Karen in ’78

I’ve been thinking of my sister Karen this week, because it is the one year anniversary of her death.  I write about people who have died pretty much every week, but when it is someone so close, it is much more difficult.  Usually I research people and connect with them because of what I find out.  I’ve known my sister my whole life.  It’s when you lose a sibling that you realize just how much they are a part of your being.  A piece of you is gone. 

Karen on Rob and Al’s bed in the boys’ bedroom in the front of the house at 758 Lucy Street in Jennings, Louisiana, on December 25, 1978. Photo by Van.

I wanted to have a photo associated with this post, so I thought I’d post my favorite photo of her.  Nothing really popped in my head when I thought that.  I thought of the one I posted when she was just a girl standing in front of the tiger cage at LSU.  She was never too happy about me posting that photo.  She always thought that they (my older siblings) looked like little urchins in the photo.  I decided against that one because not only did she not like it, but I wanted one of her when she was older.

I also thought about posting the one I posted of her in her Shakey’s days.  It’s really a good photo of her, but she’s wearing a garishly colored shirt with a fake straw hat.  It was the uniform that we wore when we worked there, but it wasn’t the most flattering colors.  It reminds me of fun days when we sang as a family band.  Here’s an example of the kind of fun we had.  She was singing the song “Little Things Mean a Lot” one day, while I was playing the bass.  When she sang the line, “Say I look nice when I’m not,” I whispered to her, “You look nice!” with a sarcastic grin to her.  Younger brothers!

I thought of posting the family photo that we took during a trip to Branson, Missouri, during Thanksgiving 2017.  We were trying to make sure we had some good family times together while Karen was still able to do so.  It was the last big family trip that she made and it was probably a bit more difficult for her than we realized.  The photo is nice, but it was not a favorite. 

So I went searching and found this one I posted.  I didn’t realize how good of a photo it was of her until tonight.  I like the way she is looking at me.  And she was looking at me.  I took this photo on Christmas Day 1978 with the new Canon TX SLR camera I got that year.  I took it in the boys’ bedroom in our house on Lucy Street.  It’s actually a photo of Karen and Jamie.  Sorry for cropping you out, Jamie!  I think Jamie was playing the guitar (which she has picked back up recently) to a Billy Joel song.  It’s not that I have a great memory, you can actually see his name on the sheet music in the original photo!  The other thing I like about the photo is that she’s wearing a shirt with lots of blues in it.  It was her favorite color.  How could I have a favorite photo of her without her favorite color in it?

So this is my favorite photo of her today.  It may not be tomorrow, but that is yet to be seen.  I like the way her cowlick reveals her widow’s peak.  She didn’t really like that, but I thought it was interesting.  So that’s my post today in honor of my sister Karen.  I thought about talking more about her final years or days, but decided against it.  What more do I need to say than to say that a piece of me is gone?

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