October 26, 1998

It October - A full year since Chris became alert and spoke to us for the 1st time since he was shot. What a wonderful week that was. I remember every detail - every word he said - every question - every answer. Tonight I went back into the updates I wrote each day and printed out the October entries. Tears were streaming down my face - but I had to re-live it …I had to feel all that joy all over again, even though I knew it would end in hurt and sorrow - and so much pain. People always say time helps ease the pain - but it's not true. I don't think there's enough time left on this earth for us to feel any better or to miss Chris any less. I truly think it gets worse as time goes on. Especially when we re-live those great days just before Halloween last year. We were so hopeful.

There is still no suspects and no clues. The detective from the local police department tells us they have meetings each week about the cases they are working on and that much of their time and energy is spent on Chris but there is nothing yet. A lady came to see us last week. She and her son had been on the highway that night. She was ahead of Chris. She has made maps of the area and has diagramed where every vehicle was each minute during that time. She says there were some strange things going on there that night. A couple cars going very slow, someone jumping out of one vehicle, 2 cars coming up behind her very fast (like one was chasing the other) and then a big cloud of dust followed a few seconds later by a smaller one. Did Chris get caught up in some altercation between some other people? Was he mistaken for someone else? I wish I knew. Anyway, we'll turn her maps over to the police. It is amazing how much she remembers. But, she says she thinks about that night constantly and wonders what she could have done to help him. We've told her not to think like that - there was no way she could have prevented what happened. I feel sorry for her - she worries all the time about being sure she remembers everything. Maybe there will be something there to help the police.

Last month we hired a private investigator. He was unable to turn up any new information so we probably won't keep him on the case. We're sure the $35,000 reward will bring someone forward. I just don't know when that will be.

Recently there were 4 young men (boys) killed at a house they rented. One of them, Matt Mullen age 19, is buried very near Chris so we see his parents there. It's a heck of a way to visit your children. We've talked about our sons and they seem to be similar in attitudes and in the way they lived their short lives. The world could have been a better place with our boys making a difference - but now they're gone and their memory is all we have. Its not fair and I see no reason and no plan for all of this grief. The three hoodlums that shot Matt and his 3 friends (they were tied up with tape and shot in the head - like an execution) are in jail and their trials start in March. Now there parents and friends will have a new grief - more sadness. But, at least they will know there will be some sort of punishment (hopefully the same thing they did to Matt and his friends). Chuck and I and all Chris; friends need to know who shot Chris and we need to see them punished - severely.

We went to El Cajon Speedway for their last scheduled late model race of the season. Chuck took Chris' car to race. I have a really hard time going to any tracks Chris raced at. I see him everywhere - signing in, on the starting line with Brian, on the track, and walking thru the pits with "Hey, Jen (or Mom or Deanna, whomever he saw first) get me a hamburger, please." So I spent most of the night walking up and down outside the fence with Deanna - she wouldn't leave me. She's an awfully good person. We are so lucky to have her and Brian with us. Before the race Chuck and I were presented with a folder which contained an 8 x 10 photo of Chris and all of us in the Winners Circle at Cajon. There was also a certificate which expressed the love and concern of everyone at El Cajon and the fact that they were retiring his car number #70 - to be used only by our family. It was so touching and so wonderful. The fans and the drivers and everyone who works there are just the greatest people. It was a night of "Coming Home" for the Blue 70.

All of our crew spent the week end at Bob Gardner's house. We had wall to wall beds on the floor. It was a great "Sleep over" Bob is the greatest host! He even bought Chuck bolgona for white bread and balony sandwiches - with Miracle Whip. He also was prepared with lots of bacon and eggs. So at 2:00 A.M. in the morning Deanna and I were frying up lots of bacon and eggs for everyone.

The next day we were all Bob's guests for brunch at the Chart House down along the beach. Jerry Gay and his girl friend, Paula and Don Becker, Becky McBride, Bruce Bechtel and his son, and Sgt Weston and his wife and children were all there. We made quite a group - and Bob picked up the entire tab. He is really something else. We had a wonderful visit. Sargent Weston's family was at our end of the table. They are the nicest family. It was such a pleasant brunch. We are fortunate to have all of these people as friends. The race fans and families all over the United States are the most friendly and warm people you could ever meet. I miss all the great times we all had together. But, I just can't get back into that circle without Chris.

Last week we received a large package at home. It is a beautiful needle point done by a lady belonging to the "Autorace Phamily" Her name is Lorraine Thurlow and she does lovely work. The verse was written by Ron Cooper. I want to share it with you:

The race here is now over
The final checkers fell
We saw you race your heart out
You really raced it well

And now you've gone to race
With the finest who'd ever run
Neil Bonnet, Tim Richmond, Ayrton Senna
And, of course, Davey Allison

And when you race with these guys
The distances are far
There are tracks among the clouds
Around each and every star

We'll miss you here, Chris Trickle
Thanks for putting on the show
We're glad to see you move up
And we know you had to go

But when the need arises
We all know you'll be here
To help along the new kid
With a whisper in his ear

And I like to ask this favor
Just one wish, you see
When making up your crew List
Please save a spot for me.

Be Safe - Love your Children - Barbara