They say that dynamite comes in small packages, and Kim Hanna, 41, fits the bill.
The effervescent Hanna stands at five feet and one inches tall – she says “on a good hair day.”- with a slight curve due to scoliosis, which she was diagnosed with as a child. Hanna, who moved to Bleckley County in the late 1980s from Pulaski County, just throws her hand up when discussion turns to the scoliosis.
“I had to wear a special orthopedic jacket 23 hours out of 24 for several years for treatment … when I was diagnosed, no one really knew much about the disease … my mom pushed for the scoliosis screening in the schools in Hawkinsville.”
Scoliosis is a condition which affects the spine. About 3 out of every 100 people have some form of scoliosis, though for many people it’s not much of a problem. For a small number of people, the curve gets worse as they grow and they may need a brace or an operation to correct it. Someone with scoliosis may have a back that curves like an “S” or a “C.” It may or may not be noticeable to others.
For Hanna who is the oldest of three girls for Jerry and Wilma Hanna, hers is a complete S. Her dad and two sisters have it. “My dad and I have it worse, but we all have the same aches and pains.”
Hanna could have had surgery when she was a child, but she said, no. “My parents left it ultimately up to me, and I just didn’t want to do it.”
Treatment for scoliosis is very different than it was when Hanna was first diagnosed. “Back then, there wasn’t much awareness, and today, there is. It is better to get checked and catch it early on, and have it seen about. There are all sorts of resources out there.”
Hanna hasn’t let the disease have any sort of effect on her life at all. “I am one of those types of people who if you tell me I can’t, well, I am going to try it. I may pay for it the next day, but I will still do it.”
Age has played more of a part of Hanna’s slowing down, if you call her life slowing down, she said. “When I was younger, I was into everything.”
Growing up she wanted to be a nurse, and even went to nursing school, “I wanted to help people.” But later, she changed her mind. Hanna said with a smile, “I wanted to help people who were in a good mood.”
So, she turned to hair school. “I had always twirled, and even at age six was twirling with the high school band, so I was in full makeup and I thought, why not help other folks look good.”
Friends laugh and say that they have never seen Hanna not ‘fixed up,’ and she readily admits that they are right.
Hanna even dabbled for almost 15 years in car racing. She was a favorite at local speedways. “My sister, Lyn, was racing, and I went to watch her one night. This guy asked me to drive his car, so I did. I got out of that car, and was sick, and came in dead last.”
Pausing, Hanna added, with an infectious grin, “I cried all the way home and the next week I went back and came in second place.”
It was not until “the year before last that I stopped racing … the economy and high price of gas played a big part in that decision.”
While she was still racing, Hanna noticed that there was a real need for someone to do graphics for cars. “There was only one person in town doing it, and I thought they were going to stop.” She bought her own graphics’ machine and started her own business – Jus’ Kuttin’ Up Graphics and Apparel.
She is self-taught and does quite well. “I had like a 30 minute tutorial when I got my machine and that is about it.” Not only does she do sign age for cars on the racetrack, Hanna has many business owners who have had her do signs and other things for them. She also does t-shirts.
“I spend about 12 to 14 hours a day in the shop,” Hanna has a workshop outside her home. “I have been really surprised at the ideas that people have … we have a lot of creative people walking around out there.”
Hanna credits her family for getting her where she is. “They are my backbone. I come from a very talented family, so I got it honestly. If my dad can think it, he can build it.”
She credits her dad for many things. “He taught us how to work hard. We were riding and driving tractors when we were young kids, working in the yard, hunting and fishing.”
The Hanna family resembles the family described in the old cliché, ‘the family that plays together, stays together.’
“When we get together, we go fishing, and ride down the river,” said Hanna.
In between her day job and hobbies, Hanna finds time to fill in at the nursing home in Hawkinsville on Mondays as a beautician. “My mom worked there, and they needed someone, so I said sure. It is amazing what just talking to those people, even if it is just for twenty seconds to ask how they are, can do for someone.”
Hanna said, “There is a lesson in everything in life … so, have no regrets.”
One of her favorite quotes on her Facebook page is a spin off of Tom Hanks’ character’s famous quote from “Forrest Gump.” (Life is a box of chocolates.)
It seems to fit Hanna completely.
“Life is not like a box of chocolates … I bite it and if I don’t like it, I start over with a new piece.”
Hanna laughs, “And if you can’t laugh, there is no reason for getting up in the morning.”
And Hanna keeps on living with her “S-curve” and a smile.
For more information about Hanna’s graphic business, Jus Kuttin Up Graphics and Apparel, e-mail her at [email protected]