Thursday, January 18, 2007

Leah Adezio

You know how the internet has opened up the definition of "friend"? You've got your friends you hang around with at work and home, the distant friends who used to be geographically close. With the internet, that's expanded to "online friends", the people who you virtually hang out with via email, on the message boards, in chat rooms, newsgroups, blogs, etc. Sometimes online friends become real friends and meet in person.

In 1994 I got my first computer, and joined Compuserve's Comics and Animation Forum (hi Doug Pratt, wherever you are!) just as Zero Hour was hitting (for the Legion, that was "End of an Era"). A few weeks later, as I recall, the forum suddenly emptied for a week because everyone went to San Diego. I had never been to a major con before, because I didn't have friends who were into comics that would go, and I wouldn't know anyone else there. But I joined the conversations and discussed everything under the sun with lots of great people, and by summer of 1995 I couldn't wait to go, since now I knew this whole collection of people that I called friends, even though I had never met any of them in person. One of those people was a woman named Leah Adezio.

For my first trip out to the convention, I wanted to go several days earlier and play around in LA being a tourist. I found out that Leah was going to be in LA visiting a another CIS'er, Joanna Sandsmark - if I remember correctly, none of us had met in person before - and we made plans to hang out for the day at Universal Studios. I had a great time and it was all the more special that I had people to go with and have fun - although I had never met them before, we had all talked through the Compuserve message boards.

The half dozen or so times I went to the San Diego con since 1995, I'd always see Leah, usually hanging out in the lobby of the Hyatt or the second-floor bar with any number of people from the online forums (by 1996, we had both moved over to the rec.arts.comics.* newsgroups on Usenet). She'd give me this big hug and it was as if we had known each other for years. We'd continue conversations from the year before as if no time had passed. We'd talk about the Legion, or Aquaman, or her family, or my job at NASA, or just whatever was going on at the time. She was one of my convention friends.

I only actually saw her in person a half dozen or so times, all within the confines of the convention after that first trip to Universal. The last time I saw her was (I think) in 2002 in San Diego. In reality, I barely knew her, but when I saw the news that she was gravely ill just a day or so ago, my heart sank. She was literally the first person I met from the internet, and she was fun to be around. I'll miss not having her to talk to next time I go to San Diego. She died this morning.

Elayne Riggs, a good friend of hers (and someone I got to meet in person after sharing Compuserve and RAC) has more here.


Emmie said...

well yes.. the internet has surely brought people together... Friends via the net have really given communication a boost with email, e cards, social bookmarking and social networking sites .. well to share more thoughts u can anytime drop by My Friendship Blog ... hope u will find it interesting....!!!

Elayne said...

Very lovely, Michael, thank you.