BRUSH PRAIRIE, Wash. (TNS) — On an autumn afternoon in the Northwest, aspen trees drop golden leaves as a damp breeze pulls through the branches of tall cedars outside the home of Robbie and Alissa Parker. Painted pumpkins sit in the shade of their covered porch. A small fountain bubbles next to the front walk, where a child’s pail and shovel sits on a stone wall.
Inside, the picture is no less bucolic. Lines of hazy sunlight filter through the blinds in the family room where Robbie reads on a sofa with 9-year-old Madeline. Dressed in a long-sleeve turquoise shirt, stretchy black pants and baby pink socks, she curls up close to him. Robbie pulls her closer when she asks for help figuring out a word she doesn’t know.
“What’s a cul-de-sac?” she asks, her finger stopped on the unfamiliar word on the page.
Robbie leans over and explains it to her.
“Oh, like our street in Connecticut?” she asks, looking up at him.
“Sort of,” he replies.
Robbie and Alissa Parker, former Ogden residents who met while attending Ben Lomond High School, lived in Connecticut, in Newtown, when their oldest daughter Emilie was still alive.
Sprinkled throughout their new home in Washington are reminders of her life — a photo of the five Parkers surrounded by yellowing New England foliage, a frame Alissa made to display Emilie’s artwork. In the foyer hangs a small, framed poster of a playground in New London called “Emilie’s Shady Spot.”
Emilie Parker was one of the 20 first graders killed five years ago, on Dec. 14, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School. More than 800 people attended her funeral in Ogden eight days later, including an apostle from the LDS Church.
A year after the shooting, Robbie, Alissa and their two younger daughters, Madeline and Samantha, drove to New London to dedicate the playground to Emilie. There, with about 100…