I’ve always been fascinated by Creatives. When I was seven, my dad hired architect Edmund Howe, who had been a student of Frank Lloyd Wright. The home Howe designed for Mom and Dad was just outside of Monroe, WI and was a bit prairie-style, with a lot of lannon stone and beautiful. Dad took me to some of the meetings where he and the Architect worked over the plans.

I have never wanted to be an Architect, but I have always been fascinated with how they can take conversations and turn them into a home.

Dad was always fascinated with the creative process. He grew up poor but learned from his Mom that he didn’t have to stay that way. He was a paperboy and by the time he was 12 years old, he had taken over all of the paper routes in his town hiring other boys to deliver. He learned from his mother the foundations of the creative process – that is, entrepreneurism. The act of undertaking something to create something that didn’t exist before. Maybe not creativity as seen by some, but they don’t know how to look.

While my four brothers and I were growing up, he needed something to distract us, so he put us to work. In the late 1950s, he created Medical Jewelry Company, carving into clear squares of lucite such things as broken bones, GI tracts, tumors, and even his best selling item, two sperm chasing an egg. He called this one Fertile Mrytle. That was also his mother-in-law’s name, but that was probably just a coincidence.

With a flair for publicity, it got dubbed “the World’s Sickest Looking Jewelry” and that got him into Time, Newsweek and even Escapade – a competitor to Playboy. So in amongst the nudes and the sexy stories, was a story about my Dad and his sick-looking creative efforts. Why yes, Mom was quite proud, thanks for asking.  #adamsfamily

Because Monroe is the Swiss Cheese Capital of the United States, Dad also created Swiss Cheese Jewelry. Small wedges and squares of yellow plexiglass that we’d use a dentist drill to make look like cheese. We sold these at Cheese Days and other local festival and at cheese stores which were quite the road side feature of the 1960s in Wisconsin.

During the 1960s, he was making over $10,000 a year selling jewelry, in addition to being a full time Radiologist. That money was used to pay for our college educations and our pay at the time was minimal but often with the message of saving for the long term. A big goal was to teach his kids discipline, a certain measure of creativity – and very importantly, that the creativity didn’t have to high creativity. What he did have a good measure of creativity with was organizing the creativity of others. I never quite learned creativity from my father, but I very much learned to appreciate it in others.