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  • Writer's pictureAdventures with Jim

My Best Friend and the Love of My Life

We met Junior year at University when I moved across Campus to a more centrally located Dorm, closer to the Arts Center. Men populated the first two floors and women the second two. Women had the unique privilege of being allowed anywhere in the Dorm (as it was necessary for entering or exiting the building), However men were only allowed on the women's floors during restricted hours.

This Dorm while very well maintained, was one of the older ones on Campus and was designed to have one large shower facility on each level. Which at that time were designated for only the occupants on that floor.

I have a memory of leaving for class early in the mornings by way of the ground floor exit closest to my destination, and enjoying the aromatic aftershave that wafted from the hallways of the first floor.

On the fateful night we met I happened to be across the hall from my suite watching TV with mutual friends, one of which was Sherry, who Jim knew well. Jim stopped in to return a book he had borrowed, and never left. I think there was some joking about what we were watching. I know I liked his smile.

Mary Jo and Jimmy

Maybe we are like Ying and Yang? He is humble, but it's been documented, a genius and so most often, in my experience operates very left brained. I suspect I am quite intelligent as well, but tend to lean to the creative, sometimes even the absurd. However, for me, Jim evokes both a fascination and appreciation and just this "SPARK". I can pose a simple question that can lead to the most amazing discussion and diverse display of how his mind works and everything it holds!

Meanwhile, I like focusing how light reflects off surfaces, or the colors and textures of my surroundings, or how something feels when you touch it, or the way flowers, foods, babies, clean laundry smell, and especially meeting new people and learning their stories.

I also love science, and right now am fascinated with articles on quantum mechanics.I love animals to the point I truly did not plan to ever marry, or have children. I started University as an undergrad in Pre-veterinary medicine.The Dean was upset when I came to say I was changing my major Junior year.

Switching to major in Art, I often had projects that involved staying beyond "lunch hours" to reach a stopping point and/or to clean up. That next day after we met, I returned to our Dorm to be informed by my Suitemates that Jim had waited in the cafeteria through all of lunch hoping to see me. That was a surprise and intrigued me!

So the rest of that Term was all about getting to know each other. Jim worked in the cafeteria mornings setting up, so I would be up early and hang out with him before class.I got privileges -he always made sure there was apple juice. We stayed up late talking about anything and everything. I watched him play junior varsity hockey. I shared that my best sport was spectating. He skated like a pro on the frozen Campus river and I fell through the ice.

I visited him at his job as a Student Advisor in the Campus Computer Lab. In the late 60's a computer could take up an entire room. Later they were more "desk sized." To run a program required using a sort of typewriter to punch batches of cards, which you then had to carefully assemble in correct order and run through a huge noisy "card reader.*. This meant signing up for time slots to use that machine. If one hole was punched wrong, or one card was out of place, the run failed. It could be daunting. Often wee hours of the morning offered the most "free slots" to work on a project. Jim would tell you I once actually fell asleep on top of this noisy mechanical giant machine trying to keep him company.

I love Floriculture, taking it for a year in High School, and again as an elective in University. Jim came to visit me in the Campus greenhouse. He surprised me by supporting my interest by gifting me with a plant shelf with grow lights that he designed and made for me.

I broke things, he fixed them. I struggled to learn how to use tools, and he showed me how they work. We both like pickles, and ice cream so there is that!

I met his wonderful family, and could see he was a good oldest brother as well as a good son. Because he is tender hearted, after we were married, put up with me bringing home strays to re-home them, until we were able to have our own. Jim became someone who made me feel complete. He is a good listener, and just always has this funny trick of making me laugh at myself. He is so comforting as my partner in life, with all it's ups and downs. He made me feel that together we could handle whatever comes.

Mary Jo and Jim at their graduation, 1973

He loves with all his heart and believes in the goodness of people. It's always been important to him that what he does makes a difference. His own family means everything to him. He was so eager to know each of them from the moment they came into his life.

He is my best friend, and the love of my life.

~Mary Jo Kaufeld

Jim and Mary Jo

Mary Jo and Jim and his beloved Datsun 280Z

Jim and Mary Jo, 1991

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