1967: Duke Gardens and a wristwatch

In the very early spring of 1967, the year Kay turned 10, her nuclear family – her mom and dad, her older brother, and her – moved away from St Joseph, Missouri, where Kay had been born and raised up to that point, to Durham, North Carolina, over a thousand miles away. They left behind a big extended family of aunts and uncles and cousins, friends from their neighborhood and friends from school, and, hardest of all for Kay, her paternal grandparents. The move was somewhat sudden, and the reasons for it were murky, mysterious, grown-up reasons, which to Kay meant they were not really reasons at all, but angry secrets involving raised voices, slammed doors, hidden tears, and strange silences.

Shortly after the move, and just in time to celebrate Kay’s 10th birthday, her grandparents made the journey to North Carolina to visit them in their new home, and for a full week the whole family did all kinds of fun, tourist-y things, a welcome respite for Kay from not just the painful homesickness and the strangeness of everything new, but also from the boring business of unpacking.

When they visited Duke Gardens in Durham, Kay and her brother posed with their Grandpa for a photograph in front of the famous terrace gardens. Kay’s Grandma and Grandpa had given Kay her first wristwatch for her 10th birthday gift, a very big deal back in the day, and you can see her proudly wearing it in the photo: a tangible sign of her double-digit, big-girl status, one foot still firmly planted in the childhood, the other tentatively stepping out towards that murky mysterious land of grown-ups.