Sunday, December 8, 2013

Helaine Henning 1965-2005

 Today is the anniversary of the passing of my good friend Helaine. It seems odd to me to think about her as being gone. She was never very good at writing letters or keeping in touch, so it's almost as if she's still out there, just never taking the time to pick up the phone or put pen to paper. Typical Helaine. I know it's ridiculous, but every time I hear a Steeley Dan song I think of her. Or when I hear most Prince songs. Or when I see cheesy horror movies like Poltergeist or The Thing. Or dozens of other things.

I would have thought that as I get older and more people I know or respected or loved shuffle off this mortal coil, that dealing with death would become easier. Yet somehow, it doesn't. Is that good, or bad? I'm reminded of that famous line from The Wizard of OZ: "Now I know I have a heart, because it's breaking."

Here's to you, Helaine. Hope you have the high Space Invaders score in Heaven.

RIP Helaine Henning 
Three of the women I love most in the world, circa 1995

Soon after Helaine died I happened across this song by one of my favorite singers, John Mellencamp. It's a remake of a 1963 song recorded by Skeeter Davis. I had read that it was written from someone who had lost someone, and used that pain to write a love song. (Sylvia Dee, who had lost her father, wrote it with Arthur Kent). Listening to it, it *sounds* like a mournful song, and not just a "s/he broke up with me" song. Now, I can't hear it without missing Helaine. I deleted it off my itunes library because I just can't stand to hear it if I'm not ready for it. It's beautiful, and oh, so sad....

1 comment:

  1. Just tonight I was telling someone that I think of Helaine whenever I hear Steely Dan. She was my dearest friend when we were in college together at UMSL. We shared a couple of apartments. I loved her so much. We lost touch when I left St. Louis for good. I had always hoped to reconnect with her. I am so sad I never got the chance. I will always miss her. Thanks for posting this tribute. She was such a beautiful soul.