by Larry, Her Dad
Despite her arrival at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Torrance on
a rainy mid-February day, Cathy has been the sunshine in our lives. From
the very start, it was clear that our first-born was going to chart a
very independent life. An early walker, she sported bruises and black
eyes for a time, a harbinger of things to come.
At fifteen months, she learned to vault over her raised crib rail
when she was supposed to be napping. The first time this happened, we
heard a tremendous crash. In a subsequent escape attempt, Cathy's
absence from the crib made Mary frantic, but she was soon discovered
asleep inside the closet.
But Cathy moved about more than her bedroom in her early years. She
knew Torrance as a home for only a few months, before we moved to
Sacramento. While I was pouring concrete for a sidewalk in our first
home there, Cathy wanted to be the first to try it out and walked
through a wet section. Fortunately we got her out before it hardened!
After only three years, my work took us to New Jersey, where Cathy
distinguished herself by setting off the fire alarm at the civic center
when she got away from Mary for a few minutes. She returned and began
clinging to Mary's skirt as the alarm sounded, the building was
evacuated and the fire department responded. Mary withheld what she knew
from the police until the statute of limitations ran out; she only told
them then so they could close the case file. Fortunately, the matter
never came up years later during Cathy's background check.
We left New Jersey after only a year (it was not Cathy's fault, of
course) and returned to Southern California, settling in La Caρada,
where she started kindergarten. Her summers were busy: once she and her
neighbor friend Kathy painted the inside of Kathy's garage while her parents
were away. This included a white paint job for the car that was parked
inside the garage. "It made sense to me at the time!" she said.
Our next move, three years later, was a quarter of the way round the
world, to England, where Cathy learned to wear a tie and a uniform to
school, a necessary concession to her independent streak. Still, she
resisted Anglicization at school by singing "God Save Your Gracious
Queen!" And she spoke British English with her
friends, but American English at home.
It was an enriching time in her life. During our four years abroad,
we traveled to fifteen countries: the British Isles, Ireland,
Scandinavia, and all over southern Europe. But the US beckoned and
ultimately we returned and settled in Newbury Park. Making the
transition back to American was not always easy for Cathy, emotionally
and academically, as it took some effort to catch up on the four years
of American geography, history, and oh yes, TV she had missed.
She matured from girl to young lady, graduating from Newbury Park
High, and moving on to UCLA, where she lived in the Co-op to save money
and reveled in the active life of Westwood. Here she became a
vegetarian, according to what is now folklore, "when I discovered that
the meat used in the kitchen was stamped USDA Grade F -- but edible."
About this time she began formulating a plan to join the LAPD, suitable
for a socially-conscious young woman who eschews desk jobs. Not too long
after graduating from UCLA with a degree in sociology she achieved her
goal, and we proudly watched her swearing-in on a sunny January day in
She took to policing like a fish to water, even though her first
assignment was keeping the streets safe in the tough Southwest Division.
"I can't believe they actually pay me to do this job," she said.
LAPD has moved her around and up, with stints at Central Traffic,
Harbor Division, and downtown LA to work on a federally-mandated audit
(ugh, a desk job, but an important one, and a job that is much safer
than patrolling the streets). During her rise, she has become a Drug
Recognition Expert, a Sergeant, and then a Sergeant II. Her work as a
DRE enabled her to meet Kirk, so in more than one way, police work has
been very good to her.
She bought her first condo in Huntington Beach a few years ago but
soon discovered that living near the beach doesnt mean you have time to
go to the beach. Last fall she upgraded to a new place in Valencia,
where she and Kirk will make their home.
Mary and I wish the best to Cathy and Kirk in their marriage.