The Karen Files, pt. 14

Another in an ongoing series of posts celebrating the life of our mother:

This photo of Karen and her two siblings, Cecil Jr. and Linda, is from November 1952. Mom was 19 years old, Cecil was 22, and Linda was 12.

Hi-res view

We suspect this was taken over the Thanksgiving break of Mom’s sophomore year at Oklahoma A&M. She and her siblings seem happy and content together.

But it’s odd the turns that even happy families can take. I remember my uncle Cecil fondly from my early childood. He was fun and kind of goofy, but mostly he was a tickler. Man, did he love to tickle us kids.

Now we know that tickling is viewed as marginal behavior today. A little tickling of a child is fine, perhaps, but one must really be careful not to cross a line. Otherwise, it’s viewed as sadistic by many, and not unreasonably, we think.

But we have no bad memories of Cecil from those years, so if he crossed the line—if he overdid it with the tickling—we don’t recall it.

But Cecil and Mom had a falling out when we were five or six years old, and he’s been a shadowy presence in our life ever since. We don’t think we’ve seen him in person more than once or twice in the past forty years. There have been very occasional reports of his doings, but basically, he’s just a distant memory to us.

Aunt Linda and Mom remained close and in contact over the years. Linda lived in Kansas near their parents, and was the sibling who played the largest role in watching over them in their declining years, and we know that Karen appreciated that.

We’d not seen Linda in some years, but that it is one of the few high points of losing a loved one: You reconnect with friends and famliy you’ve not seen in some years. As sad as it was to lose Mom, it was a treat to get to spend some time with Linda, of whom we’ve always been very fond.

So we were happy to come across this photograph, which was in a small folder of photographs that Mom’s father, Cecil, Sr., carried with him. It’s heartening to recall there were happier times for Cecil, Linda, and Karen.