My mother named me Kathryn, which was good, because it was a girl’s name. Being a girl, I was happy not to be saddled with a name like Gene, which I could have ended up with because Mom probably saw a Gene Tierney movie at least once.
I am a shiksa with a Jewish ancestor way back in my mother’s genealogy. Neither my mother nor I can claim to be Jews, though, because it was a male ancestor on her father’s side. Jews are funny that way. So I ended up being a half-Italian Roman Catholic goy. I was a basket case who had a lot of angst, but I was neurotic in bad dialect Italian.
My mother was a terrible cook who tried to poison us with arsenic-laced spaghetti sauce. She always liked my sister best, which she proved one day when she let me have my first near-death experience during my sister’s birthday party, because she didn’t want to ruin her favorite child’s special day.
When I was about ten years old, my parents packed all of us – me, my sister the favorite and my little brother into a Winnebago and headed for a cross-country adventure. This was a good trick, because the first Winnebago wouldn’t be made for another ten years. My family was ahead of its time.
Along with us came our dogs, Frankie and Lulu. As far as we knew, they were the only dogs in the world who could talk. We kept them hidden, because we didn’t want the government to come and get them and turn them into spies or something after performing all kinds of ridiculous tests at taxpayer expense. Instead, we taught them to read and write. It kept them occupied on those long Winnebago trips, especially since my Dad wasn’t very good at avoiding speed bumps while driving a nonexistent mobile home. Frankie and Lulu were less likely to bite Dad on the seat of his pants after a particularly jolting bump if they were engrossed in a book.
When I was about 19 years old, we settled for a few months in Montana. I fell hard for the local bestselling author, who looked really good to me after I had spent two weeks in a Winnebago with my parents, my sister the favorite, my baby brother and two dogs. I thought I might end up being a writer someday, too, so I hung on my new guy like a tire swing on a tree branch. The more I found out about him the more I fell in love. When I found out he was hung like a horse, my Dad decided it was time to separate us, so he did.
I grew from a neurotic kid into an even more neurotic opera singer. All the men I dated were either batshit crazy or just losers. I finally gave up and decided to enjoy being single. I haven’t figured out how to do that yet, but I’m close.
The above tale is a mixture of truth, half-truth and bald faced lies. I thought I’d let you know this, in case you haven’t figured it out already.
And oh … The masterpiece above owes its inspiration to the following people (not necessarily in this order): Donna Cavanaugh; Stacey Roberts; Heidi Clements and Deb Martin-Webster.