Oh, The Places You’ll Go!

Feb 23, 2020

Walking on a dirt trail through the campground, following my cousin Michele to her car, I couldn’t help but think “what does she have for me that’s so important?”

She gave me a gift bag filled with tissue paper and wrapped so nicely. I told her “Michele, you already came to my graduation party and gave me a gift!” Michele replied oh so nicely “Katey, please open this at home with your parents”.

I remember feeling confused and a little nervous, but also very curious! Once my parents and I left my cousin Emily’s birthday party at the campground that day, Dad drove us all back home. I sat in the back seat staring at the gift sitting on my lap. Once we arrived home we all went inside and sat in the living room looking at this mystery gift Michele gave me an hour or so before.

I started by opening up the card. I pulled the card out slowly and saw bright, fun colors, swirling around the cover of the card. It was a Dr. Seuss card. Inside the card it wrote “Lynn had this set aside for your graduation”. It was signed by Michele, her family and my Great Uncle Larry, Lynn’s husband.

Now, my Great Aunt Lynn passed away unexpectedly three months before my graduation from UW-Stout. This gift I was about to open, she had this set aside LONG before my actual graduation day. Right then and there my heart sank. I was sad to have lost such an amazing woman but I was also a bit excited to open this gift she thoughtfully had set aside for me.

The first thing I pulled out was a little stuffed animal owl with a graduation hat, holding a diploma.

The second thing I pulled out was a box with a beautiful set of pearl earrings and a pearl necklace!

And the third thing I pulled out was a book that hit me like a ton of bricks. The book was Dr. Seuss’s “Oh, The Places you’ll Go!”

All three beautiful gifts I hold near and dear to my heart but the Dr. Seuss book is a reminder every day that I have places to go. I have things to learn, people to meet, motivate and inspire, places to visit and a world to change for the better! I do that each day knowing that my Aunt Lynn is watching over me cheering me on!

After I took the book out I handed it to my Mom and asked her to read it to my Dad and I. Because let’s be real… Dr. Seuss for sure did not write books for people with dyslexia! I mean the man made up his own words! haha

While my mom read the book out loud I remember choking back tears and being so grateful for her! I wouldn’t have been where I was that day, without her stepping in, being bold, honest and blunt, telling my parents and I that I can’t go to those other schools, I need to go to UW-Stout. A University where I will not be just a number, I will be a person and I will get the help I need with their disability services department. And boy was she right!

Thank you Aunt Lynn for believing in me! I will live each and every day pushing myself to be better than I was yesterday, helping others, inspiring and motivating everyone I come in contact with, just like you did and still do to this day! I miss you and I love you!

Watch out world, for all the places I’ll go!



  1. Larry Fortun says:

    I just read about the gift that Lynn gave u..what a awesome story..thanks for sharing.. Lynn was something special..
    She believed in u and like so many others she believed and inspired them..

  2. Lynn says:

    Beautiful story …filled with beautiful people. Keep on going Kate … Lynn would expect you to 😍

  3. Clarol says:

    Oh my, I shed quite a few . I hope I am the Aunt she was.
    How fortunate you were to have had her in your life.

    Love you

  4. Okay, Katey. You didn’t tell me about this post. I was looking for photos to go with your story about your Aunt. Now I’m crying because you spoke of her significance, you spoke of her passing, you spoke of speaking at her memorial. You didn’t tell me you got a piece of her after her passing (i.e. told in this blog post). So special. I’m glad I found it.

    • Katey Fortun says:

      Awww Sorry Vicki! I didn’t even think about this post when we were talking! I’m so glad you found it!!!! You’re so kind and thank you for caring so much!!!!

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