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Charlie don’t surf, but he does read letters.

Karen Shock was a girl I spent 12 years of school with and probably spoke to 10 times. 

Karen Shock Martin

I regret that.  And, as a class mate told me Saturday night, we were shallow.  It was about clothes, the mod look, dances, music, fun, football, basketball, and our close circle of friends.  There were 130 or so kids in my graduating class, and I have to admit, I didn’t know them all. 

But I should have.

At least I should have know Karen better.

Mrs. Almeda Shaw was a teacher at Valley View High School, and Karen was her student.  A few of the young men whom Mrs. Shaw taught were shipped off to Viet Nam.  She promised to write to them, but with a busy life, a family, a profession, she rarely kept UP with the demand.  She came UP with an idea.  She asked Karen to write to Charlie Martin, because Mrs. Shaw simply, didn’t have time.

Mrs. Shaw

Lucky Charlie.

When it came Karen’s turn to tell about her life Saturday night, she stood UP and said, “I’m Karen Shock Martin and this is my husband Charlie.  We’ve been married 40 years.”  Charlie was the lucky guy to whom Karen wrote while he was in Viet Nam.  They kept UP a two year correspondence, and when he came home from Nam, he took her out on a date. 

The rest is history.

They got engaged, married, had a family – one son, worked all their lives, and stayed in Germantown.

Nothing unusual about that.

But as Karen went through her little UPdate, I was more and more impressed, and more and more humbled.  She told us that she’s retired, and they volunteer at a homeless shelter, an animal shelter, a women’s shelter, and the 5 Rivers Park or Reserve.  That much volunteering is a full time job.  While she was telling her story, the smile never stopped.  She seemed filled with joy.

Karen now

Who knew the quiet girl with the sweet smile would have an impact like that?

Karen, volunteering is a great look for you…keep it UP.

(Note from UP – Fashion Friday is a little different today, you were all expecting a “trash-a-thon” of my high school graduating class, but alas – I’m not that cruel, plus, we looked fabulous!   This is probably the most heart-warming story to come out of the reunion…I hope it touched you in print as much as it touched me at the event.  I’ll be catty again next week!)

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