It also explains why she spells Kathy with a K, rather than a C.
Kathy equates Rainey Hill as being close to her heavenly home. She wrote the last chapter first.
“It ties in the Old South, but I think it also probably has to do with my brother, Dudley Jr., who was the only grandson,” Kathy said. “He talked about it being a safe place, a heavenly place. I thought it was Tara from ‘Gone with the Wind.’ I always pictured it as the Old South with lots of cotton fields. I think it was an idealic life with an abundance of food, crops and love.”
The house sat on about 100 acres. It’s owner, her grandfather, Thomas Benjamin Rainey, was a judge, lawyer, school superintendent and state legislator in Georgia. Kathy never saw him, but has seen photographs of him. He died shortly before she was born.
The book was written in four parts. The first part has some of Kathy’s stories about her family. The second is called “Love, Life and Literature.” The third describes her years of teaching, and the fourth describes her walk toward Eternity.
Kathy said it’s nothing short of a miracle that she lived through her near death experiences.
“I’m not preachy in the book,” she said, “but walking toward Eternity is my take on how I became a Christian. The Lord has saved my life twice. The thing is I didn’t know what God was going to do with me because I was such a rascal when I was younger. It’s a very humble book. I love to laugh and there are one liners that remind me of the writings of Fannie Flag. I don’t know where they came from, although I have a huge sense of humor. I was zinging those one liners.”
The book talks about her loss of five loved ones.
“William had gone to a Jax State basketball game when I wrote about my dad,” she said. “I cried as I wrote. He died when I was 16, but I seemed to need to grieve for him much later. All these things about people had to come out. The bottom line is I’m a huge story teller, and if you’ve ever been around me, you know I’m going to tell you a story. Most of the time, they’re funny, but sometimes, they’re poignant.”
Kathy, a retired school teacher, was born into a family of teachers. Her mother taught school as did all of her mother’s sisters. She had taught 36 years when she retired from Kitty Stone Elementary School two years ago. Twenty-five of those years were spent teaching gifted students.
Kathy and her husband, William, have been married 51 years. William is a retired petroleum equipment salesman. They have two children and six granddaughters. Their daughter, Denise Weiser, lives in Gulf Shores. Their son, Bill, lives in Weaver. Denise’s daughters are Love Marie, 19; Grace Glory, 16; Goldie Petra, 15; Sabbath Day, 13; and Olive Pearl, 12. Bill’s daughter, Whitney, is 21.
Kathy was born and reared in Anniston and graduated from Anniston High School. She and William have lived in Jacksonville 10 years.
She has a bachelor’s and two master’s degrees from Jacksonville State University. She taught at four schools in Anniston before going to Kitty Stone Elementary School where she taught gifted students 15 years.
Kathy didn’t set out to teach gifted students. She was asked to by the special education director in Anniston (at that time), Rebecca Fearon.
“I think I was probably asked because I approached teaching in a different kind of way,” said Kathy. “I think my boss saw that. This is what I have to say about my teaching. It was never a job. It was always a joy.”
Kathy has taught Sunday school since she was 19. She’s taught the Anna class at Parker Memorial Baptist in Anniston for the past 20 years.
Her parents are the late Dudley and Allene (Rainey) Ward. Her mother was the inspiration for the book.
“When I think about my mama, I think about how she instilled in all of her children and grandchildren a love of reading,” said Kathy. “She was 43 when she had me, and my daddy was 46. I was the baby of the family. I have a passion for the written word. I read anywhere from one to three books a week.”
Kathy is the only child in her family not born in Georgia. Her parents moved to Anniston when her father was hired to work in explosives at Anniston Army Depot. Her mother worked there as a secretary and mechanic (in place of the men who were at war).
Kathy has written a children’s book that hasn’t been published yet. She’s currently working on a short story, “Mama’s Kitchen.”
“When you walked into my mama’s kitchen, there was a haze of flour in the air, because she was always making biscuits,” said Kathy. “She usually had something on the stove cooking.”
Kathy is member of Delta Beta Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, an honorary society for teachers, the Writers’ Club of Calhoun County, the Circle of Influence at her church, and volunteers with Interfaith Ministries during the Christmas Clearing House season. She enjoys working in her garden.
To purchase a book, send $14 which includes postage/large envelope to Kathy at 223 Belmont Circle SE, Jacksonville 36265 or contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kathy will sign her book the last of August or the first of September at the Anniston Public Library on the second floor. The date has not been determined, so she will place an advertisement in The Anniston Star and The Jacksonville News soon to notify every one of the exact date of the book signing.
Contact Margaret at email@example.com.