Snapshots: A Tribute to a Friend
TONY COX, host:
And finally, this week's Snapshot. It comes from former Washington Post reporter Patrice Gaines. This snapshot is dedicated to the award-winning writer Bebe Moore Campbell who died from brain cancer one year ago this month. To Gaines, Bebe was not just a best-selling novelist, she was also a good friend. As a tribute, Patrice has penned this open letter.
Ms. PATRICE GAINES (Former Reporter, Washington Post): Dearest Bebe, we can't believe a year has past. Your girlfriends and family are trying to carry on in a manner in which you would approve - working hard with bit sprinkles of fun. We will gather in D.C. for a brunch soon. We planned to toast you. Meanwhile, hear our shout-outs from part of the crew and your family.
Yolanda(ph) wanted you to know that she had a fabulous 60th birthday party with the theme: Say it loud, we're 60 and proud. She says all the divas were present, and you were probably on the dance floor too.
Remember all those assignments you left for Linda(ph)? You would amazed at how much she has gotten done.
Francine(ph) went to see "Dreamgirls" with here mom and daughter, and cried all the way through the movie. She thought about how you always went to see black movies the first week they were out. How you'd call her and say, girl, you have to see.
Judy(ph) keeps a recording of the last phone call you made to her. You were sick, but you called to ask about her mom. She wants you to know that her mom died in July. Judy says you were right. Going through this has been one of the toughest things I've ever done. She is comforted by your words. Everything is going to be all right. I love you.
Lafleur(ph) cracks up when she sees a cornfield. She remembers the two of you walking through cornstalks, 30 summers ago, dressed in white sundresses and silver earrings. We had just painted our nails fire-engine red during a long talk about beating writers block says Lafleur.
At some point, the two of you stopped, stretched out your arms and raised your faces to the sun. Lafleur writes in her note: You, Bebe, looked at the two of us and said, we are the finest scarecrows this burrow will ever see. Lafleur is still laughing.
Your mother, Gigi(ph), wanted to send a message about your grandbaby Alicia's birthday. She says, November 4th didn't have your touch, but it was a great day. Alicia and her mom, Maia(ph), and daddy, Olius(ph), went to Disneyland and went on every single ride except one. The only reason they didn't go on that one was because Alicia says the line was too long.
Your beloved Ellis(ph) sends his message. The California African-American Museums' third annual gala function was dedicated to your memory. You would have a ball, and we would have danced all night. I danced for you. And when we went up to the Monterey Jazz Festival, we toasted to you on a deck of the house overlooking the ocean.
That's it Be. I'm on the radio now. I think of how I used to sit in the car or at my desk and hear your voice on the airwaves and feel so close you, though you were in California and I was in D.C.
We are trying to live by your credo. Ellis sent it to me on an e-mail. It's from the Maya Angelou poem and it ends with the line: Life loves to be grabbed by the lapel and told, I'm with you, kid. Let's go.
You may have arrived at the gate before us, dear Bebe, but it gives those of us who loved you great pleasure to imagine that you arrived breathless.
COX: That was reporter turned writing coach, Patrice Gaines with this week's snapshot. She told her story from member station WFAE in Charlotte, North Carolina.
That's NEWS & NOTES.
And to listen to the show or subscribed to our podcast, visit our Web site, nprnews¬es.org - no spaces just, nprnews¬es.org.
NEWS & NOTES was created by NPR News and the African-American Public Radio Consortium. Next week, controversial study about AIDS.
I'm Tony Cox. This is NEWS & NOTES.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.