"My mother was a homemaker and a substitute teacher at High Point," Postema continues, his voice thickening with emotion. "I never knew who might be in the house when I got home from school. We might have a single mom without the skills to function, and my mom would be teaching her how to cook or how to shop or how to take care of her child. She's a very compassionate person who made changes one person at a time. And she didn't talk at all about what she did. We were raised not to talk about ourselves."
After Pioneer, Postema left town for Harvard and then the University of Wisconsin law school, but says, "I always knew I'd come back." He and his wife, Christina, a librarian who works for the Ann Arbor Public Schools, settled near Eberwhite school; they have four children, the youngest of whom is still at home.
Postema was a partner at the Bodman law firm when a neighborhood problem drew him into city government. He "contacted me about a sewer overflow issue," recalls Chris Easthope, who at the time represented the Fifth Ward on city council and is now a Fifteenth District Court judge. "I knew he had a reputation as competent and levelheaded, and I was very impressed with the way he handled the issue and himself. At the same time, the city's legal department was going through a lot of turmoil. It was a rudderless ship, and we needed to bring somebody else in.