On May 29, 1961, Melissa Lou Etheridge was born in Leavenworth, Kansas. There, she learned to play the guitar at eight-years-old and wrote her first songs. She left Kansas for the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts but dropped out to go to Los Angeles to start her music career. Two Grammies, five platinum albums and one Academy Award later and the rest is history!
Today, I drove down Highway 7/73 with my favorite Melissa Etheridge album "Yes I Am" blasting on the stereo. As I pass a sign welcoming me to Leavenworth and then another with some local sports victories on it. And then was the guitar shaped sign honoring hometown hero Melissa Etheridge. There are actually two signs - one on the south entrance and one on the north entrance to Leavenworth off Highway 7/73. The city of Leavenworth put them up in August 2002 as part of a "welcome-back" reception for Melissa Etheridge.
Melissa Etheridge is still an important part of the Leavenworth community, even though she is no longer a resident. In 1992, she created a performing arts scholarship at her alma mater Leavenworth High School in honor of her father who was a teacher, counselor and athletic director there. In 1994, she performed a benefit concert and donated money to help refurbish the city's Performing Arts Center. She has also made donations to the C.W. Parker Carousel Museum, where I am headed next in town.
Despite the snow that seeped into my boots walking to the sign, it was totally worth the drive.
Click here to see more photos!
Total Trip Time: 3.5 Hours
Distance Traveled: 96 miles
Soundtrack: Melissa Etheridge "Yes I Am" and "Your Little Secret"