Hobbies, sports, and activities
Swimming in the ocean or a pool
Downhill and cross-country skiing
Camping and hiking
Riding her bike into town, to school
Painting, drawing, and creating works of art
Playing soccer and rooting for Frank's soccer team
Playing the flute and french horn in the school band
K-1st Grade, Marlett Elementary School, Manhattan, KS
2nd Grade, T.S. MacQuiddy, Watsonville, CA
3rd - 5th Grades, Salsipuedes School, Watsonville, CA
6th - 8th Grades, Hall Middle School, Watsonville, CA
9th -10th Grades (incomplete), Watsonville High, Watsonville, CA
Favorite subject in high school: mathematics (calculus)
Cathy earned excellent grades, always. When asked (age 13) how she accomplished consistent good grades she replied, "The first few days of school I figure out what the teachers want, then I give it to them. That's good for a B. For an A, I decorate the paper."
As the discussion continued, she explained that to "decorate the paper" simply meant put in the little extra effort to polish the assignment and add her own artwork to make it look nice and to show that she cared about it.
PS Reflecting on this after studying rhetoric, I see that she intuitively picked up on the classical canons: invention, arrangement, style, and delivery.
Cathy made friends fairly easily, but had a harder time maintaining relationships. Her academic intelligence and sometimes acerbic wit occasionally hurt those closest to her. However, she loved her friends with an awesome depth. I am afraid to list them now, without reviewing some records, for fear of leaving out someone important to Cathy. Eventually, I'll list her friends and link to any web sites they may have created.
Grant George Voice-over artist
Illness and Death
Doctors diagnosed Cathy's pain as extra-osseous Ewing's sarcoma. Ewing's is cancer in the bone but this cancer attached itself to the femoral nerve serving her right leg. January 1986 was a month spent in controlling her pain and arriving at a diagnosis. I remember driving past the front of the high school with her on our way home from some particularly nasty and painful nerve tests. She laughed and told me not to worry: "If I lose my leg to this, mom, I'll just be the best one legged mathematician anyone has ever seen."
From the end of January through the spring, Cathy received chemotherapy at Children's Hospital at Stanford, Stanford, California.
Over the summer, she endured radiation treatments. In August, the doctors felt that the outer layers of the honey-dew-sized tumor had been killed. They felt reasonably safe in removing it.
After surgery, Cathy was placed on monthly maintenance chemotherapy and returned to school (10th grade) in September. By Christmas 1986, we began to feel confident of recovery. In the first week of January 1987, however, Cathy became quite ill; and we learned that the cancer had spread throughout her glands. By then we knew enough about cancer to know that she would not live more than a few months.
With the help of Hospice, we accommodated Cathy's desire to be at home. Her friends visited faithfully and planned a surprise birthday party for March 16th, the day she turned sixteen years old.
To accommodate those of us who loved her and wanted to "do something" for her, she requested to see a movie, Pretty in Pink, starring Andrew McCarthy. The movie was still running in the theaters, but Cathy was too ill to go even were we to arrange a private screening. The Make a Wish Foundation became involved through the efforts of our friends. When we learned that the film company was sending a video, we were very happy. When it arrived with free tee-shirts and expressions of sympathy, we were touched. And when Andrew McCarthy called and asked to visit and deliver all these things, we were overwhelmed with the kindness and thoughtfulness of strangers.
March turned to April.
Cathy's oncologist from Stanford came to visit. Cathy was near the end, wishing for the end. And it came, the morning of April 4th. Her father sat on one side of the bed holding her right hand. I sat on the other, holding her left hand. Her brother and grandparents kissed her good-bye and waited in the living room. Cathy was not conscious nor had she been since the previous evening when we said good-night. Finally she exhaled and did not again inhale--a moment of unbelievable pain for those who loved her.
Why this web site?
It had been eleven years since Cathy died, an eye-blink ago in terms of my pain, when I decided to create this site (June 1998). Since I learned to create web pages and find a great sense of creative satisfaction in their creation, I decided on this anniversary to begin a memorial to my beloved daughter. This space is for me. If anyone else wishes to visit, fine. I plan to post more--maybe some pictures including Cathy's art pieces if I can. Her fox picture burned in a moving truck fire. I'll add from time to time.
Postscript August 2003
I haven't had the heart to update this page with the images and information I promised in 1998. Now I expect that such updates won't happen. But as I look at Cathy's picture on my wall, I know that all my internal pictures of her are still intact, where they count. The pain just never goes away, I guess.
Mom passed on May 28, 2010. She related the story (over and over) about when she told Cathy that she wished it could have been her instead of Cathy who was going through this fight with cancer, and Cathy replied so sweetly, "No, grandma. You couldn't take it." Well, mom did not have to face the kind of pain Cathy experienced, but like Cathy, mom died with loved ones surrounding her and in her own home.
August of 2010 brought Clay Rodgers, grandson #2, into our world. What a joy!
My long-time feline companion, Buster, died December 8, 2011. Somehow the idea that death is just a part of life is a lot easier to swallow when it is endlessly far away and not right in one's face all the time.
This year Cathy would have been 44. I speculate that she would have married and had children had she lived. It has been 28 years since she died. Those figures remain unreal to me. I continue to think of her every day, and I cry a little when I do. At times I allow myself permission to fully grieve, and on those days I do not accomplish much else. Most days, however, I keep distracted with teaching duties; planning my trip to California to see my grandsons, daughter-in-law, and son' and sharing in CJ's adventures in nursing school.
While my first husband, who died in Viet Nam, never knew Cathy, this page is turning into more than just a page for Cathy. Here is the Viet Nam Virtual Wall link for Jim: http://www.virtualwall.org/ds/StephensJC01a.htm
Copyright, Ida L. Rodgers, 2001
Updated February 6, 2015
Updated February 6, 2015