"Take care of yourselves and each other, and always remember my motto:
It’s ok to work hard, as long as you play harder."

-Joe Milligan,
in an email to his parents 7/02

Catherine O'Connor
January 24, 2003
3:00 AM

A few months have passed and I sill think about and miss Joe as much as when I first heard the news. Just the other day, I remembered that as kids he and I used to trade those silly “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, the ones that at the bottom of every five or so pages you would pick a “thrilling” outcome and cross your fingers that it would lead you to the end of the story. I would lend mine to Joe, crisp and new, and Joe would hand over his, tattered and falling apart. And inside, Joe would have scribbled and circled and crossed out every single option in his frantic effort to find out what happened next. He really was passionate about those books.

I also recalled a time in elementary school -- it must have been second grade, when Joe wedged his foot in the opening of a desk just before lunchtime. His face flooded with panic. All the kids filed out of the classroom, and Joe waited stranded and bewildered until the janitor could come and help him dislodge it.

Oh, and I can’t forget all of our Future Problem Solvers of America competitions. Little did our parents know what trouble we got into!

In Biology our freshman year of high school, we would challenge each other to not look at the clock behind us as dismissal would slowly approach… and drive ourselves absolutely insane!

Last Christmas, Joe and I ran into each other at a party, and following one of his famous hugs, we immediately launched into travel talk. The conversation soon turned to reminiscing about the good old days, how little could beat raising hell with our high school friends. Then out of the blue, Joe turned to me and in an unabashed manner shared with me his thoughts on love. I am so thankful we had that conversation.

Finally, while home for his memorial service, I flipped through my yearbooks and found an entry of his from junior year. After a few lines of the standard "It's been a crazy year" prose he wrote: “We have been friends since diapers and I hope we can be friends until we have to wear them again”. So clever and funny as always.

I miss you Joe!

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