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Of all the places that her family would move, Tampa was the place that felt most like home; she stayed there longer than anywhere else until her move to California, stayed in the Holy Names School the longest, and grew up there. No doubt her wish to be in the motion pictures resolved itself from a dream into a goal, a thing achievable, just like all the other actresses she read about in the movie magazines who had been given a chance on the screen and rocketed to stardom. With tropical weather and warm waters it would have been a fun place to grow up: no long, dreary days spend snowed-in: lots of space to run and play. They were a few blocks from Tampa Bay itself, a quick run south on Magnolia Street past the fire station on the corner at the intersection of Magnolia and Platt, kicking up clouds of dirt behind them, and then off the end of the pier and into the water.

On May 28, 1911, at the age of 11, Kathleen received her First Communion at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Tampa, possibly at the same time as her brother. Both she and Cleeve posed side-by-side for a studio photographer, both in fine white clothes: Kathleen serious, staring straight into the photographer's lens, perhaps rehearsing her most serious expression in advance of the day when she would pose before a motion picture camera. Cleeve seems to suppress a smile, his attention off slightly to the side maybe watching the photographer at work. Perhaps mischief lay ahead: both kids had a sense of humor and both played off each other, no doubt co-conspirators in all sorts of pranks.

Colleen was enrolled in Convent of the Holy Names School in Tampa. Ledger books in the school’s archives list payment for Kathleen, classes as well as music lessons. Colleen wrote that her brother Cleeve had attended the same school for a time (this report from a newspaper clipping, though the claim is unverified by records); the ledgers only indicate a payment by Charles Morrison in the form of a check for Kathleen, though photographs from the time show groups with both boys and girls, so it is possible that he was indeed a student there for a time. The clipping claims Cleeve was later placed in St. Michael’s College in Toronto, though there is no record of his attendance. Theirs was a tight-knit family.


Tampa Florida New Bridge Plant Park 1914, Fishbaugh, William A., J193276 U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress Panoramic Photograph Collection.