Job Remembered But Not Seen

Building a career that is based on integrity rather than ego is a long trudge and narrow climb upward — demanding a careful balance of temperance and tenacity all the way.  –Debbie

Road trip

Road trip

The pastor from our church, Grace Reformed, had taken a mission assignment in Los Angeles and asked if Dolores and I would come so I could design a church for them.  I got a leave of absence from Siewert who was several weeks behind in my pay.  I told him I needed my money.

“Why is that?” He asked.

“We have to drive to California.”

He managed to pay me so we could take the trip on Route 66.

Road Trip

On Route 66

I designed the church for them and found a local architect to do the working drawings and oversee construction since I was registered only in Illinois.

When we returned to Milwaukee, I went back to Siewert’s, However, I was not welcomed back because Siewert believed that I had a multimillion job on the side, which wasn’t true.  The house I had designed for my classmate and her husband had been designed to serve as a model home for the subdivision the husband was developing.  F.W. Dodge took the value of the model home and multiplied it by the number of lots in the subdivision and came up with the multimillion dollar total which would never happen.  So now I needed a job.

I found out about an opening at Brust and Brust.  The principals were two brothers and it was a much larger firm than Siewert.  I interviewed with John Brust and heard back from them that I didn’t get the job because they said I was “too filled with piss and vinegar”.  So I down-sold myself and they let me come back to talk to them. They reconsidered and hired me.

The first assignment they gave me was a church job that they had already submitted more than 10 designs concepts for — all rejected by the priest.  They told me everything they knew about it — I never met the client and I’m not sure I even went to look at the site.  What I did know was that it was at the end of a city block, giving three public exposures.  I sketched up a design, the principals presented it to the priest, and he accepted it. They wanted me to stay on and do the working drawings.  So here I was, just out of school and suddenly responsible for this significant job.

The principal would stop by my desk every day to see how I was doing and ask how long it was going to take me.  I said to him, “My dad always told me, a good job is remembered long after speed is forgotten.”  I was doing the best job I knew how.

They eventually assigned another draftsman to work with me and we got the job out.  I put the alter in the center of the church and you could enter on two sides.  It was built out of lannon stone, the same material my grandfather had used for the street curbs. I didn’t even go to see my the completed project.  It wasn’t until many years later that I actually saw my design.  It was Brust and Brust’s job.

Look for the beauty

Look for the beauty


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