It’s the kind of news that punches you right in the gut.
I walked off the tennis court Monday night, feeling good after my partner and I rallied for a three-set victory in our league.
Got back into my car and saw I had a new voicemail.
“Sandy Iverson died,” was the message.
Immediately, my mood sank. There are some people you meet in this world, who scribble their name on your heart in ink, not in pencil.
Sandy Iverson is one of those people. Sandy, for all of those my age who knew her, was, in the famous words of my friend Melissa Tyrrell “the grown-up up front.”
Her job, officially, at the University of Delaware, was in the accounting department, and specifically she was in charge of making sure the students running the student newspaper didn’t run up thousands of dollars of bills on the school dime.
I met Sandy in 1993, when I was a callow and timid freshman wandering up to the offices of The Review for the first time. Over the course of the next three years, Sandy was many things to me: A friend. A confidant. A mom (“Michael, aren’t you supposed to be in class right now?” Me: “Yes, but I’ve got to finish my story on the football game.”)
Truly, she the was adult those of us working 80 hours a week on the newspaper saw most during our college years. She was our mother Hen, and we loved her for it.
Sandy had an amazing smile, and she had patience like few others.
Looking back, I can only imagine what we all must’ve looked like to her: Thirty-five 19 and 20-year-olds, being loud, rude, and slovenly at all hours of the day and night, with the only “grown-up” being Sandy.
But if she was ever bothered by any of our madness, she never showed it. Sandy, with her wonderful disposition and heart as big as Australia, always had time for us.
When I was running for editor-in-chief my junior year, she was the first person I went to for advice. We spent a few hours going over every single part of how the newspaper ran; I craved all the inside knowledge of this place I had come to know and love, and she graciously helped me all she could.
I stayed in touch with Sandy for several years after college, but then we both let our friendship lapse. I went back to UD last fall for the first time in over a decade, and hoped to see her if possible. But I didn’t, only leaving her a note on her desk at The Review, where she still worked.
I learned tonight that Sandy has been sick the last few months, dying of colon cancer. Her daughter Heather was kind enough to fill us in on the details over Facebook. (of all its wonderful uses, I think Facebook is most valuable as a place for us to communally grieve over a lost loved one).
Sandy Iverson was a wonderful woman who I was privileged to know. As I sit here typing this, I’m smiling thinking of all the wonderful memories she gave to hundreds of Review-ites over the years, and how we all believe that tonight, the world is a slightly poorer place since she passed away Sunday night.
R.I.P., Sandy. You touched so many lives, and we are all so, so grateful.
**And now, for something completely different. Jimmy Kimmel did a hilarious sketch spoofing “The King’s Speech,” the other night. Starring, of course, Mike Tyson and George W. Bush. This is freaking brilliant: