A daily record of gratitude; from quilting to photography to a mix of technology, books, movies and the musings of life!

Welcome to my Blog of my daily gratitude and photo of the day!

Since January 1, 2012, my goal is to write a daily sentence or two (or paragraph or two) about gratitude of the day and to include one photo (at least) that I took that day (but will add others from time to time). It has definitely been a challenge most days throughout the past eight years, and welcomed the challenge again this year - 2020 - Covid and all. I hope you will continue the ride with me!

Friday, June 12, 2020

#CelebratingOthers with the Most Enthusiastic Cleveland, Ohio Sports Fan: Kathy (Zupancic) Gregory and Rhodes High School Class of 1980!

It was just like being back in the neighborhood when Kathy and I chatted about what she's been up to...and more "specifically" the last 40 years. You see, Kathy lived a street over and about 10 houses down from me. We played all summer long, rode our bikes and swam in her above ground pool, all the while singing ELO and Queen anthems at the top of our lungs. Ah, the good old days, right?

Kathy was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, to Norman and Carol (both deceased) with an older brother John (lives in Georgia with three children) and younger brothers (twins) Dennis and Danny, who are both married and live in the Cleveland suburbs. We all hung out together in our neighborhood, with the same childhood friends, where everyone looked out for everyone else. It was just that kind of place.

Kathy attended the same Cleveland Public Schools as me, and we also went to the same college; Bowling Green State University. We also lived in the same dormitory (on different floors). When we spoke, she mentioned a few of her roommates that I still remember to this day (and Kathy still keeps in touch with too.) It was good sharing our memories about those by-gone days and all the fun living the "dorm life."

But Kathy, who loves the beach and ocean, and her favorite color is blue (like the ocean), decided that after two years at BG, she wanted to try something else. She tried Dental Assistant School, worked at Blue Cross and Blue Shield in claims, but ultimately married one of our classmates, Todd Gregory, on November 28, 1987. Due to Todd's military commitment (US Navy, enlisted), that meant once married, they lived on either the East or West Coast during his career (Todd retired after 20 years in 2006 but continues to work as a civilian in basically the same job as in the Navy). Incidentally, Kathy mentioned that she and Todd were in the same Kindergarten class at Benjamin Franklin E.S., but began dating several years after we graduated from high school; but can't we think it was "fate," or romantic, for them to be together since they were five years old?

Military wives learn quickly to make friends no matter where they live, and it was no different for Kathy. They lived once before on the West Coast when first married, then in Connecticut, and since 1997, have made their permanent home on the West Coast, working and residing in Bremerton, Washington. 

Their only child, Brianne, was born in August of 1989 much to the delight of her parents. When I asked Kathy the greatest gift she ever received, she said the birth of her daughter, as she was only able to have one child. Their relationship was built on trust and abundant love and today Kathy revealed that Brianne is her best friend. 

Through the years, Kathy realized that she's been a teacher all along (she loves working with kids), certainly with Brianne and her friends, but more importantly, Kathy has worked for 20 years with the Bremerton School District as a paraeducator, and is so nimble in the elementary school (K-5) where she teaches, that she shares her knowledge and know how to wherever the principal needs her most. Working in the schools certainly helped her with raising Brianne, as they had the same schedules for the most part (and when Dad -Todd was at sea.)

Kathy, a great athlete, continued the tradition by introducing all sports to Brianne as a youngster; with Volleyball the obvious "winner" for Bri. Brianne excelled at this sport, and Kathy was her biggest fan from the sidelines, along with many other devoted VB moms and their girls. She said she loved traveling with Bri's teams and bonding with the other girls and their moms who Kathy said are still very close to this day. 

In 2015, Brianne (a certified school counselor) married a wonderful young man name Joe, and they "gave" Kathy another greatest gift with a granddaughter, named Lia, born in August of 2019. Lia is the light of Kathy's life, and was giddy to announce that she is taking a leave of absence this coming school year to take care of her granddaughter. She said she is wildly blessed by this and hopes it will become a strong bonding experience with her cute Lia! I think we all know it will!

Kathy, and Todd, are also dog lovers and currently have just one (they usually have a few); Cocoa, a mutt. But could it be Kathy's love of "dawgs" that has encapsulated her to be one of the Greatest Cleveland Browns Fan; greatest Cleveland Indians Fan, and Greatest Cleveland Cavalier Fan? Kathy rocks the colors of every Cleveland sports team and fiercely cheers for them from 3000 miles away in the State of Washington. I've been to Browns games with Kathy, and I'm not kidding! She loves cheering for the hometown team no matter where she lives, which includes her listening to Cleveland Sports Talk and Coverage; ESPN, and during each season, meets up with other Browns/Indians/Cavs Backers at various sports bars near her home. She is no fair weather fan I can tell you that!  She is so emphatic, in fact, that she has turned lifelong Washington folks into Browns fans (except when they play the Seahawks..ahem).

So, if Kathy is not cheering on her favorite Cleveland team, or spending time with family, you can find her at the beach, or in her garden (she loves plants, flowers and grasses.) Mt. Rainier is a four hour drive away, and Kathy said it's like practically being in her "backyard." She plans to visit the area this summer (Mt. Rainier, if you can recall, erupted during our senior year of high school in 1980). 

It was so fun catching up with Kathy (and Todd), and I wish them both competitive "cheering" seasons with their favorite sports teams...anything that has a  Cleveland, Ohio, sports team in it for sure.

And lastly, when I asked Kathy for her favorite quote; she quickly stated: "It is what it is."

BSoleille! The bright side of #CelebratingOthers with Kathy Gregory, Cleveland, Ohio's biggest sports fan!


Photos shared by Kathy; below in one of her happy places! Beach...

Joe, Bri and Kathy

Lia and Kathy in Honolulu

Bri, Joe, Lia, Kathy and Todd - all Browns Fans!

Kathy with her brothers Dan and John and their Dad Norm

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