The Last Sunrise

The sun rising above the Kroehler furniture factory.

I am one of those people who personifies things. On an intellectual level I understand that inanimate objects are just that. However, on an emotional level I form attachments.

I have an attachment to an old camera, My Nikon D300. Born in 2008, it is ancient in digital terms. My mind connects all of the photos that I have taken with my D300, and it transcends from lens and circuit board to  loyal and trusted servant. Ever faithful, at the ready to immortalize a person or memory. I use other cameras, but my D300 has a special place of honor. It has been loyal to me, I am loyal to it.

Which brings me to the subject of the last sunrise, and how something that was not important to me became important to me. That something is the Boeker building on 5th Avenue in my hometown of Naperville.

I had passed by the Boeker building hundreds of times without a thought. Built in 1966 it stood next to the old Kroehler furniture factory. Once the largest furniture factory in the world, now a home for trendy lofts and mediocre restaurants (IMHO).

The Boeker building stood square, two stories high, and constructed of the yellow brick so common in its era. The building’s standout features were her windows and stair railings. Both constructed of aluminum with a modern look in 1966, now retro in 2017.

The Boeker building and I became acquainted through a mutual friend, Tom. He had an office in the building for his company. His space was on the second floor, in the northeast corner. Two of his office walls were mostly jalousie windows, rectangular panes of glass separated by aluminum strips. I was especially fond of the window that faced eastward, because it welcomed me with the gift of dawn.

As I have mentioned in another blog post, Tom and I tend to meet very early, usually before sunrise, as this is the least disruptive time to our families. Sometimes we meet at the gym, sometimes we travel to a destination, but often we meet at the office on 5th Avenue. We were there today to edit some photos, write some blog post, and explore some potential video ideas. In addition, we drank coffee, ate bagels, solved the problems of the world… and watched the sun make its ascent. Cresting above the Kroehler factory, turning the black sky orange, then yellow, then a brilliant blue. Today was the last day that the Boeker building would give me the gift of a sunrise. Its land has been sold, and its future bleak.

She resides on land adjacent to our commuter train station. Land that can be subdivided into parking spaces that will command high payment from busy executives commuting from tranquil Naperville to the glass and steel canyons of downtown Chicago. Her days numbered in double digits. Her time on this earth almost gone. Fifty years, tragically young for a building.

I feel a sadness for the building, its promise lost. I think of the businesses that have thrived and those that have failed within its walls. A proud space soon to be rubble. Its tenets scattered to the winds.

Goodbye Boeker building. Rest a peaceful rest. Your job soon done.

My goal today is to be appreciative of the gifts of sunrises and mid-century office buildings with big aluminum jalousie windows.

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