Friday, August 15, 2008

~Katie: Part 1~


I first met Katie when she was barely sixteen. My business was doing well, and my little Italian mother proclaimed that I “needed help with the cleaning”. I was shocked. MY mother suggesting I needed help? But being a good daughter…..I listened! We live near a large Amish community. My friend, Cheryl, had been using Elizabeth to help her clean for a number of years, and Elizabeth suggested her 16-year-old niece. That's how it came about that Katie entered our lives, arriving early one snowy Tuesday morning.

I loved her from the start, and it wasn’t long before she was like a member of the family. Katie is one of the oldest of her 11 siblings. She arrived each week at 6:45 am, kicking off her shoes and socks the moment she walked through the back door. And when Katie cleaned, Katie sang. Always. Religious hymns she learned as a small child. Before too long, Katie was not only cleaning, but cooking meals, packing orders, and filling in wherever she was needed. She filled the house with unabandoned joy. She had such a 'crush' on my son, Jeff, that she blushed whenever he was around! She teased Tommy incessantly. Gently.

Things went well. I had the much-needed help with just-about- everything, and Katie loved us as much as we loved her. When she asked if she could stay overnite, I readily agreed. I could take her to her next job in the morning. First, she had to get the permission of her community’s “Elders”. I wasn’t sure what that meant, but I wasn’t tickled at the thought of being judged by a group of bearded Amish strangers. What had Katie told them about us? Would we be deemed ‘appropriate’ for this young Amish woman to spend more time with?

We were approved. But I was worried. I had a real heart-to-heart with Jim. He needed to clean up his act! He was not to say “damn” or “hell”, take even a sip of beer or alcohol…and NO television. Did I mention that I was worried? Well… so was Jim. “What are we going to DO with her all evening?”. I told him not to worry, as I knew Katie goes to bed at 9PM.

Things went well. We decided to pop corn and play Monopoly after dinner. And then to my disbelief, Jim offered Katie a beer, and as I heard her response of “Sure”, I was afraid we were going straight to hell! When she asked if she could sleep in Jeff’s waterbed (it's not what you're thinking...he was away at college!), I was sure of it!

Spending time with Katie taught me what was important in life. She lives a “no frills” existence. She doesn't have the encumbrances of material things to weigh her down. She lives a simple life. Her only goal is to help others whenever possible. She fully intends she will go to heaven when her time here is done.

I had to let Katie go 6 years ago when I abruptly ended my business to take care of Mom. She called me every week, and stopped in whenever she could.

Now at the age of 33, she is no longer the shy young Amish girl I met 17 years ago. But now, she brings tranquility to my life that is unequaled. She has taught me patience. And most importantly, she has taught me what it means to have faith.

Katie started back with us last month. She still sings while she cleans. And she still brings peace and calm to my life. But more than anything, she's taught me that life is fragile.

Next: Part 2

18 comments:

Elisa said...

Carol - I love your stories about Katie. What a light she brings into your life!! I also noticed that you have one of my favorite songs on your playlist - Beautiful Boy by John Lennon. I think your newest creations are just adorable!

Carol said...

Thank you, Elisa! I ADORE that song...and with sons, well....you know...each one is beautiful in his own rite!

Nellie said...

Carol.. I see you have put your Raggamuffins on your Etsy site.. These little creatures are beautiful and photographs do not bring them justice.. they are from your heart and soul. I have one of these beautiful creatures and she adds such "Grace" to my home. With starting your business up once again.. I see you've added one of the most precious ingredients.. little Katie! She brings a special touch to your life and her friendship shines brightly from your smile. What a gift she brings to you!

Carol said...

Nellie...Katie really is a part of all the memories I have with Ragamuffins, my Mom, the boys, the puppies.....the list goes on and on. Thank you for your comments on my angels. You know how much I love them, much like you love each quilt you create.

Jules~ said...

I love your story about Katie. She sounds like she has been a heaven sent addition to your family for many years.

Marci said...

Everyone needs a "little Katie"! Thank God for true friends, huh?

Carol said...

Jules...I truly believe God brought her into our lives!

Marci...I thank God each and every day!

Shrinky said...

Oh Carol, this is so beautiful, your friendship and love shines through every sentance.

We too were blessed to know someone like Katie. When the children were pre-school and I was losing my mind, 'Chelle stepped into our lives. She was only 17 at the time, and that was over 17 years ago! She now has a family of her own, and is Godmother to one of our children. We have moved away and don't see as much of her as we would like now, but she is firmly in our hearts, as we are in hers.

Carol said...

Carol....So you know exactly how I feel! It's beautiful that Chelle is the Godmother to one of your children. Your story of Chelle and mine of Katie parallel eavh other! Uncanny!

blackfeatherfarm said...

Hi, I think your blog is a really nice blend of heartwarming life stories and your art. The same thing I try to achieve. I don't like blogs that are just one big commercial. Keep up the nice work !

Carol said...

Thank you so much! The "blend" is exactly what I am trying for!!

w said...

what a wonderful story. i'm so glad i came across your blog!

Carol said...

Thank you, Wendi!

Debra said...

What a sweet post!!

I love reading the post Milk, Bread and Lemonade. It made me smile b/c I understand. I lived with my Grandmother for about 2 years, she had early signs of alzheimer's. It was hard, she would ask me "Who are you again?" about 6-7 times a day. I am happy to had been able to watch and care for her then. My Uncle later put her in to a rest home. It's so hard seeing her now. She doesn't even know us that good anymore. BUT I am so thankful she is still here in body...she is now 94. Thanks for sharing your stories!!

Carol said...

Isn't it nice that you and your grandmother have those memories? It's a progressively sad disease to watch.

I know it's hard to see her now, but please keep going. When she gets to heaven....she'll remember all those visits you had with her. You're a sweet, sentimental young lady. I'm glad you stopped by.

Periwinkle Studio said...

Oh, how blessed you are to have her in your life! I am touched by your memories...thanks for sharing! :)

Carol said...

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed them!

Sam I Am said...

what a beautiful story carol :)
im eager to read more !
thanks for dropping by my blog :)
Happy Sunday :)
hugs..
sandy