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State College Woman Publishes her 'Love Story'

by and on January 08, 2014 1:45 PM

Time is precious and true love is rare.

Whether it’s early or later in life, love can take you by the hand and lead you on an unexpected journey. For Kathy and Chris Brown of State College, their love story was one that was tragically cut short. However, as Kathy will tell you, love never dies.

Chris worked at Penn State University as the Director of Network Operations and Data Systems Technology Information manager at the graduate school. He also served with the Air Force and the Army National Guard.

Chris was a skilled athlete, guitarist and had a passion for extreme sports; he was an avid member of the Happy Valley Skydivers. At the age of 52, Chris tragically passed away during a skydiving accident in which his main parachute became tangled and his emergency chute did not deploy.

Survived by his wife Kathy, she made sure that one of his most cherished hobbies would not be forgotten. She recently published a combination of a how-to book and a love story called “A Love Story of Impossible Bottles.”

Kathy is originally from China and has lived in the United States since 1986. She is currently the IT Manager at Penn State University. Chris and Kathy were only married for seven months.

Chris’s mother, Joy Brown saw the love Chris and Kathy had for each other.

“I believe they had in seven months what some people may never have in a lifetime,” says Joy. “I am grateful for Kathy. She is a blessing to our family.”

During Chris’s time working on his bottles, he decided to write a book explaining his hobby.

“Before Chris’s death, he had begun writing a book, which was to act as a tutorial as well as a way to share some of his favorite bottles,” explains Kathy. “He never got the chance to share his story. I decided to finish the book in honor of Chris.”

His interest in the craft of impossible bottles started 15 years ago after reading an article in a Chinese magazine about an artist that put objects inside of glass bottles. Chris then became the owner and founder of Impossible Bottles. He incorporated a personal element to each bottle he made.

“Usually people just put a deck of cards or a pack of cigarettes or some simple object inside, but those are neutrals; you don’t really see anything special. Chris did something different by adding personal touches to his bottles,” said Kathy.

Chris would create bottles for family and friends. He made around 350 bottles, most of which were given as gifts. In some, he would set up scenes with pictures and add specific items that described the person in which he was making the impossible bottle for.

“The bottle shape symbolized a person’s heart,” says Kathy. “When it’s something that’s really special to us, we will keep it in our heart. That’s what I felt the bottle style captured.”

Joy Brown recalls his love for things that tested his abilities.

“Chris always liked to do things that were challenging,” says Joy. “Kathy has the bottles he made for me and his dad. We were thrilled to see them.”

Throughout the book, details on the bottles are highlighted.

“The bottles are about love, friendship, family, tragedy, loss and even my journey to becoming an American,” says Kathy.

Within Kathy’s home, a small room upstairs is dedicated to the love of her life. Showcases full of Chris’ Impossible Bottles line the room and a clock that used to hang in Chris’s office that never worked before, now never stops ticking.

“My hope is that people will be inspired by this and that they will start their own Impossible Bottles,” says Kathy. “If Chris’s death means something or has some kind of purpose that would be it.”

Kathy has received positive feedback on the book. One email took her by surprise and made her feel as if she was able to successfully share Chris’s passion.

“One that really touched me the most was a fellow from Australia who emailed me and said he was trying to make a special bottle for his mother because his mother was dying from breast cancer,” says Kathy. “That made me feel like my book was worthwhile to share with other people.”

Finishing the book was part of the healing process for Kathy.

“Losing him is a tremendous difficulty for me to accept and to see someone benefiting from the book and our story helps me to accept his death,” Kathy says.

Chris’ spirit will not be forgotten and Joy will always remember her son with sweet memories.

“I have lots of great memories about Chris,” says Joy. “One of the first things was when we had just purchased a neighborhood grocery store. Chris would have been near two-years-old. He looked around the corner of the candy case at me with chocolate running down his chin. I can still see him grinning from ear to ear. Chocolate sure was good!”

If readers gain only one message from the book, Kathy hopes that it’s to live each day like it’s your last.

“If there’s one thing that I want the world to know about my husband, it’s that he never took any day for granted,” says Kathy. “He would always say ‘I love you’ and really mean it. That was very important to him and I like to think that his spirit and his message live on in this book.”

The book is available at Amazon, Lulu.com, Barnes & Noble and other sources. Click HERE for more information on Chris’s talent and their once in a lifetime love story.

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This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.


Brianna is a former Gazette intern and a senior majoring in broadcast journalism at Penn State.
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