On this anniversary of Deb's passing, my memory returns to meeting her, nearly 50 years ago, when we were 14 years old - 9th graders, in Cranston, RI.
I was spending the night at her home on Auburn Street, near the homes of my two aunts, and we were listening to WBRU, the Brown Universary radio station, airing Neil Young's "After The Gold Rush" album, in its entirety. I played guitar, Deb favored keyboards, and we both sang in strong voices that we did not yet know would take us somewhere unknown and good. We said that someday, if we ever had sons, we would both name them Joshua.
"This music is so beautiful," she said, swooning.
As young and informed as we were I knew she would make music of her own, of beauty and honesty, one day. She was that talented. And so she did.
Another memory comes to me now: It is 3 years later, and it is Deb in an early-summer June twilight, her golden wavy waist-length hair flowing in slow-motion up and around her like a mermaid, walking up the drive, a honey-toned acoustic guitar in her hand, smiling up to me as I greeted her from a second-story Juliet balcony, coming to a jam session at the Victorian mansion rental we had in south Elmwood. We taught each other to play in the obscure tunings of Joni Mitchell - whose influence on Deb's music was pivotal, and a natural generational progression.
Later that year, I gave birth to a son and named him Joshua. Many years later Deb would do the same.
I'm still heartbroken, because her passing seems unreal and I can only hear her voice when I play her CDs. She would not like that, I guess. With love, Pattie Henry