In this scene, little Kitten learns to tie her shoelaces, which is a challenge for many people, but remember that she has to do it with only one hand.
A few weeks later, Miss Kimiko taught her to tie her own shoes. Mama had tried for years to teach her, but she had not had the right techniques and tools to help Kitten master this task.
“Hi Maneki Neko,” Miss Kimiko said to welcome Kitten. Maneki Neko meant lucky cat in Japanese. When Miss Kimiko spoke those words, Karen’s heart always lit up.
“Hi, Miss Kimiko,” Karen replied with her biggest smile. Miss Kimiko allowed Kitten to call her by her first name because there was a warm bond between them. Karen would always treat her with dignity and respect, just as she treated Karen.
“I am so glad to see you, today, Kitten. You are looking chipper, as always!”
“That’s because I’m here to see you, today!” Karen replied. “Am I still going to learn how to tie my shoes?”
“Ah, yes, you sure are. You are going to be the best shoelace tier in the greater L.A. area,” she kidded.
“What are we waiting for?” Karen asked in an imitation of Mr. Hinton’s voice. Miss Kimiko knew Mr. Hinton, and they both laughed.
Quietly settling Karen into a chair at the table, Miss Kimiko put a square of plywood in front of her. It had a leather shoe stapled to it, so that Kitten could practice tying her shoelaces without bending over to the floor.
“You take the two ends of the shoe laces, fold them over and under twice until nice and tight. Then you make one rabbit ear…”
Karen listened and watched carefully. After several tries, she mastered the skill of tying her shoelaces, and so Miss Kimiko taught her many of the basic skills of independent living.
Original Text ©2022, Karen Lynn-Chlup. All rights reserved.