It all Comes Back to Kansas City

The only funny thing about this story to me is that the Kansas City resident was surprised by this coincidence. This kind of stuff happens all the time. I’m not kidding. The house in questions is a block from the Blandings.

Washington Metro encounter shows it’s a small world after all
From The Washington Post

Turns out, this house at 604 W. 67th Terrace in Brookside — along with its green shag carpeting — was a shared connection for two riding the Washington Metro.

Who’s there now?
Chris and Maureen Hinken, who’ve lived at 604 W. 67th Terrace for 15 years, brought up three daughters in the house.

The Post
story seems to especially tickle the youngest Hinken, Maura, a sophomore at St. Teresa’s Academy. She’s growing up in the same bedroom where Joy Bates Boyle and Joel Barr once lived.
“I read it to her and we just laughed and laughed,” Chris Hinken says.
Her reaction?
“She said one thing: ‘Thank goodness the green shag carpeting isn’t there anymore.’ ”
Editor’s note: This story was written by Joy Bates Boyle, a former Kansas City resident, who submitted it to The Washington Post. It appeared Monday in The Post.

It was a Wednesday night. I’d met my husband for dinner downtown, and we boarded the train at Metro Center to head home. As he checked e-mails on his BlackBerry, I checked out the people around us. In front of us sat a young man wearing a baseball cap, a T-shirt, jeans and an iPod. He stood to offer two young women his seat. They declined. Nice guy, I thought. As he sat back down, I noticed “University of Kansas” on his cap.
Perfect, I thought. My family was planning to celebrate part of my mother’s 80th birthday by taking her back to KU, from which she graduated in 1948. I wanted to take her to a good restaurant there, so why not ask this guy in the Kansas cap if he knows of any?
“Excuse me,” I said, tapping his shoulder. He took out his earphone and turned to me. I pointed to his cap. “Do you know any good restaurants in Lawrence?”
“Hmmm, Lawrence,” he said. “I didn’t go to school there. My dad did his residency at KU Med Center, but it’s in Kansas City.”
“Oh, sure,” I said. “I know where it is. I grew up in Kansas City.”
“Me, too,” he said.
“Oh, really!” I said and nudged my husband to make sure he had heard this “small world” discovery. “What part did you grow up in?”
“An area called Brookside,” he said.
“Me, too!” I said. “What street?”
“67th Terrace and Pennsylvania,” he said.
“Wow. I grew up near the same corner!” I exclaimed. I nudged my husband a little harder. He put away his BlackBerry with a smile and nodded yes, what a small world. I imagine now that at least a few people looked up from their books or their BlackBerrys, wondering why a woman was raising her voice on the Metro.
“What was your address?” I asked.
“604 West 67th Terrace,” he replied.
My mouth dropped open. A few seconds of stunned silence.
Loudly, against all protocol on the Washington subway, I cried, “You grew up at 604 West 67th Terrace? I grew up at 604 West 67th Terrace!”
Was this guy for real? I must have looked and sounded like I didn’t believe him, because he proceeded to describe the house to a T.
Yes, it was the same house. His name was Joel Barr, and he knew the family across the street that has lived there since I was a kid. I moved to Washington in 1985. His parents bought the house from mine in 1986.
And then, as if this one-in-a-million chance of meeting was not enough, he said, “My room was upstairs in the back, with the green shag carpeting.”
Loud gasp. I started bouncing with excitement in my seat, off my husband, off the window. “That was my room! Mine was the room with the green shag carpeting! You grew up in my room.” The three of us looked at each other in disbelief.
I called my mom when I got home, and she called our old neighbors from across the street. They couldn’t believe it either, as they looked out their window at the childhood home of two people who ride the Washington subway and just happened to meet one night.
On the Metro, few people speak. Maybe they should.
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14 thoughts on “It all Comes Back to Kansas City

  1. My own little coincidence happened just a week or two ago and only a couple of days after reading and Enjoying your blog for the first time. I was looking for something in our overcrowded bookcases and from a stack of books, a title jumped right at me. Yes, it was Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House. I can hardly wait to read it now.. I’m not sure if I ever read it. I could have bought it because of its faded pink cover. I do things like that! But thanks for re-introducing me to a forgotten title. Love your blog and visit it daily. And what a cute story today.

  2. I love stories like that. My husband and I were born on the same day in the same hospital but grew up in different cities and did not meet until we were in our 20’s. Fate.

  3. Madge – the funny thing is, I’ve only seen the movie. You are the third visitor to mention the book, so I just bought a copy on ebay. I mean, I should have one, right?

  4. Mrs. B.,
    Isn’t that the truth – what you can uncover by simply sparking a little bitta small talk……I’ve never subscribed to the “6 Degrees Of Seperation” mantra – especially in the midwest where 2 or less is common! The infinite possibilities are worth that small little word: “Hello”……

    Last week, while perusing my husband’s grandmother’s stash-o-books, there it was…”Mr Blandings….”
    Finished it 3 days ago.

    Bought the movie last week, waited to watch it until after finishing the book.
    You’ll be SO glad to have read the book – delivers infinitely more danger, drama, intrigue, nuance and comedy than the movie!

    Wheeeew…..glad we started the M-A-J-O-R restoration/remodel we’re in the midst of before I read the book (YIKES!!!!!!!)
    Cheers, Alison

  5. Alison – good luck on the remodel – it’like childbirth – it’s worth it when it’s over, and you forget the pain eventually. Some people even do it again!

  6. My mother was leaving church (in Baltimore) one day and heard someone speaking with a British accent. She asked the women where she was from. The woman mentioned a town, and my mother said that her niece lived there. Where? Mother had just written a note to my cousin, and told the woman. It turned out that the woman grew up in the house in England where my cousin lived. spooky!

  7. Fairfax – I love these stories – and they offer some security somehow, like if you really get yourself in a pickle, someone who went to school with your sister will be happening by. It helps, of course, if you are a big talker.

  8. This is a great story! My husband and I went to the same university but didn’t meet until years later. It turned out that he had moved into the house I had just moved out of upon graduating and even lived in the same room! We didn’t meet until about 6 years after I graduated.

  9. my old neighbor on valley (in kansas city) had this same thing happen. she was in a small town in the colo. mountains at a tiny second hand store. she wrote a check (this was awhile go) and the woman behind the counter looked at the address, and said, oh my god, i grew up in that house.

  10. Katie – I am such a hopeless romantic, I love that story and so will your grandchildren.

    Megan – not quite as striking – but I did walk by your old house on Valley. I realized I bought an old child’s chair at a garage sale there about 5 years ago – it’s covered in a tiger print in my kitchen.

  11. It was a great house to grow up in…I’m so happy the story has hit as many people as it has.

    The green shag carpeting was left out on the front lawn the night we took it out…this was like 1986. Kid you not, it was gone by 8 a.m. the next morning.

    Beneath the green shag (ick!) were these turn-of-the-century dark hardwood floors…absolutely beautiful.

    Anyway, glad y’all liked it and hopefully you’ll find the moments that take your breath away…



  12. Joel – so glad you stopped by – it’s a great neighborhood isn’t it? I bet you had no idea this would be your 15 minutes. It’s finally fall here – the perfect time to be in Kansas City.

    p.s. My sister in law works for the post – sometimes she talks to people on the Metro, too.

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