Dad – If You Could See Me Now…Part I

1 Feb

Four years ago I lost both my parents within six weeks of each other. We knew Mom was dying, but Dad had a fatal heart attack while playing golf two days before we were going to bring them both back home to care for Mom. There are very few days that I don’t think about them. Dad always teased me about some of the classes I took in college while earning my degree in Elementary Education. His favorite tease—Children’s Literature, or as we called it, Kiddie Lit. He never could understand paying college tuition to read children’s books. However, he and Mom were right there, tears in their eyes, watching me graduate, then again thirty-one years later when I received my master’s degree. His short note from that day still remains on my refrigerator telling me how proud they both were that I had achieved what no one else in our family had, a master’s degree.

My mother was the reading force in our family. I don’t remember a single Christmas that didn’t have a wrapped book for each of us under the tree. You always knew those packages—the small side of empty space where the covers stuck out slightly more than the pages. She spent an entire day each year choosing just the right one for each of us. I thank her for giving me the perfect gift – a love of reading. I hope I have passed it on not only to my own children, but the hundreds of children I taught over 35 years.

A few weeks before Mom died, my sister and I bought our first Kindles so we could read as we sat by her bedside. My old love of books turned into an obsession with eBooks. And what a journey that started! I realized I could amass a huge debt with the famous “one-click’ purchasing power at Amazon, so I started looking for cheap or free books, trolling through many suggestions from Amazon. So many of those choices were romances, thus, my love affair with contemporary romance was born.

On February 1, 2011, I downloaded my first Marie Force book, Love at First Flight, read and loved it, and started following her blog. At that time, she had a weekly book club that discussed chosen books through comments on her blog, but soon thereafter she decided to move the discussions to Facebook. Realizing that famous authors (and in my eyes, anyone who writes amazing stories and sells loads of them is famous) would actually converse through Facebook, I “friended” Marie Force Book Talk. Let me say right now, no one does Facebook as well as Marie Force! Not only does she have her regular author page, she also has the aforementioned book talk site, three general sites for each of her series, and 24 (soon to be 25) individual sites for each one of her books where fans can go and follow discussion questions after that book is released. Plus she chimes in whenever a fan asks a question! Through the past two years, I feel Marie and I have become actual friends, having finally met in person in December, while I was visiting Rhode Island (see Part II of the story).Marie Force, Karen, Ruth Cardello

As much as I value my friendship with Marie, I also owe her for helping me find some wonderful Internet friends. Through MFBT, I started conversing with some of the same fans that chatted on a regular basis. We “friended” each other and started our own little Facebook group where we discuss many best-selling books. Some of these ladies have become more than acquaintances; they are true friends.  We “Zoom” every couple weeks, discussing books and getting to know each other. Zooming is like Skype, but you can hear and see multiple friends at a time. Our group lives in Australia, Washington, Florida, and Ohio.  We are sometimes joined by Tennessee and New Hampshire. We have started asking some authors to join in our discussions and are meeting amazing women and hearing all about their success stories.

Why all of this as I’m thinking about my parents, you may wonder?  Well, both Mom and Dad would be so pleased to hear everything that has happened to me since I’ve retired from teaching. Instead of wondering what I would do with all that free time, I’ve found a way to take what I love and make it into a fun-filled retirement plan. Stay tuned for Part II and my love affair (purely platonic, I promise) with Ruth Cardello and what has happened in my life. Dad, you may have laughed at Kiddie Lit, but…if you could see me now…

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13 Responses to “Dad – If You Could See Me Now…Part I”

  1. kamebookreview February 1, 2013 at 1:08 am #

    Great Job Karen! So glad to be one of those book friends!

  2. Bob Lawson February 1, 2013 at 1:35 am #

    Karen has raised herself out of the ashes of devotion to others and has discovered yet another door to open and step through. She gave to many students as she did to her own children and me the desire/want to read. As her dyslectic husband she taught by example. I saw how her love of books was really developed as she immersed herself into the plot of each story. I saw her love, anger, amusement and so on as she read. And I wanted that for myself, so I literally forced myself to learn to read without frustration and self doubt. It was a fantastic development for me when I read my first book from cover to cover and I owe it all to Karen. I watched Karen throughout her career as an educator and noticed that she didn’t just teach she inspired. That is the difference between a person with a job and a person with a passion. Believe me when I say that she is passionate about the rebirth of herself as a well-accomplished beta reader/editor/friend. I did not just suspect but I knew that she has a brilliant mind and a lot of knowledge to share with others. This is important but it is more important for me to see the undiluted happiness and unconditional love that she has for her authors and fellow readers alike. I love her for who she is as well as who she is becoming. Keep your personal growth up Karen. You are helping us all and I am certainly one of your fans.

    • formerteach February 1, 2013 at 1:43 am #

      aww, you bring tears to my eyes. I love you too!

    • Marion February 1, 2013 at 2:30 am #

      Oh Bob!!! You have just elevated yourself to Hero material in my eyes!! Wow!!! I’m sure your devotion to and love for her has given her the courage to spread her wings into her new, ‘post-retired’ worlds. How couldn’t she but excel with such encouragement!!! Hugs to you too!!!

    • Pam February 1, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

      How lovely! I am so proud of Karen and so delighted to watch her joy in this new season of life. She has recreated her love and passion and it’s so amazing to see my friend of many years on fire for each new day. You go girl!

  3. Linda Marrs Cloer February 1, 2013 at 2:14 am #

    Karen your story is so beautiful. I remember your family very well during your growing up years and know for sure they are smiling down on you. I look forward to more, perhaps we should be friends!

  4. Marion February 1, 2013 at 2:26 am #

    Oh Karen. That entry bought tears to my eyes. Such a legacy your mum left you! And what a wonderful legacy you have undoubtedly left the many children who were blessed to have you as their teacher!
    Thank you for including me in your Zoom world & for blessing my life with your friendship. Hugs!

    • formerteach February 1, 2013 at 2:52 am #

      fate has been very kind to us that somehow we all found each other! Those blessing work both ways my Aussie friend…

  5. Mer February 1, 2013 at 2:44 am #

    You might have retired from the teaching force but you have found a second calling in life. I am privilege to know you, even just online. Your husband said one thing that rings true to me, you not only teach, you inspire. And I am one of those inspired by your dedication and your zest in life!

    • formerteach February 1, 2013 at 2:55 am #

      Merci, that privilege works both ways my dear! Now, let’s get back to Raine’s books… 😉

  6. Charles A. Hummer February 1, 2013 at 2:57 am #

    I thank Cindy for sharing your Part 1 with her friends, family, and classmates. I authored a small book of Poetry, mainly for myself, so I understand the effort that is required. But when you have a gift with language, as you do, it puts a smile on faces like mine. Your parents would be very proud of you at this moment, and I can’t wait for Part 2.

  7. Sharon Rudolph February 1, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    What a great tribute! My love for reading also came from my mother. We share many books with each other! My first Marie book was Maid for Love and I have been hooked since. I have recommended Marie’s books to many of my friends and they too have become fans. I look forward to reading part 2 of your blog as I am also a Ruth fan.

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