Kate Svitek Memorial Foundation
Kate Svitek Memorial Foundation

From Loved Ones & Friends

Letter from Tim Messinger

Svitek Family,

I have enclosed a brief story about the trip Kate and I took out west.

Please understand how difficult it was to write, I still don’t feel like it is finished. The words seem so far away from describing how I really feel.

I am with you always.


Tim Messinger

I was so excited to drive cross-country with Kate. Everything seemed open when getting ready for a trip with her. We knew where we were going to end up, and could get there anyway we wanted.

That spring before our trip we were having contests on who could wake up earliest, and do the most before everyone else got up. More often than not Kate would beat me and have bagels for the whole house and a story about what she had done by seven o’clock in the morning. It was that excitement of life, to want to do everything as soon as possible that I adopted and admired, and it is what kept both of us going on the same mentality throughout our voyage.

Kate and I always had somewhere to go, things to do, something to talk about. We balanced each other out, when we were together it seemed like we both focused more on what we really wanted, nothing else got in the way. Our friendship was strong at the beginning of the trip and was even stronger when we came back to the East Coast.

The trip out to Boulder was great. As we left Pennsylvania the landscape changed dramatically, and so did the people. We felt exclusive; privileged in the fact that we were smart and quick, the people we encountered were quite the opposite at times. We were on a mission, glowing with enthusiasm. We stopped for dinner in Lawrence, Kansas, on a warm summer night during our trip. We had a great time checking out the town that seemed to resemble both Burlington’s Church Street and Boulder’s Pearl Street. In the dry, dusty air right outside of Kansas City, we both felt like we were in a parallel world, similar to what we were used to in Vermont and where we were going in Boulder. The difference was in the people, the friendly waitress, the talkative bartender, the collage of Midwestern students. It was an exciting night, the connection between us had never been stronger as we took in the new people and setting, far from home and far from our destination.

A day later we celebrated our arrival hiking around the flat irons of Boulder and checking out the town. I left with my brother about a week later to drive out to California. Kate stayed at my brother’s house for a couple days, getting ready to go on her trip in the Kate way of scattering everything she owned and going through it randomly picking articles to take and ones to leave behind.

A couple of weeks later I picked up Kate when she was done with her trip in Golden, Colorado right next to the Jolly Rancher factory. We were so excited to see each other, I had really missed her. For the next couple of days we laughed about the stories of our respective trips, planning for the next trip back to the east.

On the drive back we were different people, enriched from our experiences. The drive back was filled understanding of ourselves and how our country was on the interior, and the desire to see the people we had missed, eased by the fact that we had each other’s company.

…The mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time. The ones who never say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes ‘Awww!

On the Road, Jack Kerouac

Kate will always be a part of my life.


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