Saturday, June 19, 2010

Michele Nichols... Never Forgotten


It's been two days since I found out, and I still don't know what to say.

If you've caught the national News the past few days, you may have heard that a small plane went down around midnight Wednesday in Minnesota. Fellow caricaturist and friend, Michele Nichols, was on that plane.

There were no survivors. Michele was an amazing, incredible person. A few months ago, I was just playing around and started to sketch some of the artists who work with our caricature concession company, Caricature Connection. Michele, one of our Lead Artists, was one of the ones I drew. I went on to
ink and color it. The next time I saw Michele, I told her about the drawing, and how I thought she'd like it. I promised to email it to her.

Unfortunately, I never got around to it to her. Here it is now. I know somehow she can see it still. Sorry it took so long, Shelley!I

Our condolences go out to Michele's entire family, especially her Dad, our friend Randy Nichols.
Randy was the music leader at a church Barbie and I attended for a few years and an all around amazing, gifted musician. I will never forget being at a gig at the Grand Floridian five years ago, when Randy jumped off the stage (he was there with his band, performing) after a set was done, and proceeded to make his way to where we were set up drawing caricatures. It was a large event, and we had many artists there. He spoke to someone, and they referred him to me. Not recognizing me from church, he asked how someone got a job doing this, drawing caricatures. He told me he had a daughter that was a really good artist. I gave him my name and number, but figured I would never hear anything back from it.



Two months or less later, his daughter, Michele, started at CC. Here she is on the left, on her very first day, at a training session I offered to anyone who wanted to work with us. My oldest daughter, Brady Ann, is the little girl in the photo. She was so proud to be there with "the big people", drawing along side them. She was always a fan of Michele's art as well.
I will never forget Michele's smile, her rapport with guests, her spirit. After several years with us, it was obvious that Michele was one of the best and brightest C.C. had ever had the chance to work with. So her promotion to "Lead" status was long overdue. She seemed so proud of becoming a Lead, and we were so happy to have her in that capacity. I only wish it had lasted longer.
Here we are at a big gig awhile back, ready to start drawing the hundreds of guests. Michele was always an integral part of these big events, helping me organize the lines, making sure as many guests as possible were drawn, and producing her always amazing artwork.
Guests and clients alike adored her . In the last year or so, she was one of the artists we booked the most on events.
Tonight, as I was writing this, I remembered a caricature of me that Michele had drawn a couple of years ago. I went and scanned it in to show it here. It's one of my most highly prized possessions. There won't be anymore caricatures drawn by Michele. At least not here.

I am heartbroken tonight, but I am at the same time elated. Why? Because I know that Michele was a fellow Christian and I know she had a Glorious Homecoming. I bet she's drawing everyone in Heaven right now....

We love you, Michele.

We will see you again one day.....



2 comments:

Eduardo G. Reyna said...

Hi Keelan,
I just read this. It is sad in did but, as you say, she is in other level of "life" now. I lost my brother when he was only 21 and he has been my greatest friend ever. Nobody like him,the same way, all of us are unique and precious. This kind of experiences push us to give the best of ourselves now that we are alive.
Take care pal.Lets keep working while we can.

Esly Carrero said...

Awesome photos of her Keelan. Thanks for sharing. And really nicely worded. She definitely was a God-Gifted-Talented sweet girl. :-/ We'll miss her.