Steve Jobs the neighbor

Wed, Aug 31, 2011


Lisen Stromberg, a Palo Alto neighbor of Steve Jobs, writes about the former Apple CEO from a different perspective, describing him in a role markedly different from the one he occupied as the head of billion dollar company.

I first met Steve (does anyone call him Mr. Jobs anymore?) years ago at a backyard pool party. I was so flummoxed by the off chance I was breathing in his DNA, I could barely say a word. I am sure I made a winning first impression as I stumbled over my own name when we were introduced.

I watched as he swam in the pool with his son. He seemed like a regular guy, a good dad having fun with his kids.

Thereafter, Stromberg recounts running into Jobs at school events and spotting him while going for runs in the neighborhood. She even retells seeing Jobs dressed up as Frankenstein at a Halloween party. Walking by Jobs, with her son in tow, Jobs smiled and said, “Hi Lisen.”

“My son thought I was the coolest mom in town when he realized The Steve Jobs knew me,” Stromberg writes.

Subsequently, Stromberg’s encounters with Jobs became few and far in between.

From then on, when I saw him holding his executive meetings in our neighborhood, I didn’t hesitate to smile and say hi. Steve always returned the favor, proving he may be a genius, but he is also a good neighbor.

In time, things changed. The walks were less frequent, the gait slower, the smile not so ready. Earlier this year, when I saw Steve and his wife walking down our street holding hands, I knew something was different. Now, so does the rest of the world.

Stromberg concludes with her strongest memory of Jobs, watching him openly weep tears of joy at his son’s high school graduation.

“There Steve stood, tears streaming down his cheeks, his smile wide and proud, as his son received his diploma and walked on into his own bright future, leaving behind a good man and a good father who can be sure of the rightness of this, perhaps his most important legacy of all.”

With so many articles concerned with Steve Jobs’ legacy, his impact on technology, on Apple, and the world at large, it’s nice to read a story like Stromberg’s and remember that Steve Jobs isn’t solely definable as the man who co-founded Apple and would later serve as its CEO.

via Palo Alto Patch


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