To Echo McGuire (first letter)

Dear Echo,
Have you gone now?  When I think of you I remember a picture taken in 1954 or 5. I found it in a Buddy Holly biography I bought for a dollar last summer. This book describes you as a First Love — a girl-woman — but you’ve lived an entire life since your teens. Besides, those fabled days back in Lubbock Texas have never really been for anyone else to understand anyway. I try to imagine them though.
Have you ever heard that Don McLean song? I’ve always found it awkward.
I was amazed to learn your folks belonged to the Church of Christ and forbid you to dance!  Did he really give up the Lubbock High School Prom so you wouldn’t have to stand to the side and watch? He didn’t kiss you for over a year? He never brought you to the boogie clubs beyond that dry county line? He never told you about the bootleg liquor, the back-lot fights, the women you’d never see in town?
While you were at that Christian University, Buddy befriended Little Richard and the stripper he traveled with at the time, Lee Angel. There are too many conflicting reports to ever figure out what exactly went on between the three of them (and others), but most suggest Richard liked to watch while masturbating.
Do you ever think about this stuff? I sometimes wonder how you could.
Apparently Buddy tried to bring him over to his parents’ place for dinner but they wouldn’t let him inside. They settled on a barbecue in the backyard.
Did you continue to wear the leather belt he made for you with your name printed on it? In that book you sent him called “Must The Young Die Too?” there’s an inscription you probably still remember:
“Dearest Buddy, I hope you will receive as much inspiration from this book as I have. I also hope it will help you to see things more clearly after carefully reading it and comparing it with your Bible. Love always, Echo.”
Larry says that every once in a while Buddy would just walk out to the car and drive away. Sometimes he’d go as far as Houston and back. I imagine he was thinking of you — wondering what to do. Or maybe he just liked to drive. The alone time. The space. The illusion of choice.
What was it like to finally leave him behind with such a strange and unprecedented media phenomena encasing him like a mausoleum? To watch him marry another?  Your husband has said you were still in love with Buddy for a couple of years after he married you.
It must’ve been even harder to accept the plane crash.
Suddenly anything that could be remotely real about Buddy, anything that was perhaps authentic, true, unmediated, might only be alive — might only exist — in your memory — because of your memory.
What a responsibility! I’m guessing of course. I wonder.
jeremy