June 30, 2002
The first time I ever saw Danielle Drumke was a good year and a half before I actually met her. I was 16 years old, and
living in Washington D.C., as a congressional page. Danielle, as many of you know, was also a page, but she served a year
ahead of me. One day I was in the Democratic cloak room, and the House was out of session, and a few of us were
thumbing through the old page year books from years past. I opened one from the year prior, and looking though it--past
pictures of proud young Americans in their conservative blue blazers, gray pants, and navy ties--one picture especially
caught my eye. Here I saw young women, dark hair, holding a guitar, playing and singing at the top of her lungs. I could
only describe the young woman as "bodacious." There was no caption on the picture, so I didn't know who it was, but I
remember asking myself, "Who is THIS?" Among all those other sixteen-year-old kids, she was someone doing her own thing.
I finally met Danielle for the first time, during my first year at Smith, in a lecture hall with about 150 students, Gov
100. After seeing a live microphone before the professor had arrived, she got up and starting singing "I Will Survive."
I think half the students were loving it, and the other half were stunned. When the professor did eventually arrive, he
practically had to rip the microphone from her hands. I introduced myself to her after class, saying I had been a page,
and her reaction was one I had not expected. All the pages she had known, she said, had been a bunch of uptight
Republicans. I was devastated, because I had loved paging, and thought everyone else had too. So I walked away thinking,
well obviously, we have nothing in common. A month later, she moved into the room across the hall from me in Lamont
House. The rest is history.
I can't imagine what I can say about Danielle that hasn't been said many times over. You only need to look at her website--an amazing testament to how many knew her and loved her. The Danielle I loved was a woman strong in her spirit and her beliefs. She held her head high, no matter what. She had much courage and physical strength--afraid of needles, yet she endured nearly two grueling years of treatment for cancer. Danielle was a vibrant force in any room. She made people laugh. She entertained them. People loved to be with her. She could make a friend anywhere. She loved music, she loved art, and she loved the people who were out there making it.
And I am fortunate enough to say that she loved me too. By her death, I am deprived of her physical presence. I can
never again call her just to say hello, or fly out to be with her. But I am not deprived of her amazing spirit. She will live
in me forever. And I know we will meet again.
I love you, Woobie.
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