Twenty-five years ago today, I lost one of my closest friends to cancer. I penned a note five years ago on Facebook; today I share it on my blog. There’s so much more I could say about Patsy—her life, our friendship—but some of the essentials are here. I’ve revised it only a tiny bit.
On February 27, 1998, Patsy Fox left the world. More than a year earlier, after a complex surgery, she’d been diagnosed with a rare cancer. One round of chemo put the cancer into remission, but then it returned and took her in a rush.
I miss her and think about her often.
I first met Patsy Fox in the spring of 1981 in Buffalo, New York. I’d gone there from Detroit to attend a May Day celebration. A few of us spent the night in her apartment. Patsy offered me a beer, and we sat at the kitchen table and began to talk. Turned out we had some things in common. She’d been at Cornell in 1976 when I had visited there for Third World Week, but we didn’t cross paths then. She’d been involved with a radio collective called Rest of the News. We talked for several hours, and there was something that suggested we’d made a connection. The next morning I looked at some of her LP’s: alongside Chopin’s Nocturnes there was Country Joe MacDonald. I was impressed by the number of books and bookshelves in her living room. In my life today I may have recreated some of that but ours are not as well organized as hers.
I saw her a few more times in the coming decade but it was only in the summer of 1993 that we started to become close. This started over email, a means of communication that had just arrived. She had email as a grad student at the University of Buffalo, mine came through my status as a part-time student at Wayne State University in Detroit.