“Here’s a song to those who are gone with never a reason why.” — Phil Ochs
January 2012 was a really rough month.
Aalandria Holly Edmonds was a new friend to me — though I’d been involved in her life almost since her birth. How? Because she was named after a character in The Twilight Empire: Robinson’s War — a name I made up for the series. I only found out about her last year (2011), from her dad, who wanted to show her my story for her 18th birthday. I was so honored that I figured out how to bring the book back into print, just for her. Later in the year, she and I started corresponding together on Facebook. She was a good kid who had had a few rough patches in her life. I became very fond of her very quickly. I was looking forward to being her friend for many years to come. In January, though, she was gunned down by persons unknown. I hope the police will catch her killer(s). I’ve missed her every day since, and I’ve written a story in her honor that I will publish soon. Prayers and good thoughts for her family are appreciated, and for those of you of a mind to do more, donations can be sent to:
Aalandria Edmonds Memorial Fund c/o
Tempe Monthly Meeting
318 East 15th Street
Tempe, Arizona 85281
Jean Wells was an old friend of mine, one of the first friends I made when coming to work at TSR in 1980. She got me through the only panic attack in my life and was a generous and helpful person. We worked together on the infamous, banned module B3: Palace of the Silver Princess. She went into the hospital for a minor issue a few weeks ago and was dead the next morning. No one is sure why. Gary Con has a nice memorial here. Her family said to make a donation to your favorite charity in her memory. (I donated to Wisconsin Public Radio.) Thoughts and prayers — especially for her husband and family — are appreciated, too. Jean was a very spiritual person.
Damien Bona was a writer and an expert on the Oscars, so expert that he actually helped in the production of at least one of the broadcasts. I only talked to him once or twice, but he worked with my brother Mark for years and was loved by everyone who knew him. I own a signed copy of his book on movie casting blunders, Staring John Wayne as Genghis Khan, which is wonderful. In the middle of January, he had a heart attack at work, and the EMTs and doctors couldn’t save him. He lingered long enough to become an organ donor. Though I barely knew him, he was one of those people you felt good just knowing was in the world. I’m deeply sad that he is no longer with us.
Update: The New York Times just printed this really nice obit of Damien.
Update 2: The LA Times just printed Damien’s obit during Oscar week. (And the NYT finally put him in the print edition.) What I like, though, is the company Damien is keeping in the LAT related stories as I post this: James Arness, Elizabeth Taylor, Peter Falk, & Whitney Houston. Not a bad crew to spend eternity with.
Al Rio was a comic artist, and a great one. I didn’t really know him, but he was a good friend to my dear friend David Campiti, who also represented him. Last week, Al killed himself — which someone once noted is usually a permanent solution to a temporary problem. You can read more here. My deepest condolences go to his family, friends, and especially David.
I hope not to have another month like this January for a good long while. Please, all of you, stay safe and be well.
Stev , I hope its okay for me to call you that, Aalandria Holly Edmonds was my friend from Coronado High School. She was one of the most amazing people I have ever had the oppurtunity to meet. I want to thank you for writing a book in her memory as well as writing this post. Please feel free to contact me if you want, I will let my school know about the book you are writing. If you are ever doing a book signing don’t hesitate to let me know, I’d gladly buy your book.
Steve I have to say this again, thank you for writing this post for Aalandria. She touched so many hearts at Coronado High School with her amazing smile and encouraging blue eyes. I met her one early morning at school when i was sleeping on one of the school benches. She came up to me and said without any hesitation “you look like a homeless person.” She and I laughed until we had tears in our eyes, and from that point on we were good friends. I will never forget her and your book will help others to never let her memory go as well. Thank you for all that you are doing to honor her memory.
Richard, thanks so much for commenting. Aalandria affected me deeply, and I only wish I’d been able to get to know her better. Her death came as a complete shock. I assume you’ve seen the story I posted, but if not, you should check it out. I’m not sure whether it will be for sale in the future, but for now it’s free.
The book where I created her name, Aalandria, is The Twilight Empire: Robinson’s War, and it’s available on Amazon. It’s a graphic novel that I wrote (and drew some of) just before she was born. Her dad liked it and did me the great honor of naming her after one of the characters.
Please keep in touch.
Steve, thank you for replying to my comments. I will look for The Twilight Empire: Robinson’s War, I have also read the story you wrote for Aalandria. I really liked it and will pass along the message that it is free and able to be read online here at this website. I thank you again for all that you have done and will keep in touch with you on face book if you’d like.
I love your post and richard is my best friend as well but aliandra was one of the closes friends I could ever have at coronad high school
I first meet her my seinor year at the music man auditions where she helped me prepare to audition for the role mrs parooand ever since then we became best friends ever since on the first night of the music man preformance I was verry nervouse and she came up to me and told me ” don’t worry about the people out there, just worry about what your doing and what you are doing alone and you will be fine”.
Ad ever since then I have always took that to my heart and she was like the friend I never got to have we would talk about lots of thing she even tried to fix me up with one of the boys at music man it was so funny I loved her and her personality. She is the person who enspired me to join coronado varsity chior I love being in chior.
I was the last in my chior class to find out about her death, I was in tears of the shocking news I heard, why would someone do this to her. Me and richard went to her memorial we heard lots of nice stories about her and we saw a picture of aliandra and she had a big smile on her face and me and richard thought that’s her normal face.
As her good friend I appreciate you writting a story for her in her memory me and ricard really loved her as our friend and as richard said I will let as many people as I know about this story thank you.
Hi Steve, I am Aalandrias aunt from Mn. we just cane home from attending her memorial and found out about your great tribute to her. we wil all miss her terribly. she had a troubled time for a while but we all thought things had gotten better, as we found out, she has touched the lives of people from all walks of life. she was quite a girl. i would very much appreciate a copy of your story. what a tribute to a young persons life. thank you for being her friend. Either send it in hte mail or e-mail it to me so i can copy it.
thanks again for the beautiful tribute. It means the world to James
Streve, I just wanted to say I appreciate you and all that you have done in memory of Holly(Aalandria). I had the great pleasure to be her friend. She helped me alot with either my homework or whatever it was. Nothing seemed to be too difficult for her.Again I really appreciate you doing what you’r doing so that she will ALWAYS remain in our memory. Thanks alot bro and feel free to contact me if you have any questions.
Sarah – Thank you for your kind words. I’m so sorry for the loss that you and your friends and all of Allandria’s friends and family have suffered. I wish I could have been at the service with you, but I was there in spirit. Thank you for helping keep her memory alive.
Hi Janie – The terrible irony in her death is that she’d gotten through a rough patch, and her life really seemed on the upswing when she was suddenly and senselessly killed. I did not chat with her every day, but I’ve missed her every day since. I’ll be in touch about the story, which you can find here:
“The Candle Goes Dark, But the Light Remains”
Brandon – Thanks for your kind words. I hope that people like you will help keep her name and memory alive, though we will all miss her forever.
Richard (and for others who asked) —
The story for Aalandria is still on my site for free. Click this link to go to it.
You can find the book her name came from on Amazon by clicking this link: The Twilight Empire: Robinson’s War.
Thanks for helping keep her memory alive.