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Karen C Vanderlaan

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Member Since: May, 2006

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Show and Tell
by Karen C Vanderlaan   

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Publisher:  Publish America ISBN-10:  1413746373 Type: 


Copyright:  Jan, 2005

Hi! My name is Karen Vanderlaan, author of the new memoir, "Show and Tell". I was born and raised in New England growing up on a dairy farm. Later, leaving the farm when my parents' split up, I moved to Tennessee where my mother and her partner played music together. My mother's friend, Bunny was calculating and abusive. My pony was my solace, my best friend. After Tennessee, I lived in Mississippi, Georgia, California and then Utah all the while attempting to raise myself.
I now reside in Utah where I have raised three children. I also raise, rescue and train horses as well teach children with emotional disturbances. Since "Show and Tell" I have gained custody of my small grand daughter. Life seems to never be dull!

Barnes &
Publish America
Wisebird Bookery
Karen Vanderlaan

I would like to share the prologue of Show and Tell:Ripples. A single pebble dropped in still water triggers an endless series of perfect concentric circles drifting outward toward the end of time. Not so when many pebbles fall. Then the ripples emanating from each fallen stone crisscross, intersect, and alter the course of every other ripple. Perfection is lost in the complexity, but in the multitude of patterns, there arises the chance for beauty as well as chaos.So it is in life. The actions of one infinitely echo in the lives of others. For good or ill. This is the Ripple Effect, and I believe it is true. How else can I explain my life? How else can I explain even this one afternoon? A twelve-year-old girl in my middle-school class for children with emotional problems wanted to spend her lunch hour in the classroom. I had just been selected as one of two “Teacher Heroes” by our local school foundation for my work rescuing horses. Embarrassed by accolade, I immediately stored the poster-sized photo essay used to publicize the honor. My young student had seen the poster in my classroom closet and asked to read it. After lunch, this child became increasingly unruly. Her belligerence escalated as the afternoon wore on, almost to the point that I might be forced to suspend her from school. She – we - survived the afternoon. After the dismissal bell rang, I straightened the room and picked up the poster to put it away. A mark caught my eye. Someone had smeared a word on the perimeter of the poster and then had attempted to repair the damage, making things worse. It dawned on me that my little student, in holding up the poster, had smudged one word with her thumb. The reason for her misbehavior became clear. When she arrived the next morning I asked my staff assistant to teach the class while I escorted the little girl into the hall. I said to her with a smile, “I think I know why you were having a hard time yesterday.” Her little body became rigid and her eyes dropped to her shoes. Then she tossed her head, and with characteristic defiance demanded, “Why?” “When you were reading my poster yesterday you accidentally -” “Suspend me if you want, I don’t care,” her words were betrayed by the tears running down her cheeks. My eyes welled up as I put my hands on her small shoulders. “It was an accident sweetie,” I whispered. “Don’t you know you are worth more to me than that poster?” She raised her head and stared at me; her mouth opened. I hugged her tightly. She laid her head on my shoulder, and I felt her body relax.Here was a child whose alcoholic father demanded that she remove her clothes and grant him sexual favors. Here was a physically beautiful child whose mother took her to the area of town where prostitutes gather and used her to attract men. Here was a child surrounded by adults who exploited her at every turn and, worse, made her feel responsible for their exploitations. Only her feisty spirit protected her from further sexual abuse. Each time she felt backed against a wall, her claws came out. She fought everything. She had spent time in a lock-up facility for drug use. Her only protection from her family came from the supervision provided by the State because she never earned her way off probation. I hated to think that anything connected with me might add to her misery or to the weight of the responsibilities she already carried for the unconscious adults in her life. She gave me one last embrace and we returned together to our classroom. Isabelle Big brother said, ”Just wait till you meet her.She’s the good kid, she’s perfect.”Isabelle, whose non-father touched herWhose mother took his side.No one believed her pain. Isabelle who is betrayed,Angry and so afraid – fights back.Hate filled words are quickly spewedFierce defiance – her protection of choice. Isabelle – still perfect insideBut the world did not know. It was the end of the grading period, and I had asked my students to write a paragraph about something they had learned that term. While reviewing their assignments, I came to the paper written by the little girl. My heart sank as I glanced at it; she had written only one sentence. I knew she could do better. Then I read her words, “I learned I am more important than a poster.”I set the papers down and let the tears come. I get so frustrated, knowing that nothing I teach can outweigh the tragic circumstances in which my students live. I question whether my work makes any difference. But, I had made a dent this time.A young child reached out to touch a story I had shared about horses that I rescued from the meat market. My effort was the conduit through which these animals came to live extended, useful lives. My story, a child’s reach - these simple acts had a profound effect on both of us in ways we could not have foreseen. Ripples. So it is in my life, too. I am going to make it because I am worth more than some people in my life ever knew.


Leftover Love

I realize my lot in this life
To retreieve the crumbs of affection
Left over from a mother’s plate
Never full to begin with

A father’s love around me
Until I was less than convenient
Then I became another recipient
Of the check that was always in the mail-not really

The leftovers from the making of love
Left me stumbling and tripping through blinding tears
The touches of lover’s hands left me
Cold and alone and wanting.

So, I am flawed
Something less than desirable
Only entitled to leftovers
To never be the most important anything to anyone

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Reader Reviews for "Show and Tell"

Reviewed by Kim Irvine 10/29/2010
This book is gritty, emotional and a compelling read.
Reviewed by Chels Duncan 3/3/2010
I hate to admit it but i cried when i read this. This story cannot fail to touch any readers hearts. The way that you wrote this is amazing and i heartily recommend it to anybody

Chels Duncan
Reviewed by MaryGrace Patterson 1/31/2009
A heart wrenching stroy. I often hear of things like this and wonder how a grown up can be so calculating and cruel! Where is the childs protection and help??? How can authorities turn their back on them?????. I pray peace will come into thier lives some how! I applaud you for wrting the book . I'm sure it was an outlet for the pain and misery you expierenced your self. It took much courage to let us know and see what you lived. Its good of you in a way to let us know what the children live through. It brings more awarness to a growing problem. Childern need advocates to help them, as they can't do it them selves.........M
Reviewed by Victoria's Poetry & Voices of Muse 1/17/2009
Good Morning Karen,
I seen a review of your book "Show & Tell" in an article by Felix Perry, and here I am :)
Congradulations of your publication!! I will be ordering a signed copy after I post this, your book sounds wonderful. I look forward to reading "Show and Tell"
Peace, Love & Poetry
Embraced ~ Embrassé
Reviewed by Leland Waldrip 3/31/2008
The Karen Vanderlaan story is an epic chronicle of warm moments sprinkled lightly along a gut-wrenching trail of sadness. It moves inexorably on decline to an eventual inspiring uplift, if not of dreams actualized — if not of reality warmly embraced — then of reality acknowledged and fought to a coexistent truce. One could almost characterize this autobiography as a psychological thriller — a novel with clues to later behaviors deftly woven into a little girl’s childhood experiences of warm sibling relationships squeezed all the tighter by a near universal set of negligent, indifferent, or horribly abusive adults that populated the early phases of their lives.
Karen doesn’t blink in laying out a gripping chronicle of her family tree adorned with virtues and values, along with more than a few ugly warts and blemishes. There is an element of Stockholm syndrome at work here, where the victim forms an adhesive association with a brain-washing abuser. It takes an incredible amount of intestinal fortitude — and the fortuitous intervention of some better angels — to face such overwhelming demons and emerge from the battle a stronger person with life values intact and in control.

I found this book a bit disturbing but incredibly inspiring. Karen’s love of endangered children and horses — and her valiant struggle to make a difference in their lives — is a theme that shines brightly through the dark shroud that she sets about removing from her most eventful life, thread by thread, fold by fold. I highly recommend it for a very emotional, yet soul satisfying read. Four and a half stars.
Best regards,
Reviewed by Dawn Anderson 1/24/2008
I'm going to be making a trip home the end of next month to visit my mother. And I'll be ordering your book along with Jerry's, having both sent to my mother's address, rather than here to Italy, as the mail seems to take forever. This prologue touched me deeply...left me with tears in my eyes. I am so looking forward to reading Show and Tell, Karen.
Reviewed by Chanti Niven 7/20/2007
Your story touched my heart as few pieces of writing ever have. I'd love to get the book and read further. What an incredible life you've have and what a wonderful contribution you've made to this world. I salute you precious woman. It is obvious that you have a huge heart and a beautiful soul.
with love... Chanti
Reviewed by m j hollingshead 7/4/2007
On the pages of Show and Tell and despite so many pages filled with sadness and misery; writer Vanderlaan has crafted an inspirational work. Vanderlaan experienced far more abuse and misery during childhood and then during her early adult years than most of us realize is possible, notwithstanding that, she has managed to renew herself and create happiness and worthwhile activity for herself as single parent, rescuer of neglected horses and educator of emotionally disturbed children.

read full review AuthorsDen as article: mj hollingshead page
Reviewed by Poetess of The Soul Sheila G 4/28/2007
Wonderfully TOuching! I just bought BOTH your books -Amazon-
YOu touched my heart with your words Karen!
I can't wait to have your books in my possession!
My heart is waiting!
Thank YOu for sharing...

PEACE! and WArmer HuGs, WArrior Lady Sheeeoox

Books by
Karen C Vanderlaan

Show and Tell

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