Ode to a Mobile Unit
By Stea Zekios
The mobile unit is gone. I look forward to a new chapter in the life
of the Saint Luke parish. But I must admit I am a bit nostalgic looking back at all the
treasured memories from the years that the unit served our Church School needs.
Our original classes were held in the basement of our church building
with about 15 children. I wonder if Maria, Suzanne, and Luke Kopulos remember this dark
unfinished area that we jokingly called the catacombs. We even had a mascot whom we
names Seraphim. He was a small lizard-like creature who stared at us from his hiding
place in the wall.
When the basement could no longer hold the growing number of children,
we decided to rent a mobile unit from Gelco Space in DesPlaines. As Education Director at
that time, it was my job to select a unit. On the way to DesPlaines, I took the wrong
toll road and wound up in Willow Creek. If it hadn't been for a car phone, I probably
would have driven all the way to Alaska!
I was in for a shock when I learned that we had to lay stones as a
'foundation' for the unit, connect electricity, install a utility pole, and build
staircases. Angelo Mitsis and Mark Zuganelis (two Viet Nam vets) dug all the holes.
Covered with dust, dirt and sweat, they laughingly said that it reminded them of their
After paying rent for three years, we did some calculations and
decided it would be cheaper to buy a unit. So I made another trip to DesPlaines. (No,
I didn't lose my way this time.) Our Diocese granted us a loan of $6,800 for the
purchase. Over the last 10 years that we owned the unit, this amounted to $680/year…not
a bad deal!
As Lana Kokayeff and I packed away all the books last month, I looked
for the last time at the window that Dennis Dandeles had to replace because I decided to
attack a bee with my shoe. Andy Chakonas removed the blackboards that he mounted 10 years
ago. John Adamovich and Mike, Julie, Joey, & Michael Bauml removed all the furnishings.
And so the mobile was emptied of all its contents.
Yet the memories are still there- the voices of the teachers and
students praying, learning, sharing, and singing - air conditioned vacation church school
on hot summer days -rooms decorated in various ethnic themes during the Teach All Nations
unit - bulletin boards covered with reminders of our Faith .
And so, I bid farewell to a mobile unit that served us well. Bon
voyage and thank you. The place where you were planted 10 years ago is now empty. But
soon a new structure will fill that area with new memories just like the ones I hold