Karen Cathers, Nikki Pison, and Justin Peone

Recorded February 9, 2008 Archived February 9, 2008 53:47 minutes
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Id: GCT004736


Karen Cathers tells her kids, Nikki Pison, Justin Peone, Christina Pappalardo about her childhood growing up with Communist parents during the Cold War, marrying an older man when she was 17, and feeling determined to be a “perfect” mother for her children.

Subject Log / Time Code

Karen remembers getting pushed around by kids in her neighborhood from being a Communist. They used to push her against the wall and ask her if she believed in God. Afterwards, she would go home and ask her mom if they believed in God. She told Karen to say, “Yes and that she was Protestant”.
The family talks about a word game they used to play on road trips and they demonstrate how it for a few minutes.
Karen describes her ex-husband’s children growing up during the depression in New York City. Eventually he was placed in a Catholic home for boys and always told fond memories of this period.
Karen tells a tragically funny story when she had her first child and was so preoccupied with taking care of Christina that she neglected their dog, who became very sick and had to be “put down”.
Karen talks about leaving her husband later in life after realizing that she is lesbian. This was a difficult time in her life filled with regret and doubt.


  • Karen Cathers
  • Nikki Pison
  • Justin Peone