Featured Story

Column: Remembering Faye

I knew her a little bit in Los Angeles when I was in low middle management in Metro at the L.A. Times. She had been hired away from The Breeze, a daily based in one of the South Bay communities. (It always struck me that “breeze” was probably the best name ever for a coastal newspaper.) She came known as a clever and astute feature writer and a good colleague.

Then I (and wife Jane) were transferred to the L.A. Times Washington Bureau in a maneuver that was 90% about Jane. The bureau back then was all old white men and one woman. That woman left to marry a rich guy, and the powers that were had their eyes on Jane, who had ingratiated herself on a multi-team war desk during the first Gulf War. (I went from executive Metro editor to Capitol Hill correspondent.)

The Breeze reporter, for reasons I can’t remember, was coming to the Washington Bureau to work, as was I, on one of the zoned editions. Back then, when the Times was flourishing, it had several editions keyed to various California regions. (I fed the San Diego edition.) The Breeze reporter would feed another but I can’t remember which.

Her name was Faye and she became one of my dearest friends.

I hit the Bureau a year or so before Faye arrived so I had managed to orient myself to the somewhat mystifying world of Capitol Hill, although it took me a while. I was committed to showing Faye the ropes and shortening her learning curve.

So one day I took her to the Capitol South Metro stop and gave her a guided tour of the House office buildings (where Members of Congress hang out), the House and Senate chambers, the House and Senate press galleries and any other nook and cranny that might be useful to know.

Capitol Hill is largely a subterranean labyrinth of hallways and meeting rooms that, after my six years there, I barely knew half. (But it took me a year or so to learn what I had exposed Faye to in one afternoon.)

She quickly became well liked in the bureau for her charm and slick writing. We would hang out a good bit, and there were nano seconds that we considered falling in love. But we shrewdly stuck with being best friends.

Back then the Washington, D.C. year was marked by a sequence of large parties (the Congressional Dinner, the White House Correspondent’s Dinner and the Gridiron Dinner, among them).

Faye and I thought it would be fun to go the Congressional Dinner as a couple. (Her husband was still in California.) We arranged a meeting spot. I got there first and then I spied her, pretty in a little black dress with one important accessory: long white, over the elbow gloves. We looked like we had just come from the Golden Globes. We had a blast, 85% because of the gloves.

I stayed at the Bureau for another four years and then made a segue into the charitable foundation world (as a writer/editor, not donor). I mostly lost touch with Faye, except for occasional emails, one of which contained a block buster: Faye was forsaking journalism to become a marriage and family therapist.

This entailed taking out home loan and going back to school. As dramatic as this change was, to me it made great sense. Most of my friends and I thought her personality, sympathies and overall goodness would make her an excellent therapist, and she established a thriving business. As one friend said, she’s been doing this without a license for years.

Then another bombshell: A diagnosis of esophageal cancer. She seemed to have it at bay and then it came back.

Faye died a couple of weeks ago. She was 67.

I’m old enough that friends and acquaintances are starting to pass on. But losing Faye seemed particularly unthinkable and tragic.

So rest in peace, my lovely long white-gloved lady. All of us deeply miss you.