Everything’s up to date in Kansas City with Friends #170 and #171: Laura (and Scott) and Jon (and Lea Ann, Casey, and Katelyn)

Friend #170: Laura (and Scott)
Date and Location of Visit: 54th Street Grill, October 10, 2011, Blue Springs (outside Kansas City), MO
Known from: High school marching band
Last seen: 1994

Memories of Laura: Laura was the drum major of the marching band my freshman year.  She was an all-state flute player.  She also went to homecoming with my brother one year.  I remember Laura as most definitely talented.  She was on the quieter side, but I also remember when she would come out of her shell, one time dramatically tangoing across the floor at a band event.

About our visit:  I met Laura and her husband Scott and their cats at their home and we headed to dinner at the 54th Street Grill, sans cats, of course.  If Laura ever had a shell, she is fully out of it now.  There is a vibrancy and a confidence to her that seems to be a result of a lot of life lived since high school.  She and Scott are both teachers at different levels and in different districts.  But when they started dating, they worked at the same school, and the students loved it.

I appreciated how our visit really ran the gamut….we laughed a lot and had a lot of fun and we talked about the difficult things we’ve endured in past years.  And it was easy to navigate between the two.  We talked about our families–Laura’s parents were involved in the band, and I remember them well.  After our visit, Laura posted a picture of us on Facebook, and her mom commented on it, which was fun.  It was fun to hear how Laura had been following along with the trip and with what I’ve been doing on Facebook the past few weeks.

Actually, I just went to send Laura a message a few minutes ago and saw on her wall where she’d posted that we were out to dinner.  One of Laura’s friends commented, “I think I lived next door to her–she has such a distinct name.”  Sure enough, it’s Becky, who was quite a bit older than me, but one of four siblings who grew up next door.  And she had a common enough name that I would not have been able to find her.  She has been friended.

The next night, I caught up with another high school band friend in Kansas City.  Laura and Jon have actually gotten together a couple times, as well.

Friend #171: Jon (Lea Ann, Casey, and Katelyn)
Date and Location of Visit: Waldo Pizza, October 11, 2011, Lee’s Summit (outside Kansas City), MO
Known from: High school marching band, a friend of my brother’s
Last seen: 1993

(The picture we had with me in it was too blurry to be recognizable)

Memories of Jon: Much like with Kevin, I can’t really recall a distinct memory with Jon.  But I do have a distinct impression of him–Jon was cool.  He had long blond hair.  He wore an earring.  He had an “I don’t care what you think about me” attitude.  He was also a good friend of my older brother and a good French horn player who took from the same private teacher as me (and Kevin, and most of the other French horn players in the metropolitan St. Louis area).  One thing I like about the trip is being able to reconnect people with each other, and I was able to give Jon our French horn teacher’s phone number so they could be in touch.

About our visit:  I met with Jon and his wife Lea Ann and their 6-year-old Casey and almost 3-year-old Katelyn at local joint Waldo Pizza.

If you have a box of Arm and Hammer baking soda in your refrigerator soaking up all those unsavory odors, you probably have Jon to thank for it.  He works for the company that produces it, Church and Dwight, and just that day had to finagle what to do when a shipment of the cardboard containers showed up in an army green color rather than their signature yellowy orange.  It sounds like a position that capitalizes on his skills, where he has to be adaptable and problem solve.  Jon took a very interesting path from high school to this point, including being a ski instructor in Crested Butte, Colorado for awhile (see, I told you he was cool!)

Lea Ann works in foster care as an office manager, so she is involved in great work, but doesn’t have her hands dirty in the difficulties of the case work.  She and Jon met when they were working for drum corps (which are basically extra curricular/practically professional marching bands for people who are really, really good).  And though they both said they’re content to move on from that point in their lives, they still have a wonderful group of friends from their time in the corps.  They had actually just gotten back from a friend’s wedding which served as a reunion of friends from a bunch of different corps.  Casey and Katelyn are bright and active and friendly kids.  Casey met another boy while playing video games that night and gave him a hug as they left.  We could all learn a little about making connections from him!


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