Like the time you were getting gas and you smashed the side view
mirror (driver’s side) by running into a post. How about the high
school cross country practices and everyone wanting to ride with
us — out to road 100 in the van!! We could pile the whole varsity
squad in that thing! In those moments, it was a cool car.
I remember you had a special parking place at Richland High School
— just for that silly van. Every time I drive by the school, I
can still see it parked there… Do you remember all the family
vacations that we took in that thing? What a riot! And with nine
people packed in there (throw in a few friends every now and again)
we shared some wild road trips! The last one of course was our
trip to Wyoming for the 4th of July in 1988. You died
on that vacation and the trip home was rather quiet and not at
all the same. I wonder if you ever wonder what happened
to that big, yellow van… Just so you know, Dad sold it quite a
few years back and I kept a copy of the key. Every now and again
I pull it out and remember some very good times…
So becoming the oldest kid in our family was quite a shock
for me. I was used to being your little sister and just following
in your footsteps (and I was happy to do so). Remember my first
day at Cross Country practice? I was still in middle school and
they didn’t have a cross country program there so I was allowed
to walk over to the high school and practice with ‘the big guns’!
I was in the 8th grade and that was a scary day for me. You
were one of the top runners for the cross country team and everybody
loved you! I was so happy to become ‘Little Lich’. And
one of my very favorite memories from my years as a member of
the Richland High School Cross Country team, was when you and
I were both the number one runners! Remember that? It said Lichfield
and Lichfield across the board! That was something special — always
Just so you know, your senior year (when you didn’t come
back) we all ran in black socks (like you did) to serve as a reminder
that you would not be forgotten.
In addition, Coach Mike Mills (he’s retired
now), created the Travis Lichfield award and even until
his very last season of coaching, one lucky runner was
given that coveted award.
And your graduating class of 1989 had one of your
running shoes bronzed and it remains in the Richland High
School trophy display case to this day. Remember all the
running records you held? Sorry to tell you, they have
all been broken. The times just get faster and faster
with each new generation.
Back to being the oldest — I want you to know that I’ve
tried my very best to be a good big sister for Amy, Katie, Jennie,
Robby and Erica. (You’d be so proud of our sisters and brother
— they are amazing!) They are all married now and on special occasions
when we get together (we had our first ever Lichfield family reunion
in August of this year) you are not forgotten. We talk about you
and the funny things we remember like playing UNO until midnight
on Christmas Eve because we couldn’t wait for Santa and his surprises,
or how your shoe fell out of the car one Saturday night and you
drove over it (somewhere) and when it was time for church on Sunday
you couldn’t find the other one! We laugh about your passion
for fishing and how you were grounded one day and you thought
you were being sneaky and you tried to sneak out with the
fishing pole and the entire family watched your attempt to ‘escape’
via your bedroom window. Yeah, Mom stood her ground and
made you come back in. I think you must have spent most of your
waking hours running or fishing. Mom and Dad still get cards and
letters on the day you died from people who want to just let them
know that they remember you. They love that. Mom and Dad are doing
well. Dad ties his own flies and fishes every moment he
can and I know that he takes you with him…Especially
on those trips to Wyoming on The Snake River.
I married a guy you know (you played soccer together when
you were young — you always liked him). We have 3 children now,
two boys and a girl. I talk about you all the time to them. And
our second son’s middle name is Travis — after you. Just
so you know, I love you and I want you to know that you will never
be forgotten. I hope that someday, we’ll meet again and I’ll get
to tell you all of this in person. And give you a ‘master hugger’
hug! (I know how to do that now) … I can hardly wait to hear about
what you’ve been doing and get a hug back!
P.S. — Grandpa Lichfield passed away a couple of
years ago and his funeral was held in Wyoming. I was able
to make that long journey back (no way would I miss it).
And I had a chance to stop at your grave (It had been
over 10 years since I’d been back to visit).
You are buried exactly where you would
have wanted to be — right at the base of the mountains
in Wyoming, with the Snake River in the distance.
And Grandpa is not too far away. I hope the two
of you have had a chance to fish again together.
Thanks for being my big brother and an inspiration to many.
I love you,
AKA "Little LICH"
"KDSOF" I still don’t know what that means … Remember how
you would always say that? It bugged me that you would never tell
me what it stood for. I’m still trying to figure it out!
OH, the cemetery pond still has a swan and we go and feed
it quite often… There are also some huge catfish in there. I
think they got their start there from you throwing a few in one
hot afternoon in August…Maybe? I like to think so.
And just so you know, I inherited two things that were
yours…(There really isn’t a lot to divvy up when you’re 17).
OK…here’s what I got your denim Levi Jean jacket (I was with
you when you bought that). And a running medal (I was there with
you when you got that too!) And just like the key (to
the big yellow van), they serve as powerful reminders of moments
I will cherish forever.
Written by Wendy Lichfield Christensen