Wednesday, September 5, 2012


Remembering Dynamic Debbie

Of late, I find myself thinking often of my friend, Debbie. Director of Nursing Services and part-time nurse educator, Debbie’s imagination and spirit reached far beyond her job.

Several years ago, I had the privilege of helping Debbie with her annual children’s theater workshop. Before the first lesson started, she had the children describe themselves with a positive adjective beginning with the first letter of their first name. She illustrated by giving herself the nickname Dynamic Debbie. Soon the children went from negative comments to positive support for one another through the use of the monikers. Magic.

As I think back on our friendship, each memory is characterized by Debbie’s enthusiasm. Whatever she embraced, she embraced with full heart.

My earliest remembrance of her was as a properties manager in the musical Nunsense. We discovered we had both worked at Office for the Aging at different times. We were united, not only in our love of theater, but our commitment to the elderly and to the community.

Dynamic Debbie loved to help me with my writing. This too, she did with enthusiasm. I would read my drafts, and Debbie would become entrenched in the story.  Where many became bored, Dynamic Debbie became my most treasured critique partner. I remember a trip we took to Brattleboro, Vermont to research for a book I was writing. We left the house at six in the morning and didn’t return until late at night. But Dynamic Debbie engulfed the experience, taking pictures, helping me find brochures and landmarks. We stopped to examine the nineteenth century architecture, and even visited the Brattleboro High School to see if they had a football team. We even made a stop at Stowe and toured the famous Top Notch Ski Resort to investigate ways my love birds might have met at this romantic spot.  

Debbie had the gift of taking the mundane and making it special. In one of her directorial assignments, a comedy murder dinner theater. Not content with the ho-hum character of a country-western singer, Debbie deleted the character and inserted her own, an opera singer with a multiple personality disorder, making appearances as Madame Butterfly, Carmen, and Braunhilda.

No matter what adversity came her way, Dynamic Debbie found the courage to laugh.  When told of her ovarian cancer, she refused to let the disease rob her of her love of life, continuing to produce and direct plays throughout her long ordeal. The theater group was in planned production for a dinner theater she wrote entitled Scorching Saddles, a western spoof that made fun of every famous western movie and television show right down to the curtain call song, Rawhide.

But Debbie didn’t live to see the opening show. When she went into the hospital for the last time, she passed the baton to another director. With every laugh line uttered, we felt her presence with us.

Finally, I will remember Dynamic Debbie as she would want us to. I believe this poem, taken from the Little House on the Prairie Episode, Remember Me and written by Michael Landon, is Dynamic Debbie’s theme song:   

Remember me with smiles and laughter,
For that's the way I'll remember you all.
If you can only remember me with tears,
Then don't remember me at all.

I will always remember you with laughter, my dear dynamic friend.

Written by
Linda Rondeau

Linda Rondeau is the author of the critically acclaimed The Other Side of Darkness, winner of the 2012 Selah Award for best new novel. She is especially excited about her newest project, America II trilogy, book I The Reformation currently available in ebook  for both Kindle and Nook. Print edition will be released early this month. 

Linda's first Adirondack Romance, It Really Is a Wonderful Life will be released this October by Lighthouse of the Carolinas. For more information visit her website  or her blog This Daily Grind


Carla Olson Gade said...

What a touching tribute to your friend. She sounds like such a dynamic woman and you were so blessed to share friendship together.

Linda Rondeau said...

Thanks Carla...

yes...Debbie was indeed a very special person.

Linda Robinson said...

What a beautiful tribute to a special friend of yours!

Linda Rondeau said...

Thanks Linda...Debbie was an important person in my life.

Normandie Ward Fischer said...

How lovely to be remembered that way, Linda.

Linda Rondeau said...


She was loved by the entire town.

Caroline said...

What a lovely tribute to a wonderful friend. Beautiful memories.

Linda Rondeau said...

Thanks so much Caroline