Class Of ’66 Helps One Of Their Own

This story came to me via several concerned members of the Staples Class of 1966. Nearly 50 years out of high school, they still care for each other.

Many assume that if you grow up in Westport, do well at Staples and go on to college, life is your oyster.  But many times, that’s not the case.  Life is often not fair at all.

For Janis Kuechenmeister, life has had its ups and downs. Most recently, the down period was devastating.

Janis Kuechenmeister, in high school.

After graduating from Staples, Janis attended college in Vermont. She then moved to California to pursue her dream of becoming an artist.  She was cute, talented, bright, ambitious and extremely loving.

Without going into great detail of what remains a very personal, and at times heartbreaking, journey, things got really tough. Recently the bottom fell out. Her apartment in California caught fire. She lost everything.

The bright side of the story is that the Staples Class of 1966 has organized a fund to assist Janis — and other classmates suffering through some rough times. A sense of comradeship remains instilled in many Staples graduates, 47 years following graduation. It’s not unique to Westport schools — but it is more common here than most.

The class of 1966 has set up a PayPal account (via marykk@tds.net). Checks can be sent directly to Friends of Janis, c/o Mary Kuechenmeister, PO Box 280,  Andover, NH 03216. Any amount is welcome.

If you know Janis, it will be easy to give.  If not, think Westport and Staples pride — and that sense of compassion that makes this town so very special.

4 responses to “Class Of ’66 Helps One Of Their Own

  1. The Dude Abides

    I find it interesting that two members of the class of ’66 are included in today’s blog. It was quite a class. I knew Janis well when she first moved here in 8th grade. She was adorably funny and fun to be around. I wish the best for her and my check is in the mail.

  2. Bev Breault asked me to post this for her:

    This is an awesome story. Here in Sarasota, FL we had a mini-reunion every year, open to all Staples graduates in the area, both east and west coasts. The last one drew 60 from good ole Westport. Unfortunately the organizer of it all, Lou Santella, passed away and nobody has stepped up to the plate.

    But the moral of this story is that even though we are spread out all over the place and up there in age, Westport is still in our bones. We still look after each other, keeping in touch etc. The Classes of ‘51 and ‘52 are having our very last reunion this coming August. We have had one faithfully every 5 years. We had one 2 years ago, and because we had such a good time but we have lost so many it was decided to have one more. We couldn’t wait another 5 years though. Good ole Westport is the thread among us.

    Thank you Dan for adding to that thread.

  3. I am note a graduate of Staples but I have lived in Westport for almost 28 years. I went to 4 different high school, I was USMC Brat, and very proud of it. But I do miss the fact that I never feel connected when class reunions from
    any of the 4 high schools are scheduled. Last year I had the pleasure of playing golf with the Staples class of 1966. I also met more of the class at the Black Duck, following the golf. They are a great group of people. It is nice to see and feel a part of the Westport spirit. It is the only Hometown
    I have had. Thanks, Dan

    • JAM…you know you’re an official member of the class of 1966 and we
      are mighty proud to have you!

      Thanks Dan for another great blog.