Katie Rommely Nolan
Katie is Francie's mother. Like all the women in the Rommely family, Katie comes from a family of strong women. She is the fourth of Mary Rommely's four daughters. When she needs to accomplish something, Katie always finds the strength to succeed. She quickly realizes after Francie's birth that her husband, Johnny, cannot be depended on to take care of the family. When her second child is born, Katie admits that she loves her son more than her daughter. He is a big and strong baby, whereas Francie was small and frail. Katie knows that Francie is a survivor, who can manage without her mother's strength, but Neeley, who is born strong and hasn't had to struggle, will need his mother's strength to overcome the hardships of life. Although she wants to treat the children equally, Katie finds it difficult to do so. Katie's love for Neeley is so much stronger than her love for Francie that Francie knows from a young age that her mother loves Neeley more. Katie works hard to support her family, and no matter how destitute they become, her pride will not allow her to accept any charity. Katie is a proud woman, and she is a survivor. Her efforts to survive sometimes make her hard, but there is no doubt that she loves her family. She wants her children to have a better life and feels that education is the key to escaping poverty. When the family can afford to send only one child to high school, Katie chooses to send Neeley, reasoning that Francie is determined enough to continue her schooling no matter what obstacle is put in her path. Katie never questions her decisions and thinks that she is always right.