I have a lot of friends from my past. I seem to lose touch with them. I have reconnected some of them through Facebook more recently, and that has been great, but I still haven’t reconnected with a lot of them. In this case, this friend was my colleague and boss while I was at the South Pole in 1994-1995. Her name was Kathie Sharp.
In 1994, I was in between meteorology jobs, when I an ad in the magazine “Weatherwise” caught my eye. It talked about being a weather observer at the South Pole. I applied, and as it happened, the person that was supposed to winter over for that year, had just quit to take another job. I needed a passport, so I got the ball rolling, and Antarctic Support Associates of Englewood, CO invited me out to be interviewed. That’s where I met Kathie. She was to be the senior meteorologist for the winter. She interviewed me a couple of times during the day that I was in the ASA offices, as well as be 3 other people. By the end of the day, I was hired and I had a lot of things to do in the next two months (physicals, paperwork, etc.). Everything clicked. I could and have made remarks that this is where God wanted me. Too many things that happened that it couldn’t be coincidence. In fact, Kathie also being a Christian was one of the reasons that I got the job.
During the interviews, I was asked what I do if I got depressed or lonely, something that happens during the Antarctic winter season when you are down to only 28 people on the station. I said something about my faith bringing me comfort and strength. So one of the other interviewers got a little worked up, afraid that I was some “Holy Roller,” and would be in other people’s faces about my faith. Kathie fought for me in the meeting. I was re-interviewed about my faith and had some questions asked about it, which I didn’t notice, as being out of the ordinary, until in discussion with Kathie in the middle of the winter, she told me about it.
So from October 26th, 1994 until November 5th, 1995, I was at the South Pole station in Antarctica. There was a hectic “summer period” then in Feb, 1995, the last of the summer people left us 28 souls for the winter-over period. The 28 of us, I would say were like a dysfunctional family that were cooped up too long after a blizzard. Kathie and I were to launch balloons, do weather obs, etc. and she was kind of a big sister to me the of the newbies. First time at the pole and I was wintering over. We butted heads a few times, but we were pretty decent friends along with Chris the Sci-tech.
I, unfortunately lost touch with everyone. The last time I talked to anybody was in 2001, when I went to Boulder to radar class. I was able to Call Chris and his dad, Cleve, who I also knew from “Pole.” We talked about some of those we knew from the crew and where they were, but for the most part that was the last time I talked to anyone from my winter-over year. I have done Google searches and Facebook searches. I reconnected with a few on Linked In, and Facebook, but Kathie eluded me.
However, I did run into a website a some years ago that is dedicated to the South Pole Station, by an “ex-polie.” I got on the site every few months to see who is wintering over, and see who is blogging so that I could subcribe to it and . Since the new crew arrived for this season, I went to that site the other day. As I scrolled through the news before looking at the blogger list, I noticed this little link.
Sorry, I didn’t get a chance to reconnect with you Kathie. You will be missed.