17 episodes

How did growing up and graduating high school in a small Missouri town shape the next 20 years of your life?

Class Reunion: The Podcast Addie Broyles

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 5 Ratings

How did growing up and graduating high school in a small Missouri town shape the next 20 years of your life?

    BONUS episode with Kim McCully-Mobley: "Let me introduce you to your hometown."

    BONUS episode with Kim McCully-Mobley: "Let me introduce you to your hometown."

    Nobody works harder than Kim McCully-Mobley to preserve the history of Aurora, Missouri. 

    After a months-long break, "Class Reunion: The Podcast" is back with a couple of bonus episodes featuring people who are not my classmates but who have an interesting perspective on high school, high school reunions and the ritual of gathering with our peers. She's also my first boss.

    Kim has rebooted her own podcast about Aurora called “All Roads Lead Home,” which you can find wherever you get your favorite shows.

    A special thanks to sponsors and online patrons including Advanced Eyecare Kansas City, Aurora Professional Pharmacy, Bill Baker Insurance, Pettit Law Office, the classes of 1975 and 1972, Jeanette Kristek, Kandice Karla, Chris and Betsy Cook and Sis Broyles. Because of your support, we were able to donate more than $600 to Missouri nonprofits over the course of making this show.

    In this episode, you'll hear about the history of Aurora and its booms and busts, and how this small town is -- and isn't -- changing in the 21st century. 

    • 45 min
    15: Debbie: "You have to heal the trauma. You have to heal that wound."

    15: Debbie: "You have to heal the trauma. You have to heal that wound."

    Welcome to the final regular season episode of "Class Reunion: The Podcast"! 

    In this episode, I have a conversation with Debbie Zamparelli, now Debbie Howard, who was one of the folks who attended our in-person reunion in September 2021. We ended up hitting it off, striking up a friendship we didn't have when we were teens. When we sat around the campfire later that night and she started telling me some of her story about growing up in Aurora, I asked if she'd come on the podcast and tell it instead. 

    I'm so glad she said yes. 

    This conversation is the only podcast interview that I recorded after the reunion in Aurora, Missouri, but that's not the only reason I decided to make it the finale. Debbie's experience of moving into a foster home at age 12, getting her first job at 14 and having a baby a week after graduation is only where the story begins, not where it ends. 

    She is now a real estate closing specialist in Searcy, Arkansas, who has raised five children over the past 20 years. Her youngest still lives at home, and she's taking college classes for the first time. 

    It was so special to talk with Debbie for this final episode of this first season of the show. We cover a lot of ground and I end the episode with some thoughts about what making this show has taught me about the concepts of "hometown" and "community." I have at least one bonus episode that I'll surprise you with soon, so stay tuned on Patreon.com.com/classreunionpodcast if you want to support future seasons of the show. 

    Thanks to sponsors Advanced Eyecare Kansas City, Aurora Professional Pharmacy, Bill Baker and the Classes of 1972 and 1975 for their support of the show. I'm also grateful to Patreon subscribers who chip in a few bucks each month to help cover production costs, like the website and the episode donations. 

    Each week, the classmate featured in the show picks an organization or non-profit, and I make a donation on behalf of the class and this show. This week, that donation is going to Virginia Gaston's For the Kids, an organization founded by Debbie's foster mom to help other foster kids in Southwest Missouri. This is the third donation to For the Kids this season. If you want to support the group, follow them on Facebook.

    Thanks to podcast supporters and sponsors, we've donated nearly $500 to Southwest Missouri nonprofits through this show. An extra thanks to Chris Gonzalez, Alyssa Vidales, Chandler Hoefle, Sis Broyles, Chris and Betsy Cook, Robin and Manuel Beltrán, Dani Johnson and Frank Curry for their encouragement and production support.   

    Check us out on Instagram @classreunionpodcast or at classreunionpodcast.com. 

    • 1 hr 2 min
    14: Bobby and Addie: "You have more nostalgia for Aurora than I do."

    14: Bobby and Addie: "You have more nostalgia for Aurora than I do."

    Bobby Johnson wasn't a classmate I'd lost touch with. 

    Over the past 20 years, I've been in and out of contact with a handful of my classmates from Aurora High School, but Bobby has been a constant presence, so much so that my kids consider him an uncle. 

    Bob, as he is known now, is the middle of three boys who grew up in the country south of Aurora, just where the hills of the Ozarks meet the plateau where the Summit City of the Ozarks sits. 

    We were in many classes together over the years, not to mention band and quiz bowl, but we didn't really become close friends until college, when he was also attending the University of Missouri and we fell into some of the same social circles.

    By the time we graduated from college, he was my brother from another mother, and we've seen each other at least once a year since. He loves hanging with my kids, and I adore his wife, Tiffany, with whom he now has 10-month-old baby and a small farm in North Missouri. 

    A month before they became parents, Bobby and I set up a Zoom chat that, at the time, was an experiment for this podcast. I interviewed him and he interviewed me, and our conversations felt so complementary that I decided to publish them in the same episode. 

    In this conversation, you'll hear about Bobby's path toward getting a PhD in science, learning Persian, starting a family and moving (during a pandemic) from California to Kirksville, Missouri, where he's now teaching agriculture science. Then, we turn the tables and he asks me about my life in Austin, my job and my thoughts about Aurora. (I was still working as a food writer at the Austin American-Statesman at the time of our chat.) 

    Thanks to Patreon supporters who help pay for the production of this show through donations that start at $3 per month. Find out more at patreon.com/classreunionpodcast.

    Each week, I make a donation to a nonprofit selected by a classmate, and this week, Bobby and I each picked an organization we support. Bobby picked Planned Parenthood of Springfield, which provides access to reproductive care to Missourians who need it, and I selected the GLO Center, the oldest operating LGBTQ+ center in the State and the only one serving the Ozarks.

    "Class Reunion: The Podcast" is produced by Addie Broyles.

    • 47 min
    13: Sara: "He means more to me than volleyball."

    13: Sara: "He means more to me than volleyball."

    Sara Williams became Sara Hamilton just a few years after graduation. She married her high school sweetheart, Caleb Hamilton, who was also in our class, and in this week's episode, she looks back on their early years together and what they've learned after 20 years of raising girls. (Three of them, including a toddler.) 

    Sara's volleyball career ended after our senior year, but she went on to coach and is still holding out hope that her youngest will play. She and Caleb and the girls live in Hollister, a town near Branson, Missouri, where she is a stay at home parent and basketball mom. 

    Here is a list of Aurora businesses mention in this week's ad break: Modern Variety, Ila Bohm's, Sublime Hippie, The Garden Exchange, Downtown Pizza and Sports Bar (get the toasted sub!), Olive Grill, and Hog Tide Barbecue on your way out of town. 

    Each week, I make a donation to a nonprofit of choice selected by a classmate featured in the show, and Sara picked For the Kids, the organization in Aurora that provides clothing and other essentials to foster and relative placement children in Barry, Lawrence and Stone counties. 

    These donations are made possible by sponsors, including Advanced Eyecare Kansas City, Aurora Professional Pharmacy, Class of 1975 rep Pete Young and Allstate agent Bill Baker, and Patrons who sign up to support the show at patreon.com/classreunionpodcast.  

    Do you want to sponsor an upcoming episode of “Class Reunion”? Individual and business sponsorships are available at info@classreunionpodcast.com.

    • 1 hr
    12. Travis M.: "Keep this between just us girls."

    12. Travis M.: "Keep this between just us girls."

    Travis Meeks has been on quite the journey over these past 20 years. He was an all-star athlete who lost a football scholarship, which led to some difficult years dealing with legal troubles and addiction. He finally found his way to the kitchen, where he became a chef who has traveled across the world with his cooking.

    Travis had more dreams than I realized in high school, and although he got waylaid more than a few times, he is now enrolled in college classes studying writing and journalism in Springfield, where he co-parents two children and has a catering business on the side.

    Thanks to this week's sponsor: Aurora Professional Pharmacy, which Tom Morrison has operated in downtown Aurora since 1981. You can find out more at auroraprofessionalpharmacy.com.

    Do you want to sponsor an upcoming episode of “Class Reunion”? Individual and business sponsorships are available at info@classreunionpodcast.com.

    This week's donation on behalf of the Class of 2001 is going to Ozarks Food Harvest, which runs a network of food banks that serve more than 30,000 people in Southwest Missouri each week. Find out more at ozarksfoodharvest.org.

    These donations are made possible by sponsors and Patrons who sign up to support the show at patreon.com/classreunionpodcast.

    • 48 min
    11. Travis B.: "I was an &@# when I was younger."

    11. Travis B.: "I was an &@# when I was younger."

    Looking through old yearbooks is a trip, especially when reading the inscriptions from friends.

    The sauciest ones always seemed to come from Travis Boatwright, a class clown who knows he was a bit of a jerk back then. 

    Fast forward 20 years, and "Boat" is now simply "Travis," and he's a family man with two kids and an engineering job that takes him all over the country. He and his wife, Coley, live in Omaha, but his parents still live in the Aurora area, so they visit often. (Travis helped me organize the food at this year's in-person class reunion with our classmate Matt Kirk. Thanks to you both for making the 'cue happen!)

    In this episode, Travis reflects on how he went from a teenager who made friends (and enemies) easily to a laid-back dad with a career and a desire to be part of his community. 

    Thanks to this episode's sponsor: Aurora Professional Pharmacy, whose owner, Tom Morrison, has been serving residents of Lawrence County since 1981. Before Tom, a member of the Aurora High School Class of 1973, took over the pharmacy, it was called Wooten's and had operated in downtown Aurora since the 1930s. Both he and my mom remember the soda fountain that used to greet customers in the lobby. (One of my classmates, Kim Short, is the granddaughter of one of the pharmacists who used to work there. It's a small world!)

    Do you want to sponsor an upcoming episode of “Class Reunion”? Individual and business sponsorships are available at info@classreunionpodcast.com.

    Thanks to Patreon supporters and this week's sponsor, Aurora Professional Pharmacy, for bringing "Class Reunion" to life. If you want to chip in a few bucks each month to help cover the production costs of the show, sign up at patreon.com/classreunionpodcast. 

    • 35 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 Ratings

justininaustin ,

A+ podcast

With warmth and curiosity, Addie reunites with her high school classmates after 20 years to find out who they’ve become since then — all while capturing the imagination by exploring the hidden treasures of small town Missouri. Nicely done!

mecklek ,

Fascinating look at culture in small town America

Love hearing stories from small town America and how that impacted their life and choices. Makes me remember my own growing up years and think about it from a different view point.

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