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Love from Dad on Cathy's 50th


 In the old days,


In the last century,


It often snowed in April in Connecticut;

So we were only a bit surprised

That April sunshine sparkled from

A new four inch snowfall as we drove

To New Haven that Thursday morning.


It’s where I drove every weekday.

But this day was not everyday.


I skipped classes that day--Spenser, I think,

... and Economics.

(I can hear Cathy telling Tony, “I knew he skipped Economics!”)


That morning, like the green daffodils shooting

Up through the snow,

A very small flower burst into our world. 


Everything about her frightened me--

Her tiny size, her cries, and her fragility--

The lifelong implications of responsibility.


Her baby fevers brought convulsions

Many trips to the ER.

I calmly panicked, a scene repeated, repeated and repeated later, often from afar.


Independent early, she managed school and chores and strife,

Picked berries, cleaned her room and played the fife;

In fact, took charge of nearly every aspect of her life, 

And early Cathy learned to care for others.

Then as she grew, we herded cats together,

Some of them her brothers.


We’ve traveled some together on vacation oft as not:

Ate rusty carrot cake on Ocracoke one August very hot.

She took me up to Catskill Game Farm

One fine Father’s Day in June,

She’s waited on the Jersey Pike while

the Peugeot they did tune,

When I took the kids to Nantucket July the 4th without a reservation?

She rolled her eyes and shook her head, yet never gave up in frustration.


Katadhin’s heights we conquered, Kejimkujik’s waters tamed.

Twenty years ago saw the Galapagos, Quito and mountains near it.

In recent years she’s been with us to Africa--in spirit.


She traveled all alone, though, to Burlington for college

And boldly went to Austria to gather foreign knowledge.

The Phi Beta Kappa key she earned at Storrs unlocked no doors, she knew

Her skills, hard work, her grit and brains would see her through.


At ten Cath got her picture in The Courant selling lemonade

Years later INC and Wall Street Journal praised her skill in making trades.

Now, Wordsworth, Billie Holliday, and Francis Ford Coppola

James Garner, Janis Ian, Jackie Chan and Russell Crowe,

Are among the other famous people born on April Seventh too.


Yet director, actors, singers, Romantic poet named above

Haven’t given us anxiety, excitement, drama, joy and love

Like Cath, that tiny flower, little miracle of the snow

As we’ve watched her bloom and blossom to the woman

We now know.


                 Frederick Dudley,  April 9, 2010

Keep Cathy's Bright Light Shining


Donate to CCALS today!


We hope to raise $100,000 in Cathy’s name for the CCALS Education and Retreat Center in Falmouth, MA.  Please join us in fulfilling Cathy's wish to help others as they live with this disease. 

Thank you!


Cathy’s own “Three ‘R’s’"


Cathy is the first and only family member who is a Phi Beta Kappan, so it seems logical to consider what might have been Cathy’s personal version of a concept dating back to St. Augustine.  In her case, rather than ‘readin’, writin’, and ‘rithmetic’, I would suggest Respect, Resiliency, and Resolve as three of the key characteristics that defined her approach to life, informed her life-long educational philosophy, and were central to her spirituality.   Here are only a few examples, big and small.  Read More>


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