our story

Once upon a time there was this guy and this girl and they didn't know each other. They were both reading the same book. And they were both waiting for a piano lesson. And they both caught each other's eye. And they fell in love and were married. 16 days after the 70s ended a little boy was born and his name was John and he loved piano and still loves piano. He grew up on Charlotte Street and was a rascal. He had red hair like both his grandmothers. 

Once upon another time there was a girl and a guy at a little high school in a little town with a lot of nuns. And this girl and this guy thought they might just like to be together. And one of the nuns told this girl that that boy was trouble and to stay away. But she didn't listen and they fell in love and were married. A little boy was born and they were smitten. So they had another little girl and she was lovely. So they had one more and that was me. I had blonde hair like my mother except with curls on the ends. 

The boy named John has lived a lot of life. Like worms who grow new tails when they get cut, his family broke in half but grew new ends and he got a step sister and two half siblings and two halves plus a step make a lot more than a whole and so he was very lucky. 

And all this time this boy played piano. And lived in lots of houses because his mother loved to move and that is funny because now his wife likes to move. I wonder if John has ever liked to move? So year after year he played the piano with Aunt Esther though it was not really his passion and then one day he played a note and went 'mmmm.' And he played another and it was beautiful to his ear. Suddenly, he thought, this is my passion after all. And he began to love piano more than he ever liked it and he flew in the sky with his dad all the way to the Bayou and played the piano with a room full of sweaty cajuns in the Louisiana heat and there they decided that he would stay in New Orleans to play jazz. And he did. For six years. 

While President Clinton was getting impeached and John was playing jazz on Tchoupitoulas Street at a place called Dos Hefes I was celebrating my double digits birthday. While John lounged between classes at Audubon Park, I played on the swings at recess in Kansas. And one day I jumped off of the swings and went to middle school and then walked out the doors and went to high school and then got on a plane and flew to Switzerland as John got in a car and drove home from Louisiana to Missouri to fight fires. I spoke lots of French that year with funny sounds and words and loved lots of people and skied on lots of mountains. I ate lots of chocolate and cheese until one day I came home to America and went to lots of classes with people I didn't remember for one last year of high school. I threw my hat in the air at graduation and got in the car to drive to college. Then the wind blew, and I drove home and finished college here in Kansas City. I had good times and very bad times. I made friends. 

One of my friends liked people who beat drums and blew into brass saxophones and plucked strings on big bass guitars and she especially liked one boy who tapped piano keys. So I went to hear this one boy with my friend who liked jazz. And I liked this boy more than she liked this boy. So, I married this boy.

This boy John and I said 'I do' and kissed on a snowy day before our family on a porch with a fire. And when we stopped kissing and stopped eating cake and making toasts, we heard music playing a long way off. We put our dog in our car and drove all the way through the night to hear where the sounds were coming from. They were coming from New Orleans and so that's where we stayed and decided to live. 

And because we loved New Orleans and we loved each other we made a baby there and she is beautiful and her name is Annie. But the wind blew again and this time we followed it back north because grandparents have louder voices than New Orleans drums and we couldn't hear the Louisiana jazz without Missouri and Kansas singing calling us loudly home. But before we arrived home we stopped by a lake called Taneycomo and we learned about God. And then when that year was over we finally made it home to this city by the state line with sticky heat and flat streets. We lived two stories up, the Nelson was our neighbor and life was simple. And then came Quig. Our baby with lungs. So we waved goodbye to city-living and bought a house with a white picket fence. Only we tore down the white picket fence along with lots of other things. And now it's ours. And now, of course, we're ready to move again. 

But for now we live by all those boys and girls who loved each other a long, long time ago and had families that John and I grew up in. And some days I stay home and some days I don't. Some days the kids crawl all over me and some days I go to work and think about them crawling all over me. But I also think about work. Because I love it. Because something in me comes alive when I'm dreaming up houses and watching hammers hit nails and drivers wind screws until a room is made, a house is built. And John goes to work tapping piano keys in restaurants and bars and churches. And Sundays we hold hands and walk into church together as a family. 

This is our story. It's nice to meet you.

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