Kim Schaff and Laura Norris

Recorded July 10, 2009 Archived July 10, 2009 38:25 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: MBX005522


Kim Schaff (53) and Laura Norris (48) talk about their friendship and their families.

Subject Log / Time Code

Kim describes Laura as family.
Laura described her families relationship to Kim’s families as two family trees with branches that connect.
Laura and Kim talk about a young man named Brandon who is friend’s with Kim’s son Matt. Brandon’s mother passed way and Kim has made Brandon feel like part of her family.
Kim believes that the reason she and Laura are such good friends is because of their mutual respect for one another.
Laura says that she and Kim are such good friends because they both know how things should be done.
Laura describes the time her grandmother passed way and how Kim was there for her and her family. Kim mailed clothes to Laura for her grandmother’s burial, taook care of her daughter, made meals for the family and showeda genuine interest in the life of Laura’s deceased grandmother.


  • Kim Schaff
  • Laura Norris

Recording Location

MobileBooth East


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00:04 My name is Laura Norris. I'm 48 years old. It's July 10th, 2009 and beautiful Rochester New York and I am Kim's friend.

00:18 And I'm Kim Chef. I am 53. It continues to be July 10th 2009. We're still in Rochester New York and my good friend. Lauren Norris's chatting with me.

00:32 So I have some questions I thought about do you remember when we met?

00:38 Well, I remember we met at church Christ Church in Pittsford. First memory of me now. I really don't.

00:49 I know you've talked about your first memory of my daughter Mia. She was a small fry and she was jumping on the sofa in the youth room giving you steam about why she should continue to jump on this room.

01:12 Why did we do remember why we got to be friends?

01:19 Oh, I think it was.

01:23 Do do our relationship with our Achilles and then we realized that we had so much in common and then we started sharing meals together and our husbands found that they had a lot in common and it didn't take too long to just feel like we were

01:41 Part and parcel of the other guys Alive's. How would you describe a relationship?

01:50 I would say that you're our family.

01:53 I would say that.

01:55 I mean our children have pet names for each other and

02:02 It's not too surprising for our daughters to have pet names. I mean, I'm Kim mom and your yoga mom and Cork and daddy Norris, but even even in my son who's Madden 22 no big man on campus now he thinks of you is family and you sure act that way me and this past semester when Matt was struggling with some computer programming course, Ron drove out to the college to help Matt your family.

02:37 That is true.

02:39 When did do you remember when you thought the

02:44 Weaver family

02:46 Oh boy.

02:48 I don't think it took too long. I mean by the time the girls were.

02:54 Finishing Middle School finishing Elementary School

02:59 It was like you would you and Ron and Katie had been part of our lives forever.

03:08 The transition from elementary school to middle school was tough for Mia because she'd had the bad bike accident in her face was all chewed up and scarred and she had no unattractive bandages which was a pretty tough thing to have moving from the close family little Elementary School to the big middle school. And I remember you and Katie taking me up to the beach on Lake Ontario and walking with her and talking with her and you know, I showing her that all would be well and I I bet that you said nothing that I hadn't told her cork hadn't told her but it was you know.

03:52 It was you and it was Katie and even though your family you're not her parents so you can say say things that she hears in a different way and that just made all the difference in the world. So she started middle school and she was fine and I put that it at your doorstep for helping her get over what could have been a really rough start.

04:20 I remember the accident happening and thinking yeah, it doesn't look so pretty but I don't remember thinking this is you don't look right. Well, you know on a scale of things.

04:36 It really wasn't that bad. But from me is perspective. It was really bad. It was on her face and the stitches and everything. So she had this bandage and she look like a pirate or Santa Claus or it was very unattractive and when you're going into 6th grade, you don't want to start the first day of school looking like a pirate or Santa Claus. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I kind of describe actually to you that I feel like a bird whose Nest it in your family tree, but I think it's really our family trees are really close to each other with our branches all together absolutely interwoven. And actually one of the things that has fascinated the bejeebers out of me because

05:24 My family doesn't roll that way and so I wondered if did you have relationships like this growing up? No, not really. My biological family is large. My dad is number 10 out of 11 and on that side of the family, even though we're geographically fairly far apart. We would gather on an annual basis and have a picnic. So I got to know my cousins and my second cousin's in my cousins cousins and all that sort of stuff and

06:05 When we would go to the picnic, there was always some swimming and some

06:14 You know games for the kids, but mostly it was sitting around and eating and and talking and a good portion of that time was the Lord because by the time I was to my paternal grandparents had had died, so no, I basically never knew them and being the youngest girl and my generation.

06:40 I had cousins who were no 18 years older than I was and they could really talk about what my grandparents were like and my aunts and uncles could tell me, you know, the stories of the shenanigans that my dad pulled and you know, the other family lore from the shaft family. So I always have had a sense of family connection of you know, who I was without the benefit of a funeral having my

07:12 My shaft relatives down the street now, I grew up in a duplex in the Metro New York area. So my maternal grandparents were upstairs so that got be enforced by having a lot of time with my mom's family.

07:29 So I even though my family was geographically spread-out except for my grant my maternal grandparents. I still had a fairly good sense of family and when cork my husband and I got married we were both from out of town. We found our ways to Rochester for jobs, and we just made Family at the church. We were attended and you know, that's how it's been so when Matt was Matt, my son was an infant he had his you know, Rochester grandparents and Mia has her Rochester grandparents in or friends mentioned Joe from church and

08:14 Mitch and Joe have pictures of Mia and Katie are daughters in their living room and mentioned Joe come to the concerts when the girls perform. So we've created.

08:28 That family that connection we're in a week We Gather we share stories. We play games. We do jigsaw puzzles. So even though biologically we're not related related.

08:43 You know, yeah, we are, you know, I mentioned Joe and our family aren't your only other family. I I get Misty when I even think about Brandon. Oh, yeah. Brandon is Mets all-time best friend. They met when Matt and Brandon worrying I think second grade and Brandon's mom was a teacher at the school that the boys attended and Brandon is

09:18 Matt, yang

09:21 He's this tall thin hyper theatrical fellow who literally would see you and he'd slide up to you like Jim Carrey and he put his hands up and he'd say hi. I like pie and that was his greeting and my son is the most quiet reserved fellow who given the opportunity to wear one of those. Hello, my name badges Matt rights confidential and the two of them are

10:06 Just Inseparable and dumb when Brandon's mom passed away when the boys were in fourth grade Brandon just became more of a regular.

10:22 Regular feature at our house

10:27 His picture hangs on the wall next to Matt's graduation picture.

10:33 He comes with us when we go to your house for Christmas or Easter and he goes with us on vacation. And yeah, he's just he's just another one of the relatives.

10:46 Yeah.

10:49 One of the things that are most touched by with your relationship with Brandon.

10:58 Is that you talked about his mom?

11:01 With him and you make that a priority you take the time to do that. Yeah. Well his mom was a sweetie. She was one of Matt's teachers. So we had the Good Fortune to to know her in a professional capacity and in a personal capacity and

11:23 She grew up in Alabama and you know, our school was here in Rochester, so she didn't have much and no family here and when she she died Brandon his dad continue to live here and

11:41 I just thought it was important for Brandon to hear your stories about his mom stuff that I knew as an adult that he might not have.

11:54 Seen or heard or you know, you have a very different perspective one year eight years old then when your 38 so when his mom passed the elementary school, no planted a tree and we did, you know all the usual tribute to do when a teacher dies, but Brandon would come over and something would transpire and I would say oh, you know that reminds me. This is what your mom would say or this is what your mom would do or she collected roosters and oh I saw this

12:33 By talking about someone who's passed on

12:38 It helps you to hang on to to those good memories and since his mom had died when he was so young. I wanted to ensure that he got to see her, you know from my eyes to get some sense of

12:59 The the good things that she had done. She she had been a reading teacher and when she her death was announced in the elementary school. I was in school that day.

13:15 And it was much different than if a specific classroom teacher had died because

13:22 Brenda had to Brenda Brandon's mom had you know worth with one or two kids in literally every classroom in that school. So when they announced her passing

13:35 You know the whole classroom every classroom there were people who were, you know, personally affected and

13:46 At that point it was you know, Brandon was dealing with his own mom's passing, but later as the boys got older.

13:55 I could talk to him and say, you know, your mom was a great woman, you know, this is what happened when she died. This is, you know, I was in this grade. I was in this classroom.

14:09 You know, I haven't had my own mom passed on it's really nice to have other people share with you. They're remembrances, you know your loved ones so we both live in town for we don't have family and I used to worry, especially even when Katie was first born. I used to worry about what would happen. If I died who would tell her about me and you know, of course Ron will would tell her about me but you know other people have different perspectives and

14:49 Like I knew you were.

14:52 BBQ be wonderful when you said you did that just because you knew it was the right thing to do. Are you still thinking about who could I let you know, how can I give directions? I have enough time right before I die to say. Okay, you you and you. Aren't you telling my kid? How would I was like and how much I loved her and I can't tell you how comforting it was to know that I had a friend who would do that because they knew it was the right thing to do and thank goodness. You haven't had to salute like

15:29 But that was a big Bonanza for me.

15:35 And also, you know when I think about how you know, I think you really embody Hospitality in a lot of ways, but definitely in this large family you have any think of Barbara to I mean, how long have you known her since 1977? We went to graduate school together for a while back. But I remember you saying, you know, you were sitting in the waiting room when she had her first child. No, no go the other way around he was sitting in the waiting room when I had Matt she and her daughter were waiting while I was upstairs having that.

16:15 So yeah, I've known her for a long time.

16:20 And you know her kids pop over to your house. It's now it's just another way that you've made your family big. Yeah, cuz we don't have my biological family nearby. So we just, you know tap other people and I think it it pops into the need for connections that we all have our buddies Mission show. I mean, they're retired and they they have no children of their own but watching them at church with, you know, our girls and some of the other younger kids who just

17:01 You know, we set the set the path and they've gone down it and now they have new grandchildren and it's just a win for everybody, LOL, but you know what? I don't think I don't think you do. So only because you don't have family in town. I think of your family was here. It would be just the same.

17:22 I do think that's just who you are, you know, we used to have my mother would have liked the Strays over for Christmas Eve and I don't mean to say that like they weren't good people there wonderful folks, but it was just you know, whoever didn't have anything going on Christmas Eve was welcome at our house, which is really nice. But what we do is I find just fascinating because it's so different. It's not cuz we don't have anything else to do. It's what we do on the holidays and we invite anybody else who wants to go but you know when Easter rolls around it's going to be one of two locations, but if there's a holiday we're going to be at one another's house that we know where we are.

18:13 I think it's nice that way it provides continuity.

18:20 It provides so many things it does.

18:25 What do you think makes us such good friends?

18:28 Because we respect each other.

18:32 We're both really pretty bright people and we're both.

18:42 Very effective. I mean you do your job. Well, I do my job. Well and we have

18:50 Certain traits that we share in common.

18:55 But we both realize that the other guy can do this for the other guy can do that and

19:03 We're both pretty willing to say that's a good idea. You've got there Laura will run with it and not it's not a competition and

19:18 Were were comfortable.

19:22 Telling each other the truth like, you know, I don't think that French toast his real and going to work for the breakfast and and

19:34 And when you say that, I stopped and I thinking to go. Yeah, it really didn't work last year and I take it the way you need it that.

19:44 We need to do something different but you still love me. I'm a wonderful person. My French toast idea is not so hot. Where is a lot of people take it?

19:57 Very personally like, you know, you've attacked and you don't attack. I mean, I'm sure there are other people for home that they can see an attack, but I don't and I know that whatever you tell me you tell me because you love me.

20:17 And

20:20 Before working on a project the goal is to make the project Good Wonderful, whatever.

20:29 And we have that that kind of relationship where we can be loving and truthful.

20:37 Which not not very many people get that's really true. I remember one time the kids were swimming and mail it was rough housing and I told him to knock it off and then I immediately thought of my gosh. I hope I didn't know I didn't overstep my bounds. This was fairly early in our relationship. I think, you know, maybe your wand and I think we're around 2 or 10 and I you know, I just stopped and I set up, you know, I did I really go outside of my bounds here agency. I was so worried that I had, you know Gone Gone far afield and yeah, we've had way more serious conversation with a shared purpose, which I really appreciate.

21:30 We all have our blind spots and it's nice to have someone that you can rely on to say, excuse me. This is in your blind spot. Have you thought about and you do that in a way that I know you love me and you're not trying to tell me anything other than there's something in your blind spot you best deal with it. You know, we both know the way things are going to be 10 to agree.

22:10 So we keep talking about how we're going to take over the world and when we are in charge and will be so much more efficient.

22:19 Bridal only rain in the middle of the night. I know I know we do a lot of things together and that's probably a good thing to talk a little bit about because it really is how we met and did

22:39 So what do we do charge? Oh well.

22:45 For the longest time our church events pretty much focused around the kids. Particularly Mia and Katie are daughters who sang who sang in choir and we would organize the choir robes and send out the notices and help with the breakfast between services and that stuff and we both took our turns as Sunday school teachers and

23:20 We would spend a fair amount of time sitting in coffee hour waiting for the girls to come back from their choir rehearsal and wait for the show. They would I forgot about the show. They would come upstairs arm-in-arm having thought of new lyrics to some popular song on stage makeup of spells and we get the little show the song and the dance which mostly revolved around. I haven't seen Katie long enough. I haven't seen Mia since last week. We need time to be together. Let's go shopping here. Will you take shopping with General?

24:05 And it was always so entertaining to get the the choreography literal choreography with hand motions and singing they both have beautiful voices they do so that was the

24:21 That got us through middle school and then we both as our kids got older and we ended up having more free time. We we gravitated to working on the altar Guild and Laura is now one of the directors of the altar Guild. So we set up the Altar for communion and we take the flowers after the services and break them apart and send them off to the homebound. That's what the official tasks are in actuality. What happens is halter Gilda's

24:58 It's mostly women and we work in the Sacristy and we actually do our tasks but we cap and visit and support each other and laugh. Oh my gosh, do we laugh so it's some may feel more disrespect but it's all good. Clean fun. It is good. Clean fun.

25:22 We've expanded our reach to find other people from our work in the altar Guild. That is true.

25:36 Now into the reserve questions, would you describe me?

25:50 Well, I'm going to give a physical description. I'm going to let that rest to the viewer's imagination, but my beauty will Outlast the ages go there you go. I like that.

26:05 You have a kind soul.

26:09 You have

26:12 Love really you embody love of your fellow man. So beautifully.

26:21 And

26:24 You

26:27 You put yourself out for the people that you know, and for the people that you don't know.

26:36 And

26:38 Did you do it with Panache?

26:42 I didn't mean one of my favorite stories is

26:51 One of the teenagers who lives across the street from you asked if you wouldn't show for her to the senior prom.

27:02 And you went

27:06 All out you just thought this was As Good As It Gets and your car?

27:12 Was

27:14 Tricked out that mean you had washed and waxed it in the inside was beautiful and and you had the little twinkly Christmas lights and you but cuz you told me about it. I mean, you know, I've been throwing it out and you actually read out and did it and you had the little silver plate with the glasses with sparkly apple cider and and the Chocolate Truffles and

27:41 I'd be hard-pressed to find many people who would.

27:47 Consent to doing it and then doing it with as much.

27:51 Aishwarya v as you put into it and

27:55 While I'm sure the kids had a good time at the prom you had a blast being a chauffeur and plotting out. Well, you know, I can drive them through the park and we can do this and I'll have easy listening music and all the details and it was just a way of showing your great affection for this one of your neighbor.

28:20 And you give to your community and you give to

28:26 To the nth degree

28:30 And in

28:32 We laugh about all the stuff in the back of your car when it's time to go to the dance recitals. You'd put a Boy Scout to shame for being prepared and it's mostly because you want the event to go well and you're going to be there to help the people when something goes awry and

28:58 There aren't many like you.

29:02 Well, yeah, there was you.

29:06 Different in my own way. I'm I'm not quite the organized Boy Scout that you are and what's going to happen Okay. Alright. Alright. Well after Barack calls us for a covert Mission. I didn't answer the ready.

29:32 And how would you describe yourself?

29:44 I really think of myself as

29:51 A Midwest nerve who grew up

29:54 In the New York area

29:58 I mean either covered dish I really as much as I liked my my life growing up near the city and and you know going into Manhattan and doing hold a glorious things. There are to do in Manhattan. I like being in upstate where

30:23 Where we were living in it almost in a Time Warp. I mean, we have friends and Neighbors in church and people gather round and it just feels right to me. It feels like it hits my personality in the right spot and it's small enough.

30:43 That I feel that I can have impact. I know my stuff on the PTA and the neighborhood association and I've not yet saved the world but you know, I've been feeling that I have made a positive impact on on the small circles. My my rock is made nice.

31:08 Waves nice with water

31:13 Well

31:15 This is the part where I get to turn the tables and I'm going to talk a little bit about you. So.

31:25 I do remember maybe not the first time we met but one of the first because you invited Katie to come and play with Mia and I was pretty sure I knew who made was but I kind of knew who you were and I see I was like, okay, I'll bring her over and you gave me a deposit slip from your checking account because it had your address so I know I have her account number.

31:53 And the $2 that are in that count hold get you so far.

32:02 Yeah, we just I don't remember all the things in between and on the way. I remember when I remember Katie and Mia quickly becoming Inseparable and I remember the probably the first time I heard me a call me Yogi mom and couldn't figure out why until she told me that at some point I'd mentioned being smarter than the average bear and it's stuck. But there weren't there are two things that really stand out in in my mind as things that just

32:37 Made me think this is so good because I have told you when I tell people that we didn't go to church for years. I had RN when Katie was born. It was just awfully difficult to get out of the house with a newborn and run and I weren't of the same mind about where we would go and you know, he decided we should go and I said fine. Let's start with the Episcopal church. So one day we won't stand to Christchurch and never left and I'm pretty positive that you and your family are God's gift to the Norris's for deciding to go to church. I really think you bet like goodness knows going to church and you know having a real relationship with God has its own rewards bed. And then I got you guys to like a real bonus, but

33:36 I remember Katie doing playing it solo fast. And she did a really good job her first time out and you threw your arms around her. The first time you saw her afterwards gave her a big kiss instead just made a big deal about how she how well she had done and I don't do that with her and goodness knows no one ever do that with me in my life. I mean, you know, certainly there was the silent Pride but not you know, I just hope you're all you did great and I'm so proud of you and you said those words out loud and I and I I can remember looking in amazement and thinking she's not even yours and it just being overwhelmed that you could be that demonstrative with my kid and so sincere and I know that it was sincere but

34:37 The thing that made me think I want to be this person was when my grandmother died.

34:45 She died on Christmas Eve and we had seen her the day before in Buffalo and we went just to spend Christmas come back the next day and we were going to stop in Buffalo weekend on the way back. And when she died I had to then go to the funeral home in Buffalo to make the arrangements but then they needed her clothes which were at my house and I ain't really felt like I'd invented fire when it dawned on me that I could ask you to mail the clothes rather than me driving all the way to Buffalo and coming back.

35:19 And so I called you up and sent you on the mission told you how to get into the house. You called me from the cell phone in the house and you have packaged it up and send it out. Now if it had been someone asking me to do this, I would have declared victory at that moment and felt like I'd really helped my friend out but we drove back from Detroit and you know, I picked the casket and I did all the things that I needed to do and we came home and there was a crock pot full of stew and the table was set and there was cornbread and tea and jam on the table and I didn't have to make dinner and I didn't even think that making dinner was going to be hard cuz it probably would have just been pizza, but I could have cried when I didn't have to do that and that you thought about doing it and then you looked up the tracking number on the package and emailed me with its entire progress to Buffalo. So I would know it was there.

36:17 I had never experienced anybody thinking past maybe what I asked them to do, but thinking care about this enough to think you're going to be tired and they'll be hungry when they get back and now they won't have to worry about it. I I've never had anybody be that nice and I just felt like I really won the lottery.

36:44 And then you called and said, you know, Katie doesn't need to go to the you know the place where she was living the care facility and clean out her room with you. I'll take her for the night you and Ron go take care of what you need to take care of be with your family and I'll drive the almost 2 hours to go to the funeral or the wake and I would have never drink did anybody from Rochester would have made the trip and you did it like it was absolutely but you should have been doing and taking my kid for the night which was so much better for her cuz she had so much fun.

37:23 And then when you got there, he said and show me, you know, tell me about the pictures. You took the time to say she probably needs to tell somebody but all these pictures of her grandmother like you did just went way over the top of any expectation. I might have had expectations. But thank you and that is the truth. So I'm pretty much feeling like

37:56 God gave me a huge gift and see if we have each other and isn't that wonderful feeling our families have

38:04 Lucky we are

38:08 So thank you for doing this with me. Thank you for asking. I think this is the best Christmas present I've ever thought of for you.

38:18 I agree. Thank you.