6 years ago a good friend of mine passed away on today’s date. I saw a Facebook post from her mom this morning and it hit me hard. I had written this blog post several days after I heard of her passing and I felt the need to share it again. Kim was such a special person and life just isn’t fair sometimes.
Approximately 20 years ago, in Junior High, I first learned of this girl named Kim Grimm. I was a nerdy little 7th grader who was already 5’9″, had hideous glasses, bad hair, and just enough talent to play fairly decent basketball. She was a scrappy, skinny girl who actually knew how to handle a basketball and could shoot better than most boys AND we were in the same conference.
I’m not going to say we were fast friends or anything like that, not at this point anyway. In most rural areas and small communities, people generally know the standout players from each school within the school districts. Kim was definitely the standout player for the Riceville Wildcats. All through junior high and then through high school, we competed against each other in basketball and softball. Kim may have played volleyball and ran track, but for some reason I don’t remember.
Her team won some games and my team (North Central Falcons) won some games but I honestly don’t remember if one school was consistently better than the other. Fast forward 6 years to my favorite memory of Kim from way back then. We had both just graduated from high school and it was still summer, smack dab in the middle of softball season. It was June 28th, 1991…my 18th birthday. We were playing Riceville and Kim was pitching. Riceville was up by 1 and I was up to bat. Somehow I managed to hit the ball far into right-center field and even as slow as I was, I managed a double. I got 2 RBI’s with that hit and we were up by 1. We held our lead and won the game. As we were slapping hands with her team she grabbed my hand, smiled, and said, “Happy Birthday Holli”. How cool is that? Her team just lost and she still wished me a happy birthday. I’ll never forget it. After knowing Kim I now realize that it was simply a typical Kim response.
That fall I signed a Letter of Intent to play basketball at Waldorf College. I soon learned that one of my teammates would be Kim. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I was! I had always gotten along with Kim and I liked the idea of knowing at least one person on the team.
Playing College ball was tough for me coming from a 6-on-6 basketball experience, but Kim took right to it. She was one of those teammates who would run beside you when you needed some encouragement…and I needed it, a lot. I have somewhat fond memories of Kimmy running beside me saying, ‘Keep it up Holli. You are doing great. We are almost done.’ Not sure I would’ve made it without her.
Many, many, many more great memories of basketball. The time when I came into the locker room and Kim was wearing my bra…and I got mad at her. Everyone else thought it was hilarious, but I didn’t. Of course, Kim wasn’t the kind of person you can stay mad at for very long and we all had a good chuckle over how many pairs of socks it took to fill that bra up.
Our sophomore year and our struggle to make it to the National Junior College basketball tournament. There was this awesome picture of Kim in the Mason City Globe Gazette paper and she’s running on the court with her arms in the air, we had just won our final game and cemented our place in the national tournament; The fun that we all had staying in the hotel room in Maryland and the one in Washington DC; All of us doing the ‘Ethiopian shoulder dance’ in the middle of the court. The entire tournament experience was one that I will never ever forget. What a fantastic trip
I also remember Kim and I looking across a stage at one another as we sat on the Waldorf Homecoming court silently making fun of each other. I don’t think we believed that we were actually sitting in front of the entire school in basically a prom dress….
In February of 1997 I rode-tripped to CO to visit my sister and I stopped in Council Bluffs to visit Kim on my way. Oh we had fun! I remember going out that night and seeing some random Waldorf people that we totally hadn’t seen in years. Another good memory.
My friend Kim passed away on Friday, November 17th 2006. In March of 2000 she had been diagnosed with a blood disorder called Thrombotic Thombocytopenia Purpura (TTP). She was a dear person with a great heart. I’m sorry to say that we didn’t keep in touch as we should have however I kept tabs on her through my sister and her friends. She touched my life and I’m sure that I’m a better person for having known her. I still can’t believe that she is gone.