~Kathryn Josephine Hess~
Attending Saint Francis of Xavier Academy was a wonderful experience for me. The Sisters gave us guidance for making our way in the world.
We girls were a family. Being together from first to twelfth grade developed bonds of friendship never to be broken. I truly give credit for my tolerance of many peoples differences in personality to our having to learn to live with and love each other no matter what. We were a small class in a small school, we stuck together through thick and thin. We were family.
After attending Hinds for a year, I was one of the first to marry. In 1961 I met my Prince Charming, Jim Simms. He was a GI at the Waterways Experiment Station, an engineering graduate of the University of Arizona. He was a native of San Diego, CA.
In 1962, he was discharged from the Army and we moved to Phoenix, AZ where he resumed his career as a fire protection engineer. Rather than take work, I traveled all over the state of Arizona with him on his job, and what an education and adventure that was. Our first son, Robert Frederick, was born in 1964 at Saint Joseph’s Hospital, a hospital under the administration of the Mercy Sisters.
Jim was transferred to Los Angeles at the end of 1965 and we moved to Monterey Park, CA. Our other two sons, William Charles and Edward James, were born in San Gabriel Community Hospital in 1967 and 1971 respectively. After eight years and many wonderful friends later Jim was again transferred, this time to San Francisco. We moved to the Bay Area and settled into a new home in Concord, CA, where we have been for the past 35 years.
Our sons attended grammar school at Most Precious Blood School, now Saint Francis of Assisi, taught by Carondelet Sisters, then De La Salle High School, under the Christian Brothers. So far Bobby has remained a bachelor living in Sacramento, CA about 70 miles from us. He is a sales representative for a contractors licensing school.
Billy married his college sweetheart Chrissy and they have two children, Melanie, 17 and Tyler, 15. They live in Woodland, CA, a suburb of Sacramento about 60 miles from us. Billy is small business loan officer for a bank.
Eddy married his high school sweetheart, Tami. They have two children, Alex, 11 and Ashley, 8. He was recently transferred from sunny Southern California to the Portland, OR area and now live in Camas, WA about 630 miles from us. (Camas is near Vancouver across the Columbia River from Portland.) Ironically, they were confronted with the coldest and snowiest winter in recent history! Eddy is a sales representative for Electrolux Appliances.
We enjoy our family and visit each as often as possible.
Although I never had to work outside the home, I was active in our children’s school and related activities. In recent years I was an administrative assistant and food stylist for a televised cooking show in our area, the “Shortcut Cook”, originating before Rachael Ray.
For 34 years Jim and I have attended a fire service related meeting every July in Tulsa or Oklahoma City. Last summer we were honored as only the third couple to receive a joint award for our volunteer service to the organization, Jim for helping to write training manuals and me for leading and supporting the social activities.
We travel often, both for Jim’s job activities, and for pleasure. In the last few years we’ve holidayed in England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, have made Hawaii a second home, and have cruised along the Mexican Riviera. In the summer of 2007 we had a sister’s reunion in Jamaica while attending Lottie’s daughter JoAnna’s wedding. In October of 2008, Buddy, Libby, Lottie and I were together for Libby’s son Gabe’s wedding in Denver. And in October 2009, we’ll all be together again for Libby’s daughter, Kathryn Anne’s wedding in New Orleans.
For most of the years that I’ve been away I’ve visited Vicksburg and my “Bunch” sisters every two years. Jim enjoys being there and seeing the girls. He has known them since they were 19 years old.
I love Vicksburg and proudly tell everyone in our many travels that I’m from Vicksburg, MS and live in California. I’m always known as a Southern Belle!
I look forward to being with all my dear St. Francis and St. Al friends.
* Attending St. Al games wearing our latest fashion of wool skirt and twinset - cheering the Flashes on!
* Seeing every Blue Streak’s game - being their most faithful cheerleader from the stands, watching Speedy (Katherine) fly by. (My baby sister, Lottie, was even a mascot for the team.)
* Dancing at Marlene’s cabin on the Lake to the music of the Platters, Elvis, Coasters, Jerry Lee, etc.
* Pallet parties at Marlene’s, confiding all our secrets and dreams.
* Dancing under the stars on our Coast trip. Sailing on the Rose Oil Yacht - sunning for that great tan.
* Playing hopscotch with Florence, Rosalie, and Emily.
* Our Sodality sending Marian to the Future Sister’s Retreat.
* Sue and I spending hours together after school.
* Admiring the latest couture fashion Mrs. Martin had whipped up for Theresa and Rita.
* Looking forward to Ina and Patsy’s Bunch Munch letters.
* Vera singing Ave Marie in our wedding.
* Spending time with Bunch Buddies, Eddie and Joe.
* Enjoying dear Lynn’s laughter and country expressions.
* Pooling our dimes for gas when “jinning” in Jackie’s little green bug.
* Becoming Ina’s godmother.
* Riding the bus to Hinds each day, best friends, with Myrtle.
* Talking the Sister’s in to allowing us to invite outsiders to our Prom and having the fabulous Red Tops play.
And the memories go on ………..
Those were the days!