Angie and I met at college in Rapid City, SD. She and her roommate were just down the hall from me. At the time, I was a huge Slaughter fan – if you listened to hard rock before Nirvana changed it all you know who I am talking about. Angie also enjoyed listening to them. We became good friends and she ended up inviting me to go with her to visit her dad in Iowa. We had a great trip – lots of loud singing and Diet Coke on the road. We played pool and her dad let us smoke in the basement. We jammed the Wayne’s World soundtrack and roasted marshmallows in her backyard to the Dream a Little Dream soundtrack. We also practiced doing the Electric Slide in her dad’s driveway. I remember us finding out we both made straight A’s and her dad taking us out to dinner. We also drove to Ames to watch Wayne’s World again.
When I got married, Angie drove all the way from Florida to be in my wedding. We stayed in touch – writing letters and talking on the phone occasionally. Over the years our communications became less seldom but I still thought of her often. One February morning, her husband called me. I had never spoken to him before so I knew something wasn’t right. Regrettably, I was not able to pay the same favor back to her by driving down to Florida to be in her wedding. Scott said that he received my card but in a thick voice, he informed me that Angie had passed away from a massive heart attack the year past. He cried and told me how strong their girls were trying to be for him and the last things they said to each other. Angie lost her father not too long before she passed away from a heart condition she inherited. She was one of the best people I have ever known – a deacon for her church, loving mother and wife, faithful friend, caring daughter and sister. She was at her father’s side when he took his last breath.
I only have a handful of pictures of her and several handwritten letters. Angie is part of the reason why I write letters and mail greeting cards. I can see her handwriting and the little smiley faces she made. I can hear her voice and her laugh in the loops and curves of her cursive letters. In the age of social media, letters from a friend who I loved and cared for are priceless. I encourage you to write a letter a week to a family member or a friend. It is so much more exciting to receive snail mail from a loved one than a bill. Have a lovely Memorial weekend everyone and be safe!