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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org). 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.