A story about Karen told by Emily…
One of my earliest memories is going to a haunted corn maze with my mom and Karen. I think it’s partially a real memory and a created one since my mom used to tell me about this a lot. I think I was about 3? I was SUPER scared, especially by a woman in costume who came up to me. But ultimately I felt safe and knew we were going to get out of the maze not just because my mom was there, but because Karen was there.
For one of my birthdays (maybe 7 or 8) Karen, my mom and I went to Das Dutch Haus for the buffet there. I don’t remember the gift Karen gave me but I remember her very sweet card with a vintage Pooh theme. Even then I chronically threw things away and didn’t hold on to sentimental items, but I kept that card for many years.
Karen always had a way of making me feel special and like a person, not just a kid. She was interested in what I thought about things and never talked down to me. She just exuded respect and curiosity about everyone she met. I think that is so rare in people. Karen joined us at Civil War reenactments a few times and even though she didn’t come often, you could tell that my parents’ friends instantly loved her and that she fit in so well.
I always loved visiting Karen in Columbus with my mom. I thought she had the coolest life ever living in a big city (even thought it was a suburb!) And I loved getting to stay up late with them while they caught up. I didn’t realize how unique the length of their friendship was and how even when they went months without seeing each other, it felt like no time had passed. It felt so natural. I now have 4 close friends from high school who I have the same kind of relationship with, and I think a lot of that is because of Karen and my mom’s example.