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Kathee is Fifty

Kathleen Sue Gorden was born in La Jolla at Scripps Memorial Hospital on March 8, 1951.

I tried very hard to stretch the labor pains out aways, so that she would be born on the 9th, but it didn’t happen. The logic behind that was the sequence of days our family members were born. I was born on the 6th of February, Bruce on the 7th of September, her dad on the 8th of November…and logically she should be born on the 9th of March! Not by any stretch of the imagination could I talk my doctor into that!

My mother had arrived from Little Rock to take care of me when Kathleen was born. She made doughnuts from scratch that morning, and I remember that my labor pains started, but I wouldn’t tell her until the doughnuts and crullers had been fried and I’d eaten about five of them! Hmmmm, could she make doughnuts! As I remember them, they could put Krispy Kremes to shame!

Finally, when I had my fill of doughnuts and crullers, I called Rohde Plumbing Shop, across the alley from where we lived at 7776 Herschel Street (behind the Garoutte Day Nursery) and left word for my husband that I was in labor and we were leaving. Then mother and I went out to the car to go to the hospital. Mother got in to drive as my driving had been curtailed in the 8th month. The car wouldn’t start! Woe is me, I thought my labor pains stabbing at me sharper and quicker all the time!

“Mom, let me try it.” I said between groans, lumbering around the car to the drivers side.

I got in and turned the key. Aargh….aaaarrrrgh…aargh! The engine finally kicked over and I drove myself to the hospital! I’m sure my mother was praying the entire time! I remember parking across the street from the hospital and carrying my little suitcase with me, jaywalking across Prospect with my mother at my side. I can tell you that we really stopped traffic that day!

Kathleen was born around 7:30 in the evening. It was a very short labor compared to what I’d had with Bruce. (see my story Bruce is Fifty). She weighed 7 lbs. 12 ozs. One pound less than Bruce, and I gained 15 pounds less than I had with him.

Kathleen was easy to take care of as an infant, perhaps because I’d “been there and done that” before. However, some of it was that she was a compliant child. She smiled a lot and did not demand a lot of attention. That is until she began to talk! Then we called her Chatty Kathy after the Fifties doll of the same name!

We moved from La Jolla to Bay Park Village overlooking Mission Bay to our first home at 3336 Mc Graw Street about a month after she was born.

Early on I wanted to be a writer and I kept my little portable typewriter on the kitchen table. This little story was written about Kathy when she was little.


“A little girl is sticky fingered and sparkly eyed, with a cute little smile and a smudge on her cheek.

She’s patent leather shoes, a poodle skirt and a Roy Rogers holster round her waist.

She’s always thirsty when you’re the busiest and most talkative when you’re on the phone, and if you’re in the shower, that’s exactly the minute she needs the bathroom most.

She captures your heart with a hug and a kiss and then walks through the kitchen with mud on her feet. But she smiles so sweetly and says “Mommie, I sorry,” and you wonder how you ever considered being mad.

A little girl has boyfriends by the score, eats jelly by the jar, watches TV by the day, runs by the mile, talks by the hour and sleeps by the minute. Her favorite pastime is asking questions and her biggest concern is How? Where? And Why?

A little girl plays nurse, cowgirl, grandma, baby-sitter, fireman, Indian, doctor and dolls with the greatest of ease, but when she dresses up like Mommie with a floppy hat and high heeled shoes you know that your job is well done, because a little girls’s ultimate goal is to be just like Mommie.”

People used to say if you buy a two-bedroom house you’re bound to have a boy and a girl. Bruce and Kathy shared a room for six years. Then we moved to 1128 Missouri St. in Pacific Beach in 1957.

About this time in her life, we did Mother-Daughter modeling of clothes for little fashion shows around town. She excelled at tap-dancing lessons, piano lessons and ice-skating. When I signed her up for modeling lessons, however, she balked! She said all the girls in that class were stuck-up!

We moved to Clairemont in 1964 and she attended Hale Jr. High School. In 1966 she attended Canoga Park High School and graduated from there in 1969. Canoga was Richie’s old Alma Mater, so she’s a Hunter too!

One of her first jobs was at L & M Candy Distributors in Los Angeles. She did computer bookkeeping there. But the interesting fact is this: She heard if she joined the Teamster’s Union, she could make a lot more money. So, back in the early 70’s when her peers were making minimum wage of $1.65, she was making $10.00 an hour.

The way that she is most ‘like Mommie’ is in her writing. She has been compared to Erma Bombeck for the humorous way she sees ordinary happenings in life. She is writing her life story as I write mine…independently, from her point of view and with a great sense of humor.

She creates professional web pages and markets technical professionals through her ‘at home’ business, and is owner of the Lifestory E-mail List that is helping thousands of people to write their own life stories.

She has provided me with four grandchildren, Christen, Clinton, and twins Kathy and Kelly. And ultimately seven great-grandchildren, Taysia, Paul and Alexis, Cailee, Hannah, Emily and Ben, due 8/1/03.

Thanks for the memories…Happy Fiftieth Birthday, Kathee!

Write on!

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