The words of Robert Frost may come to mind when one learns about the life of Kit P.: “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Kit has lived at KP for just over 5 years. The road here has been a winding one – full of both tragedy and triumph.
Kit was born in the area, growing up in the Forest Glenn and Wheaton region. A shy child, Kit struggled to find the right place for herself and moved to different school several times. Finally hitting her stride as she got older, Kit gained confidence through athletics. She excelled, lettering in 5 different sports during her high school career and going onto the University of Maryland where she lettered in 2 sports. Graduating with a Women’s Studies degree into a recession was a pivotal moment for Kit and she struggled to find a job. She ended up working with Meryl Lynch Brokerage. Kit aspired to work as a sales broker in a male-dominated field but was told that she needed either sales or management experience. Her manager mentioned that a few of her colleagues had joined the military to gain more experience.
Kit then realized she was living too comfortably and wasn’t feeling challenged. Joining the Navy sounded like just the right decision to move her life in the direction she wanted. She applied to officer school in the Navy and was accepted as one of their most fit female candidates in history. She was accepted into the Navy, and spent a few months visiting with friends before her class began. Then tragedy struck; she was hit by a drunk driver and broke her neck. She suffered debilitating physical and emotional stress from the accident, and after over a year of recovery she found herself again rudderless. She could not pursue her career with the Navy, and now disabled, she felt that her options were limited.
Her former colleagues at Meryl Lynch suggested that she come to work for them again. What started as a part-time gig while she was recovering turned into an 11-year career. But later, another wrench was thrown into her plans when Meryl Lynch consolidated their offices, leaving Kit with a choice between relocating or losing her job. Unable to relocate due to her disability, she found herself at another crossroads. On a whim, she started studying for the LSAT, did well, and applied to law school. Accepted to Catholic University, she began studying law and working full time, working as hard as she could. She graduated with honors in 1996 and eventually was hired at the American Academy of Actuaries legal department. Unfortunately, tragedy would strike again in 2001. On her way to work, her driver was distracted and ran a red light and their vehicle was struck by a Metro Bus. Again, Kit found her life upended by a car accident.
As she had done so many times before, Kit picked herself back up and began the long road to recovery. She continued to work, even after moving into an Assisted Living Facility with her dad, Art. Eventually realizing that she needed to slow down, she unofficially “retired” and began doing side jobs of website design and freelance graphic design. Overall, Kit says that she has had a rich and full life, although it has taken her on many twists and turns. She wants to leave us with some parting words for our KP staff: “I encourage people to take pride in the jobs that they do every day. It may seem routine, but it means so much to the residents. Never take for granted how much your attitude towards your work means to the residents here.”