When I was very young, I remember this little blond girl who lived about a block away. She was the oldest of several little girls. I also remember when her mother tragically died a few days after giving birth to her last little girl. I remember well, just how much this tragedy affected her, being the oldest, and really being the only one old enough to understand the gravity of the loss. Her father remarried a woman who also had girls of similar age to the girls he had from his late wife. Katie, as I'll call her then faced the new challenge of trying to get along with new sisters. It didn't help that her new sister, her age, was beauty queen pretty, and was very popular.
Knowing the family well, I watched from a distance the struggles Katie went through, the feelings of inadequacy that would sometimes come to the surface. I always felt a great deal of empathy for her and her situation. Katie went on to marry, and raise a wonderful family. I remember running into her years later at a community event. She had organized the whole thing, and after talking to her, it dawned on me that she had done this before, many times. And she does it quietly, often with little or no recognition. And as I got to talk to her son, it was also apparent to me what a wonderful parent and role model she was.
I came away with a great deal of respect for Katie. She overcame alot of heart-ache as a child from the various tramas she endured, but came away strong, resourceful and committed to her family and community. As I temporarily part from politics, it is my memories of people like Katie that recharge my batteries. Thanks Katie.