In Memory

Michelle Strickland

Michelle Strickland

 Michelle Strickland passed away April 14, 1983.

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07/09/09 02:10 AM #1    

Sherry Hanks Muller (Reynolds)

I don’t exactly remember when I met Michelle, but I do remember that once we started talking, it was as if we had always known one another. Our birthdays were a day apart and we both felt a little out of place in our skins. She was thin and tall and wore glasses; I was very skinny, with braids and buckteeth, each of us feeling so very different from our classmates. While we both attended Northwood Elementary through sixth grade, we were rarely in the same class. Most of the time we spent together during those years, was in Brownies and Girl Scouts where we discovered a mutual love of music; reading; art; horses; camping, taking on new challenges, talking and just being wacky.

Through the years, we shared many firsts together, among them: first concert, first slumber party, first dates, first bus ride downtown, first fender-bender, first political campaign [her father's],first cigarette, first beer, first [and only] marriages. We both got ukuleles, then guitars. We learned to sing play enough tunes to keep ourselves occupied and laughing when nothing else was going on. Along with other friends, we spent many lazy summer days at the Alamo Heights swimming pool and every possible summer night at Teen Canteen dancing to the revolutionary sounds of the sixties. Several of us girls would paint flowers on our feet to look like sandals and don a pair of jams that, so very often we, along with Marcia DeBerry, had sewn together in the wee hours of the night before. It was a magical time.

I do remember her and I along with two other girls [I can't rmember who... mea culpa] going to a Beach Boys concert then hearing that they were going to be staying at the old Seven Oaks Country Club. She was bound and determined to hit the hotel, with or without us, to see if she could get authographs ... so we went along and damn if we didn't find Dennis Wilson working on some lyrics at the piano in a ballroom and Mike Love wandering through the halls. She got both of their autographs!

She was there for me in our junior year when my dad died two days before my 16th birthday. It was a life-changing event and a terribly sad time, but when despondency started crashing in, she could always banish it with something to make me laugh.

Once we started driving, we were both fortunate enough to have the use of a car for school. Mornings usually consisted of one of us picking up the other and Karen Abbott, then meeting friends at Jim’s Coffee shop on Broadway for Dr. Peppers and French Fries before Lassie practice. We both worked after school and, even though our respective lives expanded with new friends and acquaintances, we always had a special connection and spent hours sharing secrets and lives late into the wee hours of many mornings, sometimes at my house; sometimes over coffee and cigarettes at Jim's.

Life started changing when we went off to Southwest Texas. Like so many of our peers, we wandered away from the straight and narrow in search of new horizons. After a major bump in the road, we headed in different directions, but kept in touch.

While I have taken many detours off the beaten path, I have always been able to find my way back to it with lessons learned and new insights. Unfortunately, Michelle got stuck going down a road with no u-turn or intersection that would take her to a place of contentment. She could see the other road, but she just couldn’t ever get to it.

The beautiful, intelligent, tenacious, fun-loving, and accomplished young woman that she had been, somehow got lost, and evidently, just got tired of trying to find a way back.

She said goodbye to this world on April 14, 1983.
I pray she’s found some peace.

04/01/10 07:47 PM #2    

Carolyn Andrews (Gavares)

Michelle was so much fun and was always so nice to everyone. I am saddened to read life wasn't as good to her as she was to it and all the people's whose lives she touched.

Carolyn Andrews Gavares

06/09/10 12:17 PM #3    

Marcia DeBerry (Wilson)

I was lucky enough to live with Michelle in Hollywood Park until shortly before she left this world.  I loved her and Cheri Hanks Muller more than most anyone.  I never figured out what it was that Michelle couldn't come to terms with, I have some thoughts, but they will remain mine.

I feel graced to have been able to share her life and sorry that she couldn't share those deepest thoughts with me...we were couch potatoes at the end, enjoying reruns of sitcoms and seeing who had the best smoke that day. 

Michelle was so kind. a Nurse, smart enough to be anyone, do anything she wanted to be or do, but I don't think she ever felt that she was good enough... and you know, i don't remember anyone talking to us about depression in those days...i wish i had known enough to recognize it...and been clear headed enough to do something about it...

I have missed your kindred spirit Michelle.

07/16/11 10:26 AM #4    

Hal Carson

I became a guest member so that I could share my memories of Michelle with her closest friends. When I was her co-worker, I was a close friend, spending many wonderful hours with her alone, in the company of mutual friends, as a guest in the new home she and Gary had made for themselves, and at many, many parties the most important of which was her wedding and the reception. I probably met ya'll there. When I met Michelle she gave me a hug, because as she laughingly said as she did so, "Hug someone ... it will make you feel good!" So Michelle had me as a friend from the first moment I met her. I knew her as someone who enjoyed life to the fullest, maybe though not always in the most acceptable of ways. Michelle especially enjoyed the world God created, spending as much time as she could in the great outdoors. In this, I thought Michelle and Gary were perfect for each other, but life has a way of intruding itself into relationships if it is not headed off when it takes a wrong turn. Michelle was very giving, of her stuff and of herself. I think she appreciated the fact I did not quibble with Gary over the price he asked for his record player. After he and Michelle moved in together and had no need for two players, I was offered Gary's old player. I still have it to this day, but more importantly I have the albums Michelle gave me at the time. They have "Michelle Strickland" written on them in Marksalot ink. Music was a big part of all our gatherings. Wherever we met with our mutual friends, we brought our albums with us to share. Since Michelle knew I liked her albums, she gave me some of those that she and Gary had in common. I can not say she gave me all of the duplicates but quite a few, even the ones I already had, which I nevertheless treasure as once having been hers. My favorite memory of Michelle is seeing her lying on the hood of her car, looking up at the night sky. I asked her if she was all right, and she replied, "Yes, I am just enjoying God's light show!" The heat lightning that night was some of the most beautiful I have ever seen, rivalling some of what I have seen around Wimberly. So I want to believe Michelle may have but gone too far in enjoying some of the things that were not good for her. I live with the thought I should have kept up my friendship with her and perhaps have been there for her when she most needed someone as a friend who loves her very much. I have been blessed to have many, many wonderful friends, but I love Michelle the most of all of them. I tell her so as often as I can, in the hopes God allows her to hear me.

06/17/18 08:25 AM #5    

Hal Carson

I see you are all planning for your 50th reunion.  I was in the 8th grade at North East Junior High School, but many of my classmates, I among them, were snatched away to Lee in its second year of existence.  I was graduated with the Lee Class of '63, and now we are trying for a 55th Reunion.  I did not want to say it out loud to my classmates, but with only you here, I can share my fear we may not have another chance to see the people we wish to see again.  So, all of you who knew and who really loved the beautiful person Michelle always showed herself to be, share once again your memories of her.  I knew her only as always joyful, always good to others, and always willing to share her life with someone new.  Have fun and live long and happily!


09/01/19 08:40 AM #6    

Hal Carson

At your reunions, those of you who loved Michelle may want to set a place setting at an empty chair at your table.  When we all meet in Heaven, you may just find out she was there with you!  She is like that about her friends - always there for them!

02/22/20 04:30 PM #7    

Sherry Hanks Muller (Reynolds)

Thank you Hal!

I just spent about an hour thanking you for your thoughts and adding a few more of mine, but when I tried to post, was given a message that I couldn't, and all my text disappeared.  The moment and the words are gone for the most part, but know I spent many hours with her over the years staring at stars from rooftops, truck beds, and car hoods and can still feel that special energy her reverence of nature generated.  I was in her wedding and at the house [on Huebner then?] and remember how happy she and Gary were.  We probablydid meet.  So sad that it didn't continue.

The last time I saw her, she was sad, but stoic.  I was working in Austin, but we talked about getting together before she and her dad set off on a trip in June.  I did not imagine that I would never see her again.

There were candles at the reunion marked with the names of those Brahma's who had passed, along with a memorial video.  Marcia and I spent a little time with the candle.

Thanks again for your wonderful recollections.  I do indeed hope we'll get to see her again!




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