December 1998 Update…..

 

Its 2 weeks before Christmas and as you can probably guess we’re not the merriest of families. Christmas has always been the very best of the year for all of us. We love the "feeling" and the joy that surrounds the holiday. We’ve always had large Christmas parties and all our family spends Christmas Eve together. Last year Chris was with us – in the center of everything. We had almost lost him due to infection from the hospital we moved him to in Las Vegas. But, he was strong and in good health from Daniel Freeman Hospital and together we all "willed" him better. Four days before Christmas he cam home – the best present I’ve ever received! Oh, what joy – what happiness. Chris was home! We were all so excited.

But, now its all changed. His light is missing – and all we have are memories. Remember him at age 2 in his red and white short pants and pictures on Santa’s lap? At age 5 on a new motorcycle for Christmas – or at age 24 – sitting with Jennifer and all the kids wanting to be near him. He never spent a Christmas away from us. He always spent the day before Christmas frantically buying presents for everyone who would be at our house that night. He always talked someone else into wrapping them an hour before we were to open them. He could talk any of us into anything. What a charmer!

We’re trying to capture a bit of the Christmas spirit. We’re giving a Christmas party for our employees and their children. Santa will be there (with Mrs. Santa, of course) and it will be exciting. The family will be here for Christmas Eve and the laughter of the children will bring us joy.

We truly wish the best for your family and friends. The Christmas Season gives us all a chance to be happy and to do what we can for others – and that is good..

Merry Christmas to you all, Chuck, Barb, and family.

Thanksgiving and Christmas 1998

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Chuck has been racing these past few months. He raced in November (the 3 race series Chris competed in 2 years ago a few months before he was shot) at the local track. Bob and Bev Cole came to visit from Wisconsin and helped work on the car. Bob Gardner came in from San Diego to lend his support. We had a wonderful visit and shared great memories of Chris. We even went to the Geisha (one of Chris’s favorite restaurants) where they have a picture of him on the wall. We all had great time – even though we were missing him all the time.

Chuck raced Chris’ car – the only one we kept. But, he crashed it and he won’t be racing it again. So, he has a car that belonged to another local driver and he and Brian – along with a couple other new crew members – have repainted and worked very had to set the car up for Chuck. He raced it for the first time this past weekend in Tucson at Winter Heat.

The car handled well and Chuck says it is really fast. But, unfortunately he qualified badly and had to run the C main. He did very well – starting 8th and moving up to 3rd. But, only 2 cars advanced to the next event. So he did not get to race the main. Maybe next time.

Thanksgiving was a horrible time for us. So many memories, so many "What ifs" not answered. So much sadness. We had a house full of people and many of Chris’ friends came by and brought their children. So we were surrounded by people who love us, but he was missing.

The day after Thanksgiving my mom and I flew up to Seattle to see our daughter, Tami. Her birthday was in November and we took her into Canada for a few days. We had a great time.

Christmas:

Tami came home a couple weeks before. It was so good to have her here. We had a difficult time getting into the Christmas spirit. We decided to put on a party for our employees and their families. Everyone had a good time – lots of food and a great DJ. At 8:30 we had a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. They were the hit of the evening, distributing candy and presents to 66 children. It helped to keep our minds busy and to keep us focused on the holiday. One of the best things of the party was that Jen was there. Chuck and I were dancing a slow dance and she came up and with our arms around each other we danced and cried to the music. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the room. Then Jason joined us until the end of the dance. I truly love these kids – these young people Chris loved.

Christmas Eve: Our house was filled with family and the laughter of children. Chris’ friends Marshall and Calvin came with their wives, Tonja and Michelle and their children. They have wonderful families. Brian and Deanna were with us, of course. (what would I do without them) All my family – 6 brothers and sisters and their families. We had our traditional candle light service – we have a special Moravian hymn we sing as we hold our candles up to represent the light of the coming of Jesus Christ. My sister also took candles out to the cemetery to sing the hymn to Chris and to our father. He passed away at age "70" after a long bout with a stroke. We had a big birthday party for him when he turned 70. There was a big sign across the wall – "Happy Birthday, Dad Age 70". Chris took the 70 and put it on the door to his apartment. It’s still there. He and my dad were so much alike. Friends with everyone – never finding fault or complaining. They both had a special gift – they made everyone else feel good about themselves. Wouldn’t it be great if we could all do that. It would be Christmas every day.

January: Chuck’s mother, Lauretta, went into the hospital just before New Years. She had always been so active and so healthy so we were all surprised. They suspected a heart attack – but later found out that it wasn’t. It is a heart condition and it will slow her down some. Chuck flew back to Wisconsin to help his sisters with their mom when she returned home. She is much better, but will need help with some things. Chuck is home now – and thawing out! It has really been cold there and they have had so much snow.

Soon it will be the two year anniversary of the awful night that changed so many lives forever. It was February the 9th – and I don’t know how I will get through that day. We’re putting a billboard at the site of the shooting. It will have a picture of his car and a plea for help to come forward and tell the police who is responsible. We still have no leads or any new information. We are increasing the reward to $100,000 with the hope that the increase will bring someone forward. We need to know who did this. I don’t think we can get through our entire life without seeing him punished – severely.

Thank you everyone for the Christmas card. I’m trying to answer them all.

Barb