In the kitchen with Kitty, making new memories

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I learned how to crack an egg at Kitty’s house. I was maybe 10 years old, staying overnight on a weekend. I said I wanted to learn to cook someday. Kitty’s mother decided we could all make brownies together.

I was so nervous as Kitty’s mom stood beside me. She instructed me how to gently chip the shell, inserting my thumbnails into the crack to release the egg white into the waiting bowl.

It was at that moment I noticed I had dirt under my thumbnail. I didn’t say anything, but I was so embarrassed. I don’t remember anything about the brownies beyond that.

That memory has been vibrant in my mind these last several months since Kitty and I are back in the kitchen, 50 years later. We are building memories again after decades of being apart.

Kitty Hawk Loewen is a dedicated volunteer in our Free Takeouts at Norwood ministry. Since she started working with us, she hasn’t missed an opportunity to chop vegetables, serve coffee, spoon out salad, bag up sweet potatoes, and yes, crack eggs. It is a joy to be with her, to experience her kindness and friendship again.

We grew up together. One of my earliest memories is a big birthday party in her front yard. We were basketball, track and volleyball teammates, and then we went to the University of Tennessee together. We went through Sunday school classes and youth fellowship at Wheeler United Methodist Church in Blountville, Tennessee, the same place where Kitty later had her wedding.

I remember vividly her love of John Denver tunes and the reality that boys liked her more than they liked me at Buffalo Mountain Camp. Kitty beat me at everything – at track meets, in her report card – even in essay contests. Because I had already decided to be a journalist in 6th grade, I thought I should at least be better at writing!

After college, we went our separate ways for many years, although our parents kept us informed of each other through their greetings at church. We both ended up back in our college town, Knoxville, Tennessee, where we raised our children and attended separate United Methodist churches.

Through Facebook and a rare lunch or dinner together, we slowly reacquainted. When I started posting photos of a meal ministry that my husband and friends were involved in at Norwood United Methodist Church, it didn’t take long before Kitty and I ended up in the kitchen together again.

Kitty’s mother, Dot Hawk, is in her 90s now. I haven’t mentioned yet that Mrs. Hawk was a home economics teacher for many years. I was her student as a young teen at Holston Junior High, where I learned more about cooking and always kept my fingernails clean.

Today, May 3, is Kitty’s 60th birthday. I finally beat her at something. Five months ago on December 27, I reached age 60 ahead of her.

Happy birthday, Kitty. I’ll see you on Friday in the kitchen.

Kitty (#24) and me (#23) on the Holston Junior High girls basketball team, 1976 in Blountville, Tenn.

Kitty and me after our free takeout breakfast, Norwood United Methodist Church, Knoxville, Tenn., April 25, 2021.

Write to me at annettespence@holston.org.

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