Katacha Díaz is a Peruvian-American writer. She lives and writes in a quaint little historic town at the mouth of the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest. Among the children’s books she has authored is Badger at Sandy Ridge Road for the Smithsonian Institution’s Backyard series. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The MacGuffin, New Mexico Review, The Galway Review, Skipping Stones, Route 7 Review, Coastlines, Gravel, Twisted Vine, Foliate Oak, and elsewhere.
By Katacha Díaz
“Pam died peacefully last night with her family at her side holding her hand and comforting her,” wrote my cousin Don, her older brother.
I was very sad to learn of her passing, and that I had not seen my cousin in a very long time, but I will always remember Pam. She was beautiful, sweet, witty, and a gentle soul with a passion for ice-skating in her younger years, and a love for animals.
When my family moved from Peru to the United States in May 1960, we spent several months living with her family in Winnetka, Illinois. Pam happily took her shy, bookish, and soon to be 15-year-old Peruvian cousin under her wing, and invited me to attend classes with her at New Trier High School. I jumped at the chance to do so! Cousin Pam was allowed to drive to school and we rode in style in her brand new convertible, a birthday gift from uncle Don and auntie Thelma when she turned 16. Pam was very popular at school and proudly introduced me to her teachers and classmates.
Skip, a neighbor and boyfriend, asked Pam to be his date to the senior prom, so she invited me to go shopping to Marshall Field’s in Chicago. Since it was just the two of us going on a prom dress shopping adventure, auntie Thelma called the store beforehand and made arrangements. The sales women in the formal gowns department were expecting us, so upon arrival we were ushered into a large dressing room where a number of gowns awaited Pam’s selection. A few hours later it was mission accomplished; we felt very grownup!
The night of the prom my five sisters and I, along with the rest of the family, proudly watched Pam walk down the stairs with grace and elegance. My beautiful blond cousin looked stunning in the white strapless gown. Skip looked very handsome in a tux, and was all smiles as he handed Pam a small box with a gorgeous corsage.
I have many fond memories of that spring in Winnetka. Bless, Pam. She will be missed.