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Welcome Friends! Here is a place for teachers, parents, librarians and writers to learn what's going on in the world of book author Karma Wilson.


I didn’t know my dad growing up.  I still don’t. Well, I guess I knew him briefly as a child. I have foggy memories of smoky parties that occured during short visits at his Denver apartment–lots of long hair, incense, guitars and group singalongs.  But when I moved to Idaho at age seven with my mother all contact was lost.

I never shared a last name with my father. My parents were never “officially” married (hey, my name is “Karma” for a reason!)  My father’s last name was Underwood. I shared my mother’s maiden name–Marshall. In rural north Idaho a single hippy mother raising a little girl was rare (read “weird”).  Let me just say that I really, really wanted a dad.  I didn’t care if he was dog-tired and dragging in the door at 6:30 every night.  I didn’t care if he smelled like beer and sweat and only mumbled occasionally on weeknights because he was so tired. That’s what my best friend’s dad was like. How I envied her! Her dad taught her to swim and ride bikes (but only on the weekend when he could enjoy life). He teased her. He tickled her. And she had something very special. She had his last name. That name, in my opinion, signified that she was wanted by her father. Me? I wasn’t. 

For two weeks at age seven I decided that if my father wouldn’t willingly give me his last name, I would take it. For two weeks I insisted to all of my friends that I was now “Karma Underwood”.  I may have kept the name longer than two weeks, but Underwood was quickly snatched up by my elementary peers and twisted into Underwear.  I already had a weird first name that had long since been turned into “Carmel”.  After two long weeks of being taunted with “Carmel Underwear” I decided that the name wasn’t worth it. Besides, the other kids also quickly pointed out that my father hadn’t given it to me anyway, so it didn’t count. That logic couldn’t be denied.

I dropped the name and with it I dropped the “long, lost daddy” fantasies. My dad wasn’t going to show up and demand to be a part of my life. He wasn’t going to teach me to swim or ride bikes. He wasn’t going to give me his name.  I traded those fantasies for long hours of make-believing that I was Laura Ingalls.  In my opinion Laura had the most loving, caring, devoted father in known history.  Pa represented everything I thought a father should be.

What is the point of this story? Nothing I guess, except perhaps a reminder to those of you with involved fathers or husband’s to appreciate them. We had a great father’s day, and my kids are thankfully unable to relate to my fatherless childhood woes. For that I’m eternally grateful. 

I need to write a daddy book don’t I?