Today in My History
12 May 2020
I ended yesterday's entry by saying "Now if I can just actually sleep tonight, it will have been a perfect day." I slept better than I have in I can't remember. I must have had more than 8 hours of sleep and my mid-night wake period was pretty short. I woke up at nearly 10 a.m. so it was a perfect day.
Once upon a time there was a thing called CompuServe. I don't know if CompuServe still exists as a discussion forum, what with Twitter and Facebook. But once upon a time, CIS was broken into many different discussion sections.
I was brand new to this thing called the "internet" and was worried that I would run up big bills doing too much on it. But someone showed me how to get the most out of CIS, downloading discussions, answering things on line, and then uploading my answers. It made it possible for me to participate in discussions.
I made many friends through both the Women's Issues group and Gay Issues group, people who are friends today, most of whom have ultimately become face-to-face friends as well as "imaginary" friends.
We had a particularly close group in Women's Issues. It wasn't a particularly close group to begin with and then I was asked to be the "Sysop," in charge of creating discussions. I tried to find nice lofty, relevant topics and response was lukewarm and then one day, completely out of ideas for a good discussion, I posted something about housekeeping. It took off like a rocket. Most lively discussion yet.
Out of that discussion came a much more active group and we began to be friends.
In 1996 (a year easy to remember, 'cause that's when David died), one of the older women, Cathy, who lived in Santa Barbara with an alcoholic husband, was trying to get up the courage to leave him and go off on her own. She was quite depressed and another woman, Pat, who lived in Burbank, and I decided we would meet Cathy on the train and go and visit another member in Boulder, Colorado, since Cathy loved trains. It would be a distraction for her and fun for the three of us.
Well, what with one thing and another, it ended up that a dozen of us went to Boulder (and we flew, we didn't take the train) for a long weekend of getting to know each other, face to face. One of the group even came from England to join us.
Thinking about Woodstock, we decided to call our group Netstock and we had such a good time we decided to do it again the next year. The whole group (or whoever could make it) got together for weekend gatherings:
1996 in Boulder, Colorado
(we missed 2003 and 2004...and none since 2005).
When we arrived in London for the 2001 gathering, I heard something about "problems with the World Trade Center in New York" and found out about the attack there in the lobby of our London hotel. What a surreal weekend that was.
At some point, CompuServe ceased to be what we had known and so I moved the whole group over to Yahoo, where we could continue our discussion. The only problem was that new people couldn't find our group and I do feel bad about that, but it was good that we at least still had a place where we could still "meet."
Over the years we have lost some people. Judy Watt, who lived in San Francisco and who was the first internet person I met face to face, died--I don't remember of what. Bill Dahn, who was the only male who was part of the group but who said he enjoyed discussing women's issues and would we please let him join our group died of cancer. Then Pat (who was the music editor for Walker, Texas Ranger) with whom Walt and I always stayed when we flew to So. California, also died of cancer; Dana Rae, author of the book "When Someone You Love has Cancer" ironically died of cancer; Cathy, who was the impetus for this to begin with, has faded away. She was the oldest and has lived in Vermont for a long time (and is not on Facebook) and we assume she died, but we don't know. Heidi had a traumatic brain injury that severely changed her personality and she is no longer part of the group, tho she occasionally corresponds with one or two others in the group.
Everyone else is on Facebook and we keep up with each other that way, considerably different than the Compuserve Years. We've been through births, deaths, divorces, illnesses and all the ups and downs of our lives. Now a world-wide pandemic.
Julia decided it would be fun to get together on Zoom, and several of us did -- Julia from Maryland (who raised big Russian wolfhounds), Tricia from the San Francisco area, Sian who lives on an island in Scotland with a population of about a dozen people, diane [sic] from England ("diane" lower case to differentiate her from Diane upper case from Texas, who has dropped off the radar), Mary from Seattle, whom we met for lunch the last time we were in Washington, Ellen, an attorney and grandma from Milwaukee, and I am not sure where Maryanne lives. But it was a good group. I'm still learning how to effectively use Zoom on my cell phone (since I don't have a camera for my desktop, nor do I really want one).
It was great fun and we decided we can't really call this "Netstock" any more...so now we have a Zoomstock group and I'm sure we will meet up again in the foreseeable future. I love these women and have loved them for more than 25 years.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
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This is entry #7323