Although people think I did, I did not grow up in New York City. My father began his academic career in the 50s taking whatever job he could get. So I was born in the South and spend my childhood in the Midwest and Europe. However, my grandparents did live in New York near Riverside Park and I remember, when visiting going to the park with my grandfather to feed squirrels and birds. A resident of the city myself for many years now, I have always lived just off this lovely stretch of green along the Hudson and so I really appreciated this New York Times piece about it. (Thanks to Jenny Davidson for the link.)
Lucy and I now spend hours in the park. We’ll be going there in a few minutes, in fact. Here she is in her favorite part, near the 120th Street tennis courts where a group of dogs congregate in the hours before 9 AM when they are allowed off leash. (Pre-Lucy this group unnerved me when I ran — I’d once been bitten by a dog when I ran so I never trusted these. And now I’m one of them.!)
But now there’s not Kathy and Kate any more. Which is why it is so urgent that we leave this place with Kathy and Kate on our shoulders. One on each. We’ll take Kathy’s red coat and Kate’s fabulous kimonos and wrap them around ourselves as armor. We’ll recall Kate’s chunky jewelry and Kathy’s beautiful family rings when we see a literary gem in the rough. We’ll peer over Kate’s half glasses and look at the world half full; more than half full. We’ll steal their enthusiasm, their drive, their optimism and use it to fuel ourselves. It’s uncertain times these days. Radical change is in the air. But the stories and the songs and the pictures will go on because they must go on. Our job as publishers, writers, artists, readers is to imbue our own endeavor with the fierce love of Kate and Kathy felt for children’s literature and children themselves.
From Brenda Bowen’s comments at Kate and Kathy’s memorial service. I was unable to attend and am glad that Brenda posted this. Here’s another report on the service. And here is Jennifer Brown’s moving and poetic report.