I’m taking a day off from Rock the Vote to pay tribute to a special friend, Mary T, whom you may know of as Brainysmrfs here, and other places on the internet. I am sad to report that she passed away yesterday, after a battle with cancer and many other medical issues. I don’t want to go into her entire medical history, but I do want to say that she’s an amazing person, she has survived much, and I’m proud to have known her!
Mary was one of my first Bones friends ever. We met at the original Fox fan website, now affectionately called The OBY or “Old Boneyard”. That site is buried deep, and there aren’t records of old conversations (that I know of), but after searching through an old email address, I found emails dating back to the late spring of 2008. I joined the OBY in March of 08, so my math tells me that I only had about two fandom months of not knowing her. That is a fact that is both comforting and hard to process when I think of the future.
Mary, and then two other women, Steph and Lauren, and I became close friends very quickly. We had Bones to connect us at first, but soon realized we had a lot more in common. I am reminded of the (I think) Jerry Seinfeld joke about how kids become best friends so easily. “YOU like Kool-aid?! I like Kool-aid! You ALSO love summer vacation? I TOTALLY love summer vacation! LET’S BE BEST FRIENDS!” We loved Target, Arrested Development, the muses on Angel (oooooh, Angel!), all agreed that Weezer’s Blue Album was by far and would always be their best, writing stories, etc. I’ve talked before about how I was miserable teaching, etc., and again, without telling too much of anyone else’s story…it was a great match for all four of us. We needed each other, and we found each other. There are many, many other wonderful people from that time as well.
The four of us then became “The Collective”, a club we formed and named ourselves, haha. I like to think we were a kind, generous clique, but it’s possible we weren’t. I don’t remember. We would stay up chatting way too late, thinking about stories or trying to figure out future episodes. I spent the summer of 2008 in California. Lauren is in Utah, Steph in Atlanta, and since Mary could never sleep (she had narcolepsy, which kept her awake for long periods of time as well), we had great times. Someone (not me) tagged our talks as Vampire Standard Time, or VST. It was an amazing summer of fics and pics and fun. Afterward, we stayed in touch, though it was tougher as each of us sort of had life intruding on us. Over the past five years, we’ve laughed, cried and cheered one another on through relationships, new jobs, marriage, divorce, new marriage, new babies, stories, and a thousand little moments in between. I’m grateful the four of us did one last chat a few weeks back. Whenever one of us would lose touch, another would send an email or text basically saying “So, are you dead or something, or what?” Which may not seem funny now, but the truth is that Mary had the darkest sense of humor of all of us. She made me laugh all of the time; she was both sweet and hilariously morbid and above all, fiercely loyal.
Eventually, I started the 100 Days of Bones, and then BT here, and while you all may not have seen her fingerprints on these sites as much as others (for example, Bonesology, of which she is a founder), I feel them. She was often my number one go-to person when I had a new idea, whether it was for a post or blog idea or just to talk about an episode. I feel her thoughts and her sarcastic sense of humor in so many of my Bones memories. It’s all very intertwined, and in this moment, bittersweet.
She and I did not always agree; that’s for sure. I am no angst-bunny, a label she wore with pride (over her black heart, she’d say), haha, and sometimes we’d fiercely disagree about a Bones episode. At one point, she said “Maybe we shouldn’t talk about Bones for a while”…and she was right. I so appreciate her saying that, because it made me realize that she valued me more than the show (and I her). That idea of valuing people more than opinions is absolutely a tenet of this site. Thank you, Mary, for that legacy.
Honestly, over the past few years, we rarely talked Bones, but we had things that were between us, or at least they felt like they were (haha, don’t tell me if not!), like when we declared in Season Four that Booth was made of “savage goodness”, our love of tall boot pins on Pinterest, and Warren Zevon’s Keep Me In Your Heart For a While, which she played at her dad’s funeral. I know many of you also have special things with her. She had that way about her…of making you feel like you were her favorite. She is also the first Bones person I was friends with on Facebook. I was the person who would never have revealed my real name to anyone online, but she just brushed that nonsense away, haha. Then she had my phone number, and she was the first Bones friend I ever sent texts with. And then she called me on the phone, and she was the first Bones person I ever talked to on the phone. She just had a way of punching through the BS and yanking out the true truth of things. It was intimidating at first, but now I’m grateful she did that.
She loved Sweets, and (at the very least the idea of) Hannah (which we did not agree on—- but it caused her to write one piece here for BT, called “It’s All Good”, and you can read that here. ). Like I said, she loved angst. Oh, the angst!, especially angsty Booth. She loved Ernest Hemingway, Bruce Springsteen, her dogs (especially Frank, named after her dad–a dog that basically found HER and wouldn’t let go…an amazing story), Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson (and Rob Lowe as Chris Traeger, but then again, we all do. We all do, Rob!), smoking cigarettes, Shamrock shakes, Zooey Deschanel— waaaaaaaay before she was popular and on tv, Eddie Vedder, Neil Finn (so imagine her love when Eddie and Neil put out a live album together!), Portland, Wonder Woman,…she so, so, so loved Jon Hamm, and a ton of other things, including me, and so many of you, and especially her beloved husband and daughter. I could list 100 more things it feels like, and the more I think about it, the more the memories keep flooding in.
I know I’ll cry the first time I see Sweets again on a new episode, every year on her daughter’s birthday (March 19th, which happens to also be my sister’s birthday), and every time I hear Thunder Road for the rest of my life. But I won’t remove it from my iPod, because I want to remember. Yes, I am sad. I’m sad and crushed a just a little bit lonelier, but underneath all of that, swelling up higher than ever before is a tremendous amount of gratitude for having had the experience of knowing her.
Thank you, Mary. It’s been a privilege!