by chris laulhere (cherese's mom)
updated october, 2012
The name "Cherese" is French and it means "Beloved". I actually chose her name many years before she was born and it fit her perfectly!
I met Larry in 1969. We dated and fell in love. We were married in 1971 and within a year we began talking about starting our family.
Cherese Mari Laulhere, our beloved angel, was born on a Tuesday morning, at 7:58 a.m. on September 17, 1974. It was the most joyous day to celebrate the birth of our daughter.
She was beautiful. She weighed 7 lbs. 2 oz. and was 20 1/2" long. She had just a sprinkle of light golden blonde hair and her deep blue eyes sparkled like diamonds. Her precious smile melted our hearts from the very first moment we saw her. It was the first day of Cherese's 21 years of giving us all her love and bringing so much joy to our lives.
Five days later, Larry and I brought Cherese home from Miller Children's Hospital at Long Beach Memorial in Long Beach, California. We were excited for Cherese to meet her big brother, Todd, just 20 months older. Todd welcomed Cherese with hugs and kisses. He loved to hold her and help take care of her. She was a happy baby and we felt so lucky, we now had the perfect little family we had always hoped for.
The first year of Cherese's life seemed to go by so quickly. She was very social and loved being with people. She was eager to learn, was soon talking all the time and started walking when she was about 1 year old. The terrible two's really weren't that terrible. Cherese loved to entertain us by singing and dancing and soon owned her first pairs of tap and ballet shoes. At age three we enrolled Cherese in preschool and she made lots of new friends.
Around the same time, Judy was born. She lived next door to us. Judy looked up to Cherese and wanted to be just like her. Cherese, being 3 years older, became Judy's protector and best friend. Judy was always inspired and influenced by Cherese.
cherese mari laulherecherese & judycherese mari laulhere<>2 - 3
When Cherese's 5th birthday was approaching, she was excited to begin kindergarten at Kettering Elementary School. I'll never forget the first day of school, she looked so cute! And then Cherese met Anne-Marie, who would also become her best friend. They joined the Brownies and Girl Scouts, and I became one of their leaders. They did everything together, even went to modeling school when they were 14 years old and in high school they started a club to help keep the environment clean.
JR. HIGH AND HIGH SCHOOL
In 1986 at age 12, Cherese entered Hill Jr. High School. She started to notice boys, and they noticed her, too! She was getting tall, and quickly passed me up! Her shoulder length hair was silky and golden blonde and even though she was so beautiful, she would tell you she was not pretty at all! She joined the track team, loved to swim, skate and bike, while still dancing and performing.
Then Todd took an interest in cycling. He enjoyed mountain biking and the competition of racing. When he decided to enter a triathlon, Cherese decided she would too. It was a cold rainy day, but they both completed the cycling, swimming and running events and Cherese even won for her age group! That year she participated in several running competitions.
It was also the year she met Sophia and Lisa, and they soon became best friends. Lisa had also participated in the above mentioned triathlon and later that Halloween night the girls dressed up and went out trick or treating! After junior high school, Lisa moved to Sacramento, and they continued to keep in contact with visits, phone calls and letters all the way through college.
lisa & cheresesophia & cheresecherese & anne-marie<>2 - 3
After graduating from Hill Jr. High School, Sophia went to Poly High School and Cherese went to Wilson High School, both in Long Beach, but that did not stop them from seeing each other or talking on the phone, all the time.
By the time Cherese was leaving jr. high school and entering the 10th grade at Wilson High School, she decided to become a vegetarian. She donated all her leather shoes, belts and purses. She became an active supporter of animal rights and gave up eating all meat. In 1991 during her junior year, Cherese was co-founder of the "Environmental Awareness Club" on campus. They arranged beach clean-ups, litter collection, recycling programs and enlisted the help of many to be aware and do their part in preserving the environment. I believe the group still exists today.