30 March 2005

Alicia Spike

Wakan Tanka nici un...


Saying Goodbye to Alicia Spike's Sweet Smilie
By Allie Shah
Star Tribune

REDBY, MINN. -- Perhaps it was the memory of her smile and sweet disposition that brought so many people to Redby on Monday afternoon to pay their final respects to Alicia Alberta White, also known as Alicia Spike.

The youngest of the victims in last week's deadly school shooting in Red Lake, Alicia was just 14 and a ninth-grader at Red Lake High School. Hundreds of mourners, many of them teenagers, gathered at the Redby Community Center for her memorial service.

"She was always making us laugh," said Jennifer Stately, 16, a cousin of Alicia.

She and several other girls dressed in pink because they were attendants at the service. Leah Cook, 15, another friend who wore a pink hooded sweatshirt, said Alicia's smile and sense of humor were the attributes she loved most in her friend.

"I called her the prom queen," said her uncle Richard Johnson, who dubbed her that when she was younger after she dressed up in a fancy frock and high heels. "Unfortunately, she doesn't get to go to her prom."

Scores of flowers, photographs and greeting cards covered the long banquet tables next to the coffin, where Alicia's body lay surrounded by gifts. There were Care Bears, which her friends said she adored, and "friendship necklaces" and even small gifts of money placed in her hands. "I heard one girl say, 'Here's the money I owe you,' " recalled Alicia's grandmother, Alberta Spike, chuckling.

A long line of well-wishers snaked around the room as the air became hazy with tobacco smoke and the sounds of men singing and drums beating grew louder and more powerful. Theresa Spike and Rodney White, Alicia's parents, stood at the front of the room, receiving handshakes and hugs from all who came.

At the end of the viewing, the crowd walked to the Redby Community Church just down the road and filled the wooden pews. "Sorry I can't make the building a little bigger today," said Tom Pollock, the pastor. He spoke to them about the Alicia he knew and loved. She was a member of the church's youth group, he said, and she had a deep faith and the courage to stand up for her beliefs even when other kids snickered at it.

"I'm not surprised that Alicia had so many friends," he said. "She was a sweet girl. She was like a flower with sweet nectar that attracts the bees."

A tearful Alberta Spike recalled how her granddaughter used to call her "Jeema" and how close they were. "She helped me. She did everything with me. She shared stories with me, with her friends," she told the crowd. "I was getting stingy with her lately -- I don't know why. I just wanted her home with me all the time so we could talk."