We lost Katie Evans a year ago today. I want to mention her here because if this blog is about writing, and art, and life, it is inevitably about grace, and no one exemplifies this trait more than Katie. Sure, she had the credentials of generosity—Peace Corps volunteer, M.A. in Public Health, AIDS and Family Violence Outreach Project Manager in Romania—but it was her spirit that most impresses.
I got to know Katie all at once. I first met her and John in Miami, at the orientation party for FIU’s creative writing program. Afterwards I emailed my mom: "There seem to be at least two normal people here. John went to NU too—though we never met there—and Katie grew up near Chicago, which I could tell right away. Not just her accent but her warmth and comfort in her own skin—that down to earth attitude that manages to accept whatever might happen yet still laugh about it.”
I say I got to know Katie all at once because a week after our brief party meeting, she and John invited me to sort of, well, move in to their apartment. Hurricane Ivan was on its way, and they invited me and another newly arrived grad student to hole up with them while the storm passed overnight. I was grateful to have company instead of sitting in my still unfurnished apartment, alone.
During those three LONG days, Katie remained positive. She always found something to laugh about—the TV newscasters trying to report in a downpour, the flying coconut warnings, her and John’s often-conflicting taste in music. She made me feel, though I knew it couldn’t possibly be true, that by camping out in their spare bedroom and making a mess in their new apartment, I was the one doing them a favor.
If you’re reading this and you’d haven’t in some way been touched by Katie, it’s only because she hadn’t got to you yet. You can read more about her and her life here:
Katie Memorial Foundation
How to Like It (John's Blog)