Two Little Girls
I met Katie in September of 1986, when we started kindergarten at a Sacremento, CA area school.
I can't say we were the best of friends during the two years I knew her, but she was definetly
a part of my friendship circle. Though Katie was likely a victim of emotional and physical
abuse, it was much more clear she was a victim of terrible neglect...always dirty, always
hungry (instilling a feeling of obligation in many little girls to share their lunch, for she
never had any lunch money, nor had her parents bothered to file the papers with the school so
she could get a lunch ticket so she could have lunch free.), hair never brushed, tattered, worn
out clothes. And no one bothering to collect the artwork or number lines once open house or
parental conferences rolled around. As with my family, Katie's parents were both alcoholics.
One day in the Spring of '88, my mother had some news for me. Katie's mother, drunk, had gone out
the other night with Katie and her sister Jessica, driving alongside the Sacremento River...out
of control until she hit a pole. Jessica sustained surious injuries from the intial crash.
Katie wasn't wearing a seat belt when her car door opened on impact. She fell out of the car,
and directly into the River where she drowned.
My last memory is the pity party thrown for Katie's mother, with the class having to sign a
sympathy card. My arms stiff and straight as a rod, colder than cold, misleadingly emotionless,
as that wretch threw her arms around me and wept. I HATED that woman that day. I hated her
because she was a murderer, and I hated her because inside her I saw my father, and my own
Kassandra's parents were both drug addicted. She lived a few trailers away, (She was five when
she first moved in) and I knew her through smaller girls (I was 11 at this time) that I and
friends babysat and sometimes played with. My father knowing what her family atmosphere was
like, he (very hypocritically since he was of course, hardly a harbinger of domestic harmony)
warned me against going to her house.
I did pay at least one visit, and was disgusted how her father could HIT her with all his
might and turn around and caress, coo, and praise her two year old sister Markie. Her parents
got into a furious verbal fight...and Kassandra pleaded with them to hand her a bag of
marshmellows, with someone eventually tossing them out the door and onto the ground. Not long
after, I heard the clear as day sounds of Mark (her father), choaking Dorothy, her mother. Soon
Mark appeared at the door and ordered me to leave, and I did. I suppose it got worse for
Dorothy and Kassandra from there.
Mari and Irma, who played with Kassie, came to us one day in tears...Mark was at it again.
She'd done absolutely nothing to provoke him, but now he held her, and swung her head first
into the trailer door, again and again. I am still furious to have to say, no one called the
After about a year of blowing welfare checks on drugs and other irresponsible purchases,
Kassandra's parents failed to pay their rent one last time and the family was evicted. I never
saw them again. If all is well, Kassandra should be a young woman of 19. Kassandra, if you are
reading this, I think a lot of ya hon, and I really hope you're ok, considering the
As Waters Passing By > Katie and Kassandra's Stories