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A look back at an exceptional friend and no, we really weren’t married

  • Written by Bob Rakow

The B-side by Bob Rakow

This column was born shortly after a childhood friend died.

When he passed away, I felt the need to say something, and the B-Side got its start. It’s been going well since then, although this week’s column was tough to write.

I’m devoting the B-Side to another friend. My closest high school friend, Adam Peters, passed away recently after a long, tough battle with cancer.

Adam was my guy in high school, especially senior year. He and I, along with Matt and Augie, were a great foursome. We were together every day after school, rolling in Adam’s Cadillac, wasting time at Taco Bell.

Great times.

The four of us had distinct personalities. We all brought something to the group. But Adam ran point. He possessed a certain charisma that was not common amongst high-school-aged guys. He had an air of confidence about him, a great sense of fashion and a pretty girlfriend who went to Mother McAuley.

Someone on Facebook commented that Adam could light up a room. That remark was spot on. He had sparkle in his eye but a mischievous look that made you wonder what he was thinking or might say next.

I remember the two of us standing across the street from Brother Rice High School on one occasion, both of us wearing our designer clothes, collars popped, when a guy yelled from a passing car, “Are you two guys engaged?” Adam, without missing a beat, threw his arm over my shoulder and shouted, “No, we’re married.”

It was a classic moment.

Though, I don’t think the guy in car appreciated the remark.

Adam loved to read. He almost always carried a large book with him and spent much of his spare time devouring it. He was a bright guy. He majored in history, but understood that learning was a lifelong pursuit that didn’t end when you left the classroom.

I envied Adam in a lot ways, but enjoyed every moment that we spent together. We went our separate ways during college and didn’t stay in touch. I caught up with him on Facebook and found out that he was sick. Still, I never thought I’d memorialize him in a column before either of us turned 50.

I looked back at his Facebook page the other day and read the various posts that chronicled his battle with cancer. He never quit fighting, and he never lost his sense of humor despite his unfortunate circumstances. Another member of our graduating class said Adam’s battle taught him about faith and humility. I wholeheartedly agree.

Thinking about Adam’s passing saddens me, but my vivid recollections of our time together speak volumes about my friend. Thirty-five years later, I still recall our stupid stunts, including the time I made an obscene gesture at a car on Western Avenue. The driver eventually pulled behind Adam’s parked car, punched me in the head and said, “I’m getting the gun.” Adam pulled away from the curb and we sped through the Beverly neighborhood until we outran the guy.

We loved radio legends Steve Dahl and Garry Meier—their humor, their wit. When their engineer, Marcus Palmer, died during surgery, Adam and I went to the wake. He thought it was the right thing to do. We sat on the hood of Adam’s Cadillac afterwards and talked about the Blackhawks. I have no idea how I remember that detail.

Somewhere, I have a picture of Adam and me standing on my front porch. May, 1982. High school graduation. Again, how we were dressed was so important. We were 17 years old. Who knew what the future held? Today I know, and I wish it wasn’t true.

When my father died, I struggled to write a eulogy. I told Adam that my dad passed away and he responded on Facebook with the following, “Bob, he was a great guy. I always wanted a father like you had, and I know how lucky you feel to have had him raise you.” I never knew he felt that way about my dad. I used that touching remark to craft my dad’s eulogy.

Adam was right. My dad was a great guy. But Adam was an exceptional friend who touched a lot of people. Rest in peace, my brother, you’re suffering is over but your legacy lives on.