I met Andy in 1990 at Clayton High School. But we weren’t classmates; I was a secretary in the Student Affairs Office. One of the four teachers I reported to in that office was Mike Cowan, who was the Speech, Drama and Debate coach as well as the director of the school musicals. Andy was among the many students who spent a lot of time in our office but he is the only one who I remember so fondly. We bonded from the beginning and I looked forward to his daily, if not multiple daily visits, to the office. He always stopped to talk to me and we had a running joke where I would ask how he was and he would reply, “I’m Fine.” He said Fine stood for : F**ked Up, Insecure, Neurotic and Evasive. I even remember a time or two dropping him off at the shop his Grandma worked at over on Ladue Road when he needed a ride. Not long into my job at the high school, I found I was expecting my first child, so my time there was really less than a year. After extending my maternity leave, I was reassigned in the district when I returned.
Flash forward a dozen years. My husband, two daughters and I are at the Shakespeare Festival in Forest Park. It was early on in the festival’s history and we were regulars. As you might guess, I ran into Andy. Not only did he remember me, he acted like we were long lost friends. I like to think that we were. I introduced Kirk, my husband, who had himself followed an acting dream through college and on to New York years earlier, and they hit it off immediately. Andy was involved in the green show that year and he encouraged my older daughter to attend Shakespeare camp at COCA, which she did and which she loved. For several years after we would often see Andy at the festival and catch up. We ran into him at the symphony once and he mixed cocktails for my husband and I a few years ago when we celebrated our anniversary at Acero.
I am not on social media but my husband is. He and Andy became Facebook friends. We were lucky enough to have seen a few of Andy’s performances over the last few years, including the immersive Uncle Vanya, which was terrific. I was unaware of Andy’s pie making but wish I had known since I, too, am a maker of pies. I only found out about Andy’s disappearance from clicking on a news story about Andy Cohen’s friend. I was stunned and heartbroken to see that his friend was Andy. He was such a lovely person. I don’t pretend to have been a close friend, just a person who was lucky enough to have Andy include her in the outer reaches of his orbit. I’m sad to think that I won’t have any more chance encounters with Andy, at least not in this life, but I’ll still be looking for him in all the old familiar places. Because of Covid we did not attend in person but thank you for sharing the service. We watched with tears in our eyes. Peace to your family.