|Birth name||Karin Johansen|
|Birth place||Spearfish Lake|
In August 1974, she goes for a raft trip down the Grand Canyon,DW1 and has a brief "canyon romance" with a boatman, Al Buck. When she returns to Glen Ellyn she marries Pete Chladek, unaware that she is already pregnant. Karin names her first child Crystal Louise, after one of the rapids and the woman that lead the trip. After Crystal was born in 1975, Pete and Karin have two more children, Jon born October 1978 and Nanci born November 1979.
Karin was already "doing the books at Heller-Aller" in 1974 and continued to work for the company until her retirement in 1999. Karin and Pete owned a nice suburban house in Glen Ellyn, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois. They moved in shortly after Crystal was born and were still living there twenty years later. Pete didn't like to travel but the family did make occasional visits back to Spearfish Lake to visit relatives.
Eventually, after Pete's behavior has driven away two of their children, Karin leaves Pete and returns to the Grand Canyon to re-connect with Crystal. There she meets up again with Al, who is mourning the recent death of his wife Louise. Karin and Al rekindle their romance, and plan to get married.
"Al and Karin had been married down in the Canyon, which was appropriate, at a place called the Baseball Man Waterpocket, a good day's run downriver from Phantom Ranch – about as an out of the way place near the river as could be managed."PE5
When Crystal and Preach got married, Karin was deep in the conspiracy of clothing the women at the wedding in fancy dress.PE13 Karin and Al attended the wedding of Randy Clark and Nicole Szczerowski in Spearfish LakePE25
The next year in the off-season, Al and Karin "were at a couple shows and then went scuba diving out in the Pacific someplace"INTA2 They'd gone to Truk and "The lagoon is full of old Japanese wrecks"INTA4 When Michelle Rawson became pregnant, Karin filled in for her on White Team.INTA16 Even though she "has to be pushing sixty. She’s a part-time boatman who gets out on two or three trips a year, and she enjoys the living hell out of every minute of each of them."INTA26
Real World Note
Heller-Aller in the Spearfish Lake Tales universe is a fictional company, possibly an auto parts supplier, but a real Heller-Aller did exist. It was a leading maker of windmills and water pumps. They started business in 1886, and was purchased in 1995 by Hitzer Corporation. See http://www.hitzer.com.