Yet Another Journal

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» Monday, February 25, 2008
Memories of Dana
I can't do better than what I wrote in 2004, a year after her death (with a minor update and correction):
One of the delights of Remember WENN were the fans that emerged as a family via e-mail and newsgroup. Some of them were still high-school students, others were professionals, one or two were even in the military. The show crossed all ages and all fandoms.

One of the people I "met," initially on the Internet, was a woman named Dana Sherman. Dana was about 10 years my junior, a librarian going for her Master's degree, married to a "swell" guy named Alan. She was crazy about the 1940s, swing music, and old radio shows, even though she hadn't heard many of the latter. So naturally she loved the entire concept of WENN, from the period setting to the literate scripts. Dana also loved reading about the British Royal Family and participated heavily in the Royalty newsgroup.

Anyone who was in the group at that time remembered Dana's joy at becoming pregnant for the first time. She loved children and wanted a nice little family all her own. I was able to meet her in person, along with her new baby, during a layover she had at the Atlanta airport. She later accompanied her husband on a business trip to Atlanta and accompanied us to a friends' wedding. In 2001 we visited her and her husband and daughter in New York.

During the first two meetings I was struck by how thin she was, but didn't think it was polite to ask nosy questions. Our friends even expressed concern about her at the wedding. I found out only after she was pregnant with her second child that she had a congenital heart defect. But she had come through her daughter's birth okay; there wasn't any reason for any of us to believe she would have a problem with a second birth.

The Saturday before her son was born, Dana signed off from our weekly chat session early, complaining that she wasn't feeling very well. On the Tuesday following we found out she had been rushed to the hospital with an infection in her aorta that would eventually mean an aortic transplant. On Wednesday the decision was made to take the baby by Caesarian section to take the strain off Dana's heart.

The gamble didn't work. Dana passed away five years ago today. Today Alan is standing strong, but he still misses her always. Their little daughter is in third grade and, like her peers, loves Hannah Montana. Their son is happy and healthy, but will never know the mother who adored him. His dad says "His [nursery school] teachers call him smiley because he always has a big smile on his face."

I still see things she would have liked that remind me of her. I just finished reading Daily Life in America, 1920-1940 and think of how much she would have enjoyed it.

The day after she died, I woke up the following morning with a Big Band tune running through my head, I thought it was merely because of the Big Band disc I had listened to earlier in the week, then I realized the version of "We'll Meet Again" on my CD was sung by the Ink Spots. The voice I could hear clearly in my head was sung by a woman. Vera Lynn perhaps? Or Jo Stafford?

No matter. I'd like to think it was Dana trying to tell me something.

We'll meet again, don't know where, don't know when,
But I know we'll meet again, some sunny day.
Keep smiling through, just like you always do,
'Til the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away.

So will you please say hello to the folks that I know,
Tell them I won't be long.
They'll be happy to know that as you saw me go,
I was singing this song…
We miss you, Dana. Can't tell you what it would be like some night to log on chat and see you there and realize it had all been a bad dream.