Feb. 18, 2017


“Let me die with my eyebrows on!”

“Between Your Status and Your Quo”

Fay Angus (1975)

As it has been a year now since Fay Angus left us to take up residence in heaven, I thought I would put this particular piece up again in her honor and for her children, Katrelya, and Ian and his family. Fay's memorial celebration was on an absolutely exquisite day and friends and neighbors gathered in Memorial Park. Katrelya danced, stories were told, hearts were shared, and there was much laughter. And there was tea. And cookies and Fay would have loved it.

I’m not sure she did (have her eyebrows on) as it was late at night when she was stricken. Now that she’s in heaven with her beloved Lord, my dear friend and fellow author, Fay Angus, doesn’t have to worry about that anymore.

Sometimes an amazing person enters your life and you don’t realize it then but it becomes crystal clear later. That was Fay Angus. John and I were married on April 1, 1967. His three little children, Leah, Patti and John, came to live with us after school ended in June and we moved into the house up the long driveway behind Fay’s house in July. I was 25 years old and had no clue about what to do with children or how to be married. Fay invited me into her red kitchen almost immediately and gave me the first of several hundred cups of tea that I drank with her over our lifetime of friendship.

When I say, “tea,” that does not mean a teabag in an ugly mug of hot water. No, indeed! Fay made “tea” the way it’s supposed to be made, with a warmed pot, water in a kettle brought to a boil, but not poured boiling on the tea leaves, and the whole thing covered with a tea cozy and time to steep. While the tea was steeping, I could quit crying, could pull myself together, could realize whatever was the matter was not the end of the world, and by the time Fay poured tea into a beautiful cup with a saucer and put a few cookies on the table, my heart had quit pounding.

Fay made tea for so many people, always just like that. She would say, “let’s have a cup of tea, dear,” and she would sit down with me or whoever had appeared at her door, and listen as though she had nothing else in the world to do.

When our dog, Trinka, had puppies, Fay took one and named him Zippy. When Crissy was born, Fay was at my side within minutes to pray with us and dedicate this new little girl to the Lord. Thanks to Fay, I learned about Dr. Ettinghausen, who specialized in home births, which is how Crissy arrived on the planet.

Fay was an amazing woman, born in Brisbane, Australia to parents who were both born in China. She grew up in Shanghai, lost her older brother, Maurice, to appendicitis when she was nine and she and her mother were interred in a Japanese concentration camp in Yangchow for two and a half long difficult years during WWII.

As I look at her books, each autographed to me...

Deanne...Hope this tickles your sense of humor – thank God you know how to laugh! Blessings and love, Fay. (Between Your Status and Your Quo - 1975)

Deanne...An encouragement and dazzle in my life. Rejoicing in your friendship. Love, Fay.

(How To Do Everything Right and Live To Regret It – 1983)

Deanne...Super special in my life...Love ya, Fay.

(The Catalyst - 1979)

Beloved Friend – Deanne – Blessings and much love, Fay.

(The White Pagoda – 1978)

Deanne...Who rejoices my heart and...always...delights my life – forever friend...

Fay Angus (Mortal coils and Other Splendid Stuff – 1995)

There may be others I missed, I know she had been working for some time on a book about her father, Ernest William Woodward, who was quite a dashing figure during WWII, but I don’t know if it was ever finished.

Fay worked tirelessly in Sierra Madre’s Canyon area in the 60’s and 70’s finding and rescuing teens who were in drug or alcohol trouble, runaways, kids who needed help and we had a thrift shop organized by Fay here in town for many years to raise money to support her refuge house.

She was a terrific and much sought-after speaker and did countless retreats and engagements all over the world, but there was always time for tea and a talk. She helped me grow up, she explained children to me, she gave me the best recipe ever for chicken and rice which I have made 10,000 times. She encouraged me in my writing and was proud of every word I ever wrote. She was funny! She was a force in our community, she campaigned tirelessly against hard core pornography. She was Jesus to so many and now they are together.

Occasionally, we would meet in front of the broccoli at Albertson’s and find a half hour had ticked off as we laughed and caught up. I miss that, Fay, and I miss you terribly. We walk past your house most days, John and I, and I find myself looking up at your front door, hoping you will come out to retrieve your newspaper and we can have just one more hug. What a gift you were to so many, including me.