Down at the Depot with Children's Author
Karen Kulinski


There's an old saying, "Bloom where you're planted." And I bloomed in Griffith, Indiana.

I wasn't born in Griffith -- Chicago, Illinois is my birthplace -- but Griffith is my hometown. You see, I loved trains all my life and came to Griffith as a bride, just when some townspeople were working to save the last railroad depot in town and turning it into a museum. Talk about serendipity!

I joined the Griffith Historical Society, which was founded to take care of the Depot, and I helped create and grow The Griffith Historical Park & Museum.

My children grew up here, too, and put down their own roots in Griffith, or very nearby.

Griffith is also where my writing bloomed, thanks in large part to my work with the museum. Several of my books were inspired by my museum research. And a couple of others are set in small towns very reminiscent of Griffith.

As a child, I moved around a lot, due in part to my father's railroad job, but once coming to Griffith, I never moved again.

Instead, I put down roots and bloomed.

About Me!

That's me up there on The 503!

For a railroadman's daughter -- my father, Clifford G. Johnson, worked for the railroard for most of his life -- there's no better place to be. Especially since one of my books, THE LAST RIDE OF THE 503, tells the story of how I came to be standing on this caboose.

I'm a writer, you see, most currently -- and joyously -- a children's book author. But I've also been a newspaper reporter. A newspaper editor. A newspaper humor columnist. And a writer/​editor of a monthly business publication. I taught school for five years, too.

I am also a museum curator of The Griffith Historical Park & Museum in Griffith, Indiana, where the above photo was taken. Learn more about the Historical Park by clicking The Museum tab.

I am a wife, too, having come to Griffith when I married my husband, Alan, who lived in the town. I am also the mother of four sons, Derek, Ken, Scott and Tim. A grandmother of eight: Billy, John, Jacob, Logan, Angel, Nate, Gianna and Jack Arthur. And I have three great grandchildren, Anthony, Lylah and Andrew.

I earned a journalism degree from the University of Illinois and once dreamed of being a reporter covering stories all over the world. I ended up just one state from my Illinois birthplace because I fell in love with a man and the town he lived in.

So, no wars, rebellions, and adventures in faraway places for me, just a peaceful Indiana town with a whole lot of railroads running through it. But I ended up in the right place, at the right time.

I didn't know it when I moved to Griffith, but this railroadman's daughter had come home.