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We Love Austin!

Mom - "Mommy Look!."

New Years Eve 1982, Austin was almost 2, we had friends coming over that night and I had taken both kids with me to pick up some stuff for later and stopped in Kmart, got what we needed and turned for a just moment to sign my check at the counter; Austin being the industrious little boy that he was had his fingers through the metal shopping cart, and had decided to climb out but his finger was caught...ripped it open and broke it. Kmart was frantic and panicing, so I put he and his sister in the car and drove to the hospital, with Austin standing beside me with a cloth wrapped around his finger and pressure on it to keep it from bleeding, him not crying, just sucking on his finger, and Anita fussing at me that she'd sit in the car and play with her dolls because she didn’t want to go in with us. (she hated going to a hospital or doctor) Of course I couldn’t let her do that, and after several hours there, with micro surgery to repair the finger because he was so small...took those tired children home and put them to bed...and the next morning to my horror I woke up to this little voice standing beside my bed saying, Mommy look...and he had taken his cast right off of his arm and was holding it out to me like he'd really done something and he wasn’t sure whether to be proud of it or not. I called the Doctors office and they laughed and said come on back in so of course we made the return trip and the Dr. re-did the cast. The whole office fell in love with Austin, he smiled and talked and charmed all the office personnel, Dr., and nurses. That night Austin’s dad and I took turns checking on him during the night to make sure he wouldn’t get uncomfortable and pull his arm out of the cast again, and early the next morning I woke to that sweet small voice saying, Mommy look! This time the Dr decided a cast just wasn't going to work so he spent considerable time constructing a splint small and secure enough for that little hand and took great care wrapping it so there was no way to get out of of my funniest/sweetest memories of Austin at that age.

I can still hear that little voice saying, Mommy Look!

Aunt Brenda and Uncle Bob - "Come home soon Austin!."

Once when we were in Jacksonville visiting and Austin was just a little boy, we went to a big flea market. The first area we went into sold socks and had a large sign that said "Sock City." Bob pretended to give Austin a sock in the belly and said, "Welcome to Sock City Austin."

Austin responded with a real punch to Bob's gut and yelled, "Welcome to Sock City Uncle Bob!" After that, each time we saw Austin he and his Uncle Bob greeted each other with their "Welcome to Sock City" routine. Bob can't wait to do it again. Come home soon Austin. We love you and want to know that you are safe and well."

Aunt Pat - "You are a blessed man."

"I made a choice a long time ago to move to a land far, far away and did not have the blessing of watching my niece and nephew grow up. The times I did go home to visit they had both grown by leaps and bounds and I felt I hardly knew them though I did note how they grew true and strong between visits. As we all grew older it became all important to our family to gather once a year for a fun filled week at Mexico Beach where we could all be kids again and keep our family bond strong. During these last years I really feel like I got to know Austin and Anita as the adults they had become, any parent would be proud. I will always remember the first time I got to see Austin in person vs. pictures. I was awestruck at what a beautiful little guy he was. Those eyes, that hair, that laugh & the energy that was boundless. The eyes have never changed, they are still full of love and wisdom beyond his years. His heart is true and as is all of ours a little worse for the wear. Austin, Curt and I love you, we will always be here and would love to show you our comfort zone here in Minnesota if you ever take the notion to get away and do a little exploring. Derek and Aaron would love to take you fishing here, summer and winter. I know you will be home soon and I will be the one with bells on helping cook the fatted calf for the celebration that will take place on that wonderful day. I hope you feel the love that surrounds you from this wonderful group of people that you call family and friends. You are a blessed man."

Kelly - "snowball seeks father."

"snowball seeks father. misses his dad. needs somewhere to poop while I clean his cage. his legs have gotten worse, he just scoots around. i think his heart has broken. I called Austin one day and told him My Mouse Was Dead at work. (my computer troubles). He was late that day and I needed it fixed so I thought i'd play a joke. I said MY MOUSE IS DEAD AND NOTHINGS WORKING. He came right in. ;) Snowball is alive..... I know but my mouse wont work :) "

Kelly - "Origami lovebirds"

"I have stacks of Origami lovebirds that i folded for austin. he kept them on his monitor even if he was pissed, when he would get mad, I would toss one of them at him. Or maybe FLICK one at him. our last real anything together, i sat at his desk, we couldnt figure out what 'game to play that day' :), so instead we did the right thing and i showed him how to fold an origami love bird which he swears are still pterydactols, we argue about that, because those birds are full of love. austin made his first love bird. he thought how ugly his was. I kept it. I said he had 999 more to make for good luck and prosperity. He laughed and said "screw that". and went about his business.

I was forever trying to get noticed. He didn't like when I did yoga at work. We are polar opposites and maybe Paula Abdul was right. Opposites attract.

He's beautiful just look at him. I wish I would have known he was in pain. I have yet to figure out Austin. But I wish he was here to read what I had written folded in one of those birds. (please include this part as well) I am refusing to spellcheck this. I hope it is full of grammatical errors. Please dont correct them or insert or capitalize. and he is always right. (its important u include this line.) I am not going to delete this letter Austin. Not taking it off the server. I refuse. I am defiant. ;) What games can I play alone, this is it, everyone's reading it, its called finding austin. I will dedicate my life to finding him. I'm listening to Goodbye My Love a song thats been quite special to me for the past month. It plays over and over. I listen to it now, with tears, and love. "

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