The first time I saw Deborah Walley was before she was Foxglove. I remember seeing "Summer Magic" as a kid, where she played the snooty cousin to Hayley Mills, and truth be told I didn't like her that first time--little did I realize it was simply because she'd played her character so well!
When I started watching Rescue Rangers, I enjoyed every new episode that came along, and when I saw Foxy giving Dale so much trouble, it just tickled me to no end. Deborah always brought something real to her characters, which also showed with Lahwhinie. As much as Foxy was bubbly and playful, Lahwhinie was conniving and manipulative--what a breadth of character for one person to play convincingly!
Then I remembered about Summer Magic and watched it again. I had to smile when I saw her, because she was wearing Foxglove's colors! Deborah had that same cuteness (and conniving) that I'd seen in both her RR characters. And then she actually came to the board!
It's things like that which makes it worth getting up every day, because you never know when a pleasant surprise is coming. It came that day, because there was Deborah right there on the Acorn Cafe, saying hello! I was one of the first to get to respond, and I admit my heart was beating fast with the excitement. And she actually responded! It was one of the greater thrills of my life.
I felt that Deborah was like all of us--she understood the regular Joe and enjoyed talking with us. I'm sure if things had worked out different, she'd still be in contact with us. But it was not to be, and her passing hurt deeply as I know it did many of us. I e-mailed Deborah via Marty several times, sharing thoughts and insights and trying to encourage her. She replied through him and said she appreciated what I was doing, and even though I never met her I felt I'd lost a good friend when she passed on.
I remember at the time of her passing that there was a concern that the Foxy fandom might decrease when Deborah left us, but I for one was determined that wouldn't happen. I'd already dedicated some of my writing time to developing her character, and then it spread to Lahwhinie as well--I felt that both of them deserved a chance at happiness, so I gave it to them, with Chris Silva's help.
I still have some Foxy projects to do, and I intend to write more stories of the Fairmont ancestry that her Uncle Bedivere and I discovered. And who knows? Maybe there are more family members out there that the genealogical search didn't turn up. And of course, good 'ol Uncle Bedivere's one of my favorite original characters--he has all the life and fun-loving attitude that Foxy's uncle should have. I wouldn't be surprised to see another short story or two with him sometime.
I don't think there's an end to this, because Deborah's still around. Maybe she can't thank us in person, but I'm convinced she's pleased at what we've done. My hope is that we can show every new Rangerphile what a special person gave her time to three characters and several fans and made our days a little brighter.