Stories about the life of
Kathleen Alden Smick
A place for the friends and fans of Kathleen to share stories about her
life and celebrate her spirit. To add your own stories about
Kathleen to this page, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org
with the word "stories" in the title. See also Memorial
thoughts by her friends, and of
course her jewelry art
"One year Halloween landed on the same day Kathleen was scheduled for a
blood test. She put on her biggest blackest Renaissance cape,
up, plus fake fangs, and went to the chemo clinic. As she stepped
off the elevator, she announced, with prefect Transylvanian accent,
'I'm here for my blood draw.' She stayed in character throughout
the appointment. She was quite a good actress, with no ego about it."
-- Kelley Harris, Santa Barbara, California, 10/19/07
"Kathy and I were best friends, living across the street from one
another. During our 2and and 3rd grade years we terrorized (or so
we thought) the neighborhood by dressing in Halloween costumes year
round. We spent all of our free time (which in those days was
considerable) running around yelling like Banshee's. It was our
intention to scare everyone, and to bring Halloween (our most favorite
holiday) to life every day. It was our own weird little world and
I don't think either of us ever really left it. Hey
Kathy....Bwooohaaaaa! I know she's smiling!" -- Peggy
Frye, Washington, 10/19/07
"Kathleen had an amazing improvisational playfulness. Out of the
blue, I could start a line or character direction, and she would finish
it. She virtually never missed a beat. Any subject, any
form of play. Even goofy made up songs about cats or whatever.
I'd make up a line or two. She'd make up a few more.
Amazing. It may have had something to do with her healthy mind
and perspective. She assumed people meant the best and was
therefore open to play. She wasn't constantly on guard for hidden
meanings and criticisms. She made it very relaxing to be
around. I could talk and play without needing to worry about my
choice of words. A wonderful feeling. A wonderful gift." --
- Kelley Harris, Santa Barbara, California, 10/19/07
"We're coming up on Halloween and nothing beats Halloween like the best
Haunted House you've ever been in. Kathy, Brian and myself shared a
house in Fairplay, Colorado that is supposedly haunted. Well, I
think it is too. People have seen things, and mischievous mishaps have
gone on while we lived there. One Halloween, we transformed that house
into a very scary place. I was Rubella; Brian, the Count, Aileen came
out of the "red" room grabbing people with a hook and a rocking chair
mysteriously rocked with no one in it. Kathy lay in her bed, while
people walked through her room. She had a ghost rise from her body and
float across the room as she lifted herself up and sat up. People
screamed, children cried for their mommies and daddies and we had soooo
much fun. Kathy was a creative genius when it came to putting this
project together with strings and pullies and fabrics. It was like a
set out of a movie.
More fun memories will come......love, Debbie" -- Deborah Welsh,
Sausalito, California, 10/20/07
"When I first met her, 25 years ago, she was living on the
Eastern Slope in Colorado, wearing big-ass leather boots, a
fringed skirt, cowboy blouse and living in some kind of
teepee-thingy. I remember it like it was yesterday. I
had just finished Tom Robbins' "Even Cowgirls Get The Blues," and
was struck at how seamlessly Kathy would have fit in somewhere in
the book. The wardrobe and locations changed, but not
Kathy." ~ Eric Warp, Sacramento, California, 10/20/07
"... some photos - one is Kathleen at a Halloween party, two is
Kathleen jumping off the roof of a play house (quite young - 6th
grade?? Jr. High? I can't remember) and three is Kathleen and I
taken by my son Chris on our camping trip. I've also attached
some memories of that trip."
"Kathy, my son Chris (who was in 2nd or 3rd grade - he's now 33) and I
went on a camping trip through Utah and northern Arizona. This
was a memorable trip for all three of us. We went to Zion and
Bryce and the north rim of the Grand Canyon. My favorite memories
The three of us sitting on the bank of a river by our camp in Zion
having a contest to see who could spit watermelon seeds the
furthest. We were laughing and giggling, choking on watermelon
and making ourselves total messes. In the end we figured Kathy
won. While at Zion we decided to go on a 4 hour horseback tour of
the park. My son was so excited to ride a horse on his own.
It had been many years since I'd been on a horse myself. Kathy's
mom always called her and I "Mutt and Jeff" because Kathy was so much
taller than I (I'm only 5'1"). My son was put on a nice mellow
horse that had obviously seen better days. I was put on this HUGE
monster, I had to climb a fence to get on it. My feet barely
reached the stirrups...Kathy however, was put on this tiny, tiny short
little thing. While crossing a river Kathy's feet were dragging
in the water.....
We always took a popsicle break each afternoon. Each of us trying
a different flavor/color to see which colored the tongue best.
We drove for hours in northern Arizona looking for a particular
campground. It was dark and we decided we'd just pull off on a
forest road and make camp for the night and start again in the
morning. After a cold dinner we settled down in our tent and
started to tell scary stories. I started and then Kathy would
continue, then Chris. The story ended up being about three
campers who got lost in the woods, during the night one left to "take
care of business" and never came back...and all the terrible scary
things that happened. In the morning we woke up, stepped outside
our tent and discovered we were only about 200 feet from the north rim
of the Grand Canyon. A few unwary steps in the dark could
have made our story real. We ended up staying at our "scary spot"
for the remainder of our time at the canyon just making day trips
about. It was a magnificent camping area, no one else, it was
like having the canyon all to ourselves."
Frye, Washington, 10/23/07
Living across the street from Kathy was wonderful. Her yard
was a great place to play. It was surrounded by a fence covered
with ivy. In the front was a smaller fenced off area with a sand
box, a play house (just like a log cabin!) and a picnic table.
The picnic table was "Spaceville". Kathy, her brother Randy and I
spent most of our money to buy modelling clay. The clay came in a
box with a stick of blue, pink, yellow and white. All you needed
to make every color imaginable. We created this little world on
the table inhabited by "space bugs". Imagine a small lump of
brown clay about the size of two kidney beans with a face, little legs
and brightly colored flowers on it's side (it was the 60's!). We
each had families of space bugs, they each had homes complete with
furniture and everything a respectable space bug could want.
There were grocery stores complete with food, roads, schools,
everything. Spaceville was a very complete community.
We spent hours and hours immersed in the Spaceville world. There
were family problems, wars, evil space bugs, hero space bugs and
anything in between. The only problem with Spaceville was that
the picnic table on which it existed was located in southern
California. Sometimes the temperatures were so high that all our
clay creations melted. Spaceville's sun would go nova. We
had to scrape the clay off the table and work it together producing a
wonderful gray which then became the foundation and roads for the next
version of our world.
Kathy was the best of the three of us in creating spacebugs. I'm
sure her little bugs were the humble beginnings of her artful jewelry
that is so beautiful and impressive.
The memories of my time with Kathy in Spaceville are very dear to
me. Kathy and I talked about it quite a bit. We both
thought that we learned a valuable lesson from our creations.
When your sun goes nova and your world melts around you, scrape it up
and make it a foundation to build upon."
Frye, Washington, 10/23/07
"...trip to Sacremento to do a craft show together...
I will never forget how she insisted on driving in her vehicle.
How we unloaded my little truck and reloaded her SUV and took
off. Even though she was dealing with side effects of her cancer
treatments, she managed to drive the whole way there and back! We
had a wonderful time getting to know one another and sharing or
'jewelers' knowledge'. She was a very talented artist - a great
spirit - and I, for one, will miss her." -- Cindy Mulhollen,
Ventura, California, 10/23/07
"I remember when I first met Kathy, at the annual Santa Barbara Fiesta:
Heyoka had described his apprentice as a serious, hard-working
artist... so was I expecting a woman who looked about 30, dressed
beautifully, and who greeted me warmly and happily? I was also
extremely impressed by Kathy's display and jewelry at that show: I
loved the unique combination of elegant fabric and picture frames to
show off her gorgeous work. She was right to show her jewelry in
frames, because it was art that deserved to be hung on walls and in
museums. She was happy to share of all her "trade secrets" and
converse with me, an upstart young apprentice eager to learn about the
jewelry show business, and I'll never forget her kindness and help that
she so willingly gave, that allowed me to start my own business.
~ Kelly Morgen, fellow apprentice",
"Phil and I were visiting Kathleen and Kelley in Santa Barbara.
We were with Kathleen in the local health food store stocking up on 5
or 6 bags of groceries for a little picnic lunch at the beach when
Kathleen declared, "Look at all these people. There're all
rich." "How can you tell?", I ask. "Because they're
here and not working," she answers. "But Kathleen we're
here." To which she replied, "Well, I'm a kept woman
and you're rich." I think people were probably staring at us as
we laughed. Ever since that time, though my 1040 may not reflect
it, I have felt richer. Jo Merkle" Athens, Ohio,
Kathy sailing on her 50th.
photo by Deborah Welsh, Sausalito,
California, sent 10/25/07
"When your birthday is in November, and you live in the Colorado Rocky
Mountains at 9,300 feet, having a beach party can be tricky. I am not
sure, but I believe it was Kathy’s 30th birthday, and she decided that
a beach party was just the ticket.
We sent out invitations—bring your own: swim suit, sunscreen, flip
flops, beach towels, beach blanket and sand. We set up the pool in the
living room with shells, sand, Frisbees, sand shovels, buckets, and
other assorted beach equipment.
The party was a blast, and we drank Orion’s Belts, listened to that Old
time rock ‘n’ roll (not so old then), covered ourselves in sunscreen
and did our best to let the wood burning stove give us that summertime
glow. The hot tub held 6-8 comfortably and we piled 12 bodies in the
Cannibal Kettle that night. Ah, the gentle snow piled on top of our
heads, the glasses froze to the bench and we talked till dawn. What a
birthday to remember." -- Aileen Grayce,
Pine, Colorado, 10/25/07
"Kathleen loved biking.
She biked as a kid, 'purposefully trying to get lost in the
neighborhoods', so she could 'have an adventure.' She said she
'felt free' on her bike, 'like flying.' She spent four months
touring northern Europe, in the 1980's, solo. She led bike tours
in Vermont. She played bike polo in Colorado. She commuted
from Santa Barbara to Carpinteria. (~10 miles each way) During
her chemo years, she often rode up to four times per week. She rode up
old San Marcos Road. (3 mi @ 7%). She rode up Gibraltor Road to Flores
Flats. (5 miles of up) She rode Ferren Road's steep face. She
enjoyed rides in the Santa Barbara foothills, and fast 10 milers to the
beach and back. Night rides. Rides up Toro canyon.
Rides around Gobernador Canyon. She did the bike and run legs of
the Santa Barbara Triathlon sprint course, a week after finishing
radiation. When she was extra tired, she'd roll along and chat along
side her running boyfriend. Bike vs. bike, she had a vicious
attack. She had a way of being in the right gear, and surprising
her unsuspecting biking partner. She frequently faked him out by
starting hard, then if he started catching up, she'd sit down until he
relaxed, then she'd attack again." -- M. Kelley Harris, the
unsuspecting biking partner, Santa Barbara, California, 10/25/07
"Kathleen had eclectic interests.
Renaissance faires. She watched the original Star Wars over 20
times. She loved swords and sorcery, Star Trek, science
fiction, the Science Channel (Myth Busters, How It Is Made.
Cosmos.), medieval magic stories, NASA adventures, Lord of
the Rings, Princess Bride, Zoro, Zena, New age music,
AC/DC to ZZ Top, Horses, Formula 1 racing, etc. etc."
-- M. Kelley Harris, the awed boyfriend, Santa Barbara, California,
Very early in our relationship, Kathleen and I would often meet at a
beach grill on Santa Claus Lane in Carpinteria before heading off in
different directions to our homes at the time. Knowing that she
was into swords and fencing, I made up two simple swords out of pvc
pipe covered by foam pipe insulation, and duct tape, and brought them
as a surprise. Much to my glee, she loved them, and proceeded
beat me senseless with her sword prowess. Over the years, the
swords sometimes travelled with us, for improptu battles. The
most dramatic was high on a rocky hill in Montana de Oro Park.
She frequently mentioned how touched she was by that sword gift.
was a great feeling for me to know that she could look beyond the six
dollars in materials, and see a chance to play fight epic
battles." -- M. Kelley Harris,
partner in play, Santa Barbara, California, 10/25/07
"Speaking of sushi-- or not-- Kathy loved wasabi. Specifically
the "wasabi rush." Whenever we'd get together for sushi,
we'd take a giant wad of wasabi, scrape it over the top of our
mouths, and... get the wasabi rush... a painful/blissful
mixture of sweating, tears, exhilaration and sinus
clearing. If you're ever in a funk, get a big, gnarly chunk
of wasabi, do the "wasabi rush," and think of Kathy. Some
religions have communion with the little crackers... we're going
for the wasabi." ~ Eric Warp, Sacramento, California, 10/29/07
"Oh, yes, Kathy loved her sushi. She turned me on to sushi when we both
were ski instructors in Breckenridge, CO. '84-'89. Ted and Kathy took
me to my first sushi bar there. I was a little leary at first.
She told me they weren't holding back and that they were going to break
me in with the real deal. We didn't just have California rolls,
nah, they ordered fried shrimp heads with the eyes still looking at me.
There was eel, and she really loved the quail egg on top of the sushi
roe eggs. Well they hooked me and we were sushi buddies
ever since. Whenever I came down to Santa Barbara we went out for
sushi. It's definitely at the top of my favorites. Thanks, Kathy.
-10/29/07 Deborah Welsh, Sausalito, CA"
"I remember a faire in Santa Barbara that I helped her
with. I think it was the first faire that she set up her
booth. I was not able to work at the booth because of my work
schedule, but I did go up the weekend before to provide an extra set of
hands to help with setup. I don't know that I was much help
because I was not able to get a clear picture in my mind of what
Kathy's vision was. She and I finally decided that it wasn't
important for me to "see" it in advance, but only to follow her lead in
where the fabric panels were to go and how to get them there on some
semi-permanent basis. The primary challenge as I remember it was a
somewhat low oak limb that prohibited her from putting up the normal,
square canvas-lashed-to-pole structure. Brilliant artist that she
was, she worked it into the design brilliantly. She created a wonderful
magical environment that was envied by many of the other vendors.
That flexibility and adaptability was, I think, one
of her great lessons to me. I remember sitting together in the
back of Crazy Woman working on any number of bead projects or
discussing how to work out a design problem on an outfit I was
assembling. She was often my critical eye when putting together
different fabrics into a doublet or a bodice. Where I would
struggle with the proportions, Kathy would take a look and say "What
about this.........." and choose a different width of the same trim I
had tried, and that would pull everything together and the outfit would
sing. She understood those "aha" moments and I just loved seeing
her put that into her jewelry. She understood my excitement in
playing with texture and color and how to trick the eye into filling in
the blanks in design because that was what she did with her
jewelry." ~ Terri Baker, Ojai, California, 10/29/07
"One day at school I was polishing a cab and it flew out of my hand and
my finger hit the wheel and created a deep, dirty cut. Kathleen didn't
hesitate for a moment in her decision to miss the rest of class in
favor of taking me and spending the afternoon at the emergency ward. I
had never experienced any thing like that knid of Love. I had always
had to go to the emergency room by myself. She spent the whole
afternoon loving me in that special way that Kathleen can, you
know that way she has of being totally present with whoever
she is with and whatever she is doing. And when it came time for them
to need an emergency contact she said I could put her name and info.
That was the first time I had an emergency contact person in many, many
years. It is a day I will never forget. THANK YOU KATHLEEN, FOR
YOUR PRESENCE, AND FOR LOVING ME !" ~ Joy, Santa Barbara,
"For the first three days after Kathleen died I didn't see a single
red-tailed hawk. (her main symbol) That was an unusually long
time for the rural area we live in. I made up a medicine bundle
to be cremated with Kathleen's body. It contained some of her pre
hair, a four-leaf clover, owl feathers, and red-tailed hawk feathers,
she'd found. As I pulled the finishing tie on the bunde, I heard
a hawk screach. I smiled, and ran outside. But I didn't see
the hawk. Then 20 minutes later, driving down the hill, I heard a hawk
again, and saw it hover above me for 10 seconds. I smiled back."
-- Kelley Harris, Santa Barbara, California, 11/7/07
We both wanted to try a Mazda Miata sports car. This summer we
got one. 1990. (The first year it was made.) Silver. In
fantastic condition and at a very reasonable. price, with all the
accessories. Kathleen was in love with it. In typical
fashion, we 'fought' over who should drive it. 'You drive it
today.' 'No you drive it today ...' We laughed at the
clicheness of getting a sports car, what we assumed was, 'mid-life',
and joked about having an affair, with each other. She got
great joy out
of such a simple inexpensive thing. " ~ Kelley Harris, Wishing
we'd done it sooner, 11/16/07
"Saw a congress of crows today, playing with my dog.
Happy birthday Kathy." ~ Susan Wasinger, Boulder, Colorado,
11/18/07 (Kathleen's birthday)
"Birthday In Big Sur.
Kathleen and I had spent her Nov 18th birthday in Big Sur the last four
I'd order her a big Black Forest cake, and she'd gradually eat it over
three or four days until it completely melted and collapsed, and she
laughed one last chocolate covered laugh. We hiked. She
photographed 'roots & rocks', waterfalls, ferns, and clovers.
She loved the
splashing waves at Rocky Point, and the opal-colored water water at
We planned to go again this year, in the Miata. So I did. I
Miata'd up the coast, at a speed she'd approve of, yelling out loud to
her, and every hawk I saw. For four days
I hiked the same trails and ate at the same restaurants. The
of her birthday I had the two clearest dreams of her yet. As I
her favorite trails, I was struck by how clearly my memory placed her
right there. I could almost see her. Almost hear
her. Almost hold her hand. Almost. Hoping for more healing
hurting, I kept hiking those trails, remembering how alive and excited
she was in that special place. Like last year, Ventana was the
for her birthday dinner. One glass of wine on her side of the
Thankfulness and sadness on mine." ~ Kelley Harris, still being
hit by wave after wave of this reality, 11/21/07
"Two pebbles in a pool.
Kathy and I were coming to the end of a hike on one of her favorite
trails in Montana's Bitteroot range. We'd each carried two stones
to clack together and warn the bears as we hiked. I pointed out a
small pool of water, worn into the rock, about 3 feet wide and about
100 feet down the cliff, and on the other side of the river. I
threw one of my stones, and much to the surprise of us both, it plopped
right in. Wow. Without hesitation Kathy threw one of her
stones, 100 feet down, across the river, into that same small
pool. Silence. We looked at each other. 'This is
special.' 'No one will ever believe this.' 'No point in
telling anyone...' ~ Kelley Harris, 11/21/07
"More walk than talk.
Kathleen didn't call herself an artist. She celebrated beauty and
creativity in every part of her life.
She didn't talk much of women's power and independence. She was
busy building things, or off camping by herself around the Western US
and Canada. Or biking by herself for four months in Europe. etc.
She didn't talk much of being a teacher. She just kept learning
and sharing what she learned.
She didn't call herself a shaman. She just kept studying truth,
nature, and spirit wherever it lead, and helping people when she could.
She didn't shower her partner with sugary words. She just made
him feel welcome in many little ways."
~ Kelley Harris, a Kathleen observer, 11/21/07
I was not aware until talking with you this weekend
that one of Kathy's spirit animals was the crow. I was aware of
the hawks and owls, but the crows came as a surprise.
During the time that Kathy was in the hospital I was
dealing with a sick step-son and running around from doctor to doctor
and a couple of visits to the ER. I was hating that I couldn't
return your phone calls or run up to SB. All I could do was to
send thoughts of love to you and Kathy.
On that Wednesday night we came home from the
emergency room just a bit after 11 PM. We got Martin settled for
the night and we were about ready to go to bed when we heard a
disturbance in the oak grove beside the house. This area is full of
birds during the day and it provided a bedtime perch for several flocks
of crows in the neighborhood. Hugo and I went outside and the
crows were calling back and forth to each other. Not just one or
two or a random "dreaming" caaa.
The calls started at the far end of the flock and
then moved toward the house. ALL the crows were calling but this
was not a distress cry and there was no birds flew away. This was
the same sort of crow talk that goes on when they are coming to roost
at night. I have always imagined that it is a sort of "Here we
are, hurry up and come home. It's time for sleep. We're
waiting for you, hurry up and get here quick" sort of dialog to make
sure that all the flock members know where they are staying for the
night. Anyway, that is the only time I have heard anything like
this is the middle of the night.
The next day I got your call that Kathy had passed a
short time after 11 on Wednesday night. I didn't make any
connection at the time, because I was not aware of her connection with
crows. It was only this weekend talking with you in Kathy's studio that
I was reminded of the incident. I don't know if this was her way
of letting me know she was gone and saying good-by or if it was the
crows welcoming their Spirit sister. I have always loved those
birds anyway, but now they are extra special because they will remind
me of my friend."
~ Terri Baker, Ojai, California, 11/26/07
We were talking this weekend about how incredibly inventive Kathy was.
I am sure that this is one of the things that made her art so wonderful
- she worked loosely with a basic design and knew what elements she
wanted to include but also knowing that changes or adaptations of the
design might be necessary based on the materials that she had to work
That inventiveness was there not just with her jewelry, but in how she
tackled any task. I was always tickled at how things just seemed to
come together when she was around. When she was working to get
the Oak View house ready for her mom to come live with her I
remember her inventiveness with the remodel.
I was thinking on the way home about how everything that Kathy was
interested in and the things she loved-fairies, nature, rocks and
bones, symbols, fantasy - combined with her technical training in
drafting came together so perfectly in her art. But most importantly,
Kelley, you gave her the gift of space, of time, of encouragement of
love and admiration that enabled her to produce the beautiful things
she did. Those other things were always there. The catalyst in
the mix was you. Without you, none of those things would have
been created. Thank you for making my friend happy and for
allowing her to follow her dream.
I copied a bit of the article that I read about that ability to work
with what is available. Leigh Melander who was one of Kathy's
neighbors and the harp instructor introduced me to the word and then
later this piece appeared in her newsletter.
'....And in our own time the 'bricoleur' is still someone who works
with his hands and uses devious means compared to those of a craftsman"
(16), i.e., handyman or woman, gypsy, as opposed to specialist. A
bricoleur is an ordinary person, like one of the citizens of the
republic, not only in the French revolution, but also in a postmodern,
postcybernetic revolution. A
bricoleur does the best that she or he can do with what is at hand.
If one cannot use the palace, a tennis court may do. The British term
for this is "tinker," likely .
From Bricoleur in the Tennis Court: Pedogogy in Postmodern
Context by David L. Miller, Ph.D. from an article in The Imaginal
Institute newsletter http://imaginalinstitute.com/bricoleur.htm
The bold type of course is mine, not the author's."
~ Terri Baker, Ojai, California, 11/26/07
Eep the Owl
"We heard a couple of owls making extra noise, close to the house, and
went out to investigate. A young fledgling was on the ground
making a 'eep' sound, as the mom looked on from a tree. The
fledgling took off in a different direction and smashed into a grove of
eucalyptus trees, and landed about five feet off the ground, but upside
down, and appeared to be stuck in the branches. With flashlights in
hand, we investigated. Kathleen gently untangled the yound owl
and carried it to her studio. She spent many hours with it,
making sure it was OK, giving it some water, and generally studying the
owl as both doctor and artist. They eventually parted company,
but kept in touch over the years ahead, as Eep raised the next
~ Kelley Harris, 11/21/07
"I was thinking today about the only time that I can ever remember
Kathy ever being really mad at me (at least that I knew of). We
were in fourth and fifth grades. I had just found out that we
were moving away from Glendale. I was crushed. I told Kathy
at school that we were moving, actually we were eating lunch in the
cafeteria. She was sitting across from me at the table. She
spent the entire lunch in silence flipping little cubes of red jello at
me in her anger. Whenever I see jello I think of that. It's
funny now... at the time I was devastated. Last time I saw Kathy
we laughed over the incident quite a bit." ~ Peggy
Frye, Washington, 12/11/07
"As I slowly go through Kathleen's remaining papers and things, I
occasionally find little notes and writings. They are all quite
precious to me, as extra insights into her thoughts. Today I
found a candle holder with an inscription that read,
'DEATH is nothing at all. I have only
slipped into the next room. I am I, and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other, that we still are. Call me by my
old familar name, speak to me in the easy way which you always
used. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed
together. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same
as it ever was; there is unbroken continuity. Why should I
be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am waiting for you,
somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well.'
I don't know if she got this candle holder when her dad died, or when
her mom died, or more recently. But I'll interpret the fact that
she chose to have it out reflects her recent thoughts." ~ Kelley
"It was the production of Romeo and Juliet. Susan had the role of
the nurse, and Michael was hired as the fight choreographer. Of
course all of his fencing students were recruited as assistant
instructors and extra swordsmen. I don't recall if Kathy
volunteered to dress as a man, or if she was assigned it, but she
jumped right in with great enthusiasm.
I don't remember all the details of the field research of the "man
walk" study, but it did involve several trips to the arcade area
watching guys we didn't know walk around and then trips back to the
shop to practice in front of the mirror there. We had to separate
the common movements from the individual styles and then figure out how
to make it work on a female frame. There is a distinct difference in
how men and women walk, not only gender specific, but also a difference
based on age. The bio-mechanical reasons have to do with
differences in knee and hip joint structure and the difference in the
location of our center of gravity. Guys have a different hip
movement and more shoulder movement than women.
And then there was the development of "THE SWAGGER!" This was probably
the funniest part of all. It was really hysterical to watch this part
of the process and I wish I could remember the exact
conversations. All sorts of, at the time, serious debate
about whether or not men walk the way they walk because of placement of
genitalia and do guys focus on their pelvic region when walking and
then we would dissolve into gales of laughter at the absurdity of
the conversation. Kathy settled on a nice balance of tension and
looseness with a walk that had a little more focus on hip action than
normal. A bit more deliberate, a tad bit slower, and full of
"ATTITUDE" ! ! ! The finish of her swagger was a one hip slightly
forward stance, with chin thrust. After she decided on that action, the
challenge during rehearsal was to not break character and crack up.
I was playing a woman whose husband got wounded in the opening brawl
and I had to pick up his sword and continue to fight with Kathy as my
opponent. We had great fun with developing the choreography and
working on her walk and swagger and applying her makeup. Kathy
was fabulous, of course and if I remember correctly, the reviewer
commented that the women in the cast who were playing men were
indistinguishable from the real guys.
I just wish you could get inside my head for this one, though.
The giggles that we had and the silliness that this whole undertaking
evoked were much more fun for me to view on that "mind video" that we
than the way I have written it."
Terri Baker, Ojai, California, 1/9/08
"Kathleen genuinely liked men and sympathized with their
challenges. Since I'd come of age during the official period of
women's liberation, I'd felt significant guilt for being male in a
world that wasn't always kind to women. This was reinforced by
some women I'd known who carried significant resentment of males.
But due to the randomness of neighborhood playmate options, and being
extra spunky and outdoorsy, Kathleen had grown up playing with her
brother and other boys, and later men. She thought alot about the
issues, throughout history. Many of her favorite stories had an
even distribution of good and bad women and men. Somehow she
landed on understanding and sympathy. It took me awhile to really
believe it, as she explained it to me in various ways over the
years. Ironically, she is the most liberated woman I've known.
Her friend Terri added, 'One of the things that was so lovely
about Kathleen was her ability to "get over it." She had
certainly had her experiences with bad behavior from men, but instead
of slamming the whole gender she recognized it was an individual (or
more accurately, individuals) behaving like a horse's hind end, learned
from the experiences, developed greater skills at discernment and moved
-- Kelley Harris, Lucky guy, Santa Barbara,
"I have been going through the boxes and putting things out, wearing
clothes and jewelry and
feeling like I'm a Kathy groupie now. She's everywhere. It's amazing
how she is more in my life
than ever before."
-- Deborah Welsh,
Sausalito, California, 3/20/2008
Memorial Tile dedication
(Jewelry School, Santa Barbara City College, Adult Ed, Wake Center)
"On a sunny Saturday Mar 22, 2008, 35 of Kathleen's jewelry-school
friends gathered for a
dedication of memorial tiles for Kathleen. (You can see the tiles
photos page.) It was a very
sweet celebration of Kathleen's place in the jewelry school. Her
friends shared stories of their
interactions with Kathleen over the years. I learned more about
with each story. I offered one story:
'I think Kathleen would be totally thrilled by this honor and
celebration. She would both glow with pride, and blush with
modesty. Kathy truly loved the jewelry program here at the
Wake Center. She spoke of it very often. She loved the
facilities, the instruction, and especially you jeweler friends
that make-up a supportive artistic family.
I'll try to channel her lighter side for a moment. I think she
find great irony and humor in
dying of breast cancer and then being associated tiles, on a wall.
"Tiles" were part of her
colorful vocabulary. She grew up playing sports with guys.
Whenever she heard, 'Balls to the
wall!', she countered with, 'Tits to the tiles!' It always made
blush. But she said it with
pride. She lived her life that way.' " -- Kelley Harris,
Santa Barbara, California, 3/22/2008
Kathleen's Experience with Cancer and Lessons To Help Others
"Kathleen repeatedly expressed the wish that other people benefit from
her experience with cancer in general, and inflammatory breast cancer
in particular. To honor her wish, I'm very willing
to discuss Kathleen's cancer story. I've started collecting parts
of her story
and information that may help others on a web page Cancer
. " -- Kelley Harris,
Santa Barbara, California, 3/30/2008
"Hi every one of Kathy dear friends.
Kathy has come to me allot and is sad and upset (not really the right
words but I see a tear on her check). I guess there are some who think
they could have done more to help Kathy. These are Kathy’s word
to the best I can get them:
I know that every thing was done as best it could and more!!!! I am so
honored by all of you!!! I Love you all and want to be loved. I want
everyone to let go of any guilt, shame or fear. Spirit was calling me;
I stayed for as long as possible for the ones I loved. But I have work
that I have chosen to do and this is the only place I can do it. I am
still right next to you all. Every time you hear a frog or a hawk know
I am there standing right next to you. I may even wispier in your ear.
So don’t think for even a second that I am not here.
Sorry for being so harsh. But this is from Kathy!!
Love and Light
-- Keith Hale, Santa Barbara,
See also Memorial
thoughts by her friends,
and of course her jewelry art
. And more