Thoughts from a Childhood Friend


When tragedy strikes, the aftereffects impact every family member, friend and the entire community. It’s like casting a stone into a pond. As the stone hits the water, a small wave ripples out touching everyone in its path.

After I was kidnapped, investigators, reporters and curious acquaintances bombarded my family with questions. My parents felt it would be best for my family to stay home for a while. My mom was a fourth grade teacher at Valentine Elementary school in San Marino. For a few weeks, both of my parents didn’t go to work and my brother and sisters and I didn’t go to school. After a few days, I became restless and wanted to hang out with a friend. I wanted to do something “normal.” My parents finally agreed to let my friend, Alina, come over to my house one evening. I will never forget how wonderful it was to just hang out, talk, laugh, eat, and play that night with my friend, Alina.


Alina has written an introduction to this blog for San Marino alumni. I wanted to share her letter here. Thanks my friend!

Introduction to Through the Fire, a blog by Katherine Stone

by Alina Hunt

Many of us may remember hearing the shocking news when we were in seventh grade — “San Marino girl kidnapped!” — only to realize that this “girl” was our friend and classmate, Katherine Stone! At the time, my family had recently moved to San Marino after having immigrated from Romania just three years earlier. Moving to California was an even a bigger adjustment for me than moving to New York first, and Chicago later, after escaping  from Communist Romania. Katherine, who lived two houses down from me, became my first “real” friend during a time in my life when friendships were particularly precious and rare. She and her family made me feel like I belonged and was special. No matter how bad of a day I would have in school, whether it was negotiating the rules of softball or feeling unfashionably dressed, Kathy was there for me, always positive and encouraging.

How strange and surreal it seemed to me then to hear that she of all people was kidnapped—something my family and I never imagined could happen in our new found “paradise.”

Decades later Kathy and I still reminisce about those days and I am still amazed by her immense wisdom, inner strength and humility in the face of the harrowing, near-death situation that she faced so bravely. The blog Through the Fire, inspired by her forthcoming book of the same title, recounts through anecdotes and pictures inspirational moments of Kathy’s journey through challenging times when she was ready to “give up” had it not been for her faith and perseverance, sparked by the life lessons she learned during her childhood ordeal. Bringing hope and encouragement to others going through tough times, Through the Fire is a refreshing and thoughtful reflection on things we have all faced or may encounter someday. Kathy’s blog is something substantive and inspiring to look forward to in one’s daily Facebook news feed, which can feel so negative or superficial at times. And it makes us all the more eager to delve into her book as soon as it’s released in early 2018!




  1. watchingthedaisies

    What a lovely letter from a great friend. You are indeed blessed. 🌼🌼🌼

  2. Jim Grahl

    Pivoting on a terrible event and demonstrating strength to overcome the effects of the event is admirable.
    Using that strength to create a life that looks beyond the event, and opens the door to effect the lives of others in a generous and thought provoking way is remarkable.

  3. M.K. Aneal

    Oh, are you Kathy? Your book sounds most marvelous. I’m so glad to meet you! 🙂

    • throughthefire1

      It’s nice to meet you too. I look forward to seeing you on WordPress. Thank you!

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