Murdo Girl…Kitty Reynolds

Do you remember all of the times I wrote about Kitty Reynolds in my little Murdo Girl stories? When I gathered all of those stories about my memories of growing up in Murdo and put them in a book, I didn’t have a single picture of Kitty. Thanks to my cousin, Mark, I now have two. I couldn’t believe it when I opened the envelope and saw her again after fifty-four years. I was only fourteen when Kitty moved away.

My first memories of Kitty go back to before I started first grade. She made all of my Easter dresses, most of my school outfits, my baton twirler outfit, and my long red formal. She made countless dresses for several of the ladies in Murdo, including my mother. She also made clothes for quite a few other children in town.

Of course Kitty made the infamous twinsie skirts for Mom and me, the twirler dresses (I’m pretty sure she made those for the high school twirlers, too) and the long red formal. She made a pleated skirt which I had on in the photo with baby, Karen Lindquist. Under the skirt, I wore the petticoat Kitty made for me to wear under a yellow flower girl gown. I was going to be a flower girl in her granddaughter, Judy’s wedding. We thought I wasn’t going to be able to go, so the dress was given to another little girl, but I got to keep the petticoat, I think she made another one for the girl who replaced me. Lois Lilibridge was also a flower girl for Judy. Mom and I ended up going. I got to keep the white patent leather shoes, too.

I recall standing on a little stool in one of kitty’s upstair’s bedrooms while she pinned patterns on me. I was so excited when later she revealed the dress and I got to try it on right before she completed it. She was an extremely talented seamstress.

One of Judy Dykstra-Brown’s sisters had a costume party when she turned thirteen and Judy remembers the complete southern belle, ruffled, hoop-skirted, costume  (complete with picture hat) that Kitty Reynolds made for a friend, (Cheryl Lilibridge) to wear. It was made out of crepe paper! 

You can see the crepe paper dress second from the right in the background. Judy is Little Bo Peep. Isn’t she a cutie!
Some of the ladies Kitty played bridge with… First picture, from left, Harriet Parish, Mom, Elsa Peck and Florence Murphy…Second picture from left, Harriet Parish, Marce Lilibridge, Florence Murphy, Evie Johnson, and Mom. I believe Irma Sanderson was the photographer. 

Kitty was the first lady from the South I had ever known. I loved how she talked with her southern drawl. She dressed to the nines and wore heels even though one of her legs was shorter than the other. At least I think that’s why she walked with a distinct limp.

Anyway, Kitty was a favorite with all of the ladies in town. Between sewing, bridge playing, and going to their coffees, I’m sure she knew all of the latest gossip. She was a real hoot!

The Reynolds lived down the street from us (south of highway 16) and Kitty was one of the food swap ladies I wrote about. That’s what I called the ladies who traded the left-overs my brother had to take to everyone before we could eat our supper that night. Kitty’s specialty was ham and beans with crusty cornbread. She also made the best peach cobbler I had ever eaten before, or have eaten since. She made it with fresh peaches and homemade flaky pie crust, cut into little strips and layered inside the cobbler so you got a piece of crust with every bite. I can still see the big glass bowl she baked it in coming out of the oven in her little kitchen.

Kitty’s husband, Kelly, had a wooden leg that I was afraid of. Sometimes, when he came home from work, he would take it off and stand it in a corner by the door in the living room. Here I was, staring at this surprisingly real looking, fake leg, with a shoe and sock still on it. It looked to me like it could walk right off at any moment. I made Mom come with me when I had to go by it.

Kelly died very unexpectedly of a heart attack. One of Kitty’s daughters from Vernal, Utah came and took Kitty home to live with her. They left a day or so after the funeral. We went to Utah once to see Kitty and that was the last time we saw her before she died several years later.

The pictures below are the two my cousin, Mark Sanderson, sent to me. They were taken the day before Kitty left for Utah, in July of 1966.

I so fondly remember that lady.

Kitty Reynolds and Mark Sanderson
Kitty Reynolds – taken in July of 1966 at the home of Irma and Jeff Sanderson