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S: The Book of Bo by Her Loving Family

BC: Karen Elizabeth - Born June 7, 1961

FC: The Book of Bo

1: This book, compiled by your loving family, is dedicated to you to commemorate your 50th birthday... June 7th, 2011. Happy Birthday, Bo! We love you!

3: Once again another sibling hits the half-century mark and I find myself taking a trip down Memory Lane. It’s getting harder and harder for me to go down this road; the further apart I am from my younger siblings things don’t look familiar. I feel like I’m looking back on a play in which I had such a minor role that I don’t actually remember playing the part at all. How can this be, I thought, she's my sister. Certainly there must be something about Bo when she was a child that I remember. I tried searching through photographs but all I could come up with were a few school pictures in which Bo looks studious and barely smiles and a photo of Bo and Mom, facing away from the camera. No connection there, I thought, until I looked at the back of the photo where Mom had described the activity. She's brushing Bo's hair and had written "remember the coat?" Mom was wearing my old camel coat with the swanky leopard skin (fake, of course) collar! Perhaps my DNA was all over that coat but it was not what I was looking for. In any case I wasn't quite sure the girl in the picture was actually Bo. In spite of Mom's handwriting identifying her as Bo, to me she looked suspiciously like Teepa. I called Carol, who saves everything, and asked her if she could locate a picture of Bo and me. A few days later she called back, having found a picture taken of us at Jason Hillis' wedding. "You aren't exactly together," she said, "but maybe we could photoshop it to look as if you are." Sounded like a lot of trouble to me until she said, "you have cleavage." Send it on, I cried. Next I tried reminiscing with the sisters who live nearby. “Kathy,” I asked, “do you remember that cute little pink and green dress I gave Bo for Christmas one year?” “No,” she answered, “but you did give Mary and me dresses like that. I don’t think you ever gave Bo anything.” I found that hard to believe. “Mary,” I asked, “were you jealous when Bo became my responsibility?” “I was your only responsibility,” she answered, possessively. “Bo was never your responsibility – she was Kathy’s.” Hmm, I thought, doing the math. When Bo was born Kathy would have been what – six? Our parent’s put a first grader in charge of a baby? I found that hard to believe. In desperation I went to Ann. “Ann,” I said, “do you remember any interaction I had with Bo when she was little?” “Did you ever live at home?” she asked, and I gave up. These sisters were of no help. Whatever role I had in Bo’s early years no one, especially me, seems to remember. | From Drew

4: So Bo and I didn’t bond in the two remaining years I lived at home. Having grown up with the horror stories, perhaps she’s grateful for that. At least I never broke her leg as Dash claims I once broke his (a bald-faced lie). I was too old (hopefully) to taunt her with a cowgirl outfit as Carol claims I once did, parading my new duds in front of her as she was jailed in her playpen. I’m sure I was long gone before she needed the advice Barb claims I gave her when she was in high school on how to get in with the popular crowd (though I was hardly qualified). Broken collar bone aside (and I was nowhere in the vicinity when this happened), she was completely healthy those first few years so she never needed the loving kindness I’m sure I showed Steve when I nursed him through his bout with rheumatic fever (just let him deny THAT!). As far as I know I never stole anything from her the way Kathy claims I once stole some stupid stuffed skunk from her. If she was ever my responsibility as Mary was, and I’m sure she must have been for at least a nanosecond, it was not long enough to do any long-term emotional damage. As adults we never lived in the same town as I did with Clare so she never got to know me as a “snooty bitch.” I never took advantage of her good nature and willingness to babysit as I once did Ann. Nor do I remember inviting her to spend a summer with me, as I once did Nelly and Laurie, exposing them to the horrors of a truly bad marriage (may I be forgiven for that). Yes indeed, Bo, you should be grateful you had no part of that.

5: BUT – we did have one memorable moment, didn’t we? You remember that, don’t you Bo? The day I brought Dad back from the dead?? Yes indeed, how many of your siblings have power like that? Ah, that was quite a time – the most bizarre two weeks of my life. Prior to that I had never considered myself a dramatic person. I had no idea I had an inner Drama Queen and to tell you the truth I haven’t seen her since. But there she was, popping out unexpectedly – throwing a glass (or was it a jelly jar) off the front porch in anger at Dad for appearing to favor his step-grandchildren over his own; dragging everyone to the doctor’s office (ok – he wasn’t really a doctor – just a chiropractor) insisting he come see our father because she just knew he was dying (to which he replied that wasn’t the case at all, but then what did he know - he really wasn’t a doctor now, was he?); and then (the most embarrassing episode of all) throwing herself across Dad’s feet when Nurse Dixon pronounced him gone, crying “Oh, Dad.” But then, miracle of miracles, Dad began breathing and Nurse Dixon (was she really a nurse? I wonder.) was left fumbling for an explanation. Unfortunately, the Drama Queen’s first and only miracle was short-lived. But no matter, it had its effect – the ensuing laughter still rings in my ears to this day (or is that just tinnitus?). What shared bonding experiences we didn’t have before could not compare to what we had now. Yeah – good times! So today you’re 50. In a few days I’ll turn 65 and qualify for Medicare (if it still exists). How fortuitous it is for us, your much older siblings, that you’ve chosen geriatrics as your profession, and psychiatric geriatrics at that. When you’re my age I’ll be 80 – I can hardly think about that without laughing hysterically (though I’m sure the White Zin has something to do with that). Of course by then the retirement age will have increased to 70 so you’ll still have five more years before you can collect social security (if it still exists). Perhaps by then we’ll have set you up with your own facility, our only stipulation being that you have to allow us to be admitted there when the time comes, no matter how crazy we are. I promise not to break anyone’s bones, make anyone jealous, give advice, pretend to be a nurse, steal anything, boss anyone around, act like a “snooty bitch,” take advantage of anyone, or set a bad example. Honest!! Happy Birthday, Sis. Today you may be a beautiful 50 year old woman but you'll always be one of the smart, funny and adorable "little guys" to me. I love you, Drew

7: From Dash | Dear Bo, Just know that my memories are MY MEMORIES and I'll remember them the way I want. Not that I have as many as some other siblings. The sixties through the eighties are still kind of fuzzy. But, they say if you can remember the sixties you weren't really there. I do remember a big-eyed kid in diapers that laughed a lot that I used to swing around by her head (not the ears). And I do remember, many years later, meeting her again and thinking: "Same big eyes, heartier laugh, but don't try the head thing". What I remember now is that we have run into each other over the years at various family things and I always enjoyed being around you. Never a cross word and a really strange sense of humor. I'm sure you are as wonderful as I remember. All the really cool kids say you are. So, Little Sister, Happy 50th. Hope the next 50 are great and that I see you again before you're back in diapers. Love and Kisses, Dash

8: You were the baby of the family... for a split second! | With Laurie and Christie

9: From Carol | FIFTY YEARS OLD!!! I can’t believe the first of the three “little guys” is entering into their 50s. And, in keeping with family tradition, we are all trying to come up with Bo stories or memories. This is such a wonderful tradition which I am so glad did not fizzle out by the time it got to you. For me, I am going to resort to the questions we have used in the past. What is your first memory of Karen? My first memory would be of Mom and Dad bringing you home from the hospital. Your collar bone was broken, so you needed extra care when being changed. I remember having to fold your undershirt up over your arm and securing the shirt with a safety pin so your arm wouldn’t move. I don’t think this bothered you much, because I don’t remember you being very fussy. In fact, I remember you as being a pretty easy baby. I remember putting you in the baby carriage and walking you around the block in Coral Hills with my friend, Linda Natoli. Linda always wanted to push. What was it like growing up with Karen? We didn’t actually grow up together. I was one of the “big guys” and you were one of the “little guys”. Being at opposite ends of the family, I believe I was more of a babysitter than someone you actually grew up with. This was very unfortunate, but I don’t believe it could have been helped in such a large family. Fortunately, I have gotten to know you as an adult and love the time we spend together. I do remember thinking that you were very much like Mom. After all, you were the only one named after her, and you had her dark hair and eyes. What is the nicest thing Karen has ever done for you? You are always doing nice things. You are great with advice, especially when it comes to caretaking. You really helped me last summer when Dan had his shoulder operated on. He was having such a difficult time. I really don’t know what I would have done without you. You couldn’t be here physically, but you certainly helped me over the phone. I will be forever grateful for your support.

11: Having Dan and me visit for Thanksgiving. It was so nice of you to invite us and it really meant a lot to both of us. I think Dan got to know and understand our family a little more. And, we had a really good time. What are some of the best times you ever spent with Karen? One of the best times was the trip we took with Barbara to Birmingham to see Mom’s relatives. I am so glad you made that connection so that we could get to know them. I’m not sure if the lid ever got put back on that can of worms we opened. When you and Dennis came down for the family reunion and Dennis cooked on the grill for us – delicious!!! You need to visit more often. A couple of years ago when I came to stay with you on my way to a sewing class in Huntsville. You were looking at a new house at the time and we went to see it. We just hung out and visited for a couple of days. It was fun and peaceful. Candace’s wedding – I loved having dinner with you and your family the night before everyone arrived. Just hanging out with all of you was great. You made me feel special. We have had a lot of good times together as adults. I love spending time with you – you’re fun! The unfortunate part is that we don’t see each other more often. Karen, as you turn 50, I want to take this opportunity to tell you what a wonderful person I think you are and how much I admire you. You’re a terrific mother; a great nurse; you have a great outlook on life; and, a wonderful spirit. You are truly one of the sweetest, most caring people I know. Thank you for being such a loving sister. I know Mom and Dad would be extremely proud of you. HAPPY 50th, Karen Elizabeth!!! I love you, Carol

13: Dear Bo, Is it your fiftieth birthday already? Wow! Now, when you say, “Damn, I’m old”.. it’ll be true. Welcome to the club. My first memory of you was the day you were brought home from the hospital. You had a tiny cast on your shoulder, and I remember being afraid that I might hurt you. I didn’t – you were tough. Being on the “older” end of the family, I didn’t get to have a close relationship with you as you grew up. I was a “big guy”, and you were a “little guy”. I remember when you came to live with me, for a short while, in Tennessee. You were the typical teenager, and I was the typical older sister. I was probably kind of bitchy – one of the rights of an older sibling. Sorry. I do have a tendency to be a little “uptight”. I’m working on it. | From Barbara

15: We didn’t really get to know each other until you moved to Tennessee, with your beautiful family (and Pat). It was a wonderful time for me, because I had missed having family close by. Over the years we shared holiday celebrations, countless parties, our children growing up, our marriages falling apart, and you finding the love of your life. We have laughed until our sides hurt, and cried when our hearts were broken. Because of you, there was always more laughter than tears. Thank you for that. My favorite moment will always be the time we laughed about beheading all your balloon animals and putting them on stakes in your front yard. However, no story will ever be funnier than the one about your phone conversation with Charlotte’s cousin from Kentucky. Hmm...do you still have his number? So, here you are, on your fiftieth birthday, reading your book, and it’s my turn to tell you how I feel about you. It’s not an easy thing to put into words, but here goes. You are one of the people I admire most in the world. I have had the opportunity to observe you in the role of wife, mother, friend, nurse, and sister. You rock at all of them. As I watched you go through the many changes in your personal and professional life, you approached all of them with strength, determination, and a will to succeed that was inspirational. You were always tough. You inspire me, and I am so proud to be your sister. Happy birthday! I love you, Babs

17: Always with me... and never agin’ me. Cheese Wiz! The oldest of the Three Little Guys to turn 50 years old. We did have a lot of fun growing up together... just think of all the fun you would have missed out on if I had moved out at 16 like the rest of you :-). Guess I was having such a good time living with y’all I just couldn’t drag myself away... having too much fun to go out and work for a living. We all got pretty close during those “BM” times... seems like we were crammed in like sardines at one point.. guess it’s more or less “get along, or someone dies”. Maybe that’s why when you open a can of sardines you find them with all their heads missing... I suspect they didn’t go into the can that way... at lease not all of them :-). Born without a head... where the hell did that ever come from? All I can say is whatever medical marvel they pulled off to get your head back on worked out pretty well... you turned out to be a smart girl... always with me, never agin’ me. I always appreciated you ‘being with me’, and understanding my humor when others didn’t seem to get it. That’s why I decided to give gave you an extra guiding hand to help get you thru those awkward teenage years... most of which, of course, was from behind the scenes... you understand... Do you remember when the Hatfields’ were running rampage out in Mincy that one summer? We didn’t have any guns around the house, but I can remember walking around the yard with a bow and arrow while all you kids were all perched at the windows keeping lookout... night after night. Let me tell you right now... when Ann and Clare wanted to tie you to a tree, with a big bowl of popcorn at your feet, in hopes of luring them Hatfields’ out of hiding and cashing in on the Re-ward... I was the one who put a stop to it. I, Brother Steve, was on your side. But then Ann and Clare were always easily distracted... one pin-joint and 12 pieces of cinnamon toast later... Bo who? Whenever Dad wanted to send you out into the yard to chase off the possums... it was I who suggested that Nelly take your place... she was much more suited than you to mix with the wildlife. Some things never change :-). | From Steve

19: And remember the “chalkboard”? Dad sure kept you girls busy back then... he’d update the chores on that chalkboard every morning before any of us even got out of bed... seemed like that old man never slept. In the two years we lived there I think “haul rocks” was the only job that never came off that board. Now I know that you hauled your share of rocks, and it may have seemed that you always got the “short end of the stick” when it came to the shit jobs, but I guess someone had to cut up Paula Jo’s turds to keep the septic tank flowing properly. Oh yea, sorry... I was looking out for myself on that one... kept you out of doing dishes most nights so I guess it was a good thing. And remember how cold it was that winter we moved into the cottage? Most nights we’d all gather in the master lounge to listen to Masterpiece Theater on the radio and drink hot tea to stay warm. It was I who always made sure you got the “good” afghan to keep you warm, and you, in turn, always made sure I got that big clear-glass mug to drink my tea out of. Yea... yea... that was you, I’m sure of it. I absolutely loved the responsibility of being an older brother, and as I look back and remember the days we all spent together... Living in that big ol’ lodge... All eight of us moving into that one room cottage... and being there with Dad and you guys while we worked thru the death of our Mother. The experience of us building our own home... and moving into it even when there were no interior walls (you’d of thought we could of waited a few more days). Those years we spent together in Missouri were some of the most memorable and rewarding times of my youth... the best of times my dear sister... the best of times. I am so happy you and Dennis have found each other and I look forward to one day... catching you off guard and smackin’ you in the back of the head with a cow pod. Love, Brother Steve

21: Dear Bo, I know I opted out of these 50th Birthday books several sibs ago but I couldn’t let yours go by. I’ll do this if it kills me. I just don’t know how to tell you how much you mean to me without making us both cry. From the time you were a baby and I had to stand on a chair to get you out of your crib I always felt like you were mine. I know I was too little to actually have you assigned to me but I wanted you to be my responsibility for as long as I can remember. You were so cute and you were a captive audience. I’d rock you for hours and sing, “I Found a Peanut” and you seemed to like it. When you were big enough to talk you’d actually request songs. I’d love to believe this was because of my lovely singing voice but there may be another explanation: Imprinting: [im-prin-ting] –noun Rapid learning that occurs during a brief receptive period, typically soon after birth and establishes a long lasting behavioral response to a specific individual. Could this be why you and Dennas are the only ones who ever ask me to sing? I don’t know if you know this Bo but you really were a great little kid. You were funny and affectionate and I loved having you around even if I sometimes treated you like a slave. Thank you for all those hours of scratching my back and brushing my hair (except for that one unfortunate incident). Thank you for never ratting Mary and me out to mom for anything you may have overheard. | From Kathy

22: See what a little fenge shui can do! | From this... | ...to this

23: On my 50th Birthday you wrote me a letter thanking me for the summers you spent with me in Ohio. All I can say is that I got as much from them as you did. You were so much fun to have around. My life there sucked almost as much as your life in Missouri but it was much better when you were with me. We had such a blast laughing and make fun of the absurdity of the whole place. Those summers did us both a world of good. Looking back I wish I had kept you with me through all of your teenage years. I should never have left you with those nitwits in Kirbyville. But, what the hell. You have handled all of the trials of your life with incredible humor and grace. And look how you’ve turned out (so far). You have such a good life and I couldn’t be more proud. You are a wonderful mom, wife, friend, sister, nurse, and basically just about the best person I know. I love your sense of humor and your great laugh. I love your sensitivity. I love your open, warm and loving heart. I love the way you accept people just as they are. You are and always have been incredibly easy to love. Happy Birthday Sis, Love, Kathy

24: From My Garden to Yours

25: Dearest Bo, In honor of your fiftieth birthday I have used the alphabet, words, and the dictionary to describe my view of your personality, character, and soul. Adventurous – fond of adventure, willing to take chances, daring Beauty – the quality attributed to whatever pleases or satisfies the senses or mind, as by line, color, form, texture, proportion, rhythmic motion, etc., or by behavior, attitude, etc. Creative – having or showing imagination and artistic or intellectual inventiveness Diligence – the quality of being diligent; constant, careful effort; perseverance Expansive – characterized by a free and generous nature; sympathetic; demonstrative; open Funny – causing laughter; provoking smiles Gardener – a person who likes or is skilled at working in a garden Healer – a person or thing that heals Industrious – skillful or clever; characterized by earnest, steady effort; hard-working; diligent Joyous – full of joy; happy; gay; glad Kind – sympathetic, friendly, gentle, tenderhearted, generous Leader – a person or thing that leads; directing; commanding; or guiding head Matriarch – a mother who rules her family or tribe (Shakazulu) | From Clare

27: Natural – not artificial or manufactured Open – frank; candid; direct; honest Personable – having a pleasing appearance and personality Quick-witted – nimble of mind; alert Resourceful – full of resource; able to deal promptly and effectively with problems, difficulties, etc. Smart – intelligent, alert, clever, witty True – faithful; loyal; constant Understanding – the mental quality, act, or state of a person who understands; sympathetic awareness Vacationer – one who vacations. Wise – having or showing good judgment X – check out the dictionary – I am at a complete loss here. Yea-sayer – a person who has an affirmative or positive attitude toward life Zest – keen enjoyment; gusto; often with for (a zest for life) You have been my sister for 50 years; my friend and confidante for over 30 years; and a woman I am truly honored to share this life with. Happy 50th Birthday! I love you!! Clare

29: Dear Karen, At one time Mom had a written collection of stories and events that transpired throughout the raising of her brood. There was one that involved the two of us, and while I don’t remember the event, I do love the story. We were living on 52nd Avenue, and one day I came in from the backyard and Mother noticed that the front of my clothes were wet. She asked where I was going and I told her I was going to change my clothes. When she inquired how I had gotten wet, I informed her that I had been using the garden hose to wash your mouth out. When she asked for further clarification, I responded, “I had to she was eating crayons.” I was three and you were two. This particular story always brings to mind many questions. First, and foremost, was there ever any adult supervision through those formative years? Second, was the story really about Ann and Karen, or could it have been two other random offspring? And third, what color crayon was it? In any event, I really hope the story was about us, because I like the idea that I was looking out for my little sis from the very beginning. I don’t know if you remember living on 52nd Avenue, but I do. I remember a room shared by the “four little guys”. A room with two sets of bunk beds, and each of us had a little toy box made from a wooden ammo container. The boxes were painted different primary colors and the tops were covered with padding and vinyl, and they doubled as seats for our round play table. I remember playing, taking naps, and helping you guys clean that room only to have it destroyed the next day. We should have been tidier. I believe this was also the house were you got up early on Easter morning and ate everything in your Easter basket. I’m really sorry I wasn’t there to help you. I don’t know why that was a big deal ---- it’s not like we had enough candy to make us sick. By the time we moved to Tennessee, it was the “three little guys”, but it was still the four of us hanging out all summer. I loved those summers! Summer movie passes, where there was always some freebee ticket for popcorn or an ice cream cone. I remember feeling so grown up taking you guys across town, with everyone holding hands whenever we crossed the street. You three girls were always so good. Except for that one incident of popcorn throwing, I remember you all being little angles. But once again.. where was the adult supervision? The oldest of us was ten, and yet we | From Ann

31: had free reign of a town all summer! It was also during the Tennessee stint that went spent those countless hours loading up our doll families for the long trek across the prairie, only to encounter the endless sandstorm. Good God that sand could blow! You were always so brave; willing to sacrifice yourself to make sure you . “Covered the babies’ faces!” Even as a kid you had characteristics that I envied and admired. You always seemed to be able to speak your mind, you certainly weren’t shy, and you were always willing to try new things. I often wondered where you got such bravery. You have carried these same characteristics into adulthood. You are an amazing mother and have done such an exceptional job with your children. Our mother would be so very proud of you. I remember once visiting Dad and you were there with a very young Patrick and Candace. I was in awe of how you handled everything with such ease. Parenting just seemed so natural for you, and you handled each situation with humor and a heavy dose of common sense. I was genuinely impressed with just how very wise you were. I still am. Karen, you are one of the most caring people I have ever known, and I have always thought you were so very beautiful --- inside and out. I love you Sister, and I love being your big sis. Happy Birthday! Love, Ann

33: My relationship with you is one of the best things in my life, and by far the most enduring. From riding in the tippy-back of the VW bus to riding around Germany in the back of my Toyota (why didn’t we rent a car?)... from walking to Farmer’s Market to having a Turkish guy climb into your car to take us to a basket market (that was the coolest thing!)... from playing with our hard-legged dolls to playing with your real children (and soon your grandson!)... from asking you what the “f” word means to consoling each other when we got “f’d” over (By the way, “If you don’t know I’m not going tell you,” really means that you don’t know either!)... from trying to build a house out of rocks (remember Dad said we didn’t need cement? Seriously?!) to having our own houses actually made with cement... from letting me cut your hair when we were teenagers to letting me cut Mickey’s hair a few years ago (again, seriously?!)... from Pat Ayers to Pat Moore to Dennis Hickey... from Steve Porting to Bob Cooper to Gerald Richardson... from Maryland to Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Turkey, Germany, Ohio, Illinois, Massachusetts and Michigan... from births to weddings to graduations to deaths and everything in between...you and I have certainly been through pretty much everything together. | From Nelly | And now we celebrate your 50th birthday! On this immensely special occasion, I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for always liking me and being my best friend. I’ve adored you ever since we were little kids and have spent the majority of my life thinking I have no idea what I’d do without you.

34: The Three Little Guys way back when | When we were little kids in Maryland, you got really sick and had to stay in bed for what seemed like an eternity. You must have had chicken pox or measles or something. I’m not sure. I just remember hating it because I missed you and was so mad you couldn’t come out to play. I’ve missed you so many more times over the years, but I love the fact that when we’re far away, we’re always very close. I love that we make the effort to see each other when we can. (Even overseas we saw a lot of each other although it sometimes took a Herculean effort to do so.) Most of my favorite memories involve you visiting me, me visiting you, or meeting at a campground in the middle.

35: You give the best advice and it always comes from a place of love. That's a true gift indeed! On my worst days you always make me feel better. On my best days, I love that you wholeheartedly share my joy. I love that you make me laugh until I can’t breathe and start making that weird donkey noise. I love that you brought your kids into this world and cannot thank you enough for sharing them with me. (They make me make that noise too!) I love that you’re such a good mom... no doubt due to the years of practice you had raising me. I love that your house is always home to me. I love that you met Dennis because you deserve someone who keeps you on your game. I love that your game is about as good as it gets... you really do live life in a way that I thoroughly admire. But most of all, I love that God blessed me with you as my big sis. To this day, I still don’t know what I’d do without you. Happy birthday, my Bo-Bo! I love you, Nelly | Because of you I get pictures like this!!!

36: My Tribute to you a la Madonna | They had style, they had grace, Rita Hayworth gave good face... | Ladies with an attitude, fellas that were in the mood...

37: Don't just stand there lets get to it, strike a pose there's nothing to it! | Ooh, you've got to just let your body groove to the music... | Ooh, you've got to just let your body go with the flow... | Ooh, you've got to just .... VOGUE!

39: Bo, When I try to remember what it was like growing up with you, oddly I find it hard to think of specific details of the two of us together. In preparation of writing in your 50th birthday book, I tried to figure out why this was the case. For the most part I remember having fun as a child, and I am sure that we enjoyed good times together as we are fairly close in age. My recollections of what life was like when we were kids didn’t go very deep (probably for obvious reasons), but what I do remember about you when we were growing up is that you always had a lot of friends and were part of the “popular” crowd in high school. So in reflection of what our childhood together was like, I simply attribute my limited ability to recall details to the fact that perhaps we just traveled in different social circles. I am very happy to say that as adults this is not the case. Over the last several years we have made many opportunities to get together and I have found you to be a supportive older sister as well as a friend. In spite of the inconvenience of traveling, you have made an effort to visit with me and be part of my adult life on many occasions – attending my wedding in California even though you were very pregnant, having a baby shower for me when I had Sam, spending Thanksgiving holiday here, and summer vacationing in Michigan even though it was cold in June. You have also been very welcoming to me and my family at your home over the years. These visits have given us many laughs and it has been great spending occasions with you and your family. We have enjoyed some pretty silly times and references (i.e. the FB – let’s blame that on Mickey and Kelsey – they laugh at everything). I have really enjoyed these times..your kids are just wonderful and you must be very proud. I will always appreciate how sweet Candace and Ava are together – our 2 girly girls are two peas in a pod. | From Laurie

40: The Three Little Guys now

41: You recently gave me advice about the 5 steps of praying (praise, thanks, forgiveness, others, and self). I like this concept so I wanted to apply these ideas to how I feel about my relationship with you as part of your 50th birthday book: Praise: Of the many things of which you should be praised, the ones that most come to my mind are your hilarious sense of humor, your generosity, and your willingness to include and reach out to others. Thanks: I am thankful that I have a unique sister such as you, that you make me laugh in a way few others do, and that you are willing to continue to watch an idiotic reality TV show with me (even though everyone else has bailed on us). Forgiveness: I appreciate that we can have a stupid issue and move past it as if it never happened. Pray for others: I wish for you much happiness and peace in the next 50 years of your life. Pray for myself: I hope that we continue to get to know and enjoy each other, and that we find times to get together in the upcoming years. Bo.I think that all birthdays are special, but I hope you truly enjoy this 50th one. After all – it is the most exciting birthday ever!!! Much love to you.....Laurie

42: A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary – Dorothy Canfield Fisher.

43: Mom, This quote immediately reminded me of you. You are the strongest person I have ever known. And, without that strength, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. You have taught me so much – how to walk, how to tie my shoes, how to ride a bike, how to swim, how to read, how to build a snow man, how to drive, how to stand on my own two feet, how to love, how to find humor in most situations, how to stay positive when things get tough (ok, I’m still working on this one!), how to believe that God has a plan for everything, even when I can’t see it. They always say that a woman never wants to turn into her mother. I could only hope to turn out like mine. You have so many qualities that I can only wish to one day have – your kindness, your humor, your craftiness, your Pioneer Stock, your grace, your selflessness, your ability to be the best mother a kid could ask for. And, I know I wasn’t exactly the easiest kid to parent (let’s be serious, that’s putting it mildly)! You taught me the true meaning of unconditional love – even when I didn’t deserve it. So, thank you for being there for me to lean on, but also for teaching me that I can handle things without needing someone to lean on. While I’m nowhere near “pioneer stock”, I’ve found a lot of your strength in myself. And you’ve been the one to help me find it. It was the strength that I got from you that made me know I could move 600 miles away from everyone I know and love – a move that would change my life in so many new and | wonderful ways. It’s the strength that I got from you that has gotten me through the past year of tests and disappointment. It’s the strength that I got from you that will get me through anything that life has to throw at me. And, when I run out of my own strength, I know you’ll be there for me to lean on. Happy 50th birthday to the best mommy ever. I love you, Candace | From Candace

45: From Patrick | Mom, Happy 50th birthday!!! Although I wasn't around for the first 20 years, I have been here for the last 30. In my 30 years I have had the pleasure of having you as a mom. I can't even begin to tell you all the things I’ve learned from you over the years. You have taught me all the lessons and discipline that I hope to pass on to my son when he is born. I can only hope to be half the parent and roll model that you have been to me the past 30 years. You had an amazing way of balancing discipline and still letting me live my life and learn from my own mistakes. I want to thank you for everything you have done and still do for me. I hope your next 50 years are as good as your first. I love you very much. HAPPY 50th MAMMA!!! Patrick (Junie Moon)

47: Mom, Words cannot describe how amazing you really are. I could not have asked for a better mom. So you’re turning the Big 50, you don’t look a day over 25. Just thought I would throw that out there. Thank you for everything you have done for me and will continue to do for me. I cannot express how much I appreciate you. You are the bomb.com. I LOVE YOU MOM!!! Kelsey | From Kelsey

49: From Mickey | Mom, When most people think of a hero, they think about a grown man wearing tights and a cape. I, on the other hand, think of waking up on Saturdays to the Perkins cackle and the woman I got my killer sense of humor from. You are my hero mom. I can only hope to become half the woman that you are. You are incredibly strong and brave. Any girl would be lucky to have you as a mother and Bubby, Candace, Kelsey, and I are the luckiest kids in the world. You have taught me so much the past 18 years. Like if you buy fancy panties, that means that you are expecting company and only trashy girls have company. You also taught me not to be afraid of anything. You are the bug killing, yard working, coffee drinking warrior that I am proud to say is my mother. I love you very much and I hope you have a fantastic birthday. You deserve it!!! All my love, Mickey

51: Aunt Bo, Your careful watchful eye over me, my brother and your children is both comforting and inspiring. Your unchallenging love for all of your family is immeasurable. On this, your 50th birthday, know that your love is legendary and your loved ones blessed. May this be a special day in your heart. Happy Birthday! Love, Jake, Tina, Madison and Noah | From Jake

52: Photo by Jake Leiberman

55: From Luke | Aunt Bo: Thank you for always making it a priority to be there for me, my mom, my brother, and now my family. Your love and support has always been felt and appreciated. Your care and guidance has impacted us all. Happy 50th birthday! Love, Luke

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