MEHRA DEN BRAHVEN
If you are ever in need of a band-aid, ibuprofen, cough drops, or really anything during the school day, where do you go?
If your first thought is not the office, then think again. It’s important to remember, however, the constantly bumbling hive that is the office would be nothing without its queen bee and secretary- Joan Eble.
Since her arrival in 2013, the Pinewood community has come to love Eble’s sincere, warmhearted, motherly nature on campus. Whether typing away at the front desk or manning the Epicurean lunch line, Eble is always prepared with a friendly smile and helping hand. Although she could do without the hecticness of assigning substitutes, Eble feels the same appreciation for the Pinewood community and her work.
“I love being on this campus — it’s beautiful. I love seeing kids everyday. The people I work with are wonderful. It’s like my calling; I just feel really comfortable,” Eble said.
Previously employed by J-Jill retail store, Eble is grateful to no longer deal with the inconsistent hours, rough pay, and exhausting work.
“My mom loves working at Pinewood. It’s all she can talk about when she gets home […] She cares so much about the kids at Pinewood […] it helps her feel less like an empty nester,” Danielle Eble, a senior at Chapman University and Eble’s oldest daughter, said.
As both of her daughters have flown off to college, Eble has, like the majority of parents out there, struggled with not having them at home. Unlike other parents, she is blessed to have the Pinewood family on her side.
“I’m having a really hard time; It would be much harder if I wasn’t in this type of atmosphere. […] It’s a nurturing environment,” Eble said.
A stay-at-home mom for 15 years, Eble still shares a special connection with her daughters that the Pinewood family could never replace. Both Eble and her daughter agree that their favorite activities together are having lunch, shopping, and getting manicures and pedicures.
“We have always loved doing the girly girl things together. Even as a twenty-one year old, I don’t like shopping without my mom because she has the best taste out of everyone I know,” Danielle Eble said.
Lately, it’s not just her daughters that Eble’s seen less and less of. Growing up in Connecticut, Eble lived right across the street from the beach, and even after moving to California, she chose a school- University of Santa Barbara- right near the ocean. But since moving to Los Gatos right before she married, her visits to the beach have become more and more sporadic. Although she never learned to surf or scuba dive, the beach has always acted as her safe haven.
“I love the beach… that feeling of being able to look out and seeing just water out there. I love the sand, I love the smell. It’s relaxing and it just re-energizes you,” Eble said.
Although it’s become harder to get around to the beach, Eble still has road trips by herself to see her daughters and also visit friends in “the happy little town” of San Luis Obispo.
Nowadays, she is kept occupied by an assortment of other hobbies and pastimes, one of which is cooking. When she’s not watching NCIS (Gibbs is her favorite) or the dramatic Scandal, Joan is an avid viewer of Ina Garten’s The Barefoot Contessa where she finds many new meal ideas.
“She uses too much butter and too much fat, but I love seeing her kitchen and just the meals she puts together,” Eble said. Not only does she cook for her family, but she uses her skills for more altruistic means, every other week preparing a meal for a friend with inflammatory disease who would otherwise not get the veggies she needs.
Not only can Joan prepare “anything and everything” according to her daughter, Eble handcrafted jewelry, which she presented at open studios and jewelry shows. Although she no longer sells them, she still occasionally wears a pair of homemade earrings to school, so be on the look-out.
Now if there is one piece of advice Eble has for students growing up and flying out to college, it would be to “remember to always think about your mom because she is the one who is always going to be there for you.” But for now, if Pinewood students ever need anything, they can just head over to the office, where she will be most happy to help.