Actual pic of C.H.Peck - Naked, the way he lived his life.

I’ll never forget this particular day when my childhood friend Chris was just being, well… Chris, and this guy we didn’t really know too well looked at him with utter disgust and said “you’re weird”. I was horrified and quite tired of people treating him so rudely just because they viewed him as different, as was often the case when we were kids, but Chris didn’t care, in fact he didn’t even skip a beat, he looked right back at the guy with equal disgust registering on his face and said “you’re normal”, then he giggled his mischievous little giggle and bounced right along leaving the guy speechless in a way that only Chris could do.

I was 11 years old when I moved into the house across the street from Chris Haven Peck and I guess I should have known by the way he exited the school bus, he liked to shimmy himself out the window rather than wait in line and exit out the door like everyone else, that this new neighbor of mine was going to teach me a lifetime of important lessons about how to dance to the beat of your own drum and be okay with it.

Chris was a part of every phase of my growing up from the awkward pre-teens, to my crazy teens, to my confusing college years, idealist 20’s and into adulthood and through it all Chris consistently took the road least traveled.

I swear there was nothing that man wouldn’t try, eat, play with or experience. He didn’t just live life, it seemed more like he drank it, swirled it around on his tongue and sort of savored it.

He wanted to do it all and he always made whatever he was up to sound like the most fun and cool thing ever. Like for e.g. when he was a teen and he somehow managed to convince people that being on the High Schoolcheerleading team was cool at a time when (at least in Orlando) “real guys” played football. Period. Or as an adult, his explanation of why he was traveling the world in search of the perfect ingredients so that he could eventually fulfill a new goal of saving the world with chocolate. I’m pretty sure if anyone could save the world with chocolate it would be Chris.

I think the greatest love of his life though was his music. I don’t know if it’s possible to count up the amount of hours he clocked in his short lifetime playing music but I am sure it was most of it. I will forever be grateful for all the times that he would call me up and say “hey, come over…I just wrote a new song.” “But Chris, it’s 1 o’clock in the morning on a school night.” “So…I’m coming to get you” “I’m in my pajamas” “And you’re point is?….Meet me in the street. You have 10 seconds” Click.

Just by the luck of my close proximity, and my willingness to listen for extended periods of time, I had the honor of attending years of concerts for 1 with Chris as the headliner. He played every instrument, wrote countless amounts of songs and literally blew me away with his ability to Improv songs right on the spot (and I mean blew me away, I know nobody that was better at that than him and I know a lot of talented people)

After years of this routine, I finally said to him one day… ”this is great Chris, but when are you going to get out of your bedroom?” To my surprise, as courageous and out there as he always was, sharing his music made him a little nervous so it was my true privilege in this lifetime to finally get to return the favor and  give him that needed shove.

At the time my Dad owned a bar called Tanqueray’s and they had live music. I worked it out so he could play on Tuesday’s and he excitedly got his equipment together and put together a set list and naturally made me listen to it over and over again.

I will never forget how nervous he was that very first night he played out (somewhere back around 1990). I helped him set up and then sat there and cheered him on as if he was the biggest rock star on the planet (which he definitely wasn’t quite yet), but he played his heart out to that tiny little crowd of mostly friends and that was it, he was hooked. There was no putting him back in the box.

This of course set up a scenario of years of endless discussions he wanted to have with me about how he could improve his performances and better ways to entertain the crowd, but being a closet artist at the time, I loved every single minute of it. It gave me the creative outlet I needed too.

I ran into Chris recently at the grocery store. He gave me that deep Chris stare, the one that goes straight through you, gave me a deep hug and then thanked me for the one millionth time for what I did for him pushing him out of his bedroom and then for the first time thanked me for being me and loving him unconditionally the way I did. He said he didn’t think he would have survived his childhood without me but now, in reflection, I wish I would have gotten the chance to tell him that I don’t think I could have survived my adulthood
without him.

Even though we didn’t spend time together like we used to, the lessons I learned from him about being yourself no matter what, about going after what you love, about what it means to be an artist gave the artist in me (which happened to be very very shy) the courage to finally come out of my shell and let that light shine too. There is no way to thank you enough for
that Chris.

I am going to miss you so so so very much. You’ve left a big hole in so many people’s worlds.  I know if you had it your way you would be challenging all of us to try to see death in a new way. You would be bugging us while we’re trying to cry, saying to remember the happy things, to celebrate our wonderful times together, possibly even have a big ole party at your funeral and of course to play lots and lots of music. You would be all geeked out and find it spectacular all the amazing people you had the power to bring together.

I really don’t know if we can do that just yet. It kinda just hurts too bad right now and its so hard to not feel cheated out of what could have been. But if you give us all time, I’m betting we’ll come around and celebrate exactly as you would want us to.

You truly are a one of kind Chris Haven Peck! And will never ever be forgotten. I am truly blessed for having known you.

32 thoughts on “Chris Haven Peck 1968 – 2011

  1. Wow, your story is beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Not sure yet about the services but will let you know as soon as I do. Nobody knows for sure why but appears he drowned in his pool Saturday night.

  3. Holly

    When I visit the Club I always remember Chris strolling down the street playing his gutiar.Chris was the perfect partner in crime during my childhood and as we grew into adults he was always there to help with any problem or just to catch up on oldtimes.

    We will miss you Christopher Haven ,God Bless

    Jeffery Dance

  4. My name is Mindy and Chris and I were great friends in middle school. I m,ovd away and have not taken the time to catch up with him since I have been back except for a few words back and forth. Your words are beautifully written. An amazing insight into the man Chris was. Thank you.

  5. I will always cherish those times when I was spending the night with Holly and got to witness some of the ‘crazy Chris sessions’!

  6. My name is Pamela and I was blessed to know Chris from Caffe Positano where he performed on a regular basis. We go there for our ladies night which we call “Thirsty Thursday”.

    Everything you said about him is so true!. He loved his music and loved his audience. He would sit at our table when we were the last ones there and take requests and do his best to perform them, play his own music and smile and entertain us till we were all wore out from singing and laughing.

    I ran in to Chris a week ago at Caffe P. which I didn’t know would be my last “Thirsty Thursday” with him. He wasn’t playing that night, but came in to eat Pizza and have a beer, as he usually did, after teaching his yoga class.

    He smiled and asked how I was doing. I started laughing because I was having a major “Hot Flash”, as women of my age often do, and he instantly started teaching me some breathing exercises right there on the spot. He was such a wonderful caring person. He said to call him any time I want to talk more about it and we said our goodbyes. I went home that night and practiced what he taught me and it actually worked.

    He truly was a gentleman and inspiring person to know.

    I will miss him seeing his smiling face!

  7. Chris was my favorite yoga teacher. He had an infectious spirit and made you realize quickly not to take life too seriously. He had a lot of wit and taught me a lot about myself. Chris’ Wednesday night yoga class was a gift! I am going to miss him so much.

  8. This is very sad news. The world has lost a special soul who had so much to share.

  9. Chris taught yoga at our work place, Here is the news we got today about the swevice:
    It is with heavy hearts and tears in our eyes, that we come together in Joy to celebrate the life of our own Chris Peck, who left this incarnation this past Sunday, July 31. Join Wynne Paris and Friends and all of our community for a celebration of Chris’ life, on Saturday for Kirtan and remeberances of Chris Haven Peck on Saturday, August 6th, at 7:30pm, in Maitland at Mindful Body Yoga http://www.mymindfulbody.com
    110 N. Orlando Avenue, Suite 2 & 3, Maitland, FL 32751 407-637-2827

  10. Thank you so much for this info. I am currently out of town but would am definitely going to try to make this wonderful event. Just to be clear, is this a special remembrance put on by the yoga studio that all his friends and family are welcomed to attend or is this his official Memorial service put on by his family. I know many are going to want to attend any and all remembrances, just want to make sure I dont confuse anyone. And thank you again for this opportunity.

  11. We received this from the yoga studio and it sounded like all were welcome. I never knew Chris, just passed him in the hall once in a while. I was going to take my first yoga class from him tomorrow. Those that have been attending his class loved him. From the above messages it sounds like he was loved by so many and that he was a wonderful person.

  12. Such beautiful memories…..I meet Haven when he came to Kentucky….he was such a delight to meet….my thoughts go out to all that knew him well.

  13. Holly,

    Thanks so much for that beautiful article about Chris. It’s amazing how much more we can know of someone by just listening to those who knew and loved him as you have. It’s a beautiful thing…

  14. Beautiful words Holly. May God bless Chris and all that will miss him. Thank you for sharing.

  15. At the end of my last class with Chris Peck recently at Shine On, he said:”Everyone go home now and be a Smile-inator in your world. We need the sunshine. See you next week!” Never heard Smile-inator before he said it. It’s goofy and silly but really is right on. And Chris was so right on. All the time. Full of light and love. He was quite the alchemist when he taught, mixing yoga and philosophy and music and laughter and love and joy and more into an hour and a half — all emanating straight from his soul to his students. He simply never held back. Shared his heart totally and completely. I’d leave his class inspired to give more and try harder to stay positive. I will strive to continue to do the same now in his memory.

  16. Thank you so much for this story. I will share it with his family. So nice to hear from the people he touched doing one of the things he loved the most.

  17. Holly:
    I knew Chris at Rock Lake middle school. I recall on the first day in Mrs. Reynolds’ eighth grade English class that all the students were asked to pick a noun or adjective that described them. I can’t recall what anyone else picked, but Chris picked “Cornucopia.” (What eighth grader picks Cornucopia to describe them?) For the rest of the year, we all called him Cornucopia Chris. Chris explained to all of us, “The cornucopia is the horn of plenty, and is a symbol of abundance and nourishment.” Basically, I think that sums him up. I didn’t keep up with Chris after middle school, but I never forgot him. He was just one of those people you never can forget. I was sorry to hear about his passing.

  18. I did only meet Chris couple of times thru my girlfriend Zulay, but I could totally see his great personality. He had great charisma and and think It only took him a few seconds to win me over. I am very sad not to have such an amazing person any longer with us. God bless you my friend.

  19. That was so beautiful Holly. My name is Cyndi Vega Martin and I grew up with Anne. Actually, you and I worked together at 5-7-9 way back in the day. My heart aches for Anne, her family, and you. When I heard the news, I remembered you and the closeness and love you have for Chris. He touched so many people with his amazing spirit and music. He will be forever missed.

  20. Oh my god I havent thought about 5-7-9 in ages. As close as we were I still was just a friend, I cant imagine how hard this must be for Anne.

  21. I didn’t know Chris, but the article and posts make me think I did. He must of been a really great person. Thanks to everyone for sharing your fond memories of him. My condolences to his family and friends.

  22. Chris taught Yoga at our workplace and the last time I attended one of his classes he said (as we were stretching our hands toward the sky) – – “just feel the yumminess!” It was so Chris to come out with these words and sayings that were so unique to who he is! We considered Chris to be part of our Alere family and will miss him greatly.

  23. Thankyou so much for sharing this beautiful story about Chris..He touched so many people’s lives, mine included with his loving joyful spirit. He made the world a brighter place. May he inspire us to find our joy & do the same.
    namaste
    Kiana

  24. Holly, thank you for sharing your stories. I did not know Chris well but I too lived across the street from him for many years (505 Sweetwater Club Circle) although he never called me in the middle of the night to share his music! He was such a free spirit with a contagious energy. I will always remember him as the cute boy across the street! What a loss.

  25. Hi Holly…I just happened across this tribute again. I am not sure if we ever met but my brothers remember you …Phil and Jim.

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