Campus Buzz

Humans of Fontbonne: Series 2

Humans of Fontbonne has become an outlet for students, faculty, staff and visitors to our campus to learn about tolerance for one another. The first Humans of Fontbonne interview that I did allowed people to learn about some possibly unknown faces. Even though our campus is very small, there is always someone you do not know. Writing these articles and getting to know these people at Fontbonne has been a pleasure for me. Once I interview someone for this project, I always have a heartwarming feeling when I see them later on campus. They allowed themselves to open up to me on a personal level and allowed me to share their stories online. That is something that I will always treasure, and I think that you, the reader, should too.

mellissa hof

Melissa Eichhorn

“How are you really doing today?”

“Fine! Fine.”

“What did you want to be when you were growing up and why?”

“I thought about being a travel agent because I just wanted to travel around.”

“Have you been traveling around the world? Have you been to different countries?”

“Let’s see, I have been through the Caribbean. I have been to a French island called St. Barths. Other than that, my dream place to go is Italy. I want to be there before I turn sixty. It’s on my bucket list!”

“What’s the one thing you have to do in Italy?”

“I need to go to Sicily. I also want to go to a small town outside Palermo where my dad’s family was from. That was the one place he wanted to go to before he passed away.”

“Who has influenced you the most in your life?”

“My father, was a big, strong family man. Family always came first. That’s what I try to hold onto with my kids and my family. We all get along. We are just one big family here now. I call my work study kids ‘my kids.’”

“What was the most unique thing about your father?”

“There’s so many. Wow. He was funny. I don’t want to cry, but he passed away after he turned ninety-one, at that time he was still like ‘with it.’ He still drove, my mom was a little weak and had some issues, but my father took care of her. So it always went back to family. He still liked to always go out and have a good time.”

“If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?”

“Follow your dreams! If there is something you want to do, find a way to do it. It’s not always about money. Enjoy your friendships. Don’t be older and think ‘I should’ve done this differently.’”

“Do you think you’ve reached your dreams?”

“Some of them. I’m going to get to Italy someday! I have two great girls and I have loved how they have turned out. I’m very close with my family. They are my heart.”

 

Macy and Janette

Macy and Janette

“How old are you Macy?”

[holds up three fingers]

“Three?”

“Uh-huh.”

“What’s your favorite color?”

“Pink and purple!”

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

“A rocket scientist.”

“What will you do when you are a rocket scientist?”

“Maybe I want to make the rockets.”

“What color will the rockets be?”

“Pink.”

“What is your favorite thing to do at school?”

“I like to play in the sand.”

“Do you have friends at school? What is your best friend’s name?”

“Yes, Autumn.”

“What do you like most about her?”

[silence]

“How much do you love your grandma (Janette)?”

“I love her this much!” [extends arms out]

patricia hof

Patrcia Etter

“How are you really doing today? A lot of people just ask ‘how are you doing,’ but I genuinely want to know how you are today.”

“I’m great, thanks for asking!”

“What did you want to be growing up and why?”

“A professional dancer.”

“Who’s influenced you the most in your life and why?”

“My parents.”

“What did they want for you most in life?”

“They wanted me to grow up to be a good person, to be charitable, and to be a kind person. Both of them are deceased.”

“If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people, what would it be?”

“I want each person to treat another as they would want to be treated.”

ben HOF

Ben Wedi

“How are you really doing today?”

“I’m doing great! It’s snowing and it’s beautiful here.”

“What did you want to be when you were growing up and why?”

“I actually wanted to be a soccer player. I enjoy playing and everyone in my family plays soccer. Soccer is a big deal where I am from, which is Congo.”

 “Have you been back to Congo recently?”

“No, it’s really expensive to go back.”

“When do you see yourself going back to Congo?”

“Maybe after I graduate I will go back. Maybe after I get a job.”

“What do you miss most about Congo?”

“I miss my other family, the food, the people in general.”

“What’s the biggest difference from here and ‘home home’?”

“You have more opportunities here. The lifestyle is different.”

“What has been your experience at Fontbonne?”

“I like it here, it is nice. It is very small and the people here are nice. I’m looking forward to the next couple of years being here.”

“Do you think it is your end goal to be a soccer player?”

[laughs] “No, it was just a childhood dream. You have to be really good to be a soccer player. You have to be really cut.”

“What is your new dream now?”

“I want a good job and to be able to help my family back in Congo.”

“Who has influenced you the most in your life?”

“My cousin’s name is Junior, he is really good at soccer and he is really smart. I always wanted to be like him. My sister who lives here, she is a hard worker. She has kids and a husband and she’s getting her Master’s next month.”

“If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of people what would it be?”

“Work hard and just be you.”

“Lastly, what has been the hardest part of your life so far?”

“I just want to fit in. Sometimes I feel like I don’t fit in.”

“You think you don’t fit in at Fontbonne or in general?”

“In general.”

“Do you think there are other people at Fontbonne who feel the same way as you do?”

“Yes definitely. Sometimes it’s deciding ‘I want to be with this group.’ Maybe you don’t like the same things in that group. Sometimes you just feel like you don’t fit in. I’ve always been shy, I’ve tried to hide it a little bit more though.”

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading these Humans of Fontbonne stories as much as I have enjoyed writing them. Some of the interviewees struggled to answer questions, became a bit teary-eyed, or lit up when talking about their loved ones. I didn’t think that writing these stories would bring me as much joy as they have. While I was conducting these interviews/conversations, I was going through some personal issues that came up unexpectedly. This was an outlet for me as a writer to not worry about my issues and just listen to someone else for a moment. I think in a way, the interviewees took a similar break from their hectic day to sit down with me. Everyone is looking for a way to be heard amidst personal, everyday issues that just happen. People sometimes just want someone to listen to what they have to say. You can’t plan for how your day is going to go, but I think you can always plan for a little kindness to be spread to one another.

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