My niece drove up from down South as her Grandpa on her Mom’s side passed away and I was hoping to meet up with her as I haven’t seen her since she was a young teenager and I also wanted to give her a footlocker of things that had been her Mom’s.
Her mother, my sister-in-law, Missy was killed in a car accident when she was only 28 in 1994. They had lived with us for a few months when Katrina was a baby. Had that not happened, not sure if I would have caught “baby fever” as I fell in love with my beautiful baby niece and wanted little cherub of my own after meeting her adorableness. Above is an excerpt from Katrina’s baby book about Missy’s education, her special talents and professional aspirations in her own handwriting.
She had been in Army and was known as “Sergeant” most places she worked as she was a strong advocate for her patients. Even most RN’s that she worked with would not call the doctor on call in the middle of the night when a patient needed something, reacted to a medication or needed a medication, she told them it was the doctor’s job and didn’t hesitate to call herself.
She had worked at in as a nurse in heart surgery at a local hospital here in town, but I didn’t know until I read in the baby book above she had wanted to go on to be an RN and work in a burn unit. She was a take charge kind of gal and I am sure she would have gone far.
To say she loved to bargain hunt and make decorations for the house was an understatement. She had been married before and her first husband’s family lived with them briefly and made goat cheese in her closet, which is probably why going forward she dedicated one closet where ever she lived as the “Holiday” closet where she kept decorations for the Holidays and also gifts, which she purchased all year long so as not to have a large bill at Christmas (and so no one would ever confiscate that closet for other purposes again).
As far as bargain shopping, we used to go to garage sales every weekend and found the best ones around. Surprisingly, they were not always in the swankiest neighborhoods; it was usually in the working class neighborhoods and trailer parks we found the best kids items as she had said: “People here spend money on their kids, not trying to impress their neighbors”. Many times it was a sale in an entire addition and we would load up the kids in the Little Tykes wagon and we would stuff the bags of items we bought in between their legs until we had to ask Katrina to walk, which she didn’t mind as she knew it meant more toys for her.
Missy was also instrumental in Kyle’s first birthday party. We decided on an “Under The Sea Theme”. She made a pinata fish full of candy, cookies and mini-muffin pizzas. It was even her idea to have people draw their handprints on a sheet; we were so busy I didn’t get her handprint, thinking I could always get it later…I was wrong. Only a month later, she was killed in the accident. Ironically, 9/11, which would have a whole new meaning for our nation 7 years later.
I had seen her only a week before at my brother’s graduation from ITT at Foellinger; he claimed with Honors but didn’t find his name in that area of the program. She had dressed in a new dress and heels she had purchased for the occasion. They were the garments I ended up picking out for her to be buried in, even though it was closed casket as the car caught fire.
I wish she were here today; life would have been so much different with her ray of sunshine in our world.