March 02, 1950

New Haven, CT
Grace New Haven Hospital

By the time Karen was born  Richard, age 3 1/2, showed an interest in music and by age 4 it become obsessive.

She would also join Richard in the basement of their home showing some interest in the music

Karen, at age 4, began
ballet, tap and acrobatics. 

Carpenter Family

From top left, clockwise

Father:  Harold
Mother:  Agnes
Brother:  Richard

Karen, in her own words, was "a tomboy, enjoying softball, baseball, and badminton in the street and on the big lawn of her home" with friends. She still showed no musical inclination.  Karen shared an interest in music because of her admiration of her brother.  "If he listened to music, I did.  I did everything he did.   Thusly, every record we've ever listened to is embedded in my mind."

Karen was still trying out instruments such as the flute and accordion, but showed little interest. She was interested more in cycling, and other physical sports.

At age 10, Karen displayed a normal and healthy appetite.  She was a local favorite because of her funny and caring personality.  It was at this age that she was also hurt by other kids teasing her for her tendency to chubbiness.  Puberty occurred for Karen around the age of 12 or 13.  Her parents stated that her "weightiness" did not bother her at that age and that she accepted any teasing about it cheerfully.  Frank Bonito, a good friend of Karen's, observes now:   "I think she always felt she was unattractive.  Especially when she became a woman she had large hips.  No matter how thin she got on top, her hips were always big."

The Carpenters moved from New Haven, CT to Downey, CA in June 1963.  Harold was 56 years old and felt his family would have a better life out west and that Richard, then 16, would have more options with his music.


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