Saturday, June 5, 2010
Julie de Lorenzo
Karen was three months older than me, my favourite and closest ‘crazy cuz’.
We lived over an hour away from each other so school holidays were set aside for a visit for a couple of weeks. One time at her place, the next at mine - always mischief and trouble together. She made me laugh like no-one else could. Her laugh was indescribable and it was so uniquely hers.
As kids we spent hours together drawing pictures, making cubby houses, exploring the creek and abandoned houses, making recordings of jokes, songs, anything on my new cassette recorder, watching movies. One time at her place, my Aunty drove us to the shops to stock up on chocolates and lollies, so we could eat them while we watched one of our favourite movies ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’.
We wrote letters to each other between holidays and when one of hers arrived, her writing and little drawings were instantly recognizable.
At the end of 1985, we made a plan to travel around Australia. We couldn’t wait to turn eighteen, get our drivers license and be free.
The morning after the night of 10th April 1986, my brother came into my room with my mother and said, “Jule, I’ve got some bad news….Karen Ongarello was killed in a car accident last night”.
I remember too well the shock and finality of those words.
She was one of four passengers in a car, the drunk driver - the only survivor. She would have turned eighteen on 8th August.
I miss her like crazy sometimes, and can’t help wondering what she’d be doing now…my Crazy Cuz.