Beautiful people: Kathypalooza

My sister Kathy approached the occasion of her 50th birthday party with unfettered glee.

She mingled, hugged, high-fived, sang, chatted, reminisced, tasted, sipped, posed, and, utterly unfazed by the number on the top of her cake, happily wished as she blew out her candles. Unsure which of her favorite two outfits she should wear, Kathy chose both, changing, Kardashian-like, midway through the festivities.

Billed as a recreation of a party that had landed Kathy and her friends in some trouble 33 years ago, Kathypalooza turned out to be a celebration of joy.

“This is how we do family,” Kathy’s stepson Traveain (DJ Tra) said as he supervised the music.

And, that’s exactly how it felt.

Friends and family flew in from each coast, drove up, down, and from across the state to celebrate with her.

Classmates, some of whom denied being at the original party, some of whom proudly owned their role in the original party, and several of whom glanced nervously at our mother, their still-miffed high school English teacher Mrs. Kostelnik, as they reminisced, gathered to toast lasting friendship.

In-laws, out-laws, nieces, nephews, godchildren and the ageless Granny Thelma all made the trek to toast Kathy’s milestone.

I’ve chronicled Kathy’s health journey pretty thoroughly on this blog, so let me just say that, given her all of that and her determined joie de vie, it was especially fun to celebrate a milestone birthday with a sister who, apparently better than any of us, knows how to enjoy a good party.

The older we get, the more we all understand the fleeting nature of life and the genuine privilege of joyful moments.

I’ll close with a version of this song I first heard when Mira Bhayroo, then six-years old, sang it to us with a delightful South African accent.

Happy birthday to you. May your dream all come true. May you always walk in sunshine. Happy birthday to you.

P.S. I may have taken a photo or two…

A gathering of friends/suspects from the original party.
Kathy, two judges, and Appleton PD officer Tom Poss, who gifted Kathy with a bottle of 19 Crimes wine and an APD badge.
Brenda, who opened the door at the original party, her husband Lee, who may or may not have been at the original party, and the birthday girl.
The Biskupic clan and the birthday girl (left to right Steve, Nancy, Elaine, Kathy, Donna and Cary).
Kathy and two of her nieces, Hannah and Olivia.
Kathy’s husband Keith and the ageless Granny Thelma.
We all love Mrs. Wiz, but Kathy especially does as Mrs. Wiz pleaded Kathy’s case and convinced my parents to let her go on a trip to Spain with her class following the big fiesta.
DJ Tra handled the music. “This is how we do family,” he said.
Kathy and Granny Thelma, who is Traveain’s grandmother.
Kathy and friends Tina and Lonzie
My mom and her friend and fellow XHS parent Christina Winch.
The dessert table.
Sister in-law Robin and Kathy.
Making a wish..
Kathy and her nephew Michael, who drove in from Indianapolis.
Kathy and Molly.
Kathy and Moi.
Kathy and Brenda.
Goddaughter Katherine and Kathy.
Grandma Peggy/Mrs. Kostelnik/Mom and Kathy
Kathy and Vince.
My siblings and me.
A classic photo bomb by our niece Erin.
Sarah Simon and Kathy.
Kathy and her husband Keith.
Two Biskupic sisters and the Finleys.
Ah the lovely Fowler sisters.
Dave, John, Kathy. Two of these people were at the original party.
Jameela, Shakeela, Ameera, Kathy and Terrell. They call her GK.
With their mother/aunt Trenette.
Kathy and Shara, Traveain’s mother.

6 thoughts on “Beautiful people: Kathypalooza

  1. Thank you to the beautiful people who planned and co-hosted this amazing party – Laura, Vince, Jenny, Brian, Mike, Robin, and my mom. Adding Darboy Fried Chicken to the menu was genius.

  2. I had a great time celebrating this milestone withe the bravest and most courageous young woman I know. I enjoyed meeting Keith’s family, especially Keith’s son, Traveain. He did an awesome job with the music. Thelma doesn’t look old enough to be a grandmother, yet she told me she is a great grandmother. Is the fountain of youth located in the Milwaukee water supply?

  3. Thank for including me in this celebration for one of the most courageous people I know. I had a great time.

  4. Happy 50th Birthday Kathy! We were so sad to miss out, but Husker and I were there in spirit! I love these pictures, how fun to be surrounded by the many people that love you. Let’s keep celebrating and I will plan a gathering in September.

    Wishing you nothing but the best as you begin this new decade. Sending you a big hug!

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