For Karen

Posted on November 23, 2020


Large Photo, L->R: (back row) Karen, Sheree, Lyle (brother), Loretta, lisa; (front) Lyle (dad) & Vera

Inset: (back) Lyle, Vera, Lyle; (front) Karen, Loretta, lisa, Sheree

For Karen

Walking to school w/ Karen–

who rode the short bus

to school in Napoleon,

because Grass Lake didn’t offer

Special Education services yet–

is what made me a student advocate.

Karen was bullied,

called “retard” and “fatso,”

and taunted by the cool kids.

She was 15; I was 5.

I wanted to fight

–to protect her–

but I couldn’t.

The seeds of my decades

of education advocacy


in my consciousness

there on the sidewalk on East Ave.

Welcome to School!

The Fall of 1969.

Fuck you bullies.

I saw how you treated her,

and I wanted to beat your asses…

BUT Karen never

let you haters get her down.

She LOVED people; she loved animals.

She loved laughing and joking around.

My heart bursts with joy from

all the memories

that we cherish of Karen.

Every First Day of School

for twenty-five years,

I looked out at the bright faces

of my new students,

and I remembered…

“Students, remember,

your human

and civil rights

remain intact

when you’re at school.

If you have any trouble,

any concerns at all,

if anyone is bothering you

when you’re at school,

just let me know.

I will listen.

I will do what I can to help.

You can count on me.

I want to help you

find safe passage,

love of learning, and

joy on the journey.

You deserve it.”

Karen deserved it.

Everybody does.

If I was ever your advocate,

your listening ear,

you can thank Karen Sue Eddy,

my first roommate, my first friend,

a tender-hearted innocent,

my sister most dear.

lisa eddy is a writer-for-hire, researcher, educator-for-hire, youth advocate,  musician, and gardener.

On Twitter: @lisa_eddy

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