Aunt Gertie: Kacie’s dream was to be a makeup artist

Kacie Rutledge (on left by memorial plaque).

When Kacie stepped up to bat she came out swinging! She never knew the deck was stacked against her and it wouldn’t have mattered anyway.

She fought like hell to chase every opportunity and ran head on into life with a can-do attitude and tons of gusto!

As soon as she was old enough she started driving to school in a Chevy mini truck. One day she pulled up next to a Ford pickup and the race was on. Kacie jammed her foot down on the accelerator and beat this poor fellow flat out. Her mom never found out about it till years later and by then she was going full speed ahead to her next adventure.

Lesley Rutledge sat down with me over tea and coffee at Javatini’s to talk about her daughter’s life. Kacie wanted to be a makeup artist and certainly picked the right field since she was a cutie patootie, girly-girl. Pink was the color she loved, so she put streaks of it in her hair.

I have a feeling, Pink, the recording artist, would’ve loved her.

Kacie didn’t want to miss out on a thing and packed more into her short time here than most seniors do who’ve lived into their golden years. She even tried guitar lessons after hearing her favorite artist Colbie Caillat sing her hit song, “Bubbly.”

Lin Bennett, my sweet childhood friend, said Kacie wanted to work at Endless Summer, so when she turned 16, Lin made it happen. At lunchtime she’d walk across Main Street to Taco Surf, sit on a stool at the counter and order up her favorite dish. A huge plate stacked with jalapeño peppers. The servers were always amazed watching her munch away on these fiery hot delicacies.

On a whim our little sophisticated-lady-in-training went to get her nails done and came back looking like a glammed up Hollywood movie star ready for the Red Carpet.

When Kacie’s health began to fail she put up a valiant fight against a rare form of cancer. When the end was near, Lin Bennett told me, with tears running down her face, about her conversation with Kacie and how she would’ve given anything to trade places.

Kacie said, “It’s okay Lin, God needs me!”

Kacie Rutledge received her Wings of Gold, June 2, 2008 at the age of 18, and flew into the sky to be one of God’s most beautiful Angels.

Miller Children’s Hospital set up Kacie’s Kloset in her honor. If you’d like to make a donation in her memory call Memorial Care Foundation at 714-665-1600.

Contact: Karen Hadley, creator of Aunt Gertie, can be reached at: or PO Box 34, Seal Beach, CA 90740. Send me your story ideas, I’d love to hear from you.

Coming up in my column, the announcement for the return of my play, “Aunt Gertie & the Rat Trap,” plus much, much more. Stay tuned.