It wasn’t coincidence but, rather, Kathryn who brought Marissa and Jess together in middle school. Kathryn was the ultimate sleepover host, who always had the latest board or puzzle game, and it was Marissa and Jess’s mutual inability to beat Kathryn that solidified their friendship. Kathryn is the most creative and visionary member of the friend group; implementation, on the other hand, was typically outsourced to another friend. Her ideas led to a successful high school drive to Save the Polar Bears – a topic only she would have intuited in 2008 to be so important. She also gave Jess her longest running nickname “Skippy,” about which there still exists a framed poem.
Kathryn and Jess were inseparable through middle and high school, in no small part because they had to spend daily concert band classes and evening marching band practices together in the saxophone section. Kathryn is still often the host of the semi-annual friend group get-togethers in Fairmont, and I’m not sure if we’d know how to do them without her.
Kathryn works today as a Curriculum Developer at the National White Collar Crime Center and is a staunch defender of Appalachian culture, as evidenced by her dog’s name Banjo.