Archive | October, 2011

A Winter Storm In October Adds To The Harsh Winds Of Autumn

30 Oct

This used to be my favorite time of year, when the temperatures cool down, the air becomes crisp, there are a few days of Indian Summer that tempt you to head back to the beach, and the colors are breathtaking in New York’s northern suburbs.

But as I walked our dogs over the weekend of October 15th, the strong, harsh winds on both those days blew in the painful memories of autumn a year ago.  Walking into the wind, it felt as if I was taking a peppering of left jabs to the face as I recalled the exact two month period to which I’ve made reference many times on this blog, from September 9th to November 9th of 2010, when Jeff’s morale took a turn for the worse and never recovered.

And as if that’s not enough, I am looking outside at close to a foot of snow on our deck, the result of the first winter storm of this magnitude in October since 1869.  The meteorologists call it a “perfect storm”, an anomalous confluence of events that may never occur together again for another 150 years.  I call it cruel.  And bitterly ironic.

My backyard-October 29, 2011

It is ironic because just one year ago, it was exactly the same type of “perfect storm” and bizarre confluence of events that led to Jeff’s tragic demise.  The combination of a brutal job that he could no longer stand, a flawed decision to try medication and a decision made too late to cease taking those meds, created the tempest that proved to be too daunting for Jeff to withstand.  I’d even include an inexplicably postponed Knick game that Jeff was scheduled to attend on November 2nd as part of the devastating mix.

Perhaps an even greater irony is that Jeff would have LOVED yesterday’s snow storm, and thus, there is no doubt in either Carey’s or my mind that his spirit had a hand in this.  He lived for snow days from school, but even more than that, he got huge thrills from highly unusual, once-in-a-lifetime events like this.  He would have been tracking this storm from the first mention of it, and he would now be telling us all the trivia facts related to it, such as the fact that nothing like this has happened since 1869.  I truly loved seeing the joy he got from unique situations and events.  For us, though, this damaging storm only contributes to the rehashing of the dark memories of last autumn.

It was October 25th of last year that Jeff completed the one week process of being weaned off the misprescribed meds that he was fed by a psychiatrist who didn’t take the proper time to understand and diagnose the problem before throwing pills at it.  We were so hopeful that this weaning process would lift the cloud that had formed around his head, but apparently this stuff takes time to completely leave your system and two weeks later, that time had run out.  Jeff apparently couldn’t wait any longer.  Suffice to say I will never again let anybody that I love or care about take such medication, to the extent I can control the situation.

Perhaps the most confounding, and in some way comforting thing about Autumn 2010 is that, despite the struggles, there were some really good times for Jeff during that period.  Here’s an example. 

Every September, on the third Tuesday of the month, one of my clients hosts a golf tournament outside of Boston.  Since I don’t play very much during the year, I usually try to make a couple of trips to a local driving range before the outing to get ready.  Last year, I asked Jeff to come with me on the two consecutive weekends before the tournament, and he readily agreed (as Brooke rightly says, if Jeff was free, he was always down for anything).

I have such great memories of those two days at the driving range.  You have to understand that Jeff probably never played a full round of golf in his life.  But the sight of this big, strong young man crushing ball after ball off the tee and watching most of them soar straight-as-an-arrow into the distance was hilarious.  Jeff didn’t really know the “proper” way to swing the club, but his instinctive swing worked just fine.  We were both laughing at the stark contrast between his great shots and my not so great ones, most of which went anywhere but straight and certainly didn’t have the distance of his.

I was both happy and flattered that Jeff agreed to go with me on that first Sunday, September 12th, because the Giants had a 1pm game against the Panthers.  To be sure, he followed the game’s progress on his phone between shots, and after we hit three buckets, he was ready to go home and catch the second half on TV, but the fact that he was willing to miss the first half to hit balls with his Dad was an awesome feeling for me.  My thoughts driving home that day were: great time, Jeff was relaxed and having fun, totally engaged and into the Giants, and he was going to be just fine.  And we repeated this scene the next Sunday, which was another terrific time.

The memory of that great time with Jeff is what made this September so difficult to handle.  Before this year’s tournament, I skipped the driving range preparation.  With Drew away at school and Brett having to focus on college applications on the weekends, it would have been too excruciating to go alone, accompanied only by memories.  In fact, I don’t think I can ever go back there again.

From golf, it was on to tennis for Jeff, as he really got into the sport again last fall at the urging of his friend Dan Reisner.  I am grateful to Dan, who encouraged Jeff to become a member of the USTA (United States Tennis Association) so they could enter tournaments together, and they did.  Jeff, a former Horace Greeley varsity tennis player, had a great time with it.  I’ll never forget that when Jeff’s Greeley tennis coach got up at the 2005 Senior Athletic Awards Dinner to talk about his team, he said “Jeff is definitely the fittest athlete on the team, and he gets to absolutely every ball !” As a periodic tennis opponent of Jeff’s, I can vouch for that being so true.  Once he turned 15, I never beat him again.

One of  the best weekends of last fall for Jeff began on Friday, October 15th, which is when Drew came home for his October break, and Jeff was scheduled to play in his first USTA tournament that night.  Jeff came home after his match all pumped up that he had won, and he was then ready to kick back with Drew and me, and watch Game 1 of the ALCS between the Yankees and Rangers.  And what a time we had.  The three of us made the house shake with our screams when the Yankees, down 5-1, roared back with 5 runs in the top of the 8th to win 6-5. 

Although Jeff lost his next match the following evening, it was close, and he enjoyed the competition.  And to close out the weekend in style, he and his wonderful friends, Ryan and Lisa, went to the Giants game on Sunday Oct. 17th.  I really thought weekends like that would significantly improve his outlook on life.

Jeff went to two Giants games during his final autumn

Two weekends later, we went as a family to the Knicks home opener on Saturday night, with Jeff decked out in his police uniform Halloween costume that he was wearing for his friends’ party after the game.  I’ll never forget that on our drive in to the city, I glanced at Jeff in the back seat of the car, and he was looking intently at something on his phone screen.  It turns out that he was checking to see if his LSAT score had been posted.  It had, and a big smile crossed his face, as he told us his score.  He did well.  Very well.  And I prayed that this was the spark he needed to turn things around and to realize he had the ability to do anything he wanted in life.  I mean, he excelled on the LSAT while in a crappy state of mind and on meds.  I thought that was pretty damn impressive.  Can you imagine what this kid could do under a more normal set of circumstances ?

As we walked toward the Garden from the parking garage, I pulled Jeff aside and said, “Now tell me the truth, don’t you feel a sense of satisfaction at achieving this kind of success?”  He flashed that great Jeff smile and he acknowledged to me that he did feel really good about it.  I told him that even if he decided not to apply to law school, the point remained that he could do anything he put his mind to.  He agreed.  But like most of his good moments last fall, this one was fleeting, and he was not able to sustain the positive momentum. 

I believe that during this period, Jeff took things that happened as signs or omens, either good or bad.  I further believe that he took what happened on November 2nd a year ago as one such ominous sign and that it may have sealed his fate in his clouded mind at the time.  He had been very much looking forward to taking Brooke and Julie to the Knicks game that night, both because he hadn’t seen them in a while and because he loved the thought of taking them to their first ever NBA game.  He was anxious to show them the ropes, as they say, and make them big Knicks fans.

I was riding Amtrak home from my business meeting in Philadelphia that afternoon when Carey called to tell me that the game had been postponed indefinitely due to a problem with asbestos falling from the roof of the Garden.  WHAT???  That can’t be right, I told her.  I mean, the last time a Knicks home game was postponed was almost 15 years ago, on January 7, 1996 due to a snowstorm. The last time a Knicks home game was postponed for a non-weather reason was in December 1965 when a game against the 76ers was rescheduled after the death of the 76ers owner, Ike Richman.

I could tell that evening that Jeff was extremely disappointed, and although I told him he could take them to any future game he wanted with our tickets, he still took this postponement very hard.  He seemed to feel that Murphy’s law was operating in full force and that anything that could go wrong was going wrong for him.

The rest of that week was rough.  I remember one night I walked into Jeff’s room to give him a hug goodnight, which I always do when my boys are home.  On this night, he gave me a particularly strong hug and said:

“I don’t know what I would do without you, Sir.”

I replied almost incredulously, “But isn’t that the beautiful thing, Jeff ?  You don’t have to do without me.  Ever.”

He KNEW that, but it bore repeating at that moment.  And he then hugged even a bit tighter, and I felt his head shaking “yes” on my shoulder.  Why it ultimately wasn’t enough that his entire family was there for him, enveloping him in our love, is something I will never comprehend.

Drew was recently home for a few days on this year’s October break from school.  His presence ushered in a breath of fresh air, helping me combat the harsh winds of autumn.  Thank God for that young man.  With his sense of humor, his incredible strength and his love of family, he is an inspiration to me every single day.  And thank God for Carey, my amazing wife who is successfully waging the fight of her life to stay the course in the face of losing her first born son.  And thank God for our “baby” Brett, who we call our “golden boy” for more reasons than just his blondish hair.  The youngest always remains the baby, even if he is a 6 foot tall bundle of muscle. 

And so we march forward through a season that can never again be my favorite time of year.  Ironically, Jeff used to love this time, and his favorite thing to do every October as a family when the boys were younger (other than watch the Yankees playoff games) was to go apple picking at a local orchard and to enjoy a hay ride and some warm apple cider and sugar donuts while we were there.  And it was there that the boys would choose which pumpkins to buy for the holiday.  This was yet another annual family tradition that Jeff looked forward to, and I think we did it every year until Jeff graduated high school.

Jeff always thoroughly enjoyed Halloween too, whether it was marching in the parade through town as a kid, trick-or-treating through the childhood years (he delighted in counting the individual pieces of candy in his bag to see just how much loot he had raked in), or donning “Scream” masks, a blind referee costume, or other costumes at parties as a young adult.

Yes, that's Jeff, but Carey doesn't seem too scared

Counting his Halloween candy, Jeff's annual ritual

Those are the memories that I pray will one day be swept in by a cool, light autumn breeze.  Right now, though, there are only cruel snow storms and unforgiving winds relentlessly blowing us with terrifying force toward November 9th, the one year anniversary of Jeff’s absurd and tragic decision.

I am unable to stop tormenting myself by wondering what Jeff was thinking that afternoon while he was en route to his final destination.  Did he think of me at all ?  Did he think about those days at the driving range, the apple orchards, amusement parks, Knicks games, Yankees games, family vacations, holiday gatherings, Sunday night family dinners out, our many long talks about life, our one-on-one baseball trip when he turned 16, any of it ?  Or how about the 2+ hours we spent together in his room just the night before, watching Monday Night Football.  Did he think about that ?  These mental ruminations breed feelings of both pain and betrayal that I cannot shake.

There is no way around the agony that surrounds me this season, because I can’t stop thinking about how on this day a year ago- as we drove to Madison Square Garden as a family and Jeff retrieved his LSAT score while wearing a policeman Halloween costume- I didn’t know that we had just 10 days left with our son.  Ten days to talk to, to hug, to love, to enjoy, and to care for the amazing young man who made my dream of fatherhood a beautiful reality for the first time.  There is some comfort in knowing that our family gave Jeff every ounce of our love until his dying day.  We have continued to shower him with love, in our own individual ways, ever since. And we always will. Not even the unfriendly winter storm and autumn winds of 2011, with all the brutal memories of a year ago riding in on their backs, can distract us from doing that.  

-Rich Klein

Advertisements

1 Year & What I’m Running For

28 Oct

Forecast for this Sunday:

High of 51, Low of 42 Degress. Sunny. Wind: 4 mph. Humidity: low.

Conditions for Marathon racing: CLOSE TO PERFECT….as long as the roads aren’t wet!

Good thing the Marathon isn’t Saturday-good grief it might even snow that day(which dear god hopefully it doesn’t stick)…it will feel more like late November the way the weather looks right now. I’m thinking arm warmers and gloves…I can always throw them off during the race. But I have a feeling I will need at least a pair of gloves out there.

I am super pumped and ready to go. On Wednesday I did a dress rehearsal 3 miles on the track at goal pace. All I can say is if what I did on the track is my goal pace I’m in for one serious race. I will go out conservative though in the early miles. My goal is to run as evenly as possible and just run down anyone in front of me those last 10 miles. I believe I have a solid chance of getting on the podium(top 3) in this race. Of course it depends on who shows up. I did beat a guy in Philly last month who was 3rd in MCM last year. I am in the shape of my life and have had the best running year of my life…PRing in everything between 1 mile and 13.1 miles…

The first part of this race is just a run-seriously. I must relax and stay calm and NOT GO OUT TOO FAST. This is critical for me since statistically the marathon is where I have failed the most of all my races. I have run badly at my last 3 marathons: MCM in 2009, Shamrock 2010, and Chicago 2010. I have learned to master any other distance…but the 26.2 is certainly my challenge-it is my match. And I will give it a damn good fight this time around.

But in addition to running for personal goals and personal glory, I will run it for someone as well. That someone is my cousin Jeff Klein, who took his own life almost exactly a year from this coming Sunday’s Marine Corps Marathon. He was 23 1/2.

Jeff and I shared many precious memories together, and his competitive spirit combined with a wonderful sense of humor made us 2 of a kind. We always pushed each other past our own limits-I remember when we went on and on trying to break ping pong records. We would find a way to break records by playing videogames. And of course, we made each other laugh until we couldn’t stop crying. Jeff was also a really great basketball player, and unlike him, I was never any good at it…so I just loved watching him play while I attempted to play 1/1000 of what he could play. His brothers take after him as well. When I was young though I was never really into American sports…I was like a European only focused on soccer…and then got into running. Jeff’s whole family has a passion for all American sports, and though I got into college football once I went to VaTech, I have found I have grown to watching other sports Jeff loved more and more often because it reminds me of Jeff. I feel joy when I watch anything(particularly comedies LOL) that reminds me of him though, or when we get together with family and I think of the favorite foods Jeff and I loved to eat together(and jokes!).

I have found ways in which Jeff lives on in many areas of my life, and that includes my running. His competitiveness and joy for life lives on in me and I enjoy my running more, and enjoy racing more! I thank you, Jeff-for this new joy I have found. Sometimes I sense he would be very happy for me now…because I am happy. And that’s what he would’ve wanted. Jeff wanted everyone to be happy. And he knows that there’s no place better for me a year from his passing than running 26.2 miles out on the streets of DC this Sunday. Sunday will be a day where I will celebrate Jeff’s life and what a positive effect he’s had on mine.

If in position, I will run to win and run with all my heart those last 6.2 miles. I will leave nothing left out there. Not one single step. And Jeff will be there with me every step of the way. Jeff always loved cheering on the underdog in sports, and I leave this video as a symbol of his inspiration for EVERYONE running Sunday: Good luck to all the runners I’ve coached this Sunday-I’ll be thinking of you all as I tackle the course with you!

– Chris Sloane

Cawfee

18 Oct
Jeff Klein > Tashin Tarzan Ozan-Gemikonakh Mj
happy birthday man, how’s life?
04 August 2010 at 16:00 . Like. Comment
Today’s my birthday, and as a gift to myself I’m taking some time to remember my friend Jeff and to reminisce about the times we  spent together during that Autumn semester in London back in 2007. Inspired by  some of the beautifully articulated blogs on Kleinsaucer, I thought it’d be nice to give a small window of insight into our memorable time with Jeff in  London, because whether you spent just 3 months knowing Jeffrey Klein or 283  months, he’s not one to forget.
Three months is a long time to get to know someone as  easygoing and open as Jeff. In that time he acquired a new nickname ‘Cawfee’,  for the simple reason that he was from New York, and that’s how people in New  York pronounce coffee, right? We don’t meet too many Americans in London. Jeff  represented Americans very well however; he immediately became the go-to guy when somebody needed a pick-me-up, whether this meant chilling in his room and watching Entourage or a basketball match, or going out somewhere, anywhere,  after a few American-sized shots of vodka at the kitchen counter. Occasionally we wouldn’t make it further than just up the road before collapsing in a heap  and having Jeff carry us home, but we had some brilliant nights out with him too. These nights always ended at Woody’s Grill, the famous Camden Kebab-shop.   A Woody’s kebab was the one thing that could distract Jeff from his otherwise very composed self, and he was attracted to it like an excited puppy to a whistle. “It’s Woody time!” became an instant-Cawfee catchphrase.
But more  clearly than that, whenever I want to remember his voice in my head I can’t  help hearing words of drive and encouragement – “Alright. Why not? Let’s do  it.” We had many memorable nights out that would otherwise have been  sitting by a laptop with the stench of the sewage-filled Ifor Evans corridors  creeping into our rooms, if it wasn’t for Jeff.  One such night which was particularly memorable was an  after-show party following a play I had just acted in. The play had gone  exceptionally well, and Jeff had done his part in rounding up a few people to  come and be in the audience, and of course his earlier words of encouragement on the Facebook page:
      Jeff Klein
                   yo TARZAN fuck shit uppppp
                   13 October 2007 at 02:32

Words 0f  encouragement before my Freshers play, ‘East’

 
It may seem like an exaggeration to say that the way Jeff went about supporting me as an actor inspired me to perform well, but in truth, there are only a handful of people I know who would go the extra mile and be there for a friend he’d known for just a couple of weeks. And unlike many people who said they’d come but would never turn up – if you wanted him, Jeff would be there for you.  
The aftershow party of the Freshers plays was something I’d felt obliged to go to, but the prospect of alcohol + a pretentious
theatery crowd combined, wasn’t something I was too keen on. I was leaning towards not going. Having expressed this to friends after the show, Jeff understood my dilemma and proposed we go as a group and liven the party: “Alright. Why not? Let’s do it.” So we did. And it was the best aftershow party ever.  We fit in, where necessary, and we changed the mood of the party, when necessary. And it was there that I met the girl of my dreams – and we’ve been together since.
 
I feel inexplicably proud to have been a friend of Jeff’s, and look back fondly at our memories, including his delight at having the name Tarzan in his ghetto Motorola mobile-phone’s contact list – and then correcting my misspelling of Cwofee in my own old-school Nokia contacts. We lost many photos of our time together on a stolen mobile, unfortunately –including a few of Jeff strutting around the corridors in nothing but a towel – but below is a priceless picture of the Ifor Evans gang from the aftershow party, which I proudly display as my desktop background:

From left to right: Mo, James Wong (aptly named Wongmeister by Jeff), the Italian Jacopo, and Jeff ‘Cawfee’ Klein smiling at the camera whilst grimacing at the wet one I (Tarzan) couldn’t help planting on his cheek that night.

Of course, going out wasn’t the only thing Jeff was great at. Often, with his insightful attitude, he’d be the centre of debate at
dinner whether the table spoke politics, or celebrity, or faulty sewage systems, or – inevitably – sport. The one thing I regret is never getting to play basketball with Jeff. Then again, having read some of the blogs, I guess I saved myself some embarrassment.  
I never thought it was possible, but I’ve caught up to Jeff’s age. Jeff’s enthusiasm for life makes his loss all the more tragic. But Jeff left with us his beautiful approach to life and his wonderful talent for making friends. He has inspired me in a way I shall never be able to express in words. Instead, it will show through my actions and life decisions as I better myself as a person, with Jeff in a pocket of my heart. That I’ll never see him again, is an unbearable thought – we’d often discussed finding some time to do a Route 66-style trip together in the future. Now, if such a trip should materialise, it’ll be in his memory and it’ll be with his memory forever accompanying us – conducted in a way Jeff would see fit. 
Happy my birthday, Jeff.
Thanks for being a real friend,
Tarzan
04/08/2011

God is Great, Beer is Good, and People Are Crazy

10 Oct

It has been a little while since I posted on Kleinsaucer. I thought I’d re enter the frey with a story bringing out Jeff’s unique and feisty character.

For those who knew of Jeff, he had quite the progressive sentiment. He abhorred what he perceived as “knee-jerk reactionaries.” More specifically, he was not fond of the southern religious conservative sect. Through his studies at Middlebury, Jeff developed a further love for politics and history. As he took more classes and read more stories, his comments became more poignant and zingy. I remember passionate conversations with Jeff about the direction of this nation during the Bush years. He sometimes made fun of figures in the Bush administration; who couldn’t!

As probably referenced in prior posts, Jeff, along with Jack, Ryan and myself, went on a roadtrip to Key West during the summer of 2009. Road trips invariably include a sizeable amount of music listening. Out of the group on this trip, lets just say my musical preferences differed. I pushed for Alt –Country, Indie, Rock and Classic Rock. The others, to put it nicely, were more mainstream. Music turned into a battle between the rest of the gang and myself; a battle I often lost. As we passed North Carolina, during my allotted time, I choose to listen to southern country stations.

And then came on a track, entitled “God is Great, Beer is Good, and People are Crazy,” by Billy Currington. This song struck a particular cord with Jeff. To him, it epitomized all that he loathed about southern religious zealots and politics. Yet, by the same token, he appreciated its simple hearted nature – Jeff was fond of drinking and hanging out with his friends. I guess he liked the song in a mocking way, but it proved to be more of a conversation starter than I first envisioned.

Interestingly, one of Jeff’s last voicemails he left for me concerned southern culture and politics. I think it was from when he was at Duke with Ryan and his friends. The message concerned a conversation with a southern girl at UNC in Chapel Hill, NC. For some reason, he choose to talk about politics with a conservative girl at a bar. What balls! It didn’t pan out, but it led to a ten-minute classic Jeff rant on politics and history, all in a southern accent. At the end, he said “God is Great, Beer is Good, and People are Crazy.”

This post is less about forwarding a political ideology, but more about Jeff’s unique and lively personality. As I listened to a country radio station on Pandora today, this song came on, reminding me of my experience with Jeff. I think the take away is that while one should be passionate, it is also necessary to take things with a grain of salt. I certainly miss Jeff for this, and hope to bring this aspect of Jeff’s personality forward with me.

Lonnie

A Walk Of Love

7 Oct

There is no other way to describe it.  On October 2nd, our family took a big step in what will be a long, difficult, multi-year healing process by participating in the Westchester “Out of the Darkness Community Walk” at Croton Point Park, organized and sponsored by the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention (AFSP).  We would not have been able to take this important step had it not been for the overwhelming support from the more than 30 dear friends and family members who walked with us, as well as countless others who couldn’t be there but made donations and/or sent loving emails cheering us on.

According to AFSP’s website, “By walking in the Out of the Darkness Community Walks, you will be walking with thousands of people nationwide to raise money for AFSP’s vital research and education programs to prevent suicide and save lives, increase national awareness about depression and suicide, advocate for mental health issues, and assist survivors of suicide loss.”

It was a walk of love in support of our family.  Since Jeff’s passing, we have felt that love so strongly from so many people.  And on this day, we were joined by our oldest and best friends from our college days, our oldest friends from Chappaqua, family members led by Connie Vames, Carey’s almost 80 year old mother who left most of our team’s walkers in the dust, and Carey’s close friends from all parts of her life. It was spiritually uplifting to be surrounded by all these special people.

It was a walk of love in honor of Jeff.  His closest friends were all there, including three who made the trip from D.C. and Virginia to honor him.  We extend our heartfelt appreciation to Andrew Becker, Andres Gonzalez-Stewart, Thao Lam, Ryan Williams, Brooke Sager, Vikash Khanna, Julie Parise, Elon Rubin, Jackie Commins, Jack Rossman and Lindsey Moschet for being there for us, not only physically on October 2nd, but emotionally for all of the past 11 months.  Jeff was a very lucky guy to have all of you as friends.

Jeff's closest friends walked with us

During the week leading up to the event, I followed the ever changing weather forecast for that Sunday, which until as recently as the night before, called for spotty showers during the day.  I should have realized that there was no reason for concern, as Jeff would never let it rain on ours and his parade.  And sure enough, it turned out to be a gloriously sunny and beautiful autumn day, so very fitting for a young man who brightened all of our days for 23 ½ years. 

Staying on the topic of tributes to Jeff, I had become aware this past spring that the Middlebury brothers of KDR, led by then President, Ray Queliz, were planning to put up some sort of memorial for Jeff at the social house.  When I didn’t hear anything further, I had assumed that it must not have materialized due to the busy pre-graduation days of senior spring for the brothers who knew Jeff the best.  Shame on me for thinking such a thing, even for a split second !

Shortly after my recent blog post about KDR was published (“The Decision To Join The Middlebury Brothers Of KDR, And Other Major Life Choices”, September 20, 2011), Ray emailed me to say that a memorial basketball hoop, with written messages to Jeff all over the backboard, was mounted over the garage at the house this past spring. In addition, he told me that Middlebury will be placing a plaque in memory of Jeff right next to the hoop sometime this semester.  The memorial hoop is pictured below.  The KDR brothers represent yet another pocket of Jeff’s life that was filled with amazing, caring friends.

How did someone with so much love in his life make such a horrific decision to leave us all behind ?  We will never know.  But I want to ask your support for my most recent initiative to show Jeff how we feel about him.  I joined Facebook this week for the sole purpose of creating a group (which I have done) called “Friends of Jeff Klein”, which I would like to grow to at least a couple hundred people.

The purpose of this group is twofold.  First, it will serve as a mechanism through which we can periodically communicate about Jeff by sharing thoughts, memories, blog posts, events (such as maybe future walks), etc.  But even more importantly, it will let Jeff know (and I do believe he will know) just how many people still care about him and that he will never be forgotten.

And so I am asking Jeff’s friends and acquaintances from Greeley, Middlebury, Duke, University College of London, or anywhere else for that matter, to please do one of two things if you are not currently a group member: either send me a “friend request” on Facebook so that I can add you to the group, or go directly to the Friends of Jeff Klein page and join the group.   And of course, Carey’s and my friends should feel free to do so as well.  This request is for a single purpose: to build a very large Facebook group of at least 200 people in Jeff’s honor and in his memory.  You can find me under Richard Klein, email address rktrain@aol.com.  I look forward to hearing from you.  Current members of the group, 150 at present, are also encouraged to add others who they know are friends of Jeff.  Let’s get to 200, which should be easy because Jeff touched many more lives than that.

Together, through this Facebook group, we’re all going to show Jeff how much a part of us he still is.  Just like so many of you recently did during the October 2nd walk of love. 

– Rich Klein