Monday, December 10, 2012

Maria

When I discovered the AOL Christian Senior chat room in 1998, I had no idea how much the people I met there would change my life.  Never in a million years would I have thought I would be flying to other parts of the country to meet these Internet people.  At that point I had never even been on a commercial airplane.  
Because it was a "senior" chat room, most of us are not spring chickens; some of us have died.  My Arkansas friend, Lona, and a Tennessee buddy, Virginia, are gone.  Cliff and I were guests in both their homes.  Those ladies were the cream of the crop, and I will never forget them.    
You know how it is when you move, or leave a job where you've worked for a long time:  You swear you will keep in touch with your longtime friends, but as time goes by you totally lose touch.  It's been that way with a lot of my chat room friends, although thanks to Facebook, some of us have resurrected our friendships and renewed our ties.  


   Dear Lord, I wish I was still that skinny!  But I digress.  The ladies on either side of me in this picture are from Buffalo, New York.  I think this picture was taken at the get-together in Dallas, Texas.  On the left is another Donna, whose chat name was Pepsi.  My AOL screen name was Mo2773, so my chat name was Mo.  On the right is Maria, AKA Gardone.  She is 100% Italian, and a spitfire of a lady.  She is one of the most giving people I have ever met.  
Maria was a rare bird in the Christian chat room, being Catholic.  There were a few folks who wanted to show her the error of her ways and "convert" her.  She never let them bother her.  
At our chat reunions, Maria and I were the first ones awake each day, so we'd drink coffee and keep one another company until others awoke.  
Maria tried Facebook for a brief time, but had a bad experience there when someone hacked her account and put some nasty stuff on her wall.  She left and never returned, and I lost touch with her.  At some time in the past few months, I got a Facebook friend request from some Donna person and I asked, "Do I know you?"  It was Pepsi!  So we renewed our friendship.  She asked if I knew that Maria had recently been in the hospital for a long time, practically at death's door.  There had been doubts whether she would survive, but she made it.  Hey, I'm not surprised.  She always was a scrappy little lady.  
I emailed her then, and she replied, saying, "Let's keep in touch."  
I'm awful at keeping in touch.  I sure wish she hadn't had that bad experience on Facebook.  
Yesterday I was searching the Internet for some way to use the ricotta cheese I made and found a recipe for gnocchi that listed it as one of the ingredients.  Having no idea what gnocchi was, I searched further and found that most of the recipes did not call for ricotta.  Many of them used potatoes.  One recipe warned that the dumpling-like things might fall apart when you put them in the boiling water.  (I'm probably losing my readers at this point, because who cares about the stupid gnocchi, right?)  I didn't want to waste my time on something that was going to be ruined before I tasted it.  
Then I thought of Maria!  She was always talking about the authentic Italian dishes she loved to make, so I emailed her.  She replied.  Of COURSE she has a family recipe, and can give me advice.  
That's about as far as this story goes, really.  I do still have a lot of my old chat friends on Facebook; they will enjoy this walk down memory lane with me.  The good thing is that I get to introduce my readers to Maria while she is still alive.  I will leave you with one more picture, placed here for the enjoyment of my chat room friends:


  Look!  That's Tex on the right.  Remember Tex?
  

3 comments:

Margaret said...

Wonderful stories! I love how we meet new people and forge new relationships through the internet. There are so many bad things about it, but there are also great experiences. I would NOT tackle gnocchi myself and I'm half Italian!

Amy said...

aww! this post made me happy! (and there's not a whole lot that does that lately!)

Angela said...

Neat story.