Remembering Kim Demick

Last weekend, shortly after having returned home to Michigan from New Mexico, where she’d moved some six months earlier, Ypsilanti artist Kim Demick passed away. While I considered Kim a friend, the truth is I didn’t know her terribly well. I think we first met at the Shadow Art Fair about 10 years ago now, after which I’d commissioned her to make something for Linette. We’d see each other after that, and we’d talk, but I never really got to know Kim well, at least firsthand. For the most part, I knew Kim through Linette, who had grown closer with her over the past several years, since the cancer diagnosis. And it was through Linette’s eyes that I came to appreciate just what an incredible woman Kim was, how fully she lived her life, and just how much people truly cared for her. It’s difficult to articulate, but, watching the way her friends came through to support her over these past several years, has been an incredibly beautiful thing to witness, and I think it’s testament to the kind of person that Kim was, her ability to connect so deeply with people, and her refusal, in spite of everything she was facing, to live her life any less fully. So, when I leaned that she’d passed, I reached out to one of her friends and offered this space, in case she, or others, wanted to share their thoughts. Following are their responses. My hope is that they convey just what an incredible woman Kim was, and to what extent she impacted the lives of those in her orbit. While her time here was brief, she made tremendous use of it, and her presence here will reverberate for a long time to come.

Marti Gulkeisen:

Kim danced through life. Her eyes, her smile, her heart–they all danced constantly. She’d waltz with strangers in a generous 1-2-3-1-2-3 of conversation–deep, graceful, without expectation–leaving them pleasantly taken aback at the unexpected empathy.

She would leave a quick note about some mundane anything–like groceries or feeding the dog–and it would be more ornate than my best attempt at calligraphy, with each letter dancing on the page. She didn’t know how to not make things beautiful.

She would sew, and the cloth, the seams, the dyed indigo patterns–they would all dance, enchanted with her, like the rest of us. No beauty was ever lost on her. She saw in a glass, or flower, or bit of old wood or metal, what many overlooked. Then she’d set it just so, with some adornment, and show how it danced to everyone.

She danced with the desert. They were both so warm, so unobviously rich–a natural pair once you see it. The Southwest was her secret darling, her mistress away from Michigan. A conflicted place where she felt at once connected with the majesty of the earth and isolated from the hearth and home up north that fed her soul.

She danced for the earth, her hands deep in the soil, and it fed her, until nothing would. Heirloom tomatoes and leafy things, and herbs I’d never heard of–they’d all dance for Kim. First as happy growing things, then on the lucky palettes of those she cared for. She would cook with amaranth or coconut or fennel and serve you a dance. Your nose would catch the tune first, then you’d watch the dishes sashay onto the table, then finally your mouth would join in and dance, too, until it grew too tired and sated to go on.

She was a darling all dolled up and would dance through the room. She was made for galas and conversation about art, music, good food and culture. And she’d shake it all night on the dance floor. She was so skilled at true dancing–not the precise steps or technique that imply dance–but the essence of moving musically and deliberately, without hesitation or self-consciousness.

She loved to move and to laugh and was so full of happiness. She’d flop her arms wild as we clomped an awkward dance in the driveway and sang to the full moon, full of joy with no need for sense. She’d sway a solemn slow dance with me when my heart was broken. Even when her heart was broken, she would be grateful and unselfish and dance through her grief with love for those around her.

Thank you, Kim Demick, for dancing with me, and with all of us. I’m so sad it’s over, but also feel so lucky to have had a spot on your dance card. I know you’re dancing with your mom now, and that she left when she did, so she’d be there for you now. I hope your soul keeps dancing now and ever after, just like it always has. I love you. I miss you.

Helen Harding:

I feel so lucky to have known Kim. I got to wear her clothes and eat her food and dance with her. I’m so thankful I got to see her amazing outfits and read her beautiful letters and listen to her describe a salad (or piece of cake or glass of wine) with such intense description. We shared plenty of meals and conversations, but what we did most together was work. You can learn a lot about a person while working side by side. We took turns being each other’s bosses—she was mine at Jefferson Market and I was hers at Eat. But no matter who was in charge, it always felt collaborative. I loved watching her move through a room. I could see how her brain worked, and it was so different from mine. She was detail oriented, but noticed and focused on things that I wouldn’t have noticed or focused on. She had an amazing amount of empathy that, I think, was rooted in the knowledge that true connection was possible in every interaction. She was exceptional with challenging catering clients. She knew how to help people feel at ease, to feel heard, to feel love even in the most mundane interaction. This made her a pretty rad co-worker as well. I met Kim when I was 15. She has been a huge influence ever since. And she will continue to be so— She’ll remind me to operate from a place of kindness and beauty and creativity and strength. She will be missed. That is certain.

David Ketchens:

Hair. For the past 15 years I had the honor of being Kim Demick’s personal hairstylist. Our first collaboration took me from simple cutter to artist. We spent hours in my apartment pouring through vintage fashion magazines combing the pages for inspiration. We settled on a cut known as the Vogue. How fitting. It’s the bubble back brought up to the nape with the sides angling longer. We would cut, sip wine, analyze in the mirror, and cut more. We didn’t stop until we knew we had a winner. Kim looked amazing. For a year after not a week passed without someone coming to my salon saying they’d seen Kim somewhere in the world and asked who cut her hair. A whole year!!!! No cut since has resonated so strongly in the world. The ladies didn’t want just her hair; they admired the whole package: Kim in her endless layers of scarves, bangles, patterned fabrics, and shiny accessories. We did many cuts through the years, but we both agreed that the Vogue was our favorite. Right after entering hospice, Kim reached out for one last cut. Her hair was tangled from lying in bed. I gently brushed out the snarls and cut a version of the Vogue for old times sake. Sadly, it was to be our final collaboration. We had come full circle. Back to the start. Hair. Just like life.

Dan Hussong:

The obvious things that we know about Kim Demick are these. She was unselfish. She was dedicated to peace and respect. She was curious. She retained knowledge. She applied and shared her knowledge.

She was healthy.

Kim Demick was open minded to all forms of artistic expression. Life excited her.

She had dreams,


She knew the meaning of a

Good connection.

Between tar –


And rubber!

I have buckets of walnuts that she collected.

We all know Kim’s love.

Kim Demick hated

The television show “Everyone Loves Raymond”.

Repeat: Kim Demick hated “Everyone Loves Raymond”.

There was a point in time where Kim and I would watch the late night television programs with Gisele on crowded couch. (Jimmy Fallon, etc.)

On a long thin couch and sometimes the floor.

We would pass out next to the remarkable indulgence of television.

At 1 a.m. the theme song to “Everyone Loves Raymond”


Would come on (END IT NOW) and it was like watching a wild woman put out a stove fire!

Without her contact lenses Kim Demick would search all of the buttons near the t.v.

In darkness and urgency -half asleep- to

Turn off the television.

She really hated “Everyone Loves Raymond”.

She, Kim Demick, said, ”Everyone Loves Raymond” made her “brain hurt.”

Her “hate” for that show got us all off of the couch and into bed at a consistent hour.

You are special to have been in contact with Kim Demick.

Margot Finn:

Two years ago, after a tough winter spent in and out of the hospital, Kim and I took a road trip to Chicago to see Sleater-Kinney. The night we arrived, we drove past a comic/zine shop she recognized and spent over an hour there, pouring over weird, wonderful artwork. At the Little Goat diner, she ordered a chocolate malt, even though she worried that it might upset her guts. She was so delighted by it, she kept insisting that I taste it again. The next day, we mapped out a route that would enable us to hit a half a dozen bakeries selling packzi. She started conversations with the other people in line and behind the counter about how ‘you think this is crazy, you should see it at the holidays because really they’re known for their raisin bread and people line up around the block’ or ‘I guess my favorite is the passion fruit, but actually we have this raspberry mazurka and if you’ve never tried it, well.’ We marveled at the mosaics at the L stop near our hotel. Even though we were running a little late to the concert, and she really needed to find a place to sit, she insisted on stopping by the merch table first to pick out a shirt for a friend who couldn’t be there. The next day, as we were packing up to leave, she said she felt like she’d been shut up in an attic and being on this trip was like someone throwing open a window. It was such a departure from the punishing routines of being sick. As we were checking out of the hotel, she tried to microwave some tea for the road in a travel mug made of metal, and flames shot out. The desk clerk who had to leap over the counter with a fire extinguisher wasn’t even mad. He apologized for her tea being unsalvageable. She tried to insist on paying for gas and apologized for every time we had to stop, as if she were some kind of burden. She was so good at finding, creating, and bestowing beautiful objects and delicious food on people, and I loved the way I experienced the world when I was around her.

Blake Reetz:

Listening to this as I think about our dear friend Kim, and the impact she made on our community. She once thanked me for never looking at her with “sad eyes” and forcing a moment. I just talked and hung out with her as I always had. That’s all I knew how to do, really. And I’m so glad she was grateful for that. I’m eternally grateful for the hours spent vibing about food trends, fashion, music, art. She knew it all, and knew it well. She hand stitched the tie I wore for my wedding out of vintage Art Deco silk, because of course she had it just laying around. She impacted so many and I’m lucky to be one of them. Hope I see you next time around, Kim.

Donald Harrison:

I met Kim in the summer of 2007 when I moved back to Ann Arbor after living away for 10 years. I didn’t know anyone anymore. I needed a sublet so I had somewhere to stay and figure things out. When I went to check out this house on Sheehan, there were a few of my potential housemates to greet me with a candlelit spread of cheeses and bread and olives and wine. And there was Kim, leading the way and welcoming me like it was already my home. I hadn’t even had a tour of the place yet, and already I knew I was going to take it. We were kindred spirits and quickly became friends. Over the subsequent years, I saw this generous, bright and kind soul in action often. Add to that mix her fierce, creative force and she’s been one of the most indelible individuals I’ve ever known. Namaste, KD.

Amanda Edmonds:

So much love and light for my dear, dear friend Kimberly A Demick who we lost from this world Saturday morning after the most courageous battle, fought with love and fortitude, and defying so many odds for so long. I was devastated to not be home in time for a final goodbye in person, though we were able to to FaceTime earlier in my trip and have a beautiful conversation. I had planned to go straight to see her from the flight yesterday… But I tried to see Europe, especially Paris—where I was in her last and most peaceful days— through her eyes. I said my own goodbye from afar on Saturday afternoon while at the American cemetery at Normandy, breathing in a beautiful view of the sea and the sky, and learned on the train back that she had just peacefully slipped away. My friend, we so miss you already and will for all time, taking solace only in remembering to see beauty and make art and love the people in our lives so, so hard as you did.

Jean Henry:

Kim first presented herself to me at the end of the Jefferson Market’s first anniversary party by handing me a paper plate. She was dressed to the nines in a neighborhood where no one dressed up… ever. I remember flamenco shoes and a twirling red skirt, dangling earrings and a head scarf. She had shiny ebony hair and black cat eye liner. I don’t know if she was glittery or sequined, but she seemed to be. She was spectacular. That ordinary paper plate had been festooned in a curlicue calligraphy and small drawings that expressed her love for our place and her desire to be a part of it somehow… but things were complicated, and then, her number.

This is what Kim did. She waltzed into your life and made it immediately better— more colorful and open and generous than you ever thought it could be— and then she told you that you were great. And how were you doing? And would you like to try a bite of this?

I hired her. Temporarily at first, and then, after a failed attempt to move west with her boyfriend, permanently, as manager. She had come back, broken-hearted, with no housing and no money, and she went to work rebuilding. She was unbelievably resilient. Her generosity of spirit arose from hardship, not ease. Like her advocacy, her work ethic and her creative drive, Kim’s love was a survival tool. I suggested house sitting through the summer as a way to save money. She house sat serially for two straight years, living out of a suitcase and a car, moving from house to house, bringing with her that same magic. They would all come back, begging her to house sit again. They raved about Kim. Everyone did. It was then she told me that she was part Romani — aka Gypsy. This came as no surprise.

Kim magnified the lives of those she encountered. She worked her magic on my business. When people talk about the Jefferson Market with starry eyes, they are talking about the Kim effect— nothing I brought to the table. We were running a little business. She made it magic… Every. Damn. Day. She would do whatever it took to make people happy. She cared about you. She knew your dog and your children by their first names. She had private conversations with them. She never talked down to anyone ever. Once I bought some brightly colored Mexican cut paper flowers and banners to sell and asked Kim to display some. She used them all. The entire place became a fiesta. The staff and guests loved it. And I loved it. What was not to love? Selling things was secondary to the magic making. That’s what Kim brought. She made the market a place worthy of shameless devotion.

I once had a nightmare about Kim. We closed the market for one week each year between Christmas and New Years. Those were peaceful weeks filled with annual inventory and repairs and no customer service. I dreamed that i walked in one of those mornings, and Kim had opened the place up and was hurriedly baking pastries and brewing coffee. A line was forming. Some neighbors had come knocking, and she couldn’t turn them away. When I recalled the dream to Kim, she laughed and said, “That sounds like me.”

When she left to pursue custom seamstress work full time, the neighborhood was bereft. They were hard on the new staff for months. No one could compare. Kim and I have remained friends all these years later, because, like everyone else she touched, I did not want to let her go.

For a little while, we were both sick at the same time. My then 5 year old son and I joined Kim for a dog walk in Eberwhite woods. My son wanted me to chase after him. I could not. So Kim ran with him and played with him, dodging in and out of trees gleefully like some kind of woodland sprite. That’s the Kim he remembers still. It’s likely she was sicker than I was that day. Kim’s strategy throughout her illness, as in the rest of her life, was to grab as many good days as she could. She defied every doctor’s expectation. They knew her body but underestimated her spirit.

Kim was always planning something new. She would be hooked up to machines in the hospital and still be thinking abut a new business, or buying a house someday, or moving to New Mexico and falling in love again. The last two she accomplished, against all odds, in this last year. She had many dreams unfulfilled too. We all do. But she left a profound legacy that goes well beyond anyone’s standard list of worldly accomplishments. A legacy that is hard to enumerate. Her accomplishments do not fit on a CV. They fit better on a paper plate, an intricately draped frock or a chuppah made for a friend of salvaged curly willow. Her community supported her through illness in ways that were remarkable, but we’ll leave those stories for later. She earned our devotion. She was the fierce advocate, the help mate, the magic maker. When, through considerable effort, we managed to finally get her back to Michigan from New Mexico a few weeks ago, I walked into her hospital room and hugged her. She touched my face and asked, “How are you feeling?”… I replied, ‘I am feeling that I love you.’ We all do.

Grab the good days.

“This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.” ― Walt Whitman

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  1. Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    I met Kim at the Jefferson Market in 2001. I was new to town, having just moved there with my fiancee, and didn’t know anyone; Kim became my first friend in town and the Jefferson Market became my regular haunt. We connected instantly over our mutual love of music and food, Kim was always sharing and shoving something at me: “Have you heard this band? Here, try this, it just came out of the oven,” always with her smile that lit up the room like a thousand suns. Kim had embarked on her serial house sitting gig and in between, we invited her to stay in our spare bedroom in our converted carriage house just outside of town. Kim and I both loved to cook, so we’d spend evenings in my kitchen making delicious things for my now wife, to eat. Kim taught me the high sorcery of cooking delicious vegan food that didn’t taste like dirt and we made mixtape ads for each other on a weekly basis. My wife didn’t like to leave the house, so Kim was my concert companion, going to shows at the Blind Pig or the Majestic in Detroit, each one made more magical by the enthusiasm and joy that she put into and got out of everything.

    Wether it was exploring the city, the wonders of the Eastern Market, feather bowling at the Cadieux Cafe, shopping for wine at Morgan & York or just hanging out by the river at Barton Nature Area, Kim’s friendship made Michigan a wondrous experience. I’m grateful to have been her friend and confidant though good times and bad, and beyond fortunate for her compassionate counsel when my spouse’s depression and alcoholism became too much to bear. I regret that I’d only seen her twice since leaving Michigan nearly 11 years ago; I made a detour to see her & her beautiful deaf puppy, on a trip to Iowa shortly after her cancer diagnosis and she stayed at my place on a trip to Philadelphia for a wedding about 5 years ago. I’ll never forget her selflessness, hopefulness and passion that she shared freely with everyone; no matter how sick or heartbroken she might have been, it always felt like Kim was taking care of you when you were in her. Farewell my beloved friend, I hope we meet again in future lives.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    I am sorry for your loss. She sounds like an incredible human being.

  3. b
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    I am sorry to hear this. She was my neighbor over on Fountain street (perhaps ?? almost 16 years ago). She had just moved to the area, and I instantly liked her (that’s not a normal thing for me… being skeptical of most). We spent great times talking on the porch. She moved from that house and I didn’t see her all that much after, although each time we did cross paths it was the same. She was open and accepting. I enjoyed spending time with her. I hope her memories can be some form of comfort and peace for those that are left behind. I appreciate the time I was able to spend with her.

  4. Kit
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    I know you did not intend it to be taken this way, but I couldn’t help but read this and think about my own life how little I’ve done in my 40+ years. While I didn’t know Kim, I thought you might be interested to know this story of her life may inspire me to meet more people and take more risks in my life.

  5. Jean Henry
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Kim would really love it if you did that.

  6. Jean Henry
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    She would also, if she knew you, be able to tell you a different story about your life than the one you tell yourself. She’d find the good stuff there so you could too.

  7. Demetrius
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t know Kim, but it sounds like she was a lovely, special person.

    My condolences to her family, and the folks here who knew, and will miss her.

  8. Chris Sandon
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Kim and I met through SPUR Studios and we became fast friends. Our personalities both seemed to share a similar quality of immediacy… a sort of creative “buzzing”. She was as warm, sweet, kind, and genuine as she was candid, funny, and crass to talk with. Our conversations flowed easily from heavy to light to contemplative and I’ll cherish them. She did not deserve the hand that she was dealt but I don’t know anyone who could have fought it with more grace and kept in good spirits. She is already missed.

  9. Linette Lao
    Posted May 22, 2017 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Kim and I met around town, through the Shadow Art Fair, and then later when we both rented Studio space at SPUR. She was someone I was always delighted to run into— we always had intense and inspiring conversation, always in a short period of time, before one of us had to dash off to the next thing. It went on for many years like that: we should hang out! We knew we should and would be better friends.

    I’m thankful that that our real connection happened. We had time together. We grew our friendship despite her illness and how difficult things were becoming for her. Reading all of these beautiful remembrances, I realize I did not know her well in the days before cancer and illness. And yet, she is completely recognizable. She was intact, through lots of awfulness, she was vibrant, strong, and always looking ahead.

    How extraordinary that she had so many new relationships blooming, in the last years, and even in the last months of her life. I don’t know very many people who could be so open. I don’t know that many people who embody that kind of magnetism and generosity.

    I’ve been working on a project at a local elementary school, Holmes Elementary, with FLY. When Kim was in hospice, I sent a sunflower to Kim, via our friend Donald, that some students at Holmes had used to look at under a microscope that day. I knew she would appreciate that this flower was the byproduct of kids looking close, and exploring the world, a practice she, as an artist, and as a person, embodied every day. The next day I saw her briefly, and she told me sunflowers were her favorite flower.

    This week, kids at Holmes are planting sunflowers in front of their school. They are installing wooden sculptures that they have designed to disrupt the barren school front yard and to signify to neighbors and passers by that vibrant and vital growth is happening inside the school. We’ve talked to them about sunflowers, how they move along with the sun through the day. Sunflowers are smart, strong and beautiful, like the students we’re working with, and also, certainly, like Kim.

    I’m missing her. The relief I feel at the end of her suffering is entwined with a big hole where she was. I want to know what she thinks about Jill Soloway’s new show “I Love Dick” and all its use of feminism, land art, and experimental films. I want to show her the new website I discovered tonight, with amazing patterns for utilitarian dresses with pockets. I want to show her the other web site with the hundred year old French indigo cheese smock that they’re selling for almost $1000. I want to make the zine about the history of indigo that we dreamed about making and never made.

    There is one last thing. Loving Kim connects me to a wide network of amazing people. I have been so moved witnessing her friends as they worked together to make extraordinary things happen, for many years. I realize that I thought in many ways that Kim was unstoppable. I think we both might have thought that. But now I think I get it. We are human, here one day and gone the next. What is infinite, real and unstoppable is the power of friendship, love, and community.

  10. Donald Harrison
    Posted May 23, 2017 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    I’ve shed a lot of tears and had some smiles reading all of these stories of Kim. Thanks to everyone for sharing these and all the others to come. People are usually more deep and dynamic than we usually get to experience. Yet Kim was an outlier. She was indeed some kind of special magic, a whirling dervish, deeply conscious and tuning into all the frequencies around her. I’ll never forget the summer we met, casually suggesting a midnight bike ride. I figured we’d briefly cruise around the neighborhood. She was like a bat out of hell. It was all I could do to barely keep up. Two hours later we’d circumnavigated half of the county.

    I was always struck by the birthmark on her forearm, which looked like a tattoo of an arrow pointing forward. It looked like something she would have chosen, always moving, excited about whatever lie ahead.

  11. Erica Mooney
    Posted May 24, 2017 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for compiling and sharing this lovely and revitalizing series of stories and memories about such a remarkable being. Grateful to have crossed paths with her spirit in passing throughout my own life – her brightness continues to burn within all of us who met her.

  12. B
    Posted May 25, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Kim. Dazzling smile and such warmth and generosity. Thank you Kim. I’d see you at Jefferson Market, Morgan and York, Eat, catering an event. Always eager to share food and encourage me to try something new. Best of all was talking to you at art shows (you made three fingered gloves for cyclists! I’d never seen that before. So cool). And then running into you on the old west side; you’d be walking a giant gentle dog. All different ones. House sitting. Dog sitting. Elegant dog walker you. Always some velvet. Tall, graceful, strong, radiant.

  13. Posted May 26, 2017 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    I met Kim while we were in a Rehab Facility here in Los Alamos, N.M.. Kim was beautiful soul. We talked about our recovery, Chinese Medicine, hopes and dreams, and getting strong enough so that She, Margaret and I could walk out the front door after discharge. Kim and Margaret were my insipiration to get get stronger to accomplish the dream. My thoughts and prayers go out to James! Rest well my Friend!

  14. Ryan Burns
    Posted May 27, 2017 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Shocking news. I met Kim when she spoke at Ignite.

  15. Angela Sweet
    Posted June 2, 2017 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    I’ve known Kim for a long time. She is one of those friends who you can go for years without seeing or speaking to, then you meet up again and it’s as if no time had passed at all. I wish I could have seen her one last time, before she left this realm. I’ve been having a hard time with her passing, and this is difficult to write.

    I met Kim at Zingerman’s Bakehouse in 2001. I had applied for a job in the pastry kitchen, but landed on the bread side instead. She was the most fierce, most beautiful person I had ever met. There was a bit of a guys vs girls thing going on at the Bakehouse in those days. We had a large crew of female bakers; I’ve heard it was the largest female crew they’ve ever had. A lot of the guys thought we were not strong enough for the heavy-lifting, standing in front of the 400-degree oven part of the job; they thought we should stick to the bread mixing and bread shaping, so we wouldn’t have to sweat so much or work so hard. Kim was the one who taught me to bake at the oven. She was the strongest one of the bunch. You could tell which loaves she baked by the way the cuts on the dough opened up in the oven. Even the way she scored the bread had a distinct flourish to it. Everything she did had a touch of beauty. She could be sweating and covered in oven soot, wearing a baggy t-shirt and heavy rimmed glasses, and be the most elegant person in the room.

    I had a secret crush on the assistant manager. Apparently, she knew that he also had a secret crush on me. She set up a dinner party so the two of us could finally talk to each other. I recall a most magical evening, with myself and my secret crush being—surprise!—the only two invited to the party. It was the first time I had seen her home, the first time I had eaten her food. Looking back, it’s hard to say there wasn’t some magic baked into that wild-rice-stuffed acorn squash.

    Oh, I could write and write, I could dictate a novel’s worth of stories about my Adventures with Demick.

    Ah, that one time she and Sandhya and I ate at some little diner-type place in Royal Oak, next door to Sandhya’s clothing boutique. I wish I remembered the name of that place. But I do remember the flourless chocolate cake the chef had us try. It was a special recipe he was still developing. He wanted us to try it, and give him our opinion. We each took a bite: “bitter, smooth, oh-so-earthy… Oh, how interesting. It really isn’t sweet at all….wait…salt? The chocolate flavor is really strong with that salt in there. Oh! It’s getting… saltier?! Oh…” The chef looked back at us with concern as we spit it out into our napkins. He took a bite to see what was the matter. He had added salt in place of the sugar! What was so funny about this was how long it took for us all to decide it was disgusting. Kim worked to find the beauty and worthiness in every thing, even in a bite sugarless, over-salted, chocolate cake!

    Oh, there are so many memories, so many stories…. Whenever I roast broccoli over high heat until it’s caramelized, I think of her, as she taught me this trick one night when I was sick, not eating, and she came over to make me her West African Groundnut Stew. Oh, and her “Mustard-y Quinoa” recipe is one I go back to again and again.

    I made her a little turquoise hand bag. She made me a beautiful fish-tailed black skirt. I’d give her my clothes that were too small for me; she’d trade with me for clothes that were too big for her. I moved to Chattanooga Tennessee just a couple of years after we had met, but we took turns visiting each other, whenever we could, which wasn’t ever often enough. A handful of failed attempts at being steady pen pals have resulted in a small collection of beautiful little notes that I keep tucked away in this journal or that.

    When I finally married that secret-crush from Zingerman’s, she was my maid of honor. She built a chuppah for us out of curly willow she had salvaged from a neighbor cleaning up his yard. She had to borrow a truck to transport it the 35 miles from Ann Arbor to Argentine Township, where I was getting married at my Aunt and Uncle’s farm. The branches hung out of the rear of the truck, and she had tied sparkly red fabric bits to the end of the branches so as to warn fellow road travelers of the potential hazard of driving too close. Every thing she did had that little flourish, every thing she touched was made more beautiful, even mundane little things like warning flags for over-sized truck loads.

    My busy life here in Chattanooga—between the bakery my husband I opened, our two kids, not to mention the 600 miles up I-75 between Michigan and Tennessee—kept me farther away from Kim than I ever wanted to be. But somehow, that was always OK. The time, the distance…it never really mattered. I know that wherever she went, she made lifelong friends. That is just how she was. I am one of many, many people who have been fortunate enough to have met Kim, to have loved her, and who have been loved by her. Her generosity was boundless. Her spirit lives on in every one of us who she has touched, like seeds of some exotic flower, spread across the country, wherever she went.

    Peace to you, my lovely friend. Thank you for being a part of my life.

  16. Jean Henry
    Posted July 11, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    We are holding a Life Celebration for Kim at Ypsilanti Marketplace on Saturday, July 22nd from 2 – 5pm. Please help us spread the word to all who need to know.

    The FB event link is here:

    Sign Up Genius link here:

    Feel free to contact me and send names and email or FB contact info of friends of Kim near and far to me at


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