[eDebate] a story about life
Thu Oct 24 17:07:06 CDT 2002
In 1997, I was living in Los Angeles and attending graduate school, and
coaching debate, at CSU-Long Beach. Moving from Utah to L.A. was not
difficult, since I knew a whole lot of other expatriate Utahns who had made
the move and they provided constant familiarity and support.
One of these friends was Shelley Barnes, whom I had known for over ten
years. Although she did not debate in college, I had met her when I was a
team debater for West Jordan High School and she was a Lincoln Douglas
debater for Park City High School. Several years after we met, I had the
pleasure of introducing Shelley to another friend of mine, Dave, and Shelley
and Dave got married in 1994.
Back to 1997. I had another very good friend, a friend to many in the
NDT/CEDA community, named Becky Galentine. Becky and I had debated each
other many times and first hated each other and then grew to respect, and
eventually really like one another. Becky's body eventually gave in to
breast cancer in 1999--perhaps one of the most visible and impactual losses
I can remember in the debate community. Back in 1997, Becky was sick, and
our hopes were high that she would eventually recover.
Shelley was living in L.A. and operated a small art-and-flower arrangement
business, making beautiful and unusual gift packages and shipping them to
clients and recipients around the country. I asked Shelley to arrange
something for Becky. I remember it included a blank book, a nice basket,
some flowers, etc. Becky was so moved by the gift that she called both
Shelley and me to thank us. Shelley and Becky had a great conversation and
hit it off really well; were it not for the gift arrangement and Becky's
illness, they surely never would have met. Shelley told me later that
talking to Becky, and following her progress, was one source of inspiration
for her artistic and creative projects in the years that followed. Of
course, at the time, Shelley was unaware that she herself would be diagnosed
with breast cancer less than two years later.
So things sometimes come full circle, without any kind of demonstrable or
empirical rhyme or reason. Yesterday, October 23, 2002, Shelley Barnes
passed away at a hospital in Long Beach. She was 34. Dave, along with
Shelley's parents, requested that donations be made to the Susan G. Komen
Breast Cancer Foundation (http://www.komen.org/).
Of course, many of us in the debate community have participated in, and
donated to, some really great Breast Cancer organizations, and that's
wonderful. But within this sense of spiritual closure and a hurtful,
undefined longing I am feeling right now for two very close friends, there
is another burning anger, and confusion, at our country's priorities. We
spend 1/6 of our national budget on the military, and in some states
taxpayer money is even being used to fund viagra. It would be nice if we
could make a greater investment in breast cancer research--along with myriad
other issues affecting womyn's health and well-being.
But I didn't intend to be political here--just to share with this community
a connection that few people knew existed: between an artist who created
something and a friend who received it, and many of us both inside and
outside of debate now mourning the loss of both of them.
And one more thing, in the direct words Becky was so well-known for:
"First the usual statistics -- 1 in 8 women in this country will get it. 1
in 100 will die from it. women who detect it early tend not to fall in the
latter category (although the jury is still out on me)."
--Becky Galentine, debate list serve post, October 2, 1997
Love and best wishes to all,
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