Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat

The Joseph I know earned his dream coat with astounding resiliency and an easy charm.

We picked that cap and gown up the second it was available and he popped them on his head and around his shoulders immediately, then  strutted around our neighborhood.

“I can’t believe I graduated,” he said repeatedly throughout the following days.

Everywhere we went in the week between cap and gown pickup and the actual ceremony, Joseph’s enormous group of friends offered congratulations.

On a normal day, Joseph walks through Appleton like a long-term mayor greeting his loyal constituents. In his graduation gear, he walked like a king.

A lesser young man might have been defined by the tragedies he faced in his dramatic 18 years on this earth. But Joseph is known for far cheerier things — his wide and ready grin, his enthusiastic support of teammates in every sport he played, his admirable recollection of names, his keen fashion sense.

He owes his achievement to his own unique skill set and to his tribe — his birth family who loves and supports him, his church family and the pastor he calls “other dad”, his extremely supportive school and the teachers and coaches with whom he formed lifelong bonds, his social workers, the police officers he calls friends, the barbers who have trimmed his hair and kept their eyes on him all his life, his mentors at the Boys and Girls club,  his friends and all the unique and  wonderful families who have supported him through the years.

Like almost everyone else, his plans are on hold temporarily due to COVID-19 restrictions and we’re not exactly sure what fall will look like for him.

But, with his team, he has put together some exciting options and now that he’s earned his coat of many colors we know that any dream will do.

In his senior year, Joseph was a four-sport varsity athlete at East, though pandemic restrictions cut his his track season short. East thoughtfully displayed pictures of their senior spring athletes all around the track.
We picked that cap and gown up, then he took them for a spin.
We visited my sister Kathy and my mom, who were socially distancing from each other and from us.
Molly offered her support.
The king on his throne.
He’s really more of a city kind of a guy (though he inexplicably loves country music), but he loved this picture from Up North.
The wisdom tree
Joseph and his big brother Jykeen.
The barbers at Taperz who helped raise him. As luck would have it, Joseph’s friend Alvin was in the chair.
Assistant principal and our neighbor Ms. Molitor.
Joseph suited up to make himself breakfast graduation morning.
The colors look a little different than our first four graduations, but the sentiment was the same. We’re proud of Joseph and so grateful for the support he has received.
Annie and Joseph’s son had a very fine day.

9 thoughts on “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat

      1. This just brought tears to my eyes, so glad to finally see pictures of this man/child. Brought back so many memories of Mike and me with our foster son. It really does take a village, but what you did for him is priceless. Congrats on a job well done.

  1. Thanks Laura for sharing Joseph’s story…a great story! Congratulations to JOSEPH and good luck! Great pictures!

  2. I love this! What a remarkable young man- lucky Joseph for landing in your tribe, lucky you for getting him!

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