Of Mike Maybroda, I speak as a brother, student, employee, and most importantly, a friend.My early interactions with Mike Maybroda began last summer at West Chester University’s Digital Media Center where we were both employed. We quickly became attached, sharing a wide range of commonalities, including brotherhood in the Friars’ Society, a love of music, an appreciation for culture and people and an increased desire not to conform to social ideals and stereotypes of what a person should be. Right away, I loved Mike. From that point on, we continued to share our love of culture and music, as well as engage in very simple but meaningful discussions.
He would tell me how he wanted to travel and spendmore time with his family, especially his brothers, with who he desired to have a closer relationship. He would tell me how his Mom is “the bomb” and how she really helped him open his eyes to different cultures and people, which caused him to have an increased ability to relate to others. Despite the harsh demands of work study, it would often be just him and me working together.
However, we never became the closest of friends. We never hung out after work, nor did we ever go get a bite to eat. We never introduced each other to our families or our best friends.
We never even watched a Sixers game together. This, I believe, is why we enjoyed each other so much. There were no demands of putting up a front in order toplease one another or cater to the other’s needs. There were no expectations of what should or shouldn’t be said. And there was never a need to worry about hurting each other’s feelings because we couldn’t. The only thing we could do was be honest.
Mike would always tell me that I needed to relax more, and I would tell him that he needed to get focused. He would tell me to stay away from the ladies, and I would tell him not to be afraid of commitment. We would share our feelings about God and how we always yearned to learn more, regardless of past circumstances that may have confused us with certain issues. Mike was honest and I loved that about him.
Mike was free. Many times, I remember coming into work and Mike would be sprawled out on the floor, asleep. Because of his “bigger” size, we would have towalk over or around him in order to move or exit, but he didn’t care; He was such a free spirit. On several occasions, he would turn his music up real loud and just start dancing and singing in the middle of the room; it was great! There were always sudden outbursts of laughter, jokes and storytelling when he was around, and I loved him for that.
There are many things that I could say about Mike Maybroda and what I liked about him, but most importantly, it was who he was as a person and what I learned from him that I will take with me. Through our interaction and conversation, he showed me that I must always stay open to new things and continually live free of conforming ideals that don’t match up with who or what I want to become. Our honesty with one another showed me that two people don’t necessarily need to be the closest of friends in order to have an impact on one another or learn from one another.
He showed us how to live diversely. “Get busy living or get busy dying,” he would say. He was Mike, and he became my brother.
Shane Daniels is a student at West Chester University.