In honor of her 26th birthday on March 1st (and at her request, which is actually more to the point), my daughter and I constructed a list of 26 memories we had about her first 26 years. Part 1, which included recaps of the first half of that list, was posted on Tuesday. Today, I continue with the second half of the list. here is Part 2 of the list I made of 26 memories of Kate, one for each year that she’s been part of my life. My apologies for the late arrival of this post, but maybe the only one who really noticed was Kate, who posted on my Facebook page this morning, “Where’s Part II, Bessie?” See #12 below.
As was the case in Part I, these snippets are in not in any particular chronological order. Masquerading as #1 – 13, here are numbers 14-26.
- I don’t remember when it started, but Kate had what we affectionately referred to as her “cow shrine.” It was housed in a built-in set of shelves and included stuffed animals, towels, a cookie jar, little figurines, tins with cows on them, a cow sitting on a swing, and many other items. The collection continued through high school and beyond. At some point, she took a few photos and then was willing to let most of the collection go. I’m not sure whether there are other remnants of those glory days.
- One year at Christmas time, Kate and I made angels out of clothespins, and for the faces, we cut out her face from her small school pictures. They were just the right size to be angel faces. So cliche, but still cute. Then we gave them to people in the neighborhood, like our back alley neighbor, Marie, and the owner of Patty’s Place (the little restaurant mentioned in Part 1, located across the street from our house).
Kate was probably 6 or 7 for this one, but she had one of those Marble Run toys, where you set up a series of chutes so that the marbles travel around from the top to the bottom. Of course, she didn’t always get everything set up the way she wanted it to be, and the marbles would exit the chutes at the wrong time. She would then get frustrated. Once, her charming oldest brother, Doug, playfully asked her, “What’s the matter Kate? Are you losing your marbles?
- When she was about 9 or so, the mother of one of my piano students offered to take Kate to their house for a couple of hours after the piano lesson. Kate had gone to the library, which was only a block and a half from our house. I called the library to ask Carol, the librarian, to let Kate know that one of her friends was at the house, and found out that Kate wasn’t at the library. Carol said she’d go check at Video Venture, and sure enough the owner of that place said Kate had been there and had bought a candy bar and that she was on her way home. I told her friend’s mother that Kate wouldn’t be able to go with them, and they left. I left the house to meet her on the way home. We walked home together, and sat down on the couch, where I asked her where she had been. “At the library.” OK, now the really funny part of this is that when she’s talking to me, I can smell the chocolate on her breath. It’s everything I can do to NOT laugh. But she did learn that all she had to do was ask if she wanted to stop at Video Venture, too, and that she lost out on a chance to go play with her friend.
- Even though I taught piano, none of my four children ever took it up. Tom (my third son) played clarinet from middle school through high school, including marching band, and Kate was in the choir. But when the movie Titanic came out, Kate wanted to learn to play My Heart Will Go On. We got the easy sheet music, and I would show her how to play parts of it, and she would do the same thing over and over until she memorized it, and then go on to the next part. Of course, if that wasn’t repetitive enough to listen to, every time she got to a piano, that was the only thing she really played. But hey, she was playing something.
- Kate loved music, singing and dancing. She took dancing lessons for a while, but for her, it was great just to have the space in the living room, turn on some music, and dance around. Sometimes, she and a friend would choreograph to a particular piece of music. When she was younger, she liked to invite us to sit down in the living room and watch her show. As she got older, her preference was to do her dancing when the rest of us were away.
- Kate’s love of dance, music, and acting all came together for her in the show Glee. I didn’t know that much about it, since it started around the time I moved to Taiwan. But Kate was determined that I learn about it. She would send me links of some of the songs. One season she even sent me “homework” that involved listening to new songs. When I went home in the summer to visit, she took advantage of the opportunity to show me a few episodes. Since that time, we make Glee a regular part of our visits.
- Speaking of her love of the performing arts, she put on quite a performance when we went to a play at a community theater. There were no refreshments served at the theater, and in fact, they had posted restrictions against food and drink in the building. My budding actress of a daughter thought it would be funny to eat some pretend popcorn as we sat in our seats waiting for the performance to begin. I could actually “see” each separate piece of popcorn that she would take from her invisible bucket as she put it carefully in her mouth, and “chewed” very deliberately and methodically. She would then offer some to me. I kept saying, “Kate, stop it!” But of course, it was so darn funny, I couldn’t stop laughing.
- For several years now, Kate has had a pen pal hobby. I won’t say a lot about it here, other than she’s really built it into something that brings her and her pen pals a lot of fun and sharing. If you are interested in more details, you can visit her blog, Sincerely Kate.
- As an additional activity among her pen pals and others, she created Mr. SKuirrel, several copies of a laminated hand colored squirrel. He even has his own Facebook page where people can post pictures of his adventures. You can check it out here. I have one of them here in Taiwan with me. My students are starting to get into the act of posing Mr. SKuirrel in some of their adventures.
- Even though Kate is like most people and has two arms, she had three broken arms by the time she was in her mid-teens. She was five when she got a hairline fracture when she tripped over the base of her rocking horse after retrieving a ball. When she fell, her arm slammed into the floor, possibly with her falling on top of it. A few years later, she went to a roller rink with some friends. No sooner did she have her skates on and get started, she fell and got a buckle fracture. The third was a fall on black ice when she was at a youth group meeting. Interestingly, I was never with her when one of these breaks occurred.
- For those of you who’ve noticed the phenomenon, have you ever wondered why my daughter sometimes refers to me as Bessie? It goes back to a commercial she saw in 1998. Pay particular attention to the thank you that the girl does as she wakes from her dream. I heard the fading Bessie’s often from Kate, who would say, Thank you, Bessie, Bessie, Bessie, each one a little softer than the one before. That went to simply calling me Bessie on occasion, and well, yeah, it has definitely stuck.I knew I wanted to include this as one of the memories, so I was delighted to find the commercial on YouTube. Here is is.
- Sometime, when Kate was around 4 or 5 years old, she didn’t like something I did (or didn’t do). I don’t remember what it was exactly, but I remember Kate’s response. “I’m going to tell your mother.” I wanted to offer to dial the phone for her, but it was another of those moments, I was trying not to laugh.
Of course, there are many other memories, but these seem to capture a lot of Kate’s personality and interests. I hope you enjoyed them. I look forward to what the next 26 years hold.