Don Owens, John Gossett, Karen, Kyle Gupton, and…a Mike Finn photobomb!
Three…count them…THREE drum majors!
More pictures from marching band
Senior play pics
Is it ever a bad time to just throw a Tom Ward photo into the mix?
Karen with her mom senior year
Karen and her animals
Karen with her kids
Pictures of Karen’s son…because you can never post enough fishing pics
Here’s the recording below. It takes twenty seconds or so before you can hear anything. It’s long…as in “Godfather” movie long.
- There’s a fun love story in here. If you’re crunched for time and / or are annoyed by my commentary, scroll down to the ALL CAPS section.
- It’s been six months since I’ve posted on my blog. A lot has happened during that time. Much of the intended audience for this blog may still be recovering from Hurricane Harvey. My mother was the last remaining family member in Dickinson and she moved to the Dallas area in the Fall to be closer to my two sisters and two of her grandchildren. Did I mention I’ve been a Mr. Mom for the past six months? All that said, I guess it’s time to get back to work on this blog. I miss my peeps!
- The natural place for me to pick up was with Karen Ganze Jennings. I’ve been trying to get her on for a year. I should give credit to her now for the “bait & switch” of suggesting I postpone our reunion and instead putting me in touch with Kim Dambach Doyle. Reconnecting with Kim was a highlight for me in 2017!
- Karen was on my original list for two reasons: 1) she is yet another classmate to whom I owed an apology; and 2) I was genuinely interested in what has happened in her life. I couldn’t get reliable updates when I asked around about her.
- If you ever want a good humbling, write a blog about reconnecting with people with whom you grew up and then actively seek out your regrets. As you can see from the photo above, I asked Karen to go to homecoming with me senior year. We went on a single date, had fun, I said I would call, then waited 28 years before I actually did call. I really took teenage awkwardness to a high level. You can listen to Karen and I talk about it around 4:15 into the conversation.
- Karen’s blood ran maroon. That was no secret. Not surprisingly, her daughter has maintained the family Aggie tradition and is currently attending TAMU. Karen has posted a picture on FB this year of her daughter hanging out with Reveille. The question I wanted to ask but didn’t is whether you can give Reveille treats. Are there people walking around with bacon or dog biscuits in their pockets just in case they come across the mascot?
- It’s funny what I’ve held on to…you’ll hear me asking Karen a question I’ve had for like twenty years. Her parents owned a condo in College Station; had it been preordained that Karen go to TAMU or could she have chosen a different school? Turns out that she could have selected a different destination, but her passion had always been for Aggieland.
- Karen’s career path was warped by her first husband’s education and then medical practice (not to mention he was a Longhorn). I mean…how many people can say they worked as both a safety engineer at NASA for the international space station and also has run a 200 person assisted living facility? That’s what we call range, folks. It’s also what you call sacrificing your own career wants and needs for the greater good.
- For years, Karen ran her husband’s medical practice, which began as a stand alone business. You want to talk to someone that understands the trend of corporatization of American healthcare and what’s wrong with the system? Unpaid bills from patients. Dealing with insurance companies. Talk to Karen. She could probably do a TED talk on the topic.
- I live in a state where the largest high schools would be borderline 4A / 5A in Texas. We don’t have the great diversity of activities for students in Maine that Texas does, so I really enjoy talking to classmates about their kids extracurricular activities. Karen’s son is a competitive bass fisherman. I love that!
- It was interesting to hear Karen’s perspective on leaving Dickinson behind like many of those who’ve appeared in my blog. Not maintaining many connections from high school is a common theme for those who moved away. That said, those days at DHS are still evident in Karen’s life. Here’s my favorite two examples…
- First, Kim Dambach Doyle has played a pivotal role in Karen’s kids’ lives. Kim provided an important diagnosis on Karen’s son and has provided the educational / career path that Karen’s daughter has chosen to follow.
- Secondly, KAREN IS ENGAGED TO HER FIRST BOYFRIEND FROM FRESHMAN YEAR, BUDDY QUINN!!!
- Yes, that Buddy Quinn. DHS Class of 1986. His hair isn’t quite what it used to be, but, then again, whose is?
- If you want to listen to how those two came together in their forties, you can tune in around minute 22. If you want the Cliff Notes version, Buddy checked in on Karen’s safety after a bad storm in Granbury. Then there was the dream with Buddy in it that Karen shared with him. Here we are five years later with the two of them engaged.
- High school romances that fade but are later rekindled are the best. If I had known about this at all, I would have tried to interview the two of them together on video, “When Harry Met Sally” style. These stories automatically will get you call to appear in this blog.
- Back to Karen…although Karen and I were rarely in class together K-12, we were always around each other at First Baptist Church of Dickinson. Maybe the best part of our conversation is the discussion of our church experiences and diverging pathways in faith.
- For those who will remember, FBC Dickinson was rocked by at least two scandals while we were in school. An interim youth minister was arrested and jailed on a trip to the Bay Area for sexually assaulting a woman that wasn’t his wife. My kid sister babysat for his wife while the house was being monitored by the FBI. You’ll hear Karen acknowledge that she knew he acted inappropriately and wasn’t shocked to learn of his arrest. In another incident, a pastor left in disgrace after having an affair with a staff member. This was the man who baptized me. He and I were on the road one time driving back from New Mexico while everyone else in the van was asleep. I asked for advice on how best to prepare for a calling to the ministry, thinking I would be getting a discussion on spirituality. Instead, he gave me a talk on the merits of an advanced degree in business and the monotony of the day to day running of a church. These are things you carry with you.
- To be fair, the biggest legacy of FBC in my life is that we as youth were in the loving care of amazing family ministries like the Eckeberger’s and the Humphrey’s, which in hindsight was everything to me and many others at the time. Mike Murrie is now in that type of leadership role and I couldn’t be prouder of him for that. That’s a difference maker.
- I do think it’s interesting that Karen has been attending a Lutheran church and is potentially headed toward Catholicism, especially given the attitudes towards Catholicism among many Southern Baptists. I applaud her for finding a place to worship where she feels comfortable.
- Several times in our conversation, Karen’s parents came up. Karen’s mom went out of her way to engage me and make me feel at home at FBC with well-timed small talk. I’ve never forgotten that. It’s funny how the repetitive, small scale kindness of an individual can impact your life.
- We talk about band at over and over. My favorite part can be found around 57:45. Karen described marching band as her “thing”. She was, of course, a part of the three drum major experiment Don Owens ran in 1988 that led to a second place finish at states. I never had the courage to ask when we were in school, so I asked on the call. Her answer was interesting and one I didn’t anticipate – three drum majors worked because of the complexity of the marching formation and grouping. It’s fun to hear her reminisce…she kind of gets fired up and competitive.
- The thing that made me laugh the most listening a second time was Karen saying she enjoyed listening to John Mayer and me asking her if she meant like “Your Body Is A Wonderland”. Apparently, John Mayer makes serious music. I had no idea. I kind of dig his teeny bopper pop hits.
- Karen wins the pictures contest. She’s also in contention for best story contest…and that was before I found out she was marrying Buddy. We must get this woman to a reunion!