Sunrise. Sunset. Two beautiful times. When the world is, usually, still and quiet. Times of reflections. What is to come? What has already happened? If this isn’t speaking to all the fans of K&E, then maybe you need to go outside with your headphones and begin listening to the podcast again from the first episode.
The penultimate episode (next to the last, for those that were unclear), begins with a 1979 newspaper article from the Portland Oregonian. The Steinfield Pickle Factory, which had been in operation since 1922, has been the victim of a terrible explosion. Cause unknown. However, 120 employees are out of work and the future of the company is bleak. (Well, Vicki W. now you know.)
Dot is back. Moaning about how kids these days just don’t understand sacrifice and how “back in the day” you respected your elders. Especially your parents. Helena agrees. Especially since her daughter blames her for everything wrong in her life. Helena’s daughter seems upset because she had to care for her younger sister when Helena was doing time in the pokey. Poor Helena. Sleeping on a cot and peeing on a cold toilet (someone crochet her a toilet seat cover, STAT!) while her eldest daughter whooped it up in the “big city”. Also, the slop (AKA, jail food) was terrible. Who knew prison wasn’t a luxury spa?!?
Aloha Karen…. today is YOUR day! It’s her birthday! And, can you believe that Aloha Rob RUINED her last birthday?!? (I’m aghast at this accusation! Rob ruin something?!?) Every year, as per tradition (except when Rob ruins it by chucking the karaoke microphone through the TV screen and getting them kicked out of the bar) (By the way, that could happen to ANYBODY!), Aloha Karen sings birthday karaoke. So, this year, our sassy birthday gal is heading to her favorite karaoke bar (the only one in town that allows them entrance) to sing, sing, sing, sing, sing! Unless Rob gets too drunk and they are forced to leave. Whichever comes first. All other birthdays pale in comparison to Aloha Karen’s because, DUH!, it’s HER birthday. Happy birthday, Aloha Karen!
(Here, our favorite Karen, Sara Stapleton proceeds to sing, sing, sing, sing, sing! I admit, I laughed. Loudly. Hysterically. Tears streaming down my face to the incredibly poignant Bette Midler song, Friends. I have no clue how Sara managed to get through this. Soon, I found myself actually crying as I recalled the words and how they reflected upon my time spent with the podcast, roomie community, and Josh. But, thats a blog post for another time.)
Skype time between Sara and Josh! (Oh, this always means juicy information is on the horizon!) Josh finally spills the handwriting analysis. And, the answer we have waited for since the end of Season 1 is finally revealed. The letters are not written by THREE people. It appears that the Mark and Karen letters were written by the SAME person! (I wish I could add a shocking sound effect here but, since I can’t: Make a gasping sound on your own. Also, I think most of us have suspected, including Sara herself, that the letters were not 100% real. It’s just that Josh has finally verified that to us.) Which leads to Josh openly stating, with all the information he has uncovered, that the girls could not be that naive and stupid. It now appears that the letters were clearly written for comedic purposes. (Can’t say we haven’t laughed!) Based on some actual events but, embellished. Josh has also heard back from Darren. It turns out both Darren AND Josh have lived in every city the girls have. (Ok, seriously? I may be jumping on the conspiracy bandwagon. Now, I just need to figure out which one of you is Karen and who is the Ellen?)
Email from Darren. He’s not comfortable reaching out the BLEEP (the REAL Fish Ellen). As Darren has reread the letters, they have taken on a whole new meaning knowing that BLEEP (the REAL Fish Ellen) is the writer. He just doesn’t know BLEEP (the REAL Fish Ellen) well enough to want to broach the subject. However, Darren does remember some interesting conversations and tidbits about BLEEP (the REAL Fish Ellen). He tells Josh that during a conversation they had, BLEEP mentions she dropped out of interior design school because she felt the program was “creatively oppressive” and “stifled her unique point of view.” BLEEP is also a big fan of cats (#alwaysTeamEllen). BLEEP (the Real Fish Ellen) does NOT like her family. At all. Her family of friends are the only people that truly matter to her and she welcomed Darren to “the family” several times. (I have to wonder if BLEEP is a follower of Charles Manson?) The most shocking tidbit…. BLEEP (the Real Fish Ellen) was at one of Josh’s Twin Peak parties! (What the what?!? SO MANY QUESTIONS! 1. Really? Can we verify this? Pic or it didn’t happen. 2. What is a Twin Peaks Party? How do I get an invite? If I don’t watch Twin Peaks, can I still come? 3. What is your obsession with Twin Peaks, Hallmark?!?). Small world, indeed.
With all this new information, Josh asks Sara for her overall theories on how these letters came to be and who these people are. Sara thinks Mark is a writer. (Me too, Sara. Unless I am the writer. Unless, I’m not.) She feels Mark created a project based on real life letters and experiences he has had with tenants. Largely, based on the real life people that were found, as the main focus and source. Sara doesn’t feel that our Karen and Ellen actually lived together. But, our fearless leader, Josh has the answer to that. He has been keeping a theory to himself. (#notsurprised #TBAKing) Based on these facts; 1. Helena was arrested in the 80’s. 2. There appears to be no Dad in the picture. 3. Fish Ellen’s name was on the lease and not Karen’s. 4. Karen was a minor at the time. 5. After living in the cottage, Fish Ellen moved to Seattle and lived with Aloha Rob. Josh’s theory (which makes perfect sense and nails the final puzzle piece into the pictures) is that when Helena went to jail, Fish Ellen took in her younger sister, Aloha Karen (which is where Aloha Karen and Aloha Rob meet). Upon leaving the cottage, they all moved to Seattle together. Crochet Pants Karen was Fish Ellen’s original roommate, until she had to move out so that minor Aloha Karen could move in. (I swear, this makes sense, even if it seems convoluted!). This means that Mark, when writing his project, combined Crochet Pants Karen and Aloha Karen into one character. Josh also followed up with the Oakland Library Clerk (shout out to Nicki T!) once he had all the actual names involved. Our clerk was able to provide the following information; a parking ticket was issued to Aloha Karen across the street from the cottage. This links Aloha Karen to the cottage even if her name is not attached to it.
Marking the one year anniversary of her Dad’s death, Crochet Pants Karen is reflective. While the past year has been nightmarish, at times, Crochet Pants Karen has staked her umbrella in the metaphorical sand. She has found things she likes to do, the things she has to do, and has found tremendous life giving strength. Her children, her spouse, and her community of friends and family keep her sustained and provide a well of comfort. Crochet Pants Karen sitting on her porch, reading a book about the iconic Ava Gardner, remembers her father. The passage she reads speaks volumes. “I might have worn hand me down frocks and had dirty knees. Maybe, I didn’t always scrub them as often as polite little girls should but, we were never dirt poor. I was the goddamnedist tomboy you ever met. In the summer time I went barefoot and that was what farm kids did. Of course we were poor. It was the Great Depression. Everybody was poor. It cost you just to create. But, being hard up didn’t make us dirt poor.” And so, here is Crochet Pants Karen, with her own dirty knees. She isn’t as polite as she should be either. Being taught to be polite, because it quiets us, it limits us. Crochet Pants Karen sits, proudly, barefoot. Grateful that her family allowed her to dirty her knees. Reflecting on the road of loss. No more ruckus nights at the dinner table, with her father, telling stories together. Realizing that her passion for stories and her history itself may be the greatest gift. (ARE YOU BAWLING YET?!? No? Ok, me neither. I swear. Ok, maybe just a little.) Crochet Pants Karen was just in Berkeley visiting her old friend, Miss Doctor Kathy, telling stories. Miss Doctor Kathy was her old neighbor (how’s her brother doing? What happened to the cats?) and they spent many nights together, talking in the yard, about what it means to be a strong woman. They were not neighbors for long though as Crochet Pants Karen’s roommate had a family crisis. That roommate, was a strong woman, at the young age of 20. She was soft yet, strong. Both sweet and sassy. Curious and convicted. Unfortunately, they did not remain in touch.
Crochet Pants Karen lived in the cottage briefly, with Fish Ellen. Fish Ellen had a family crisis and Crochet Pants Karen had to move out. Presumably to make room for Aloha Karen, a minor at the time, to move in. BAH BAH BUM! Sara proclaims, Mystery Solved! So, why doesn’t it feel done? Well, it may not and Josh says unless he had the balls (HIS WORDS, NOT MINE! I only recap! And, make up commentary that I usually add via parentheses.) then, we may never actually know what is fact and what is fiction. However, this seems a satisfactory hypothesis. Do the details really matter?
Dear Bonnie. MARK!! IT’S MARK! (The scoundrel responsible for this tale!) He has enclosed a, not so pleasant, letter from CW. Poor Mark. He has gone his whole life without being called a buffoon. (Until now.) Mark is tried of fighting the battle.
Dear Mark. CW! (Now, we get to know what he has to say!) CW is profoundly disappointed in Mark. Mark’s trivial conduct has nullified this production. Mark has not disclosed relevant information. In addition, he has exploited finances for personal gain and buffoonery. These actions have jeopardized the film and could have led to litigation. (Uh oh…. will I see Mark on the next episode of American Greed? Maybe listen to his story in a true crime podcast?) Mark is exhausting and behaves similar to the characters in his screenplay. (I pick Karen! He is a Karen! What’s Mark’s sign?) All funding is pulled and appears this project is a legal nightmare.
OH NO! Poor Dot! A loud bang awoken her in the middle of the night! Gun in hand, she went to find the source. It was awful. Worst than any home invasion. Misty’s portrait fell off the wall! It landed on Mr. Jeeves the Butler and tore a giant hole into Misty! An emergency road trip to Sedona with Jackie is happening to repair the damage.
Well, it had to happen sometime. Helena is deleting the face books. Well, she can’t figure out how to delete it so, she just isn’t going to log in anymore. The damn thing is so stupid and such a waste of time. (It’s also really complicated. Just look at all the comments on the Facebook Complain Department page!). No one post on Helena’s wall anymore because she won’t see it. Because, she won’t be on the face books anymore. Don’t we have better things to do than be on this stupid internet page anyway? How about if we find cheap plane tickets to Seattle? Looks like Helena is heading to Seattle.
Love and Avocados…. and one more episode to go. Get those wine bottles and tissues ready, everyone!