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Dating can be a challenge, too — she feels like she has already met everyone. "Or, when you do meet someone, somebody else knows him and can tell you all about him. It's weird but also helpful. Like that night I ran into a guy I had wanted to date and Robert was able to tell me that he's got a girlfriend."
After World Series aired, people suddenly seemed to know where she and the Bishops went to high school and college. "They were all wanting information about us," she says. Washington Elementary School, where she teaches, flashed her picture on the big screen at its convocation last year. "That was pretty cool that my school district wanted to claim me," she says. "I guess I didn't embarrass them too much."
When KC's Ron Mayer appeared on The Bachelorette last spring, Cahill learned that her sister was one of his friends. Then Cahill discovered that she had met Mayer's ex-wife through another connection.
"That totally makes sense in a town like Fort Dodge, Iowa, where my grandparents are from," she says. But in Kansas City? "We're pretty big. But we still have this idea that we're close-knit."
For some people who grew up here, Kansas City can feel claustrophobic. The urge to get the hell out of town strikes, and they move elsewhere. But there's often something that draws them back — family, friends, job opportunities, the chance to contribute something to their hometown.
It's a hot weekday afternoon, but Carman Stalker looks cool and chic. She's sporting a dark-green embroidered lingerie-style top over jeans, and her dark-caramel-colored hair with blond streaks is partly pulled back. The 34-year-old runs WearHaus, a monthly fashion market. On the first Thursday of every month, she recruits a rotating roster of local designers to sell their creations at the Velvet Dog. In October, she's teaming up with Haute Market to sponsor a Week of Fashion.
"I've always been interested in fashion," Stalker says. "That's the only reason I ever made it to high school every day — so I could show off my outfit." She grew up in Independence and graduated from Truman High School. After getting her degree in communication studies (with an emphasis in PR and marketing) from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, she went to Chicago to work as an event planner for an entertainment company. A couple of years later, she moved to San Diego.
She had trouble finding a PR job in California, though, so she started making and selling handbags. Soon she began to realize that artists and designers didn't know how to promote themselves. Having planned events in Chicago, she knew how to put on a show. "A little show turned into a big show turned into a bigger show, and that's pretty much how WearHaus started," she says.
But she still had trouble finding a job, and San Diego wasn't the cheapest place to struggle. Then her father died. That's when she realized that she didn't want to be so far away from her family. Plus, Kansas City had changed while she was gone — the Crossroads was growing and all sorts of arty events had popped up — and she felt like she was missing out on a renaissance in her hometown. At the end of 2004, she moved back and started the KC version of WearHaus.