Cromwell man meets one of his favoritesMichael Jobe had the rare opportunity to see a lifelong wish come true this spring, and chances are he’ll never be quite the same. Jobe, 28, of Cromwell, has long been a fan of famed actress Julie Andrews – ever since he first saw “The Sound of Music” as a little boy and loved it. Now, he watches it at least once every couple of months.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things
Cream colored ponies and crisp apple streudels
Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things
Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things
When the dog bites
When the bee stings
When I’m feeling sad
I simply remember my favorite things
And then I don’t feel so bad
Michael Jobe had the rare opportunity to see a lifelong wish come true this spring, and chances are he’ll never be quite the same.
Jobe, 28, of Cromwell, has long been a fan of famed actress Julie Andrews – ever since he first saw “The Sound of Music” as a little boy and loved it. Now, he watches it at least once every couple of months.
“He also loves Mary Poppins,” added his mother Sue, “and for a while he was watching it once a week. I think he knows the entire dialogue and all of the songs!”
And just what does Michael like most about those two classics?
“It’s about the music,” he said. “It’s all about the music. I like to sing along with Julie Andrews when she plays her guitar as Fraulein Maria.”
One day last November, Michael’s older sister, Tammy, was working on the Internet and came across a foundation called “Gifts From the Heart for Downs” that grants wishes for people like Michael who have Down syndrome. The foundation was founded in January 2010 by a woman named Kimberley Adams of Tillson, New York. Adams simply wanted to do all she possibly could to help make life for those living with Down syndrome a little bit better. And so, she set about raising money and generating a network of contacts so she could grant wishes for people of all ages with Down syndrome – from providing a new tricycle to, well, meeting Julie Andrews.
Tammy made the initial contact with Adams’ foundation and filled out an application, wishing that Michael could meet his long-time idol.
“When Tammy told me about it,” confessed Sue, “I said, ‘That will never happen. Julie Andrews is huge.’”
It came as something as a surprise, therefore, when Adams called Sue just before Christmas and the two talked on the phone for two hours.
“I couldn’t believe we talked for that long,” said Sue, “but I really got a sense of what type of person she was. She gave me her background, told me all about what she’s trying to do. She was kind of letting me know about her foundation, the wishes she’s granted, how she operates and how she relies pretty much on donations. She’s a single parent with two adopted Down syndrome children, and she has a heart of gold. She said when it comes to her kids, nothing stands in
As mothers, the two women were able to relate to one another completely, for Michael’s story was not entirely unlike those of Adams’ two children.
He was born in 1983 in Cloquet and has lived in Cromwell his entire life with a happy, supportive family. He started school at Pinewood in Cloquet when he was 21 months old, since they had a program for young children at that time. He continued in the special education system in Cloquet until he reached the age of 13, when a similar program started up in Cromwell. He graduated in 2004, when he was 21, and now he is back at Pinewood, where he works with “a lot of good people,” said Sue. Once a week he goes with a crew from Pinewood to Black Bear Casino Resort where he helps with cleaning at the hotel.
Michael is thriving on the order and routine of his adult life.
“He keeps track of everything that’s going on with his calendar and is very organized in his day-to-day life,” testified Sue. “There’s a place for everything and everything’s in its place in his room. He doesn’t like it too well if someone goes in there and moves something. He likes to fold clothes, too. I don’t even fold clothes myself anymore because I don’t do it good enough! It might take him a little longer to do it but he gets it done perfectly. He helps with the laundry, too.”
“Yes, I’m your pussycat!” Michael
“We all have pet nicknames at home,” explained Sue with a fond smile.
Michael also likes to go camping with his family at Island Lake near Cromwell, swimming and fishing and sitting around the campfire, as well as going to live concerts by country music stars such as the Dixie Chicks and Brad Paisley. There is no one who comes close, however, to capturing Michael’s admiration and
affection as much as Julie Andrews....
“He talks about her every day,”
After the initial contact was made with the “Gifts From the Heart for Downs” foundation, Sue said she didn’t hear from them for quite a while because Julie Andrews’ husband, Blake Edwards, had passed away in the meantime. But in May, all of a sudden Adams called Sue and said, “You’ll never guess who’s coming to the Twin Cities....Julie Andrews!”
“I thought, ‘How can that be? Why would she be coming to Minnesota, of all places?’ related Sue. “As it turned out, she was coming to promote the book that she and her daughter recently wrote called ‘The Very Fairy Princess,” a children’s book. She was also coming to help Target promote its library initiative, as well as to attend a local high school production of ‘The Sound of Music.’”
Adams told the Jobes she was still trying to make a definite connection, but what she did know was that Andrews was going to be signing books at a store in St. Paul on May 12 and at Barnes and Noble at HarMar Mall on May 13.
After contacting the vice president of Julie Andrews Publishing and talking about Michael’s wish to meet Andrews, Adams was at first told the Jobes could have 10 seconds with Andrews (which was pretty much what everyone was getting in order to have her sign their books), and that there were to be no pictures taken.
“Kim kept pursuing it and telling this lady that this was a wish this young man wanted and it wasn’t asking too much,” said Sue. “She kept pursuing it and finally she called me back and said we’d get 10 minutes with Julie Andrews after the book signing was over and we could take two pictures! She can pull strings that nobody else can pull. She keeps trying to do whatever she can to get the wishes granted. She’s just an awesome lady.”
Adams also arranged a complimentary dinner at Olive Garden for the entire Jobe family the night of the visit, and even passed along money for the tip.
The restaurant had the table all decorated for Michael, complete with streamers and his name on a large placard.
“The manager met us at the door and they treated us all very well,” said Sue.
Before Michael actually met Andrews, his family was a bit concerned over whether he would know it was her, since she isn’t as young as she was when she made his favorite movies.
“But she’s also in ‘The Princess Diaries,’” said Sue, “and he’s seen her in that more recently. We told him about meeting her the night before it actually happened. I had thought about making it a surprise, but then we started thinking he might be totally in shock.”
When his parents told him he was going to meet Julie Andrews, he was very excited.
The Jobe family arrived at Barnes and Noble shortly after 7 p.m., when the book signing first got under way, and they had to wait over two hours, though Michael never got impatient or wondered what was going on.
At one point during the evening, a Barnes and Noble employee came up to them and said she had just found out that only one of them could go with Michael to meet Julie Andrews.
“We decided we had to do what we had to do,” said Sue, “so my husband
and daughters all said I should go in
About half an hour later, however, they were informed that the entire family was able to gain clearance to go in and meet Andrews, which made them all very happy.
When at long last the time came to go in and meet Andrews, Michael walked up to her and said, “Hi Julie, nice to meet you.” And then he turned over her hand and kissed it.
“Literally, when you see her, she’s still just beautiful,” said Sue, “though I believe she’s going to be 76 years old.”
They really didn’t have a whole lot of time to talk with her since the introduction and setting up for the pictures took up most of the 10 minutes.
While they were getting organized for the photos, however, Sue said to Andrews, “I have to tell you, Michael absolutely loves ‘The Sound of Music.’ He watches it all the time.”
As they were parting, Andrews said, “Come back and see me sometime.”
Michael spent much of the brief visit soaking it all in and savoring the feeling of having a life-long dream come true.
“I think he was still kind of star struck at the time,” said Sue. “I caught him just kind of staring at her, as if saying, ‘Are you really here?’”