|Andrew and Diane enjoying a family cruise to Alaska|
I met Andrew about 10 years ago when he was attending Butler University and dating my niece Diane. After college, he and Diane married and moved to Wisconsin where Andrew was a drug sales representative for Eli Lilly and Company, and Diane got her masters degree. They now have two beautiful and energetic daughters, and we are very happy that they live only ten miles from our home.
Andrew is a happy, crazy, fun-loving and creative person. He writes poetry, performs slam poetry and can break dance with the best of them. He is also sensitive and a great observer of people, and this is evident in his writing. He is also responsible for initiating the “group hug” which we now do at family gatherings.
Here is my friend Andrew:
1. When and where were you born?
In a top secret government base in what was formerly referred to Sector 13 Tango. Or maybe I was born in Anderson, IN in 1984.
2. What is your first, most vivid memory?
I was probably in 3rd grade or so. I remember playing basketball with my Grandpa Bob. This sticks out, because he had never played basketball with me before. He was always dressed up wearing a nice shirt and suspenders. I remember him running around; his combed over hair flopping around as he ran and jumped. When he shot the ball he used both hands like he was throwing a chest pass at the rim. I remember thinking it was hilarious, but also being impressed that he was kind of quick for an old guy.
3. What were you like as a child? What did you do for fun?
I was the high energy kid who asked millions and millions of questions. I wanted to know everything. I was also quite the performer. They tell me that I used to jump on bar stools and sing Bon Jovi’s “Shot through the Heart.” I don’t sing Bon Jovi anymore, but I’m still a performer and it’s pretty cool to see that come out in my own girls.
4. Who is/was the oldest relative you remember (and what do you remember about them?)
The oldest relative I remember having was my Great Grandpa Johnny Pyle. He was the kind of guy who never knew a stranger. My Great Grandma would say that he drove into town twice a day just to say hello and see if he could make people smile.
He was a jolly guy with a great sense of humor and the only one who could get away with calling my mom Janey. My mom’s name is Jane Ann, and Jane or Janey wouldn’t fly from anybody else.
5. Describe your parents. What were they like? Where did they meet?
My parents are Bo and Jane Ann and they met in high school. They worked together which eventually led to them dating on and off and eventually getting married. The story goes that my dad kept bringing dates to Pizza King to make my mom jealous. My mom thought my dad was an idiot for doing this. Luckily for him he realized he was being dumb and that those games wouldn’t work. I guess the rest is history.
My dad is the outgoing one, and growing up I swear that everyone in town knew who he was. I grew up with stories of him doing all kinds of crazy stuff like dressing up in a stuffed bear outfit and directing traffic downtown until the police got onto hi. No joke. He also has a great sense of humor, an affinity for making corny jokes, and a love for action/kung fu movies. He was the cool dad growing up. I loved hanging out with him and having my friends around him. Now he’s the cool Papa, letting the girls get away with stuff that I never would have dreamed of ;)
My mom is more introverted. She’s a bit more of a homebody. She’s also the strongest and most bad ass woman I know. When everything else is going to shit, my mom is the rock that keeps everyone together. She’s direct. She’s real. She’s cares enough about you to be honest even if it’s going to not be what you wanted to hear. She has high standards and if you can meet them she expects you to meet them. Friends would often tell me that they wanted to make sure that my dad liked them, but what they didn’t understand is that my mom is the one to win over. Once you’ve proven yourself to her, she’s loyal to a fault.
6. What was the best gift you remember as a child?
Yo-yos. There is something about a toy that is so simple, yet is capable of doing such complex things. I have a collection of over 50 yo-yos. Some of them are actually worth a little bit of money. I have everything from old school Duncans to ones with precision ball bearing systems. Yo-yoing is something that my dad got me into and something I’ve been doing ever since. I’m not as good as I used to be, but I still some have skills. Most people don’t know, but when I was younger I actually won a contest at a local festival.
7. What did you want to be when you grew up?
Like a lot of other little kids, when I was really young I wanted to grow up and be a professional athlete. I thought I’d play in the NBA or the NFL. However, I stopped growing around 5’11” and I never had the speed, coordination, or strength to advance my athletic career beyond high school. I guess I didn’t eat enough broccoli as a kid.
As I got older I went through a few different phases. For a while I wanted to be a lawyer, because I thought it would be cool to go to school and learn all that stuff. Then, I thought I would be a math teacher, because I loved calculus and loved helping my classmates with homework and things (that deafening siren you are hearing is my nerd alert). I also had a period of time where I thought I wanted to be a psychologist, because I loved understanding what made people tick.
When I entered college I wanted to go into business and thought I would graduate and help my parents run the grocery store they owned. While in college I got a degree in marketing and that led me to a career with Lilly.
8. Describe your first job. What did you do with your first paycheck?
My parents owned a local grocery store and my first job was a stock boy. I helped put up the trucks, milk, bag groceries, etc. I loved working at the store because of the family atmosphere and all of the regular customers we had. My first paycheck probably went to buying gas for my car, Bonnie a 1984 Z28 Camaro.
9. What have you liked best about your life so far? What is your happiest or proudest moment?
The best part of my life is my marriage to Diane and being a dad to Alice (3.5) and Violet (almost 2). Being a dad is by far the coolest adventure I’ve ever been on. There is something magical about the way kids see the world and it’s amazing how you can love someone so much. I could go on for days, but they say a picture is worth a thousand words so I’ll share a few pics.
10. What has been the most frustrating thing or biggest challenge in your life?
The most frustrating things in my life have been watching bad things happen to good people. I’ve watched multiple grandparents die from cancer in the same year. I’ve watched illness and bad luck take everything away from parts of my family. It all makes you wonder how things like that could happen.
11. What job did you do most of your life? What did you like most about it? Least?
I started working at the grocery store when I was 14 or 15 and worked at the store through college, so that is the job I did for most of my life. I loved the small town feel and all of the repeat customers.
I didn’t like the hours and the undependable schedule. You never knew when you were going to be called in because someone called off of work. In my current job I’m at the office Monday through Fridays and any additional work I do is on my terms.
12. If we asked a relative or good friend about your best and worst qualities, what would they say?
People who know my dad and his outgoing personality think that I’m exactly like him, but they’re wrong. I’m a blend of both of my parents. The older I get the more I realize that I’m more like my mom. I’m probably 60% mom and 40% dad.
Best- my beard, sense of humor, creativity, warmth, caring for people.
Worst- I can be really sarcastic, and people who don’t get sarcasm can think that I’m mean. Also, I tend to be a pretty straight forward and direct communicator. I don’t like to sugar coat things. This can come across the wrong way when talking about sensitive subjects. Finally, I have high standards and if I think you can achieve them I expect you to. I will push you in the best way possible and this works for some people but not others.
13. What do you do for fun now? Hobbies? Special Interests?
I mainly try to spend as much time with my family as I can. We like to go to the zoo, the children’s museum, and on any other little adventure. When we aren’t doing those things, I’m probably with them building forts, pretending to be a superhero, or busting out some sweet dance moves.
When I’m not involving my family I write and perform slam poetry. Here’s a link if you want to check it out from me performing during a national competition a few years ago, http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xa81tj_andrew-embry-nps-2009-west-palm-bea_creation. Most of the competitions are held late at night, so now that I have a family I don’t make it them very often. However, I still write and perform poetry. I’m actually really proud and excited, because I’ve been able to take this hobby of mine and bring it to work. This past year alone I have performed slam poetry at a TEDx event, an African American Forum, and for our CEO.
14. What one item in your life would you never give up? Why?
My iPad, provided I was connected to the internet. I love surfing the web and finding cools articles to read and videos to watch. My favorite app is Zite (and not Flipbook) which is an app that finds articles that fits your interests. I probably spend 30 minutes or so every night using those apps to learn new stuff.
15. What frightens you? Why?
· The fact that Mike is retired and might accidentally invent a robot or system that takes over the world.
· Cyber-attacks/terrorism. Computer hackers used to be myths and bad guys on movies. Now this is a real threat. It’s wild to believe that a few keystrokes from the right people could do such horrendous things.
16. What is the best advice your parents gave you?
My parents said a lot of the things that a lot of other people do. “Always give 110%. Hard work is important. Measure twice and cut once. Give it your best or don’t do it.” All of these sayings are great advice, but that’s not what made my parents special. I learned more from my parents by observing how they lived life.
They always put family first. They came to all of our games and anything else my brother and I had going on. My parents have been and will always continue to be there for us. They work hard, do what’s right, and find a way to get through tough times when everything is falling apart. I don’t care about their words as much as their actions. Their actions are the things I strive to emulate.
17. What’s your best advice for living a good life?
Figure out early who and what are really important to you and spend as much of your time as you can with those people and doing those things.
If you enjoyed this PIKS, here is a link to other PIKS articles.
If you enjoyed this PIKS, here is a link to other PIKS articles.