sell it, how will we have wheels out there? If I keep it, I won’t have a cent when summer comes. Troubles, troubles. See you, Ben
92: Nov 17, 1960: Dear John, I just got your letter and I don’t know if this will get to you in time. I am trying to round up I.D. cards so you guys can get in free. I’ve got 3 so far and I’ll probably be able to pick up a few more. If more than 6 guys come down you’d better get tickets at K.S.U. because they’ll cost about $3 down here. Man, like get here early so we can get some booze. All I have is a pint in Bruce’s car from last weekend in Miami and I’m broke. I’m so poor I just went to the barber college for a haircut for the first time in my life (75 cents). If you want mixed drinks, bring a jug; we’ll get some mix, liquor, go some place and mix it up, and then head to the game so get here early..Try and get Dave and Tony to come. See you Saturday, Ben | John, Apartment's great and so is Chicago! Loaded. Ben | Mar 5, 1961 (Post Card from Chicago)
93: Mar 11, 1961: Dear John, It’s party time! 5 cases of beer have been bought to start it out; the landlord will probably be here this time tomorrow to kick us out. Jack got this brainstorm in the middle of the week to have a party and I think between the 4 of us the whole school knows about it (excluding freshman guys.) Why the party? I don’t know, as if we didn’t screw around enough last weekend in Chicago!!! What a time. It would be impossible to describe it in a letter. All I can say was Jack was bombed out of his mind and the house detective kicked 4 of us out of [Ben’s writing illegible here]. How did your fraternity basketball tournament turn out?....Have you seen Dave at all lately? I never hear from that guy. I think if maybe I sent him a few chocolate chip cookies every time he wrote I’d hear from him everyday. Bruce was here yesterday; he says he’s going to buy a Triumph – he smashed into some colored lady with his Olds a few weeks ago. Speaking of fate, mine forecasts doom. I am really doing terrible. My highest grade so far has been a 76% in calculus, so you can imagine what the rest of them are. Things are really tough this semester. I seem to be studying just as much as last semester, but just not absorbing it. My brother has been in Children’s hospital for over a week now the little jerk came down with a kidney infection. I was going home a few days ago to see him and my mom called and told me he was in isolation with German measles. Well, I’ve wasted an hour of my precious studying time writing to the blackest flash of them all [editor’s note: Kent State teams are the Golden Flashes], so I shall be seeing you. Have fun in Florida and send me a post card from where you’re staying and how long you’re staying. Maybe I can find you if I make it down that way. | Ben
94: May 18, 1961: Dear Johnny, My dad tells me that jobs are really tough to find around Akron. How about you, are you going to work at Firestone again this summer? Were going out looking for jobs this weekend, but I’m still not sure yet about staying. I figure it’ll cost me a minimum of $75 a month to live down here – that’s a lot of bread! I don’t feel like going home and not finding a job when there’s a possibility of finding one here. Of course, there is a little blond right now that I’ve been dating for the last two weeks that’s helping me make up my mind. Have you seen Dave or Tony around? Ginny told me she saw Tony and Lynne in church and they looked like two peas in a pod. It’s probably the same with Dave, I imagine. I got turned down a couple of times on my draft card, so how about picking up one from that kid for me for $5. If you don’t have the dough, write and I’ll mail it to you. If you do, I’ll give it to you in June. Fill the damn thing out for me like you did yours and please, for God’s sake, don’t mess it up like Tony did to my last one. My birthday is 2-21-41. Please don’t put “41” – put “40”. Sorry if I’m insulting your intelligence. Speaking of intelligence, I’m beginning to wonder what my grades will look like. I know I don’t have any A’s this semester but I’m hoping for B’s, but even those I don’t know about. Hope you pull through with another 3 point. Time to go outside and play some badminton. Take it easy and write, Ben
96: We are the proud family of Benjamin Joseph Jakubowski
97: Priceless memories to reflect upon, so much joy to look forward to... | Happy 70th Birthday, Bud, Ben, Dad, Dziadek! | With Love, | Susan, John, Abbey, Dan, Tracey, Michael, Cassie, Emma, Sophie, Torey, Danny, and Joey