This week, the conversation began with names. My maiden name is Bazzani and boy, is it hard to spell and pronounce. Well, my guest said, "When my name was Kathy Smith, I never had to spell it for anybody, but Keck, I do, although you'd not think so!" I met this great lady, Kathy Smith Keck, when I did my student teaching (at age 36) at North Montgomery. She taught me so much, and although we've gone different ways, I always enjoy talking with her whenever I meet her and we had a grand reminiscencing this time, too.

Kathy has been a big city girl most of her life, beginning in Indianapolis, and moving to Cincinnati at age six. From grade 7-12, she attended Walnut Hills, a college prep school, learning Latin in the 7th grade. That year, the student was also tested to see if he or she would be on a college prep course or a tech course. Kathy then graduated from St. Joseph Michigan High School, earned her El Ed degree, graduating from IU having a minor in Library Science and professionalizing her LS degree with classes at Purdue. While working on her grad degree, she taught 4th grade at the University School in Bloomington.

Her first teaching job was 3rd grade on the Howard AFB, Panama Canal Zone. The first rule was "Don't play in the jungle." Kathy laughingly, yet seriously noted, "I was never tempted." She told me she got ringing wet just stapling a bulletin board together. Although she enjoyed the canal zone, the Mid-West US looked good to her when she got back. Next she went to work at the downtown Public Library in the Children's Room and quit when she was pregnant with her first child. Christine just turned 40 and lives in Denver, Colorado where she is a business consultant and was just named to the Board of Good Will. Her husband, Travis Winkler, is a strategic planner and they have one (Madison) of the Keck's two granddaughters, while daughter, Beth and husband Matt Clyma have the other grand (Kate). London, England is where Beth lives, both she and Matt working for Barkley's Bank. Kathy and Bob's son, Jeff lives in Sidney, Australia and is getting married to Natasha soon. Of course Bob & Kathy are heading there . "I already got our tickets!" Jeff taught Middle School Science, P.E. and Math but is now roofing with his future father-in-law. "Thank goodness for Skype and calling cards," since all three children live so far away.

In 1979-80, Kathy taught at the Nursery School in the Presbyterian Church and in 1980-81 went to North Montgomery where she spent six years. The rest of her working time was in the Crawfordsville school system, in Gifted & Talented, Library, and her specialty, Grant Writing. She worked on the Federal Grant, the 21st Century Community Learning Centers that will expand from 2010-2018. This supports the after school programs. In retirement, she works one night a week at the Crawfordsville District Public Library, is Co-President of the local Associate Chapter of Tri-Kappa, is past Chairman of the board of the First Christian Church where she serves Meals on Wheels, does some grant writing and reads a lot. In fact, she was on such a roll giving me titles and reading ideas, it was hard to keep up. She was just finishing Julie and Julia which she loved since it's a life-affirming book. She also mentioned Divergent by Veronica Roth, and reads Janet Evanovich for fun. She and Bob, whom she met at North Montgomery where he taught Chemistry for many years, and is a history buff, listen to non-fiction on audio tapes while travelling. They particularly enjoyed Team of Rivals. He was a Scout leader for many years and has been enjoying the Lew Wallace programs. Bob currently teaches at Ivy Tech and is retiring at the end of this calendar year. More traveling to see family and going to Stuart, Florida to stay in their inherited condo is also on the list. Kathy also enjoys knitting. She made her granddaughter a lavender shrug (short sweater-type garment) that came out great and made her a dress to go with it, then a hat. Beth sent Kathy a picture of Kate with all three of her new pieces of clothes on, but lo and behold, she looked gorgeous but the hat was enormous. Certainly, that is "One of the problems of long distance grandparenting!"

One funny story Kathy shared was that Jeff was born in the new hospital here and everything went fine, but Beth, born in 1976 was born in the old Culver. The whole atmosphere was quite lax and at one 3 a.m. feeding, they brought Kathy the wrong baby. She didn't look like Beth and the little lassy was definitely too laid back for her daughter. Another topic of conversation was, "My only claim to fame is that Capt. Meedy White Shields, who founded Seymour, Indiana was my ancestor." He was instrumental in wooing two large railroads through his property, promising one Civil RR Engineer, John Seymour, that he'd name the city after him. That he did. Meedy was an officer in the Indiana Militia in the Black Hawk War, and his personal estate at the time of his death (1866) was well over $2 million. Now, she made fun of another ancestor's name, Lycurgus William (Bill) Barnes. She said that no one in the family passed that name on. She also noted she goes back to Charlemagne as do I so we laughed about having a Charlemagne reunion. Hope you've enjoyed reading about Kathy Smith Keck as much as I had a splendid time talking to her and writing about her in this week's ATC. Thanks KK!

Karen Zach is the editor of Montgomery Memories, our monthly magazine all about Montgomery County. Her columns also appear Thursday in The Paper of Montgomery County.