Karen turns 25 in this year. HORIZON was released this year with songs like Only Yesterday and Solitaire. During the making of this album, Karen’s health had become a critical issue.
JUNE: They began a tour in the US. Karen had fallen deeper into anorexia nervosa. Richard made many comments on the choice of clothing his sister made. Which by this time she was trying for more of an adult attire instead of the “granny-look” as her hair and makeup girl would later say. Richard felt that her clothing revealed too much of her arms and back. During their concerts, the audience showed their alarm at Karen’s weight-loss with gasps as she entered the stage. Richard states that she had to have been aware of this, but never showed any reaction to it or mentioned it.Karen’s best friend from Connecticut, Debbie Vaiuso, visited them during one of these concerts. This is what she had to say about Karen’s appearance, “Her skin was literally hanging off of her bones.” In-between shows, she would rest on a sofa in her dressing room. She was convinced this was enough to get her through the shows. While onstage, she couldn’t wait to get off again to go rest. She reassured family and friends that she was “OK”. I have to say, while a person is wrapped up in the clutches of anorexia, they don’t realize the seriousness. Richard recalls “She looked like hell.”
SUMMER: Karen’s health had now degenerated into a critical issue. She was down to around 80 pounds at this time! It was at this time a mysterious illness. Although it had been around for many years, no one had yet knew about it. Her doctor confirmed she was too exhausted to go on tours of Japan and Europe. While Richard went to Tokyo and London to postpone the tours, Karen went into the Cedars of Sinai Hospital. “They’re just going to make sure I put some weight on,” Karen reassured Gary Sims who visited her there….alarmed. Karen gained weight to 104 pounds in her six weeks of recuperation.October Karen and Richard each talked about her illness although the actual words “anorexia nervosa” were never mentioned.
Newsletters from 1975
February: Karen’s thirst for knowledge of culinary art, had led her to enroll in a cookery course, a subject she loves. It appears their lone awaited three month vacation has gone down the drain. Demands for bookings have been so heavy, that vacation time has been replaced by concerts. The following schedule is tentative, and subject to changes, cancellations, and/or additions. I try to keep you notified of any alterations, but at times is impossible when it occurs between newsletters. June: Determined to lose weight. Karen has melted down to a mere 93 pounds. Exhausted from the demands or taping etc. she spent a short vacation with friends in the Virgin Islands who forced her to relax and rest by denying he the use or the telephone and trade publications. She returned with a lovely tan. Meanwhile, back home Richard spent some time enjoying his motorcycle. He and Karen thoughtfully took time to plan a fantastic surprise party for Mom & Dads 40th wedding anniversary.
Q: Does Karen have a favorite recipe she likes to prepare? A: She loves to cook, and here is one of her many favorites.
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 pt. whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla
|1/4 cup cold water
2 drops almond flavoring
4 tbsp. butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 box vanilla wafers
2 cups peaches
1/2 tsp. salt
1 envelope plain gelatinPlace wafers in plastic bag, crush with rolling pin, then spread on base of glass dish. Mix butter, sour cream, sugar, salt and flavors, blend in blender. Add egg and blend again. Mix gelatin with cold water, and blend with other ingredients. Whip cream and add to peaches and other ingredient. Pour into wafer crust and place in refrigerator for several hours. The Nabisco vanilla wafers are available in most markets.
October: Carpenters send sincere regrets to their loyal fans in Japan for the cancellation or the Japanese tour due to Karen’s illness. She appreciates your sympathetic understanding, and deep concern for her health. She is very slowly improving, but has been prohibited by her physicians from all physical and professional activities until the end or October. Richard flew to Japan with Terry Ellis (Karen’s boyfriend) for a Press conference and business meeting with the Japanese promoters. Find Richard made a public announcement to the people or Japan.December: In response to the overwhelming concern regarding Karen’s health, I am happy to confirm she has responded well to the rest and medication prescribed by her doctors, and is steadily regaining weight, (present reading 104 lbs.) The good wishes of so many loyal fans. combined with our beautiful California weather, have been the main contributory factors to her recuperation. Karen has asked me to convey her heartfelt gratitude to you all for the get-well cards, and numerous kind messages, which have brought her so much pleasure and comfort. Contrary to unfounded reports you may have read in various magazines, please be assured there is no truth in the rumor that Karen is a victim of cancer. Coupled with severe physical and mental exhaustion, due to overwork, dieting and lack of rest, she developed Colitis (i.e. inflammation of the colon.) Her collapse was inevitable after the rigorous schedule of the past summer months, and her willing spirit was eventually dominated by mother nature who compelled her to take a well deserved rest. Thank God she exudes her vivacious, happy personality once again. We are indeed thankful that Richard has managed to sustain sufficient stamina to withstand the extra pressures derived from Karen’s illness. It was with deep regret that the European tour was canceled on doctor’s advice, specially having been honored to be selected to perform in the presence of the Queen at the Royal Command Variety Performance in London. Richard flew to London with John Bettis to apologize to the fans and promoters for the cancellation, via the media of television, radio and newspapers.
December 19 Karen & Richard staged two shows at Disneyland. It was Trojan night, and the big handsome men on the football team were being honored for earning their way into New Year’s Day Rose Bowl game. It was a rare cold California night, and though our duo wore denim outfits, they were freezing cold on the outdoor stage.