A Cup o’Joe


The outspoken and unfiltered Joe was born in Detroit, Michigan to a father with a political background and a mother who he described as an angel.
Detroit doesn’t hold a soft spot in Joe’s heart. He claims that “it’s hard to be fond of Detroit, it’s like being fond of a hemorrhoid”. With this type of attitude towards his hometown, Joe had his sights on leaving Michigan for something more fulfilling.
In his twenties, he spent time in Lyon, France and developed his love for French cuisine, his appreciation for the simple style of the French and his devotion to classical music.
Joe explains the origins of his love of classical music and in a moment of nostalgia, emotionally links it to his mom. “My love for classical music stems from my heart. My mother was a concert pianist who played magnificently. He would play symphonic and mostly classical; she would never be into Boogie-woogie”. He also enjoys folk songs, “… they tell a wonderful tale, sometimes better than a history book can.”

This refined taste in music set Joe, once a boy soprano in a choir, apart from his friends. He details their taste of music as being a symptom of a group mentality, settling for the music resting on the top of the charts. Joe continues in clarifying that those who believed classical music was elevator music simply didn’t ride the elevator to the top floor. He goes on with his commentary on the youth of his time, “I think the youth of my age, depending greatly on their socioeconomic status, were more compliant, less experimental than they could have been or should have been, so it’s taken them a long time to learn how to live their life, their way, the youth of now is refreshing, inspiring & interesting.”

Joe, 85, reflects on his life so far, having traveled widely & frequently, received his hospital administration degree from UCSF, and surrounding himself with all of the people whom he loves – there’s nothing that he feels is missing.

In a moment of discussing children, Joe clarifies why he chose not to be a father. “I believe there are better people becoming fathers than I, it had nothing to do with my father and our subtle rivalry. He was the best father that he could have been.”

While reflecting on his professional life, Joe concludes that he met his life’s philosophy while being an associate administrator at a hospital in the Bay Area. “I wanted to do more good for more people. I found a commitment to a profession that satisfies me and my need to bring as much good as possible & have fun, but keep suffering to a minimum.” He believes a life lived for others is noble, but that in a profession, one should also aim to also find satisfaction in what they choose to do for their own health.

At More to Life, Joe is a trusted friend to many, an effortless comedian to those close to him and a willing helper to all. He details his experience at More to Life with a frank opinion. “People go more knowledgeable and peaceful than when they entered, mostly because there’s a bright staff here and there are even more bright clients, but there is more work to be done here.”

Joe still plans to travel frequently and aims to be in France a few more times. When asked why he would like to return to France, he responds as only he would. “Why on earth would we ever limit it?”

Hager Abdel Halim

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