The Stories Project: Mary Wilson’s Story

Mary Wilson was a friend and peer of Rebecca Wight at Virginia Tech. All words below are hers unless specified otherwise.

TW: only brief mentions of death.

I don’t have too many memories with Rebecca. I lost touch with her after I moved to the West Coast in 1981. We went to school together when we were undergrads and then we went different directions. I’d see her around town and campus and we’d stop to chat sometimes. I can still see her now with her long black hair and big round glasses. I think she went by Becky back then. That’s the name I have in my mind when I think about her.

Becky was a good person with a good heart. She didn’t deserve what happened to her. Mostly what I remember is how fun she was to be around. It was hard not to like Becky. She was a little social butterfly. She had a lot of charisma. She was easygoing and open-minded – she’d try anything once! I admire the way she knew how to look at a situation, take a breath and say, “You know, it’s gonna be okay. It isn’t the end of the world.”

You’d never have been afraid of Becky. There’s no way anyone would’ve felt nervous to talk to Becky. She was so chatty and friendly. She wasn’t “Rebecca Wight” then, you know. Wait, that sounds silly. Of course she was always Rebecca Wight. What I’m trying to say is she wasn’t Rebecca Wight the icon, the symbol. She was a person like you and me. She was just Becky, just Rebecca. If you wanted to talk to her you could. She’d talk to you. She wasn’t unapproachable.

Okay, this is a silly memory. I have no idea why I thought of it. It has nothing to do with who Becky was as a person. For some reason I remember she thought oatmeal was disgusting. She didn’t like it and she wouldn’t eat it. I have no idea why I remember that! Maybe it’s because she was so open-minded. There weren’t many things she openly couldn’t stand. That was one of them I guess. It’s funny what you remember over the years.

I had no idea Becky died for a long time. I would’ve never guessed she died in such an awful way. I wish I’d stayed in touch with her, but I’ll always keep the memories I have with her close to my heart.

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