View Full Version : The passing away of forumites

martin schulz
10-06-2005, 03:47 AM
The recent death of Ian got me thinking again.

In the last 2 years a couple of forumites died and every time a cry of sadness was "posted" in the WBF.

Now I think it is quite ok to mourn for a person one had intensive communication with, but then the whole "virtual" situation leaves me a bit uneasy.

Before internet took of and communication via the world wide web got to be a normal part of life, nobody could have imagined making friends, just by typing text at home on a machine. Since McLuhan came up with the "global village" quote (and this was in 1964) and I had to digest the idea, when I was in College, I wondered if that concept really works.
Before internet the communication one had were always based on personal contacts. Of course I had contacts just by telephone (business contacts), and sometimes I even talked to a grand-aunt in canada, which I have never met personally, but that was an exception.
Now I communicate with a lot of different people from almost everywhere in the world. Often, like in the WBF I even know how the poeple look like. But to tell you the truth, I still refuse to call those, who I have only "met" in the www friends.

Which is weird, because in some cases the contact through the internet is even more close and intense as a trivial meeting, lets say with my uncle on a family reunion. But somehow my mind still needs the "extra" personal contact, the eye-to-eye encounter to establish a "true" relationship.

That leaves my very uneasy, when people I have "met" here die. On one hand I do feel affected and I think about the character I have "met" through numerous postings, but on the other hand I feel no real impact. Even more so, than in reality, life goes on.


10-06-2005, 04:27 AM
True Martin, I have a whole slew of cousins, some of whom I've never met . I had only a few contacts with their parents, I converse more often with poeple here than I do with friends in my home town. As for impact, I think I'm a bit of a cold fish, a rationaliser. Everyone's different.
I think it's just us adjusting to a new sort of society. Our kids wont find it anything unusual.

George Roberts
10-06-2005, 04:52 AM
I would never confuse a formite with a friend.

When we morn the deaths of all I think we loss the benefits of morning those close to us.

10-06-2005, 05:33 AM
George, there seems to be no grey areas in my thoughts on your opinions.

This one I totally disagree with.

Wild Dingo
10-06-2005, 05:37 AM
Interestin Martin interestin...

Possibly not "mates" in the true sence that we have mates in real life where we live love work and play geographically... but still mates in the sence that when one passes its a shock a surprise and there is a degree of pain and a sence of loss...

For me Das was my first experience of it he and I had emailed back and forth about several issues for some time before he passed and when he went it was totally unexpected and so I was rather unprepared... when Norm told us of his son lamess passing it wasnt such a thing other than the sence of a fathers pain at loosing his son lamess had been a great contributor from time to time and so I felt I knew him in a way not like Norm who I tended to call Grandpaw but still as a father myself I felt his loss... when Dave went Id had more contact with Margo than he but the love she expressed for him and the small contact Id had with him over the time showed me real honest and passionate person behind the words and the contact with him through Margo made his loss all the more "real"... Norms passing gave me a real sence of loss since he and I contacted many times over many subjects and treated me as my own pop did and I respected his words which were always honest and from the heart... Ian I only knew slightly from his writings on Patience and the occasional post of increadible insight

Some we feel more affintity with than others some become real if we have the opportunity to meet them in the flesh TonyH has become such to me and if he were to pass I would make the trip east to see him farewelled as hes become a mate in life... not seen as often as other mates closer to home but still a person Ive sat and yarned with shared and met... Mike Feild Wild Wassa and Jeff up there are three other Aussies who I feel the same about even though asside from photos in emails from Mike and occasional glimpses into their lives I only know from here but theyre mates in my view and as such Id do the same make the journey without question or qualm

JohnB in Kiwiland is to me a mate and gawd Id sure miss that buggar if he dropped of the perch!

Its a beautiful part of our humanity that we can express our sadness and sence of loss for a "friend" a mate even if a cyber one... even if its only with just a :(

Okay will come back an finish this as Beth has cooked my tea and is demanding I eat it before it gets cold


10-06-2005, 05:57 AM
Garn Shane, Garn!!. You've made me go all funny and blush!
Seriously though I feel honoured. Anne retires in August and I feel a trip out west coming on. Lived there once, Perth, Tom Price and Albany.

Wild Dingo
10-06-2005, 06:09 AM
Okay easy quick meal over with... she aint the cook!! but hey she tries ;) :cool:

Back to it!... now for such as you Id feel a deal of sadness to learn of your passing Martin since you have become interesting and have a great deal of knowledge and freindship your prepared to offer without any expectation... funny Id not really thought of it before but that I think is what makes a mate to a degree... someone who is prepared to sit and yarn offer a glimpse into their life loves enjoyments such as you yourself have of your Rum Regatta and your beautiful boat... I feel honored to have been able to learn these things and to share what you are prepared to offer... such things go toward creating the mateship we find in life.

Never met a person in real life? its not such a big thing over time we come to know others here... the gentleman Ed the crazy Joeboy the soldier architect Chad the ex marine retired bookseller Donn the crusty Bob the contancerous Dave the madcap Doug the positive MMike the ex boat business now backyard boatbuilders such as Oyster Mike the gorgeous Lisa and Margo Barb from Gartsides designs John R Smith Ironmule Figment mmd Tristan Wilson Fitt Andrew and on... the various natures and personas that are shared here are amazing and offer an insight into lives lived elsewhere places we personally possibly may never get to see in reality... and boats that we never dreamed existed let alone have the opportunity to meet their owners Gary Bergman and Royalist John B and Waoine Andrew and Victorious.

We have within our fingers and eyes the ability to travel the world to see and appreciate people and places experiences and laughter (and sorrow) from beyond our own small part of this world we all share

I would hope that all ive met here share the joy of what each of us bring out here... mates? friends? gawd Im sure that if I were to head to Veitnam Id feel sure that Luc would come to the airport to meet me shake my hand share a meal and a drink and show me the sights that he knows and loves... it would be the same if I were to head to Seattle Maine Canberra New York Alaska Nova Scotia Melborne Canada Texas London Wales Memphis Brazil Sydney Argentina New Zealand Sweden even the Isle of Sky as close or as far away as each of us live... its an amazing opportunity to make friends that last can if opportunity and finance allows till our final days

Ive been privaliged to have found this motley crew and honored to be considered a freind and a mate... time will only tell if those freindships and mates are met in the person but regardless their passing is such that it is felt in a true sence...

shed a tear at a life lost a person known even only through here is still a lost life of someone known so shed a tear and remember well the time well spent in the company of freinds near and far

Okay Im done... did I make sence? damned if I know!!! hope so cause if not my fingers are aching for buggar all and that my friend Martin would not be a good thing! tongue.gif

10-06-2005, 06:22 AM
Each death means something different to different folks. Norm's warmth and compassion made it hard to accept his death. Dave, I had actually meet and it touched me when he passed.

It is not the same as when my Mom passed, but it is still a loss that is felt.

The "Global Community" really does nothing more than open doors. It is hard to call someone that you have never meet one on one a true friend. Sure they can be a confidant, but a friend I don't know.

I've meet several here and consider them friends and there is several others that I haven't meet, but I'm willing to bet that one on one we would get along great.

I've developed ties with others that I haven't meet but wish I could. Ones that I share common intrest with other than boats and we have exchanged e-mails and other items through snail mail. I consider these my friends and we have never meet.

Why do we develop these friendships while never meeting? Why do almost total strangers come and help you move when you need help? Why does someone you've never meet in person send you a radio for your truck? Why do we give books to anyone out there with a good story? Why do we tease each other from across the country or even the world about their favorite football team?

This is what friends do, and when one of us passes, there is a hole there.


Joe (SoCal)
10-06-2005, 06:45 AM
Matin there has long been history of communication between people that have never met in person but built close friendships.

There was a documented case of two telegraph writers one male one female who fell in love just though the telegraph communication. They both said they could tell the subtle difference in how they pressed the button on the telegraph.

Long before that pen pals and the simple art of letter writing would transcend across time and distance. People have always felt a far more attachment with a persons thoughts than actually meeting them.

Martin I would miss you, I have read about your travels and regattas. I also would miss those who I have transcended from the written threads to sharing meals with me in "REAL LIFE". But I do not think it would make much of a difference since they were just the same people I read on the forum only now they were eating food in front of me ;)

I miss Dave, I miss Norm, I miss Ian I miss them because we are a community and we are what we post.

Joe (SoCal)
10-06-2005, 06:56 AM
Originally posted by George Roberts:
I would never confuse a formite with a friend.

When we morn the deaths of all I think we loss the benefits of morning those close to us.My WBF friend Wayne

WBF Friends Eating


Me & My WBF friend Nora Lee


More friends



Ian McColgin
10-06-2005, 07:36 AM
While the sets of Forumites and Friends are not isomorphic, they do intersect. There are some, like Ian the Right, whom I'd dearly love to meet or have met in the flesh and I'm very happy that this place has expanded my awareness that I may count them among my friends.

Sea Frog
10-06-2005, 07:56 AM
Although it was made out of the best intentions and no doubt with his widow's consent as well, as he cast quite a wise, grand and lovable figure against the dreary context of international chauvinism and jingoism, and though I often link to my albums myself, I have to confess some embarrassment at the posting of all Norm's albums as soon as he passed, retracing his complete life, youth, family events as an open book to any casual passer-by.

Al Kahawl
10-06-2005, 08:28 AM
Aks knot fur whum da bell tollz, it tollz fer u.

Dale R. Hamilton
10-06-2005, 08:48 AM
Martin- you're nuts. You are also my friend- even though I never laid eyes on you. I had a need- I let it me known on WBF. You answered me and then you answered my need. Thats how you make friends-it does not require face to face. Now that you know this- look around- I'm sure you have many many friends- you just didn't realize it.


Peter Malcolm Jardine
10-06-2005, 10:02 AM
I would never confuse a formite with a friend. I'm sorta of in between. If I felt comfortable travelling to the US, I would probably meet some of the folks out here, and they know who they are. I share a bunch of stuff on this forum, but a lot of personal things I don't... altho I think I used to. This place is kinda like a bar. There are people who I would drink with, people I would nod to, and people I would probably end up fighting with.

Some of the people I used to drink with are friends. ;) All in all, this is an interesting place, or I wouldn't come here.

I've been sad at the passing of folks here, because the ones who have passed have all been good people.

George Roberts
10-06-2005, 11:37 AM
I was going to write about what being a friend is but ...

I am too busy being a friend to a person who I expect to die in the next 5-10 years.

martin schulz
10-06-2005, 01:32 PM
Perhaps I didn't find the right words...

Of course I consider some here, who I have been writing/talking to of-forum good acquaintance, in some cases even friend. And when a person, I have been in contact with, even if it is "only" by mail or the WBF, dies it hurts, because suddenly someone is gone and the possibility of getting in contact is permanently lost.

But what hurts is more or less the loss of my personal projection of that person. I don't really know who Ian was. Andrew knew and his mourning is true. I have just lost a person I have never met, never talked with, never touched, never had a beer with.

I enjoy being (wrong verb again, but the language lacks the proper words for virtual presence) here and I enjoy reading what you guys post (well sometimes).
When a contact gets as far as sending real stuff around to a guy one met here it is a real pleasure (Dale, Shane...), because suddenly virtual persons become real persons.

But I still feel uncomfortable to say this community is my circle of friends (Jack, you should think about this!).

David W Pratt
10-06-2005, 01:53 PM
Just go read For Whom the Bell Tolls, by John Donne.

Cosmo Lengro
10-06-2005, 02:30 PM
am too busy being a friend George with the attitude you show here, you REALLY got friends?
tongue.gif :D tongue.gif

Cosmo Lengro
10-06-2005, 07:57 PM
George don't you keep up on threads you post to?


Andrew Craig-Bennett
10-07-2005, 11:26 AM
The Internet has shown me that there are - there really are - a handful of people who share my enthusiasms and are willing to discuss them and pass on their expertise. This has probably happened to all of us.

There are a couple of people whom I went on to meet in life, having first made their acquaintance here. Ian Wright was one, and Ian was starting to become rather a good friend.

I know what Martin means; we need a new category for Internet acquaintances, who, unlike the normal run of people we meet, are very much more likely to have in person.