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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Karen Carpenter

Yesterday afternoon, I was listening to NPR, when they were running a story called Remembering Karen Carpenter. Yesterday was the 30 year anniversary of her death. Karen Carpenter is usually thought of as the female half of the Popular 70's group "The Carpenters," in which she performed with her brother Richard. I knew that Karen suffered for a long time from anorexia nervosa and that complications of the disorder ultimate caused her death. What I didn't know is that she was also childless not by choice. Apparently, she married a man who, after their wedding, told her that he had had a vascectomy. She apparently suffered from emotional problems and this seems to have worsened them. She could control what she ate and what she weighed, even if she could not control her other problems. It made me wonder how things would have turned out now. This all happened in the late seventies and early eighties and, while women were beginning to make their voices heard, there were not the kind of support groups and blogs and talking about women's issues then, like there is now. Would she have found solice in knowing that she had options, that she was not alone in being CNBC, that she was adored by so many. We will never know. But today, thirty years and a day after her death, I can say that I hear her voice much differently than I used to and mourn along with her.


  1. I loved listening to the Carpenters back when I was younger. My sister would be playing their records in her bedroom on her stereo. I never knew this about Karen and makes me sad about her circumstances...what a big blow to find out your spouse kept something like that from you. Next time I hear her beautiful singing voice on the radio, I too will mourn along.

  2. I've been reading your blog. I am a writer for and we are doing monthly showcases of women without children on the site. I would love to talk to you more about your experience. You can reach me directly at lmlavoie (at) gmail (dot) com


  3. My mom liked to listen to the music- didn't pay attention, myself. :) More and more I read of your and others blogging, I learn more of celebrities being childless either not by choice or childfree, more I feel hard to explain...more I feel we're not alone. You know- but I can only imagine how it was back then, like you said, access to blogs, support, groups, feedback- in a way, isolated. You know?

  4. I loved the Carpenters growing up, & had several of their albums. She had an amazing, amazing voice. I read a book about them, and I knew she had a failed marriage, but I don't remember this. Of course, I read the book long before infertility entered my life, so perhaps I wasn't paying attention. ; )

    Thirty years. Wow!

    Here's an old post I wrote about the Carpenters:

  5. Thank you all for your comments.

    Laura, I tried to email you, but it got bounced back. You can email me directly at

  6. Jeg elsket å lytte til Carpenters tilbake da jeg var yngre. Min søster skulle spille sine poster i hennes soverom på stereoanlegget sitt

    snekker sarpsborg