i’ll follow the sun



with Lynn, April 2003

One of my best friends from high school, Lynn Barco, died this morning from kidney failure – and I’m finding it hard to believe that someone so constantly engaged with the world is no longer in it. Lynn was my first actual friend in high school – my violin stand-partner Karyn knew we were both huge Beatle fans, so she stuck us in a small room to talk about it. Lynn and I both found the situation ridiculous, but we did become fast friends, along with Karyn, Hamp, Steve, Dan, Marcie and a conglomeration of like-minded souls trying to get through the early ’80s with our dignity intact.

I spent thousands of man-hours with Lynn in the school darkroom, developing pictures to be inserted in the yearbook, carefully making sure that we, ourselves, were never represented. Even at 14, we found that kind of thing ostentatious and creepy. The darkroom had a cassette player, and it was there she introduced me to the indie weirdos of the day: Elvis Costello, Joe Jackson, Aztec Camera, Let’s Active.

Lynn always had a plan, was always on the way to a show, or an event, and you were free to join her if you wanted. She got excited about things, and while she shared our own teenage, grumpy, casual disregard for most of what Norfolk and Virginia Beach had to offer, she was willing to go on any adventure – musical, philosophical, literary – you had humming.

I remember staying late at her house with our friends, watching a VHS tape of Urgh! A Music War, drinking soda (not allowed at my house), listening to her sister’s old Styx albums. I remember sitting on the porch in the summer of 1983, discussing whether or not “Every Breath You Take” was one of the Police’s great songs (our take: no.) I remember going water skiing with her dad, and her teaching me that if you rub powdered meat tenderizer on your skin, the mounds of jellyfish in Chesapeake Bay would never sting you.

She was lovely, and unsentimental. She wouldn’t have gone for any refrigerator magnet profundity, so I’ll leave it with one of our favorite songs.

Rocky Raccoon he fell back in his room

Only to find Gideon’s bible

Gideon checked out and he left it no doubt

To help with good Rocky’s revival-


Hamp, Kris, Sharon and me, with Lynn in front, graduation day 1985

0 thoughts on “i’ll follow the sun

  1. Killian

    What a beautiful tribute, Ian. And what a loss. Strength and love to you and her family and friends.

  2. Chuck B

    I was shocked to hear about this when my sister told me last night. Between Lynn and Cindy Rono, it has been a tragic 12 months for a certain circle of NA friends. Ian, your tribute is very touching.

  3. Karen Schanck

    What a beautiful tribute to Lynn you’ve written. (And what a great pictures!)Thanks for taking the time to share your memories and thoughts.
    ~Karen Swanner Schanck

  4. Karyn

    I spent the morning listening to a tape that Lynn, Ian, Steve and I made on New Year’s Eve 1982. We had so much fun singing and goofing around. I will really miss her.

  5. Steve Zahm

    Ian, your tribute is beautiful. Lynn was one of those rare people who was friends with everyone at the same time.

  6. Mary Ruffin Hanbury

    Hey–found your blog via NA connections on Facebook. What a great tribute–beautifully written and so heartfelt. Those times are so vivid, even now; makes the present surreal. It is hard to believe she’s gone.

  7. Sarah Pope

    Ian, I knew Lynn from college. Your thoughts and photos brought up the sound of her voice. She had the most beautiful, velvety voice. The last time I saw Lynn, many years ago, was in DC–she delivered a dozen red roses to Rufus Wainwright as he sang on stage at the 9:30 Club. A wonderful memory of her.

  8. Mike Di Leo

    Thank you. I knew Lynn from college and afterwards. She taught me how to make sushi, and we spent many enjoyable times together. I will miss her dearly.

  9. Scott Hudgins

    I had the pleasure of getting to know Lynn very quickly touring with the band Eeyore through the southeast, probably one of the happiest times of my life. Having Lynn and her incredible voice there made all the difference, her laugh, wit and dry sense of humor was always priceless. Thanks to her that was two weeks in a van I’ll never forget. Thanks for writing such a beautiful tribute for such a beautiful person.

  10. Kady

    Hi Ian,
    Thanks so much for posting about Lynn. We were really good friends when I lived in Richmond and sadly lost touch. I’m extremely sad about the news (just found out) and have been searching the web for any news about her. She was so inspiring and taught me how to savor life via music, history, food, and wine. I credit her for inspiring me to follow my passion with music and wine/food. She had fantastic taste in movies and music and I used to love looking through her shelves upon shelves of dvds and picking out one to watch while she taught me something new in the kitchen.
    Thank you so much for sharing your memories of Lynn. She will be so greatly missed.

  11. Anne Soffee

    Hi Ian —
    Thanks for sharing your memories of Lynn. Hamp Tucker sent me a link to your post and I’ve been putting off replying because I have so many Lynn stories and I just have not been able to meld them into a cohesive tribute.
    Like the time during my Grateful Dead phase when Lynn (and Hamp and Danny) had to come rescue me from the Hampton Coliseum, because I’d hitched a ride there from W&M with some frat boys and had fled when I couldn’t stand their company a moment longer. Or during my hair metal years, when Lynn mistook Poison for a girl band (it was 1988 and they were still pretty new) and pronounced them to be admirably feminist for not shaving under their arms. Or the time she decided to make a dress out of little tree car air fresheners when she was on tour with her band, and the combined power of dozens of air fresheners almost made her pass out and she had to pull over and stash the dress in the trunk. Or the way she tried to be on her best behavior in front of her cats, because according to her they thought she was a big bald cat and it was up to her to set the standard for them.
    Lynn and I lost contact a few years ago. Just last week I saw something online that I knew would only be funny to two people in the world, me and Lynn. I tried to Google her up and send it to her, but I couldn’t find her. I wish I’d picked up a phone.
    Thanks again, Ian.

  12. Susan, Lynn's sister

    I think you’ve done more to help me remember the old Lynn than anyone else could. Lynn hasn’t been a happy person for a long time, and she and I have had a lot of tough times recently. I’ve really been struggling to remember why I loved her so much and reading the memories that you and her friends posted has helped me more than you can imagine.
    I loved, and envied, her way with words, her wit and her ability to remember (and sing beautifully, if ad nausuem) the words to every song she ever heard.
    Her memorial service is tomorrow, and I am much more at peace with my memory of her than I ever would have been if I hadn’t read this blog.
    Thank you

  13. janet

    she has a look of me………………full of the light ……….but bogged down by “the right and the wrong”……………..so screws you up……………..so sad………….we need to try to change that …………when you see a great sky………..no one tells you that…….you just know…….. you see it………so sad

  14. janet

    i do not aim my comments at anyone but my self…….and I am truly sad that someone who I do not know has died…….the loss is truely understood…………….I need to stop getting involved with stuff that is none of my concern……sorry to everyone if i have offended……..I will walk away xx

  15. Terri

    I am sorry for your loss, Ian. I am sure your friend would appreciate this commemoration of her life and your friendship – I do.
    Came here to post a neat quote about Larry Brown and the Carolina way that I just read in a 2001 ESPN magazine article about (interestingly enough) Allen Iverson (a friend who has a major crush on the dude had it in her apartment – in a plastic sleeve – in a special keepsake box – with a lock):
    “The Tar Heels were the closest he’d ever come to what he’d dreamed a family could be. All a boy had to do was sacrifice his ego and do things the Carolina way, the Right way, to belong. You set picks. Helped teammates on defense. Practiced over and over the footwork on a drop-step or a box-out or an L-cut. Hit the boards. Hit the floor. Hit the open man. Acknowledged the assist. Celebrated the assist. It all smelled so much like the first-generation immigrants’ code he’d inhaled throughout his childhood: People who came along before you figured out the right way to do things. If you failed to follow them, you disrespected them, you put yourself above them. It spilled over to life off the court. Opening doors for people, hustling across the street to help an old woman carry her bags, being on time, dressing sharp, shucking off praise, controlling your emotions were all part of the Right way. Once you got everyone around you doing it that way, the victories piled up, the family grew tighter, and years after you had left, you remained part of a clan that at any hour could call or visit the father who never left: Dean Smith.”

  16. Rich

    Ian, my name is Rich. Lynn mentioned you constantly whenever we talked (I don’t know if she ever mentioned me to you) I had been leaving messages for Lynn for a while and not having them returned, I feared the worst and just found out yesterday about this by calling her sister.
    Would it be possible to speak to you on the phone at all?


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