• Myles Hopper

It's About Karen

Updated: Nov 16

photo from | kevin-gent

From 1947 (when I entered kindergarten) I had many friends, some of whose names I enjoy saying to this day: Doreen, Adele, Miriam, Benjie, Jeff, Harold, Ronnie, Joshua, and Karen. It was always about Karen with her big brown eyes, and shiny, dark brown hair she wore in bangs. She had my full attention, even when I wasn’t with her. There’s no other way to say this: As a little boy, I really loved Karen. I mean, on the school bus, I pulled her hair.

After the age of ten, I never saw Karen again. However, in 2019, after sixty-six years of being completely out of touch with each other, I received a message on the contact page of my website asking if I am the Myles who attended school with her when we were little kids. Yes, I wrote, I am. And are you the Karen know the rest. Since then, we’ve been email pen pals sharing old photographs and other memories, including how much we meant to each other when we were just little children.

She’s seen me in recent photographs because of my book, but I’ve yet to see a contemporary photograph of her. I asked her to send a photo, but she didn’t. I’m sure she has a good reason, so I don’t plan on asking again. We are good friends because we actually loved each other in that certain way little kids just seem to bond with each other. Karen was an early reader of my book, and I sent her a personalized copy when it was published in July 2020.

A few days ago she sent me an email that included a copy of the review she had posted on Amazon. She said I could use it on my website, so I hope you enjoy her wry sense of humor as much as I do.

Do NOT miss this book! A perfect gift.

"Filled with humor and longing and loving and understanding, Myles Hopper’s My Father's Shadow is eloquently written. He takes the reader through a journey, at first look, a personal one, until we see that Hopper’s journey is each of ours as well. You will see yourself in the encounters he has, the questions he raises, the disappointments he experiences. It is a hopeful book. Through My Father’s Shadow, Hopper teaches us how to see people, how to listen, how to understand, how to accept and when to let go. You will be richer for the experience and wish he had written even more.”

And from the rest of the email.

"In the review, I go by the name CANDY PREBISH…

Long story about how I chose that. For one year I went to Delmar Harvard School. It was first grade. It was Halloween. I wanted to be a beautiful princess.

My mother thought I looked more like, she said, a little Dutch Boy from the Buster Brown shoe commercial, with my bangs and all.

And, she was a bookkeeper at Buster Brown. We were poor, and she could get those shoes cheaply. So she made me Little Red Riding Hood wearing the big, brown, ugly Dutch boy shoes.

Candy Prebish was a beautiful Cinderella. She wore a blue dress and Mary Jane shoes. I’m still jealous.

I never wanted my real name on Amazon, so created her identity for me. Sue me."

A second email: Addendum from Karen.

"George Warren Brown, creator of my ugly, brown, but sturdy shoes was honored after his death. His family donated considerable money to Washington University in St. Louis to create the George Warren Brown School of Social Work."


"What bothers me, though, is the shadow. It looks like it's about to cover me."