Guest Blogger: Abby Clinkenbeard

Today we have memories and photos by Abby Clinkenbeard. Michelle and Abby were in the same Kindergarten class at Johnson Elementary, cheered together through Ft. Thomas Jr. Cheer, and have been friends all throughout their lives. I am blessed she wanted to share her stories and pictures of herself and Michelle together. Thank you, Abby.

Memories That Tie Us Together

When sitting here thinking about her it brings so many different memories and thoughts together. Whenever I see certain pictures or certain places I think, “Michelle would love that.” It’s still hard to accept the fact that she’s gone and I wish every day that I would wake up and it was all a dream but sadly I seem to never wake up. I have pictures spread out on my bedroom walls that tell stories of the two of us and the memories that we share together. One of the last times that I saw her was one of the most fun days that I had in a while. I arrived at the swim club with Grace Armstrong when we both saw that Erin Barker and of course Michelle was there too. We made splashes in the pool and sat out in desperate need to get a tan. Later we came up with the idea to go to Graces house for a sleepover. It was close to 5 or 6 o’clock when we left the Fort Thomas swim club. Heading to Grace’s house we made small talk. Upon arriving we got another brilliant idea. We wanted so badly to go explore Cincinnati in Grace’s dads Jeep with the doors off. By this time, it’s around 7 or 8. We gather in the jeep and head off on an adventure of a lifetime. We stop at this hill above Cincinnati that overlooks downtown, it was breathtakingly beautiful. We of course took photos and enjoyed ourselves. On the way to our next destination we jammed out to only the finest of music 14 year olds could listen to in which it was “Boyfriend” by Justin Bieber and danced to our best of abilities. Our hair was flying everywhere pretty sure we all had a familiar taste with our own hair by the time it was over. We went to another spot right next to the river; the lights of Cincinnati were reflecting over the Ohio River making it a great moment to snap some more pictures. The way back to Grace’s house was filled with so much love and laughter it was amazing. When we arrived back I noticed that I was definitely not the color that I should be, since we were in the dark no one saw my enormous sun burn that was forming. I looked that someone got tomato sauce and put it all over my shoulders and face. This created more laughter and of course pain from laughing for extended periods of time. We headed up in intentions of going to sleep since we had such a large day. This was a night to remember for a life time.

This memory starts to shed some light onto more. Over the summer of 2016 I had invited Michelle to come to Kings Island with me. I got ready with my bag in hand and my stepmom Angela in tow. We arrived at The Chalks house excited to see what the day will bring us. Michelle said goodbye to Keith and Patty as she exited the house. A big smile on her face like always. Going there we sang whatever song we knew that came onto the radio which was almost every song. Arriving we headed straight for the gates. Getting through security was a piece of cake and so was getting into the park. My step mom arranged for us both to get fast passes meaning you get to skip most of the line. We rode the beast, the diamond back, the banshee, the fire hawk, and so much more. At the end of the day I had my eye on a certain souvenir from the kiosk located near the banshee. Michelle and I had been admiring these squid hats. They look so funny and look really fun to wear. With some begging and pleading I was able to get one. I placed it on my head and pulled it over my eyes making it look like they were my real eyes. We laughed so hard our insides started to hurt. I gave her the hat to try on and looking at it just makes you smile and break out into a laughing fit. We ended up leaving the park early since it started to rain and storm. On the way, back we both fell asleep in the back seat from a long day of adventuring.

Michelle and I always walked to balloons together since both of our parents picked us up there. Walking together was always nice and refreshing being able to reduce the stress of school and just be with a friend. She always made you feel welcomed and loved. If you had a problem she would do her best to help you figure it out. Whenever drama happened it never involved Michelle she would never argue and would always believe in you even when you might not have yourself. In the cafeteria, she would always sing, usually dear Liza in which we would either join in or tell her to stop in a joking manner. She was always so bright and bubbly, there was only one certain instance that could completely flip her mood. If she were to get a bad grade or remotely somewhere close to where it was not her standard she would become really sad and not talkative. Whenever one of us noticed this we would jump right in and try and cheer her up. We have so many memories but writing them is not the same as being a part of them or being able to picture everything that she was a part of. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again Michelle Elizabeth Chalk I love you with all my heart and wish you hadn’t gone so soon. The world needs more people like Michelle, more people to watch out for the little guy, more people to care for people who don’t care about themselves. Michelle was so important to our Society in Fort Thomas; she was like the glue that kept everything together. I want her back, I want to see the expression on her face when she saw all the bows all around town that were in support of her, I want her to see everyone that cared about her and loved her. We all miss you dearly, Michelle.

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