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Opinion: Remembering Kary

For The Madera Tribune

Kary, the sister I never had.


I am gloriously happy October has finally arrived. It is by far, in my humble opinion, the very best month of the year. Autumn is in full swing. And the leaves are turning colors as mother nature prepares for her long sleep.

In Cali, we don’t really get what our fellows on the east coast call winter. The warm weather is one of the reasons people flock to the west coast.

My mother’s people came to Madera from Indiola, Oklahoma, in 1929. Escaping the dreaded Dust Bowl, I can imagine that migration must have resembled the one made on television by the Beverly Hillbillies.

My people came here to find jobs to feed their ever-growing families. She was proud to say we were rich Oakies because we had two mattresses on the top of her grandpa’s car.

I can’t imagine the hardships the Kirk and Hawkins suffered on that long drive. My mom’s baby brother was conceived along the way so it wasn’t all bad. Why and how my family ended up in Madera is probably a family legend I have long since forgotten.

What I do recall is my grandfather helped to build the old Church of Christ on Central and B streets. That congregation now worships at the Church of Christ on Sunset Avenue.

The fellowship hall of the church is where I hosted the receptions after my parents died. Daddy is buried in a family plot at Arbor Vitae Cemetery. My mom fulfilled a lifelong dream when her body went to UCLA Medical School. Her desire was to have scientists study the effect of diabetes on bipolar disorder.

On Saturday my cousin, the sister I never had, should be celebrating her 64th birthday. Unfortunately, she died many years ago.

I am a great one to remember the birthdays of those I love. The day they died is not something I keep track of. Mainly because it hurts too much.

My cousin Kary was born an old soul. Although she was two years younger than me, she always seemed to have things figured out long before I did.

She was pretty and popular in high school and served as head pep-girl.

She enrolled in work experience her senior year putting her business machine classes to good use.

She would leave school during lunch hour, borrow my mom’s car and drive to the glass plant where she interned. Mom lived in a duplex on the corner of South N Street and Olive Avenue. What a great place to park for a Coyote football home game in Memorial Stadium.

After high school, Kary went to 4-Cs Business School. After graduation, she worked at a large real estate company in Fresno.

Kary came for a visit the week before she died. I was home sorting out an Avon order, which was my side job.

She spent the day and we laughed and cut up like we did when we were girls.

Oh, how I wished I’d known that it was our last visit. Just a few days later she was gone.

Growing up we always spent our birthdays together. My birthday has never been the same since then. This year will be extra hard, as I’m sure you’ll understand. Everything is extra hard these days.

According to Rose Kennedy, “It has been said time heals all wounds. I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time the mind (protecting its sanity) covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.”

Grief is the price we pay for love.

Long days and pleasant nights. Have a blessed weekend.

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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.


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