A Homage to Martin Tower
Each and every time I would drive by Martin Tower, the 21-story building would demand my attention. It would shake off the dust of my memory bank and invite – almost demand – me to remember.
As the dust begins to settle both on the ground and in my mind, I can’t help but page through my mental diary and relive the memories of my life that began as I first stepped foot inside Martin Tower.
In the early 1990’s I was looking for a job – recently let go from a sales position at Circuit City (anyone remember that store). A super good friend and roommate of mine, Mark P. worked whatever magic he had to and landed me a position in Martin Tower working for Dun & Bradstreet on the 9th floor in the IQ department. Little did I know how much that opportunity would change my life.
I remember signing my first offer letter for my first salaried position with my then boss George S. I remember being a [cough, cough] slightly arrogant young man at the time and spending some mornings moseying my way into work as if I could show up whenever I wanted. I also remember Chuck B., one of the greatest mentors of my life, having a heart to heart with me reminding me that I’ve been giving an opportunity and I need to get my head out of my ass if I wanted to take advantage of it. He was right and I listened.
I continued to move up in the department and increased my knowledge of things I knew very little about – particularly computer programming. I told myself it was because I hated doing mundane work in excel – repeating the same things over and over again – that I started to explore the software. From there I learned VBA. It wasn’t long after that I decided to go to college – the first in my family – to study computer science and work towards my undergraduate degree. Dun & Bradstreet provided me the opportunity to use their tuition reimbursement program if I carried a certain GPA. I did so and although it took me several years in the ACCESS program of DeSales University (night school), I accomplished what I set out to do – receiving my undergraduate in Computer Science in 2005.
Everything changed for me in the Spring of 1997 – Monday, June 2, 1997 to be exact. I remember meeting her for the first time. Her long hair, thin frame, her gorgeous smile and dimples – those dimples (oh, and that blouse…). She was introduced to me from a man who was also working in my department, Bob B. You see, she babysat for Bob and his wife and he mentioned to her there was an internship opportunity in Martin Tower at Dun & Bradstreet for the summer. She accepted and the rest as they say is history.
Joslyn and I started flirting with each other pretty quickly – me more than her I think :). Our relationship grew stronger and on her final day of working there for the summer we went on our first official date – the Peppercorn Pub on 309 (it’s an apartment building now). From there we went on to date for a year, be engaged for a few more, then marry Saturday, June 10, 2000.
We both moved on to have other careers that moved us to other places. The memories created in that Tower though, they lived on.
I remember the people I worked with – George S., Chuck B., Eric C., Mark P., Paul E., Christine P., Darin W., Marty R., Bryan D., Melissa H. and dozens more – each holding a place in my heart for the experience we shared.
I remember the lobby and the receptionist; the white marble stairs and how they circled up to the second floor. I remember the sharp angles of the hallways in the Annex and the magnificent breakfasts and lunches I purchased in the cafeteria – man they had the best bacon and eggs.
I remember Rudy and the store he managed downstairs. He was always so kind and friendly, remembering your name and your favorite snack. He was a true businessman and had a heart of gold.
Looking at things from the big picture, the time spent in Martin Tower may seem insignificant. The impact of my experiences, the friends I’ve made, the relationships that grew, the memories imprinted…those moments are cornerstones to a life of love and friendship.
As the cloud of dust clears, I taste the particulates on my lips; I smell the concrete and steel in the air. The building is gone. The Tower – it’s gone.
I can’t help but feel sad. Now that Martin Tower has fallen, I can only wonder how long the memories will remain – what will remind me to dust off that diary and relive those moments? I’m not sure I can answer that question right now and as I stood there watching the building crumble, with my wife in my arms and our son standing in front of us, I got the sense that it will all work out just fine.
Thank you Martin Tower for providing me – providing us – with a space to live, to love and to wonder about the possibilities that lie just around the corner.