My Betty Kay Experience
By Carlina Bjork
It was a cold October day in 2021 when I got a call from a customer who wanted to know if we were open. During that time we were still dealing with COVID worries, and we were taking appointments only during the week. I told the customer I could come in that afternoon – it didn’t work for her so I asked “tomorrow?” She thought about it and said “You know what, let’s meet today.”
I got to the store at the scheduled time, turned on the lights and music and a few minutes later in strides this beautiful, mystical creature. I’m really not trying to be dramatic when I say this woman was other worldly. Her eyes were a piercing blue, her aura was translucent like a clear crystal, and she flowed around as if both her feet were an inch off the ground at all times. When she spoke to me, she looked straight into my eyes, almost deep into my soul. What in the world is happening? I thought to myself.
She went right to our West Marin Surf Club hoodies, looking at each one even though they were all the same color. Watching her interest, I told her how we print each one by hand, rolling the black ink using a paint roller and a stencil (remember, I have no idea who this beautiful woman is here with me. If you know her art, her use of stencils is a running theme). She smiled and asked if I had more. “Yes, sure” and I went to the back and grabbed a bin full of them. She opened the lid like it was a gift and looked at each one, and finally said something like “I’m looking for the most perfect imperfect one.”
At the counter while getting the chosen one wrapped up for her, she asked “Can I go to my car to grab something?” I figured she forgot her wallet. She comes back with a book and said “I knew I was supposed to bring this book with me today. Can I read you today’s passage?” She shows me the book cover, the “The Book of Awakening” by Mark Nepo. She asked if I’d heard of it, which I hadn’t. She read the passage which I’m going to most likely butcher – but in a nut shell it was about a group of caribou- I’m assuming a family, that migrates every year in the cold snowy terrain and at the end of the migration there will be wolves waiting for them. The caribou intrinsically know the wolves will be there, as it happens every year, and they know some of the caribou may be sacrificed, and it will be hard. Her voice was beautiful and I’m watching her, stunned, and pretty much figuring at this point that this is my guardian angel. At the end, she closes the book and asks, “Did that mean anything to you?” I told her that yes, it did. I didn’t tell her how much it did, after all she may be just a mere mortal of a customer and I wasn’t going to burden her with my life stories. I just told her “I needed that, thank you.”
Who knew? Life is funny.
The real story is that at the time, I was in deep question of how I was doing as a Mother – and if I was cut out for the job. Teens are heartbreakers, right? That particular day and the day before was really hard and heartbreaking.
After she left I cried, because Betty Kay (or “call me BK” she told me when she left) was a blessing on a dark cold day. What a serendipitous thing for her to come in that day… or maybe not. I have since wondered if she knew “tomorrow” couldn’t wait. It was that day that I needed to hear a passage from that book, read out loud by that beautiful soul named Betty Kay. What the passage symbolized to me was Motherhood- we go into Motherhood perhaps gullible in thinking there won’t be challenging and heartbreaking times ahead. But deep down, intrinsically, we do know it, and we go forth anyway, because we must. Because it’s what’s meant for us; because it’s our calling. And what we find is that our lives are enriched each year, through every full circle migration that we make.
I’ve told only a handful of people about my "Betty Kay Experience." But what’s really funny is that the few people I’ve told, have their own Betty Kay experience!
Betty Kay is an ethereal being that connects people. She gives us hope through her art and through her love, all while using her mantra “In Pursuit of Magic.” Thank you, Betty Kay.