Remember Who Your Are with Kathleen Irvine (2009)

Printer and Book Designer: Virginia Woodruff, Editor: Susanne Kelsey

Mrs. Kathleen (Kay) Irvine was the daughter of Francis P. Matthews, who was Secretary of the Navy during the Truman administration. Kay planned to attend my writing workshop, but she was unable to do so. She and her daughter (Sharon Rome) commissioned me to help her write her memoir.


I started school a few months before my fifth birthday. Because there were only a handful of students in my class, we were combined with the second graders, so I was able to move up and begin third grade at the end of my first year. French was the official language of Duchesne. Every Monday we had an all school awards ceremony where students in each class received a medal for her accomplishments. They would wear the medals proudly during the week. At Christmastime beginning at Advent, we had a good behavior contest. There was a display that had a large flock of little lambs, one for each of the grade school and high school girls in all of Duchesne. Every day, according to how you behaved the day before, your lamb moved closer to the Christ Child. Your aim was to have your lamb by the manger at Christmas. Some lambs just never moved. It was intense experience. The first thing I did each morning was check my lamb to see if it had advanced. A student felt terrible if her lamb didn't move. There were always the same people at the end of the flock. My lamb did well because I was a good student and a well-behaved child. I was too scared to get into trouble.