I very rarely buy magazines. They clutter my nightstand, I feel guilty if I don’t recycle and they’re usually already behind on the latest gossip by the time they reach the newsstands. But when I saw the January issue of St. Louis Magazine, I knew I had to buy it. I love reading biographies and learning about where a person is from, the experiences that shaped them and the people and places that formed them into the person they are today. Isn't it interesting to find out that someone famous is from your hometown? That they bucked convention, perhaps, and left small town life for the big city?
This month’s issue of St. Louis Magazine is dedicated to “My Hometown”; celebrities who at one time called St. Louis home and their memories of growing up here. And in true St. Louis style, the infamous question “Where did you go to high school?” is answered.
Many people know that John Goodman is a proud St. Louisan and co-owner of O'Leary's Restaurant in Sunset Hills. Cornell Haynes Jr. put St. Louis on the map (and on the Billboard Top 200 chart) with his album “Country Grammar”, though his fans know him simply as ‘Nelly’. Twitter and Square founder, Jack Dorsey and Bravo host Andy Cohen both regularly come back home to visit and usually tweet their whereabouts while in town.
But, did you know that Jon Hamm (swoon!) of Mad Men fame graduated from and later taught at the John Burroughs School?** Did you know that Miles Davis, the man behind the legendary jazz album Kind of Blue grew up just across the river from downtown St. Louis in East St. Louis, Illinois? And you might find it interesting that Yogi Berra grew up on “The Hill” across the street from his boyhood friend Joe Garagiola.
My hometown of Granite City, Illinois (shout out to Granite City High School!) was, at one time, home to Pulitzer prize winning author Robert Olen Butler and former NFL linebacker and current outside linebackers coach for the Green Bay Packers, Kevin Green.
**Fun Fact: While teaching at John Burroughs, one of Jon Hamm's theater students was Ellie Kemper, famous for her current role as secretary Erin Hannon in The Office.