K is for Kat

File0001 And kindergarten.  Any guesses as to which one is me?  I was in Mrs. Passmore’s class (she’s the really tall person in the picture).  We had a jungle gym in the classroom, how cool was that?  I remember playing a scared billy goat in our theatrical production of ‘Three Billy Goats Gruff’.  (The local paper said we were a smash hit.)  I also remember the afternoon they closed the school.  For some reason there were concrete pipes stored up on the hill by the train tracks.  During recess, one got loose and started rolling down the hill.  A 6th grader dove in front and got a 1st grader out of the way, the 6th grader died.  35 years later (or so) people still talk about it. 

File0047crop K is also for Kenya.  My family traveled there in 1978.  It was an amazing trip and opened my eyes to many things.  Jomo Kenyatta had just passed away and was lying in state in front of the cathedral.  Criminals in Kenya were sentenced to terms in cages on the streets of the Nairobi.  We saw them in the cages on the corner and those who had been released, begging on scooters (their legs had atrophied after confinement in the cages which were the size of dog kennels).  My sister and I had a hard time understanding why our driver (our friend) could not come swimming with us at the various lodges (my grandfather spoke to the managers and took care of that).  The market in Nairobi was amazing.   Eye opening is an understatement.  In three weeks at age 14 I learned a lot about space, nature, beauty, life, death, poverty, wealth, fear, and joy.  The lessons about discrimination sunk in after I returned I home.

When I was in high-school there were 7 Kathys.  To differentiate us, over time our names were all changed to variations on the theme.  I got Kat.  I like it and think it suits my personality.    I used to be the only one, people would insist on calling me "Pat", thinking they had misheard or that I had miswritten my own name.  Now, we are everywhere.  This season there are 3 (yes, 3) Kat’s on my women’s soccer team.

There also seem to be a lot of us in blogland:

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~ by Kat on June 3, 2006.

8 Responses to “K is for Kat”

  1. Hmm, perhaps a Kat webring?

    A very interesting collection of Ks. I can understand why they’re still talking about that 6th grader…

  2. i can’t remember the names of my elementary school teachers. it kind of makes me sad.

    great “k” post.

  3. That’s a great “K.” What is your “real” name? I like “Kat” — my great grandmother, for whom I am named, was called “Kitty” — doesn’t really fit me, but a bit more distinctive than “Kathy”. We have a joke at a place where I vacation that if you forget someone’s name, try Kathy for a woman or Mike or a guy 🙂

  4. Such an interesting “K” – collection, thanks for sharing! Your time in Kenya must have been so interesting – I’ve been there as well in 1997, but didn’t have the chance to go to Nairobi, “only” to Mombasa and the surrounding areas, but it’s been a truly eye opening experience – though that’d be a real understatement as you said.
    Did you get the chance to do a photo safari as well? I’ve been to the Amboseli- and Maasai Mara/Serengeti National Parks and well, I can only say that this was the most amazing experience in my life, nothing before and afterwards somehow came close to it.

  5. Great K post! Your story about your family’s trip to Kenya was very intersting.

  6. Front row, second from the left?

  7. Oh my goodness how awful about the 6th grader, how heroic of him though.

    I think a trip to Kenya would be amazing.

  8. I can’t get over the 6th grader!

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