My wife and I were about your age when we got into sailing. We did a two day introduction to sailing course that taught us just enough to be dangerous in a daysailer.
If you're giving serious thought to liveaboard cruising you might consider a "cruising" course. Spring and fall are great times to take a course in Annapolis (there are several good schools there) or in the winter in Florida (again there are several good schools with the Offshore Sailing School being very good).
The advantage of a class over trying to learn from a random person is the instructor will be following a course that will give you a firm grounding in the basics. There will be no yelling and instructors are good at making sure you BOTH learn. Offshore Sailing School has a Fast Track to Cruising Course
. Prices will vary with the time of year.
For something low key there's the Key Lime Sailing Club
in Key Largo. They do ASA 101 courses up to Coastal Cruising courses. Their boats are a little older (so less expensive) and like most things in the Keys they're probably a little more laid back.
Whatever you decide I'd recommend not taking a course until you are close to buying a boat, even if that boat is a small daysailer. You'll forget a lot of what you learn if you don't use it.
There's a VERY active sailing community around you in St Louis including some local sailing schools in places like Creve Coeur Lake.
Good luck with whatever you decide