Kate Allen looks like the quintessential California girl, with her soft blond hair, a girl-next-door smile and lovely, ocean-colored eyes.
The Corona del Mar High School freshman likes hanging out with her friends and rowing on a crew team. She dreams of pursuing a nursing or other medical career someday.
But she also has something in common with an erstwhile British monarch: She stutters.
Kate was an infant when we first became neighbors, and I've watched her grow over the years into a gracious and composed young woman. I can only imagine how the burden of coping with a little-understood condition has shaped her young life.
But when she stopped by my house earlier this week, Kate displayed maturity beyond her years by shrugging off any suggestion that she's had it tough.
"I tell myself every day, it's not that big of a deal," she said. "I was kind of mad that I had it, but I've accepted it and realize that if this is the worst I have, it's not like having a bad disease."