SALLY - MEMORIES by Jerome Woehl
Sally Veregge and I first met in about 1963. She was a pretty, tomboyish young lady. Sally was fresh out high school intending to attend UC Davis; she was bright and a good student. She was understanding, calm and caring. We spent time playing tennis, hiking and bicycling. We discussed life, people and God, along with our plans, hopes and dreams. We dated several years until she decided that I was a distraction from her education and career goals.
About 35 years later, Sally sent me an e-mail. We had lost contact, but here she was, a new member of the same bicycling club as me. For two decades, since joining SJSU, she had lived in MY town and we never crossed paths. In getting together, I found she was still bright, caring and understanding. We spent hours talking about old friends and their progresses. Now, with years of hindsight, it was interesting to see what people had done with their lives and how so much of it was predictable, just from looking at them as youths. She observed how the choices we made then will have so much effect on us later.
Since I am in a relationship with Teri, Sally and I ended up simply being friends. Sally recently semi-retired; some of her plans were to do some long deferred home improvements. Helping her with that was a pleasure. For me, it was much better than going to movies or concerts. Sally joked that in a decade, Teri, Sally and a bunch of other women admirers would end up sitting in a rest home watching me scurry around, fixing their wheelchairs and tending the garden. But there were changes.
Sally got that funny lump on her arm; cancer. But shucks, you cut it out and on you go. Well ... maybe we should do radiation ... Oh, and how about chemo too? Maybe, just maybe ... it's not a trivial thing. An uncle once told me, "When you retire, don't make too many plans. Things seem to change. Maybe something else comes along. Maybe you end up grandchild sitting. Maybe you get sick." Well, Sally had simple retirement plans. One project we started was to redo her front planter area. She wanted a little area as an herb garden. But her arm was already painful when we redid the irrigation. Then I got the dirt prepared. Soon, she no longer had the strength for us to go shopping for plants. After much delay, I decided to buy them myself and plant them. At least she could see them from her bed, where she had to spend more and more time. It would be nice for her to see a reminder of me in growing, living things. We made a list. The project never finished.
A few weeks before Sally passed, I read a news article grandly announcing that science had almost completely proved that God doesn't exist. They went through all the wonderful discoveries in molecular science and continued on through evolution, concluding with explaining the "Big Bang" beginning of it all. It was wonderful, being able to know everything and explain how it all randomly happened. But I read it and found it interesting that to me, it proved even more that there is a God, an intelligent being, who designed all of it.
Obviously, there are many opinions about God. But for me, one of the biggest evidences of the existence of God, was watching Sally live and die. Sally, a scientist, had a strong belief and faith in God. Her life showed calm, purpose and direction. She was concerned about, and actively helped, others. Sally was not selfish; she had simple tastes and cared for our little planet. When she got news of the "C" word, how could she not be devastated by it? However, she showed strength, peace and calm in dealing with all of it's setbacks and misery. She had a deep conviction that someone bigger was in control. She would do her best. No matter what happened, she was ready and accepting of it.