A daily record of gratitude; from quilting to photography to a mix of technology, books, movies and the musings of life!

Welcome to my Blog of my daily gratitude and photo of the day!

Since January 1, 2012, my goal is to write a daily sentence or two (or paragraph or two) about gratitude of the day and to include one photo (at least) that I took that day (but will add others from time to time). It has definitely been a challenge most days throughout the past eight years, and welcomed the challenge again this year - 2020 - Covid and all. I hope you will continue the ride with me!

Friday, July 31, 2020

#CelebratingOther with James Ford Rhodes High School Class of 1980 Graduate: Jim Kolar!

It has been a wild couple of weeks for me, but I am thrilled to be "back in the saddle" and continue with my "CelebratingOthers" posts on Fridays. I reconnected with "neighbor," James (Jimmy/Jim) Kolar before our trip West and all that that entailed; and very happy to share once again how 40 years melted away while we caught up with each others lives most recently. 

Jim lived about 10 houses down from me (different street), but they were small houses, and therefore, small streets, so in effect, really close. But Jim stated he spent more time with the kids on the street behind his house that one neighbor actually installed a gate for Jim's easier passageway to that group of neighborhood kids (about a dozen or so boys.) How's that for a friendly neighborhood?

Like most kids growing up in Old Brooklyn, Jim was born in in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1962, to Mary (deceased in 2005) and Joseph Kolar (age 94 and still living in the same house Jim and his brother were raised in!) His older brother, Joe, was 10 years older than us and graduated from Rhodes in 1970, marrying his high school sweetheart, Linda. They have three children and reside in North Ridgeville. 
Though he revealed a great childhood, his brother likes to tease Jim that their parents had two "only children," due to the age difference, but, thankfully, there was plenty of love and affection to go around for the both of them! 

Jimmy reported he had a summer garden at Benjamin Franklin like a lot of kids in our neighborhood, and we both attended the same schools all the way through, sharing at least the second grade in the same class, and we suspected, other grades too (couldn't remember the other ones, though,)

By high school, Jimmy was a part of the "FunLovers Club," the Men's Varsity Soccer team and one of my lunch table-mates our junior and senior years. He even "remembered" me eating the two powdered sugar donuts and a red delicious apple every day. 

After our July 18, 1980, graduation, Jimmy went to work for the Cuyahoga County Auto Title Bureau for six years. He applied to Kent State but decided not to go, and didn't care for government work either (he did not like to wear a tie!) By 1986 he moved to Queens, New York, and then Freehold, New Jersey, to work as a Pipefitter (NY) and then as an installer for Fire Protection systems (NJ.) Jim admitted he loves construction and is very handy around any power tool (big or small), and in fact, worked with his uncle in the cement business since we was 16 years old during summer/winter breaks. I also have to interject here that Jimmy became a New York Rangers (NHL) fan when he moved East, and still follows them. Funny thing is that he and I have "battled" it out in fandom with me being a huge Washington Capitals fan, and him...a Rangers fan?! We always kid each other about "our" teams, especially when they play each other.

After several years in NY/NJ, Jimmy moved back to Cleveland to help his parents, especially his ailing Mom who was diagnosed with Lupus. Upon his return he also became fully vested as a cement mason with the Local #404 - Cleveland Cement Finishers, and has been working in cement business every since. Today, he is a concrete foreman who works in large commercial projects (hospitals like the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospital; The Intercontinental Hotel; and several large high schools in Cuyahoga County plus many many more very large projects). He mentioned that he loves his job, and therefore has "never worked a day in his life."

By 1992, Jim was introduced to his wife, Susan, on Good Friday, by one of his cousins. Sue is a retired Cleveland Public School Special Education teacher after 30 years, but couldn't stay away from the kids she loves to teach, and the whole education process, that she has subbed, and teetered between part time and full time positions for Keystone and Cloverleaf High Schools since her retirement. They married on September 23, 1993, and their boy/girl twins were born in May of 1994. 

Their daughter, Emily, now engaged, and a graduate of Ohio University with an Applied Science degree, is working in customer service at Forest City Enterprises. Their son, Jacob, who also graduated from Ohio University in Sports Management, is also working at Forest City Enterprises and coaches youth and high school basketball, something their Dad did while they were growing up as well. 

In addition to the typical youth sports (soccer/baseball); Jim founded their local AAU Basketball club and team when his kids were in third grade. They all love basketball and they made it a family affair for many years; especially traveling to games and tournaments throughout Ohio and the Midwest. 

This blue-loving and super handy guy is so talented and loves "figuring stuff out," that he was giddy about designing and building his beautiful home from scratch! Not only that, but he's also built a cabin in Cooks Forest, PA (generational property), that he loves taking the family there at least once a month. Some of his favorite things to do there are fishing and hunting and hanging with his family. During hunting season, he spends most weekends there. But...one of his favorite places on Earth is his family's island (Kolar 446) on Lake Temagami (it's an Algonquin name meaning "deep water by the shore") in Canada. It's desolate, it's primitive, but it's "home" for Jimmy and anyone that ventures up there with him.

Interestingly, Jimmy has collected Marvel Comic books since the mid 1960's and has a wonderful collection of football cards dating back to 1968! That's collecting 350 cards each year for over 50 years!!! Wow! 

Lastly, Jimmy is super jazzed about his wonderful family and living in his personally designed and built home in Wellington, Ohio; loves to watch old movies, and his favorite song; aptly for Jim - "Won't Back Down" by Tom Petty. 

BSoleille! The bright side of #CelebratingOthers with Jim Kolar; along with his superpower - always looking for the best in everything! That is something we call all aspire to, right? 


Photo selection below provided by Jim:

Jim at the "reel."

Susan and Jim

Jim, Sue and family

The "Cement" Man

Coach Jim


No comments: