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Memorializing the Spot of Charlotte’s Death

December 31, 2012

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This morning we traveled to visit the spot of Charlotte’s accident on I-10.  Becky stopped at Gelling’s Flowers in Monticello to pick up a wreath for the accident scene.  She picked out a heart made of sticks and adorned with large red flowers.  It was very beautiful, and when Becky tried to pay for it her money was refused.  It was a very sweet act of kindness.

As we approached mile marker 317 from the east I got a weird feeling in my stomach.  I slowed down and pulled over to the shoulder.  The car skidded a bit as the shoulder was slick and wet.  Sam, Becky and I got out and made our way towards the large pine tree that Charlotte’s RAV-4 struck.  At the bottom of the tree an area of bark was missing.  A depression in front of the tree marked the spot where the front wheel dug into the soft ground.

Looking towards the highway we attempted to trace the path the truck took before striking the tree.  We saw one set of tire tracks and a second vaguer set.  These look like they stretched the requisite 690 feet.  We set the wreath up near the tree.  Eventually we will have to replace it with a white cross.

Our next stop on our journey was the towing company that stored Charlotte’s car.  The damage to the vehicle was astounding.  The engine compartment was pushed into the passenger compartment.  The front end was a mirror image of the pine tree.  Both driver side doors had been removed.  The contents were strewn about and some were covered by parts of the vehicle that had been thrown into the back seat.

Going through the vehicle was hard.  We found one of Mason’s cars on the floorboard.  Charlotte’s Jaguar blankets were in the back.  We discovered unopened Christmas presents for Charlotte’s grandchildren.  The cross that hung on the rear view mirror was broken in half and sat on the front passenger seat.  The items were placed in the truck before we made our last stop in Callahan to make the final arrangements.  We did not arrive back in Monticello until almost 9 o’clock and somberly rang in 2013 while watching TV.

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