I recall vividly looking across the street from where I lived and seeing
this tent being erected.
There were fewer than fifteen cars a day on that road, so I ran across
the street to see what was happening.
Then I saw this little dark-haired girl coming down the street and we got
to talking and she said her name was Kitty.
We found out that there was going to be a wedding. When the wedding day
came, we sat on the lawn in front of the tents and watched.
From that time on, Kitty and I were best friends.
Kitty had a zest for living, she was devilish and was always thinking up
something to do. She had spirit and did not like to be reined in.
There were horses on the property where the tent was placed. It wasn’t
unusual to see horses and wagons on the streets.
We had this game: if we saw a white horse, we’d lick our thumb, press
the thumb to the palm and then slap our palms together.
Kitty was short and her
bed was cut shorter to fit in the bedroom. The bed ended at the closet door.
We’d climb on the end of the bed, put our
feet on the door handles, grab onto the top of the door and swing. We loved
Kitty’s closet was also the linen closet for upstairs. Her mother would
be in and out of the room often to get linens or put them away. So when
we heard her coming, we’d stop and sit on the bed like angels.
Kitty and I went to one of the local department store tea rooms. Kitty was
avant garde and a true free spirit, an individualist.
I must add that times were changing. So Kitty pulled out a cigarette
and started smoking.
Of course, the news spread, and Kitty didn’t stay home the next year,
but was sent away to a convent in Kentucky.
Here again, her free spirit won out.
Kitty got the keys to a room in the convent, and there were several nuns
in this room. She locked the door and locked them in the room. She was
running all over
the school with other nuns in pursuit trying to get the keys from her.
Needless to say, she did not return to the convent either.
She wasn’t into sports, she wasn’t the outdoors type, she didn’t
like to rough it.
I remember we had many in-depth discussions about religion. I also remember
that she would go to 6 a.m. mass by herself.
Kitty called me in tears one day because the family told her that they couldn’t
afford to send her to college. She wanted to go so badly, but it was the time
of the Depression. I knew that her family would let her go and reassured her.
She went one year, and it was during this year that she met your father through
the sister of a boy she had dated in high school.
The family said she should stay home her sophomore year because if your
father didn’t do well in school, she would be blamed. He was either a senior in
college or in graduate school. I don’t recall what she did with her time,
she must have been bored, because women didn’t work in those days.
There was an outbreak of measles. It was very serious in those days and children’s
eyes could be affected. All of the children had the measles.
I remember asking Kitty’s mother how she got through it without a nervous
breakdown, and she said, oh, I didn’t have time for a nervous breakdown.
But that wasn’t true for Kitty, was it?
The reception was at home. Kitty was wearing her grandmother’s wedding
dress and her grandfather, a widower, had tears in his eyes because
Kitty reminded him of his bride so many years ago.
Your father’s father was very outgoing that day and, I believe,
every day. His mother, on the other hand, seemed quite serious. She
sat in a chair
came over to her to introduce themselves. She was a bit of a grande
What a shame.
We had our first children together, you and my daughter Ruth. But your family
lived on the East Side and we lived on the West. We didn’t have
the same social circle at all, so gradually we drifted apart. I remember
that I might as well be living in the South Pacific for all we saw
of one another.
And then, of course, we moved out here to the West Coast. We laughed about
it at the time, but it wasn’t funny.
I’ve missed her my whole life since then.
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