BISMARCK, ND – You never know what you’ll find at an antique store.
A Nashville woman’s big find took her on a trip down memory lane and back to her hometown of Bismarck, ND
The good news: According to Jennifer Kocher, a simple piece of pottery can be the sign you’ve been looking for.
The vase is the latest addition to Jennifer Kocher’s ceramic collection. Although it’s a unique find, for Kocher it’s more about the memories. Kocher came across this piece at an antique store in Nashville.
“I just looked at the stranger next to me and thought, ‘You’re not going to believe this. I’m from Bismarck, North Dakota, and this is my teacher’s job!” Kocher recalled.
His teacher was Bill Baron. He taught art at Century High School. Kocher graduated from CHS in 1999. He owes his love of working with clay to Mr. Baron.
“I liked him right away,” he said.
Kocher moved to Nashville 10 years ago. She works as a nurse, but has been thinking about opening a pottery studio for some time. He believes that this antique shop is a sign from his mentor.
“It’s no accident,” he said. “It was a reminder, like, ‘It’s okay. You’re on the right track, and here’s a little surprise. And it was really cool.”
Bill Baron passed away in 2015. But his wife, Gail, says stories like these remind him of the impact he had as a teacher.
“That would make Bill happy,” Gail said.
She says what would make her even happier are the messages and photos she receives often.
“People send pictures of coffee mugs and say, ‘I’m having coffee with Bill,'” Gail said.
Bill made those mugs. Kocher has one too.
“I drink from the coffee cup he made every morning,” Kocher said.
A daily reminder of the teacher who made a lasting impression and helped shape her into the woman she is today.
Jennifer and Gail have been in touch on Facebook since Jennifer’s big find.
Gail says Bill sold pottery to people all over the world, but was still surprised when Jennifer found a piece in Tennessee. Gail currently lives in Idaho; she and Bill moved into their dream home in the Tetons shortly before her death.
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