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Abby Albrecht Memory Post

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Dec. 1st, 2008 | 12:22 am
posted by: butterflykiki in horsechicks

Welcome to the Abby Albrecht (tv_elf) memory post.

Abby, 1975-2008. Article by her mom and herself, 2005, after her 30th birthday.


Post a memory of Abby here, and forward on the link to anyone you think will want to contribute.
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Comments {43}

Sel

(no subject)

from: seldearslj
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 08:34 am (UTC)
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Abby and I met each other over Stargate SG-1 and a mutual love for Sam Carter that drifted into a few other fandoms, too; she beta'd for me, gave fannish advice, and we met up in the Bay Area several times. She took me to see Wicked.

She always seemed too big a personality to be confined by the wheelchair that carried her around. Whenever I met her, it always took me a moment to remember that she had the chair at all - and it made me appreciate her difficulties and troubles - and her spirit and optimism.

In the end, though, it simply comes down to this: she was my friend and I'll miss her.

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Clyde

(no subject)

from: suzvoy
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 10:18 am (UTC)
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I was fortunate enough to know Abby for nearly eight years. She was always entertaining, human, and brilliant. She loved Teal'c - especially his arms. She hated Sarah Palin. She was awesome at vidding. Sadly, I never got to meet her in person.

We exchanged Christmas cards every single year and, one year, out of the blue, she sent me a Christmas tree ornament of Trip Tucker from Enterprise because she knew how very much I loved that character from the very bad show. It goes on my tree every year and, from now on, it will always be my tribute to her.

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Christina K  (jackelope hunter!)

(no subject)

from: butterflykiki
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 12:59 pm (UTC)
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I'm using an icon made for Abby by bright_knightie, since Abby liked Schanke and I believe she's sipping a drink somewhere.

When did I meet Abby? 1995 or 1996, on the FORKNI-L and FKFIC-L lists, during a FK War 5. Those were (and are) role-playing games that lasted about 2-3 weeks, with factions supporting different characters on the show "Forever Knight."

Abby and I were Mercs. Which meant we worked for whatever faction we wanted, usually for virtual chocolate. And mayhem. Alllll about the mayhem. Diving into my first War, I didn't know Abby had SMA or used a wheelchair, so I wrote her as she wrote herself: walking and functional and snarky, plotting and planning and mischievous. I always consider the various 'capers' we pulled to be the first time we met. I later asked her, upon being told of her physical disabilities by someone else, if she wanted me to change what I'd written. She said no, it was perfect. I'd put her in charge of driving the getaway van and distributing disguises, why would she want me to change that? It was always the least significant part of her and my interaction with her. She was smart and punny (she made me groan a lot) and fandom-crazy and real-world-sane.

I first met her in Real Life at MediaWest2000, I believe. I remember her wheelchair backing into elevators with a beep beep beep sound made by her and everyone else, alarming non-con-going bystanders. I remember chats about Teal'c shirtless, and how it was always appropriate. Possibly as her pallbearer, if I remember right. I also remember dire fear upon first seeing "The Hamster Dance", her first video to Buffy (Oz. Werewolf. Hamster dancing. Gah!). And more fear after seeing "Another Dead Cow." I can't watch "Thank You for the Music" or I'll cry again, though. I re-watched all her 2002 vids last night, and I kept marveling at how good she was at it-- "Sing Sing Sing", a multi-vid to Benny Goodman, is still one of my favorites. "Nobody's Side" from Chess done to Moulin Rouge is just gorgeous. She never seemed to need *help* on those, to me; she'd ask for beta- comments, but they were usually nearly perfect right out of the gate, from what I could tell. I am so glad to have these to watch and remember her with, but so sad that there won't be any more creative output to look forward to.

I am bummed beyond belief that I won't get to squee with Abby about the next Star Trek movie. Other things I remember... Celebrity crushes on Seth Green and Christopher Judge. ("...and then, Teal'c took his shirt off.") Help she gave me when I really needed it, jobhunting and keeping up my spirits for several very long months. Meandering talks about nothing in particular on IM. I went into my gmail account to see how many e-mails I have from her, just from the last three years. Hundreds. Too many to count.

I am so very glad that I made it to Vegas for her 30th birthday in 2005. Most vividly, I remember watching Penn & Teller in the hotel room with her, and how appropriate that was to Vegas. Also, how utterly cheesy the BITE! vampire dance revue was, and her mocking it all the way back to the hotel with everyone else. I wish she'd been able to make it to WorldCon this year, or that I could've made it to VividCon. Some part of my head thought we'd get more warning, maybe because while I knew her, Abby never had (or at least mentioned) any hospital visits or life-threatening medical incidents. This time, I kept hoping and believing we'd get at least another two years, so I could be sure to see her again at least one more time. Her health had been gradually declining for months, but I didn't want to believe that there wouldn't be any warning.

I envied her faith. More than faith, I envied her persistence in her faith. Her expression of it. I am certain she's dancing somewhere in light, if she wants to be. But if she also wants to make a flying visit, I won't keep her out. Abby said she might haunt me, as her sister haunted her, and I told her to go ahead. She said that Katie moved things, slammed doors, and hid belongings that were hers in her house. I'm really okay with that, if Abby wants to do it at my new place. She didn't get to visit here before but I don't see why that should stop her now.

Edited at 2008-12-01 02:40 pm (UTC)

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counteragent

(no subject)

from: counteragent
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)
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I only just met Abby this year, but I was fortunate enough to spend a lunch with her at VVC and feature her adorable and wonderful Walk The Line vid (penguins! Johnny Cash! You must see it! http://tv-elf.livejournal.com/352475.html) in the Vids That Push the Envelope Show (curated with laurashapiro and cesperanza). We felt it "pushed the envelope" because of its unusual source. But I love it because of its sense of humor and pathos.

Abby also left a very kind message at my family's blog when word got around that my litle sister in law, Jenny, was suffering from a mysterious rapid onset juvenile ALS type disease (they still have not diagnosed it). Her message both comforted our family and made me hopeful that Jenny could lead a productive and happy life even with such a devastating condition. I will always be very grateful to Abby for her heartfelt words.

Abby's cheerful presence will be very much missed in the vidding community.

Edited at 2008-12-01 02:46 pm (UTC)

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bentley

(no subject)

from: bentleywg
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 07:53 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for the link to the vid.

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Perri

(no subject)

from: neonhummingbird
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 03:02 pm (UTC)
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I don't remember meeting Abby. There must have been an introduction at some point, but my first clear memory of her is getting a straw from her ever-present stash, and sticking it in her ever-present caffeine delivery vehicle. Some things happen so smoothly, you don't even notice at the time. We were on the Daily Trojan together, me as an editor, Abby as a copy editor. We shared some stupidly late hours (as her chief was constitutionally opposed to doing his job), and used to kill time by racing up and down the halls of the Student Union, me balanced precariously on the back of her wheelchair, yelling "Wheeeee!!!!!" (This was two chairs (her) and 20 pounds (me) ago.)

We roamed around campus together as students, then roamed the US with the Horsechicks as adults -- Bridging the Knight, MediaWest, WorldCon, VividCon, Las Vegas (essentially a large, ongoing gambling con, really). It was never all sunshine and roses -- we dealt with sickness, and two stubborn tempers, and a world not set up for wheelchairs, no matter how much people claim it is. (Yeah, roam around South Central looking for a curb cut, or around downtown Chicago looking for an El station with an elevator and an attendant, then tell me that.) Because of Abby, I became much more aware of how hard the world sometimes worked against her, and respected her even more for never letting it stop her.

She was funny and subversive and twisted. She lived her life determined not to miss anything because she was feeling sorry for herself. She ran me over once in an airport (that was mostly my fault. 90 percent. Okay, 95). She was generous and kind, and could always make me laugh. She used to tell a story about The Time I Met David Duchovny, and how she'd gotten through the crowd of female admirers surrounding him when one of said groupies noticed her beyond the fringes and told everyone else to "Let the little girl in the wheelchair through." (She always said the bit about "the little girl in the wheelchair" with enormous glee.) At MediaWest one year, the Horsechicks wore bright yellow buttons saying "Abby's Handmaidens: All of the Work Fun, None of the Jedi." Abby's just said, "I'm Abby."

(In Vegas, she and I headed out to the other end of the Strip to pick up tickets to see a horribly hilarious vampyre review called 'Bite'. It didn't work out so well; she wound up heading back to meet the others while I made my way helplessly to the Stratosphere. I was worried about her going back on the monorail on her own, but that's because I'm stupid. She made it back well before I did.)

I didn't spend as much time with her in the last few years as we once did, and I regret that. But I think she knew how much I loved her, and how much I respected her for her courage, and for her truly awesomely evil brain. She stole my socks in an FK war, and had the nerve to try to look innocent. (Virtually or in person, she never managed this. Not to anyone who knew her.)

The last clear memory of Abby (in person) I have, is of sitting in a hotel room at WorldCon Anaheim, playing cutthroat Apples to Apples. I don't remember who won; I just remember everyone doing their damndest to destroy everyone else. Abby was a past master of sweetly pointing out just why everyone else's cards sucked so much more than hers. (She used to try the innocent thing here, too. Not so much.) It's a pretty good memory to hold onto.

But somewhere in my head, Abby and I will always be the two girls terrorizing the Student Union at 11:00 at night, racing Time in an electric wheelchair, and winning.

Edited at 2008-12-01 03:05 pm (UTC)

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Havoc

(no subject)

from: havocthecat
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 03:53 pm (UTC)
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I blew out the comment limit, so my memories of Abby went up as a post in my journal.

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astolat

(no subject)

from: astolat
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 05:10 pm (UTC)
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I don't remember exactly when I met Abby -- it must have been at Escapade, I think, but I remember how happy I was that she and the whole Apocalypse West crew came to Vividcon that first year when we had no clue what we were doing and were blithely forging ahead anyway. ♥

The thing that always struck me was how she and all the Horsechicks were so obviously one of those close, tight-knit groups, but at the same time never felt exclusionary -- that you could always sit down with them and dive into conversation. It's a group that radiates warmth.

Abby was always totally straightforward and practical about what she needed -- it's a smack-to-the-forehead feeling as an organizer when you realize you haven't figured out all the issues for a wheelchair, but she never expressed the irritation or anger that would have been totally understandable. She had a kind of levelheaded calm about her illness -- while being so passionate about her fannishness and her vids and vidding. Reading the article above, her voice jumps off the page -- that yes, her illness was always "the little things" to her.

I remember the year Abby made the penguins vid, and how this whole debate sprang up in response over what was fannish source, what makes a vid a vid, etc. I never saw her get upset or angry over the debate, but neither did she let it diminish her own satisfaction in a vid that still defies you to watch it and not be happy. <3

I never got to know Abby very closely, but to me she was one of those kindred spirits who also found a home in fandom, who valued the spirit and warmth of this community and supported it. She'll be missed, and it will be very strange to be at Vividcon this year without her.

Lots of love and best wishes to her family and friends. *hugs*

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lemonbombs

(no subject)

from: lem0nb0mbs
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 05:25 pm (UTC)
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Abby just came to my attention through havocthecat's memorial post. I didn't know her at all. From what I just read, and what I see of her creativity, humor and energy, I would have loved to know her and be her friend. Friendship is not something I take lightly.

Abby made a lot of people very happy, and leaves a legacy that will continue to create joy. I can think of no greater accomplishemnt in life than to do just this.

I am very sorry for your loss.

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Hilary Booth... of course

(no subject)

from: hildy
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 05:53 pm (UTC)
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I didn't know Abby as well as some of you. I think only remember meeting Abby the one time at a MediaWestCon 1998 after the masquerade. But when I joined LJ, she was always right there with a friendly word of encouragement or virtual hug whenever you needed one. She'd share your bad taste in movies/tv/books, she shared my love of "Another World", she adored her Teal'c time. It's weird what we associate with people once they're gone. She could be bouncy and cheerful, she could be snarky and grumpy, but she always had this indomitable spirit.

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Celli

(no subject)

from: celli
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 06:43 pm (UTC)
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I've been trying to remember for two days, and I still don't know when I met Abby. My best guess is that it was in 1997, when I joined the SunS list. I already knew Lizbet, but that's where I met most of the rest of the Horsechicks.

One of my first memories of her in person involves giving her a shower, oddly enough. :) It was at either our first or second con together, probably a MediaWest. I still have the handmaiden button Perri mentioned up on my kitchen wall. We had such a good time in the shower together (hee), that it became my job whenever I was around at con-time. I was not particularly good at it--I sprayed her in the face a lot--but it was our chance to be goofy together.

When we were in Vegas for her birthday party, she and I took the tram as far as it would go to the Speed the Ride roller coaster. It's a NASCAR themed roller coaster, and I was determined to ride it. She was determined to watch me--and oh, she got her money's worth. When the coaster starts, it accelerates from 0 to 45mph almost instantly. The look on my face was apparently priceless. I don't think she stopped laughing all the way back to the hotel--and she was still laughing about it this year at Vividcon.

I've been reading through a bunch of my old LJ comments from her. There's one where she has a "Celli recipe" (It starts with "take two parts NASCAR"), and one where she tells me I'm a hottie, and one where she tells me she's proud of me. And, you know, she didn't toss "proud" around lightly. It's something I hang on to when I'm having a bad time of it: Abby's proud of me, I must be getting better.

Man, I'm going to miss her.

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_tweeter_

(no subject)

from: _tweeter_
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 07:12 pm (UTC)
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I can't remember when I first met Abby, it may have been when we gathered in Toronto for Deb Duchene's play.

I just remember walking beside her and her mother to their hotel room and helping Abby eat a hamburger and worrying I'd do it wrong.

Abby is one of the people who listened to my crying and whining about dialysis. She offered support and hope, and lots of hugs. I always felt bad complaining about my situation, when she lived her life with a strength I wished I could summon.

She was an inspiration to everyone, even though she probably would have pooh-poohed that idea.

I will always be sorry I never made it to Vividcon just to see friends like her that were in attendance; and Vividcon is in my hometown.

She was greatly loved and will be missed.

God bless you, Abby.

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Sage

(no subject)

from: sageness
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 07:34 pm (UTC)
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We once talked in comments about disabled accessibility at cons and she had some great advice and helpful warnings to share. I didn't know her otherwise, but she sounds like an amazing person. Her mom does, too.

My deepest condolences to everyone who knew and loved her. She touched my life in only the smallest way, and yet I am deeply touched by her courage, smarts, and good humor.

Wherever Abby is now and wherever she goes next, I wish her all the best blessings of life, love, and happiness.

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"Oh Good God"

from: skippy_fluff
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 07:47 pm (UTC)
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I met Abby online, through livejournal. She had posted something on a Smallville-related forum, using a user icon of John Adams from the musical "1776", with the tag line "Oh Good God" imposed over the actor's body. It's one of my favorite lines from the only musical I like, so I read her journal, friended her, and have enjoyed her humor ever since. Her ability to find the funniest aspect of things that were irritating or wrong in the world cracked me up over and over again: "Doesn't Bush look tired?", "Vote Annubis", and " I like Pit Bulls" are three phrases from the more political Abby that still make my smile every time I see them. I looked forward to her postings, and when she replied to postings I made they were full of a wry humor I'll miss.

I learned a lot about faith from Abby, both her own and mine. Her dedication to her church and her ability to give of her belief meant a lot to me at moments when I was questioning my own. I don't really know how to talk about that, but I eventually understood that her "Oh Good God" was a very layered statement. She believed in a good God, but was very sure she needed to do the work for herself. It's a view of faith that I've tried to make my own.

I will miss you, tv_elf. I hope you're enjoying the Con.

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Personal Ephemera

(no subject)

from: nycdeb
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 07:54 pm (UTC)
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I said as much in my own journal but it bears repeating. The world is dimmer without Abby in it - and will be for some time.

I didn't see Abby much - California is just not somewhere I end up that often and much as I love fandom, cons are not my thing. But when I did see her, it was a blast. And thanks to LJ, FORKNI-L, SunS and the rest - Abby and I had a wide-ranging playground where we could come together to practice our individual madnesses. She was inspiring, encouraging and grounding all at the same time. I don't know how she did that. She had more patience than I could ever dream of having, more energy bubbling forth than those of us with far fewer obstacles to overcome. And OMG - the wacky. It came in all shapes and forms -most likely when you least expected it. She had a wicked sense of humor, a powerful sense of irony and saw the funny when the rest of us couldn't or wouldn't even look.

And amongst my far-flung and varied social circles - she stood out for another reason, possibly that speaks only to a weirdo like me. She had so much SENSE, it was breathtaking. Now, somewhere out there, Abby is rolling her eyes at me, muttering "Oh good, God" adding that I've shoveled it on a bit thick and she'll never manage to navigate around it. But I speak only the truth. Abby was special for a lot of reasons and everyone should know it.

She will be missed, of course. But she was such a linchpin in such formative parts of my life, I'm sure she'll also remain very much a presence for me even so.

And because she said it always made her laugh - the bizarre combination of Madsen and Merriment - this post will be the first use of the Madsen Xmas icon of the year. For you, Abbster.

Edited at 2008-12-01 09:06 pm (UTC)

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A.j.

Abby: My original Tim Gunn.

from: aj
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 08:14 pm (UTC)
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So here's the thing. Abby and I were always people who danced around friendship more than we actually had it. Don't get me wrong, we liked each other fine, and crossed LJ's and friends and IM's on a regular basis. She made me laugh often, and I'm pretty sure I did the same for her. But for both of us, it was always more of a "Oh, that's Abby/A.j. We're friends with each other's friends." And then we'd make faces at each other.

The best and clearest memory I have of Abby - and I'd not gotten the pleasure of meeting her as I always seemed to have something other/somewhere other to be when she was in town for Vivid Con - is of her spending a couple hours walking me through the basics of vidding and mocking the hell out of me when I metaphorically threw up my hands and cursed any and all production/media related gods for being SO MUCH WORK. I don't remember her exact reply (we were on IM) but it resembled something of the following: "See, NOW you're doing it right. MAKE IT WORK."

The other thing Abby and I had in common was that we're both Lutheran. And we both appreciated just how silly and dumb some of the Lutheran conventions could be. I think we had a ten minute "Lutheran joke" conversation at some point, that mostly involved talk of casseroles, cut ham sandwiches, and a diatribe on the ills of pastors waving their arms around during services (mine.) She was the one person I could immediately IM with some random bit of synod wackitude and she'd either explain it point, by point to me, or giggle right along with. We also got to snicker at the rest of our friends who couldn't tell a synod from a diocese and agreed that the Wisconsin Lutherans really are the craziest.

I'm sorry that we'll never get to move into the 'friendship' phase of our 6-year dance, but I think she'd be the first one to agree that we'd probably have been too lazy anyway. I'll miss her for her friends and be sad that a little piece of my internet life is darker.

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gwyneth

(no subject)

from: gwyn_r
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 08:17 pm (UTC)
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Every year at Vividcon save one, I saw and chatted with Abby briefly here and there over the course of the weekend. I was one of the people who loved her penguins vid a few years ago, and staunchly defended its inclusion as a fannish vid, much to her amusement. I liked that about her the most -- a kind of wry, calm look at things. She never took herself all that seriously, even though she had a right to, most certainly.

And then last year she volunteered to help me sing karaoke at the con, and it was rather hilariously Mutt and Jeff -- I'm just under six feet, and so I was up there with one mic, and fortunately someone else came and joined us who was a lot shorter than me, so she could share the other mic with Abby. I was looking forward to doing it again this year. There will be a very big empty space this year.

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(Deleted comment)

(no subject)

from: mylo1012
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 09:34 pm (UTC)
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I met Abby in some AIM chat with some other LJ friends back in 2004 and when we started chatting we learned that we actually had met and backed each other up on some Stargate sg-1 forum both trying (and failing) to knock some sense into some people about the stupidity of the fandom war that year. I never met her in person or interacted with her all that much but when we did interact on AIM or LJ it was always with humor or when a serious subject came up with respect. And thats how i remember her the most, the humor and the respect for others. And seeing how many lives she touched just here on LJ makes me proud that i did get to know her even if it was just a small part of her.

I will miss seeing her posts here written with her energy and humor.

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sue

(no subject)

from: sjhw_tolerance
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 10:22 pm (UTC)
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I first met Abby on a driving trip from LA to Vancouver. We stopped in the Bay Area (at the request of seldear) to have coffee and donuts and meet Abby. I will never forget how I emailed her ahead of time and asked how would I recognize her? I told her I would be the tall, white haired woman and she said she'd be the one in the black wheelchair with the red trim. After that, we discovered a mutual love of USC football and of course, Stargate.

I admired her candor and willingness to talk about her disability. I ached on those rare occasions when the world would get her down. And I identified with her desire to just be a 'normal' girl--a wish that I think many of us, no matter our circumstances, share.

I mourn her passing but I am confident that when she woke in heaven, Jesus held out his arms to her and she walked into an eternity in his loving embrace.

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ljc

(no subject)

from: taraljc
date: Dec. 1st, 2008 10:35 pm (UTC)
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I can't remember when I first met Abby. It's as if she's always been a part of my fannish life, and I am eternally grateful that Livejournal allowed us to be total dorks together 24/7 even though we only ever saw each other maybe once or twice a year. I am so incredibly glad that I sat next to her in the overflow room at VividCon last, because I had the best time ever during the premeires show, and there were LOADS OF HUGS which are very very important.

She was smart and funny and brave and slightly evil and was hell on wheels and took huge glee in that, and we geeked out about our jobs, and our lives, and we had the Best Lunch Ever at MediaWest one year, and I refuse to feel insane about the fact that ever since, Chicken Fingers ALWAYS remind me of that afternoon in Lansing with Buffy The Waitress. And I am so going to miss her like crazy, but feel so totally blessed to have had so much time with her. Because I literally can't imagine my life up til now had she not been in it.

She was nifty, and awesome, and SHE GAVE US PENGUINS TO JOHNNY CASH and it was SO utterly awesome. And I've been watching vids with friends ever since I got the news, and every time I close my eyes I can see her smile, and it's such an awesome smile. I'm so incredibly glad to be able to do that.

Edited at 2008-12-01 10:50 pm (UTC)

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chelseagirl

(no subject)

from: chelseagirl
date: Dec. 2nd, 2008 12:24 am (UTC)
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I met Abby via FORKNI-L, and saw her in person a few times during those early FK-related get-togethers; I was hoping I'd get to see her again when I go to San Francisco later this month, but now it's too late for that.

Abby was a really generous person. She sponsored me for a couple of private mailing lists, and just went out of her way to make me feel included.

The last exchange I had with her was in response to a question I posted in my LJ last week about which character in literature you identified with. She picked Pippin in LOTR. Which is just . . . neat.

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I'm not a real person, but I play one on LJ...

Making Grand Adventures of "The Little Things"

from: diannelamerc
date: Dec. 2nd, 2008 01:36 am (UTC)
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I don't even know where to begin. I read all the wonderful memories everyone else has and so many of them I share in some way or another. And wouldn't have thought of myself, because my memory is often crap. But Abby knew that, and will understand all the things I leave out because I spaced them.

I first met Abby back in 1993 or 1994, when she worked at Students With Disabilities across the (very narrow) hall from me in Women's Issues. She spent more time at the Daily Trojan offices upstairs with Perri (neonhummingbird), but since I was never up there, one of my first clear memories is of Abby carrying Perri piggyback on the back of her chair and them careening down the corridor. (You guys didn't just do it at 10pm, you know. Holidays and any other semi-deserted time was fair game too. :)

Abby introduced me to Perri, who introduced me to IRL fandom and sock throwing parties which helped cement my connection to the Forever Knight mailing list (FORKNI-L), which introduced me to fandom and a wonderful world of "We have found our kind!" that has brought me friends and fun and creative outlets and pretty much everything I value in my life right now outside of my immediate family and my cats.

I have great memories of her from the FKWars (Her dragging some poor unconscious soul around during a Merc Heist whispering: "Remember when you wake up, _Dianne_ was the one who gave you all these bruises. Abby was _really_ gentle."). From SunS and Horsechicks and insane AW vids ("...?!" "It's Abby." "Ohhhhh..."). And from times when I was hurting so terribly bad and so lost in depression I couldn't find my way out and she would be there--never minding that if anyone had reason to be depressed and bitch about their life and their pain it was her and not me--she would be there calmly talking sense and unwavering support.

But mostly I remember her from cons--Nine-and-a-half years ago (?!) she headed to MediaWest with my blithe assurance that "of course" I could lift her and help her out. It wasn't until years and years later that I discovered that was the first time she'd ever gone on a trip without her mom and/or dad there to take care of her--and, frankly, I think she was insane trusting her health and safety for that long weekend to an oblivious and way over-confident me. But we made it work, even though I never realized until later that we were working a whole lot of it out as we went along.

Since then I think I've been to one con (and maybe one other trip) without her. (I'm convinced that this isn't going to fully hit me until August, when I'm having to make my own travel arrangements for the first time, and facing a flight to Chicago without the obligatory stop-over in San Francisco, the first on/waaaaaaaay last-off (like 30 mins after everyone else while we waited for them to bring her chair up from cargo and hoping they hadn't broken it--again) boarding, and constantly explaining patiently-but-firmly to all the attendants that no, she couldn't be stuck into an aisle chair or airline manual chair until they found hers... and then explaining it to the baggage people... and then to the next shift of attendants waiting to take off again... then trying to get an accessible shuttle/taxi sent out... no an _accessible_ one... no the chair won't fold, and no she *can't* stand up for "just a step or two" to get in your cab, dude. WTF? why does everybody keep asking that? You think she does this for shits and giggles???) I don't remember what a 'regular' hotel room looks like, but I can tell you whose 'handicapped' rooms are full of shit (South Holiday Inn, Lansing) and which *rock* (Disneyland's Grand Californian).

...[And I babbled on, as I always do, so I've had to split this across the comments -- stupid 4300 character limit. :-p]...

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I'm not a real person, but I play one on LJ...

Re: Making Grand Adventures of "The Little Things"

from: diannelamerc
date: Dec. 2nd, 2008 01:37 am (UTC)
Link

I don't think I even know how to plan a trip without all the logistics issues automatically popping into my head to be addressed. (If amilyn picks up the bags for us we can just take the El--as long as we radio ahead, twice, for an attendant to put down the ramp so I don't have to stand bodily in the doorway this time refusing to let the train leave until they let you get off of it... and oh look! They finally paved most of the path from the El to the street! Now if we can just get them to put in a sidewalk and a couple of curb cuts someday.... There's a reason we came in a day early and left a day late.) Abby put up with so much PITA crap because her body wouldn't keep up with her, but even when it was causing us hours of delay and grief she wouldn't let it get her down (too much). We went to VividCon every year, and MediaWest a few times, and WorldCon in Anaheim, and Vegas for her 30th birthday, and Disneyland just because it was Disneyland (and her uncle worked there... heh, heh, heh...).

We actually weren't on line to each other nearly as much as she was with others. I still can't IM worth a damn, and we'd wandered mostly into different fandoms. But once or twice a year we'd meet up again at her house (for the van if we were staying in CA) or on the concourse at SFO and it was big hugs and off on the insane adventure one more time. And it was an adventure with her. Most other people I know would have been at someone's throat by halfway through, but she managed to stay calm and philosophical about it enough that it became a private little bitchfest between us at the time and a Grand Tale Of Horrors To Regale The Con With every year, instead of a nightmare of pain and embarrassment and frustration. And she was so good at that that it wasn't until now that I realized how bad it could have been, or would have been with just about anyone else. She was serious about these being "the little things" in her life.

So, yeah. I'm only really realizing now that the relationship I had with her was kinda weird (like us, of course) in that it was a 24/7 practically joined-at-the-hip thing for one long weekend every year in Chicago... and then the occasional hanging out on line the rest of the year. But I know how to lift her (for all my fears, I only ever dropped her once, and that time she fell on me!) and dress her and bathe her and roll her over in the middle of the night without ever fully waking up. And that sounds so distant and clinical, but it wasn't. She trusted me for these things and depended on me, and she is somewhere right now rolling her eyes when I say that I honestly don't know how to do a con without her any more, and it's going to kill me to not have all of that.

[Yes, I bitched about my back, and yes, it drove us both nuts, and yes, I'm going to miss it horribly because it was what we bonded so much over, Abby, so stop laughing. Bitka. :-p]

I don't have anything more to say without saying everything, so that's where I'll stop. With that and my penguin icon.

And I like scowling at the thought of Abby laughing her ass off at me for it. Even though (or especially since) I can't try to make her stop anymore by threatening to never let her pee again. (Yes, I'm weird, but you knew that more than most, dear. And I love you so very, very much.)

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weather and noise

(no subject)

from: kirbyfest
date: Dec. 2nd, 2008 02:12 am (UTC)
Link

Like many others, I'm not sure when I first met Abby. Probably before 1997, but my first clear memories are of 1997 at the Bridging the Knight charity auction. A large gaggle of us sat down front, stage right, with Abby at the center of it all. We were a very giggly and silly group of women. We blocked the aisle and were generally very badly behaved, and it was a wonderful, wonderful weekend.

Despite the implosion that was the end of Forever Knight fandom, many of us kept in touch. We saw each other at the occasional MediaWest, too. One of the many good things about the eventual emergence of LJ was the opportunity to reconnect on a more regular basis with Abby; since we didn't share a lot of fandoms any more, we weren't on common mailing lists. LJ brought many of us back together, and made us regular parts of each otherʼs lives.

In the spring of 2007, I had a meeting in San Francisco. It was scheduled to end midday on a Friday, and I e-mailed Abby to see if she might want company. She did. In fact, I believe she threatened me with bodily harm if I didn't come out there. :) I took the train out after my meeting and spent the night at her house, then took the train to the airport on Saturday morning.

We talked and laughed for hours, about anything and everything-- the joys of online dating, our favorite Diet Rite flavors, Christianity, crazy fandom stuff, you name it. We ordered in Chinese and ate looking out at the orange tree in her backyard. When her dad came home, we joined her parents in the kitchen for a while, and talked some more. It's clear where Abby came from; her parents are remarkable, too. By the time we went to sleep that night, we were both exhausted, but in the best of ways.

She made it to Vividcon that year, and we joked that seeing each other twice in one year was some kind of world record.

In 2007, between the visit in the spring and Vividcon in August, it was apparent that she'd slipped physically, and she started to bring it up with friends. On LJ and off, Abby was readying us for what was coming. I know I didn't want to hear it or think about it, but she was always so much stronger than the rest of us.

**

There aren't words for how glad I am that Abby made it to Vividcon this past year, and how grateful I am to Lizbet and Dianne for making the trip possible. Abby and I talked more at this year's VVC than we had in past years, and I am also grateful for that. She was so damn perceptive and funny and smart.

At the very end of the con, Abby and I were talking; I was waiting for amilyn to arrive with Herself the Dog of Wonder. Abby asked if she could meet Herself, after hearing about her for so many years, so we headed down to the lobby to wait.

As we were waiting, she told me about a couple of new physical symptoms that had showed up; she wanted me to know about them, and she wanted me to know they weren't good. I knew.

"I don't even want to think about it," I told her. "But you know we love you. And you know we'll keep in touch with your parents, someday. Years and years from now. Many years from now."

She rolled her eyes. "Years and years."

We both knew better.

Herself arrived, there was meeting and greeting, Herself got dog hair all over Abby as a lovely parting gift, and it was time to go. I hugged her. "Love you," she said.

"Love you back," I replied.

**

We were so lucky to know her. She was smart and strong and had a wicked (some might say evil) sense of humor. She had a remarkable, resilient, seemingly boundless faith that humbles me even now. She was an unrepentant Merc with a terrible weakness for Natpackers. She and I both agreed that every story (Stargate or no) should end with "And then, Teal'c took off his shirt!" She loathed being put on any kind of pedestal, ever, but I admire her spirit and her joy and, to be honest, her absolutely gorgeous hair.

I agree with others-- she'll never leave us. As Christina said, if anyone's going to haunt us? She will. I hope she does.

I said this elsewhere, but I like to think that she walked right into heaven, straight and tall and beautiful, and was welcomed with open arms by her sister and the others that went before her.

She is at peace.

Edited at 2008-12-02 02:13 am (UTC)

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Bizarra

(no subject)

from: bizarra
date: Dec. 2nd, 2008 03:17 am (UTC)
Link

I didn't know Abby personally, but I knew her via LJ. She was one of the first local fans who spoke up when I moved into the area. I'd never gotten a chance to meet her and I am sad about that. My condolences go out to you all who did know her well. {{Hugs to all}}

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Deire

(no subject)

from: deire
date: Dec. 2nd, 2008 07:13 am (UTC)
Link

I met Abby at Media West, but I got to know her over LJ. She was kind to me and supportive when I badly needed it, without asking anything back, when I know she had problems of her own. She made my favorite ever Buffy vid to "Hamster Dance". I bought a copy of Writer's Digest for her article on fan fiction, and I remember telling people I knew the person who wrote it. My only regret is not spending enough time being there for her in turn, not stopping to say something supportive when I could have instead of just thinking it. There is never, ever enough time with the people we love. Sometimes there are no second chances. Abby reminds me to love without reserve or balance sheet, now. Not some mythical later that might never happen.

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Deire

(no subject)

from: deire
date: Dec. 2nd, 2008 07:39 am (UTC)
Link

This is what I first wrote after I heard. If it is inappropriate here, I'll remove it. But it's a prayer that I've been thinking of and on today, so....

Godspeed, Abby. May your journey be peaceful and safe. May your destination be full of beauty. May the stars always shine for you. We love you. And this wasn't enough time.

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Meeshy

(no subject)

from: meeshy
date: Dec. 2nd, 2008 10:54 am (UTC)
Link

I never actually met Abby, not in person anyway. But the friendly, intelligent woman I met on the internet is someone that I will miss immensely now that she has gone. I'm not sure just how long ago we added one another to LJ or quite how we came to add one another... I'm sure it was probably through Stargate SG-1 and although I never got to know her as well as many others did, I hardly chatted with her outside of LJ, there were occasional IM conversations and I'll never forget my mother's face as I packaged up a rather large package of British chocolate to send to Abby...

Abby amazed me with her creativity, passion, and love of life. I won't ever forget her.

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(no subject)

from: venicefriend
date: Dec. 2nd, 2008 07:46 pm (UTC)
Link

To the "Horsechicks": what an amazing memorial you have created to Abby. It's been comforting to read everybody's comments and memories of a remarkable chick who led a remarkable life. Abby and her sister, Katy, were friends through our moms who were good friends in Carlinville, IL back in the 70's. I remember Katy as the "girl who sat in a cool chair and always kicked butt on the Sit & Spin" and Abby as an infant (not yet in a chair). I remember the day my mom heard that Abby had been diagnosed the same as her sister (I was four and it made an impression on me). I vividly remember getting the call that Katy had passed away and being shocked that somebody could try so hard and not be rewarded with a long life. Over the years, through our moms, Abby and I knew a lot about each other, though we didn't get to meet in person (as adults anyway) until last January. We had a marvelous visit and struck up a friendship and business relationship. Abby and I corresponded a great deal over email this year. She was a very talented editor and writer and helped me in my business designing my company newsletters. When people complimented my newsletters, I referred them to Abby and never did I feel the need to mention her disability (it wasn't important). I never knew how Abby did anything and it didn't matter. The "how" never seemed to stop her. Abby always seemed to find a way. I was delighted with her offbeat, irreverent, honest look at the world. She made me laugh and I know she did that for many of you. I especially laughed when she told me one habit she had acquired working in the city: never sit in a wheelchair with an open cup of coffee outside a Starbucks for fear somebody might drop coins in it. That still cracks me up.

Her spirit will live on through her writing and through the impression she has made on me, my family and each of you.

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Leela

(no subject)

from: leela_cat
date: Dec. 3rd, 2008 05:38 pm (UTC)
Link

Abby was family. A sister of my heart.

We first "met" in FK fandom online sometime around 1995/96. I'm sure I met her in person before Bridging the Knight (one of the Toronto trips probably), but BtK was the moment when she became a friend, not just someone I knew through fandom.

My favourite memory of Abby has nothing to do with fandom. It was just her and I, heading into San Francisco for a shopping trip. And I was seriously nervous. It was going to be my first time as Abby's only helper. But that's not what I remember about that trip. Other than both of us spending crazy amounts of imaginary money and me not quite having fun trying to work out how to get the little stair elevator thingie to actually go up (who knew it was that hard), what I remember is a moment of mischief.

We're in Nordstroms, and Abby says something along the lines of "want to see sales people go crazy?" So off we go to the china and crystal department. Abby starts whizzing and dancing around the displays in her chair and the sales people are just about losing it. You can see their desire to say "stop, go away, please oh please, before you break something" written all over their faces and the way they're clenching their fists to stop themselves from reaching out to protect the merchandise. But they can't say anything, because she's in a wheelchair and that just wouldn't be cool.

We laughed and laughed and laughed that day. She became a sister of my heart as well as a friend.

My life will be so much less without her presence in it, but I won't forget her or the lessons she taught me.

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pen37

(no subject)

from: pen37
date: Dec. 3rd, 2008 07:18 pm (UTC)
Link

Abby wasn't someone I knew well. I knew her best through the FK wars. I played with the Vaqueros and the girls from Nunkies Anonymous, and eventually led the Vaqueros. She was a FOD and a Merc. But I remember her best though her reputation as a horsechick.

I don't remember the implosion of FK fandom. I think I left before that. Or possibly I wandered away during the gradual decline of the remains. Life has a way of happening. And then you drift away from things that were familar to you. This is the way that things sometimes end. Not with a bang, but with a series of whimpers.

Since then, I've been trying to re-connect with as many former FK friends as possible. It's not always easy. Not all of us wear the same screen name that we wore in FK fandom. I used to be Tracy Sue. Here, Abby was tv_elf . I didn't find her until it was too late.

As I said before, I didn't know Abby well. I knew of her more than I knew her. But in her passing, we are all less.


Edited at 2008-12-03 07:47 pm (UTC)

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Valerie - Postmodern Pollyanna

Requiem for a dreamer

from: wiliqueen
date: Dec. 4th, 2008 04:14 am (UTC)
Link

Penguins and Johnny Cash. La Femme Nikita and Britney Spears. Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Facts of Life theme. Abby's eccentric body of vidding work certainly doesn't say everything about her by any means, but somehow it seems like the right place to start.

I'm not the first to say I don't remember for sure when I first met her in person, though I'm fairly sure it was before MediaWest*Con in '98, with her attitude-dripping Cordy impersonation in our Buffy skit for the masquerade, and the chorus of beep beep beeps warning bystanders every time she backed up her chair. If that was the first time, it didn't feel like it, as so often happened with Sunnydale Slayers or FORKNI-L folks, especially after all those "War" adventures with the latter.

I don't remember the name of the author or the book that introduced the notion of modern Western women forming "tribes," or which of the Horsechicks pointed it out as applying to us. My "tribe" is around the intersection of college friends, fandom, and acting, with the Horsechicks a solid chunk of it. When apocalyptic designations were being claimed (I'm still not sure how I got away with Madness all to myself!), Abby dubbed herself the Stable Girl. And for all that she was rightfully known for her wicked and wacky humor, occasionally leading to the nickname being altered to (Un)Stable Girl, she was about as stable as it got. That sense of perspective -- not that the "little things" never bothered her, or that she didn't gripe about them once ina while, but she knew how to keep them in their place. As an old Reader's Digest anecdote I dimly remember put it, she knew the difference between a problem and an inconvenience. And a problem had to be a real problem to qualify, and the inconveniences just weren't worth energy that was better spent elsewhere. We should all be so wise.

That double meaning of "Stable Girl" led to a ridiculous mental cartoon image I've had for years, of the whole giggling gaggle of us piled in an inverted human pyramid on her chair, careening through an unsuspecting crowd, possibly in the dealer's room at a con. (It's only the number that's ridiculous. Just ask neonhummingbird.)

Like others, I see her now, standing tall, striding strong, dancing as she always dreamed. But I have to think she also has the fastest, most maneuverable, most badass hot-rod of a power chair EVER to play with sometimes. Just for fun. And an excuse to beep.

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Perri

(no subject)

from: neonhummingbird
date: Dec. 4th, 2008 03:11 pm (UTC)
Link

Posting some links to a few memories in other locations:

susanmgarrett's Dear Abby

mtgat's column Dancing with Penguins

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dorinda

(no subject)

from: dorinda
date: Dec. 5th, 2008 06:16 am (UTC)
Link

When I came sniffing around for Vividcon raffle prizes before VVC '08, Abby surprised me by offering a completely adorable and soft little stuffed llama, as well as an Apocalypse West vid disc. And I remember that the llama was the very first prize chosen by the very first winner, who wore it thereafter affixed to her person. And everybody wanted to pet it. It was a big hit!

And then, right after the con, Abby dropped me a line with a link to more adorable and soft little llamas, asking the concom to choose their own raffle-llama for *next* year. It was a generous and kind thought--the sort of thing that makes VVC, and cons, and fandom, go 'round.

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Raven

(no subject)

from: raveninthewind
date: Dec. 22nd, 2008 02:19 am (UTC)
Link

I met Abby at VVC a couple of years ago: it was in passing, but she was kind to a fan alone at a con when we met. She was in different fannish circles from me, but I had heard her name in passing over the years, and when I met her at VVC, I had heard of her that way.

She will be missed by us all, even those who weren't close friends with her. She was part of our web, and we are poorer for her absence.

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I will miss Abby

from: anonymous
date: Jan. 3rd, 2009 01:57 am (UTC)
Link

I met Abby in the 3rd grade, so many many years ago....She was always a great friend to me and I am soooooo sad she is gone. I was late to finding out about her passing so I am just totally depressed... But for all those that knew her personally or online consider yourselves lucky because she was the best person in the whole world and this is a huge loss for the world.
I love ya and miss ya Abby.....You were the best in the world and I wish we could of had more time together.
Love Always and Forever,
Gina Fedrizzi

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We're flat broke, but hey - we do it in style....

...um.

from: kshandra
date: Jul. 3rd, 2010 07:23 am (UTC)
Link

A year and a half later, while surfing links from a userpicks post, I find Abby's journal, and through it this post.

And I realize I knew her. Not well, and not recently. But we'd been on Duchovny-l together, ages ago.

And I'm kicking myself for never making arrangements to meet her face to face, for all we were both in the Bay Area.

Damn, I'm sorry.

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Charlotte

Abby

from: Charlotte Hufschmidt
date: Oct. 30th, 2010 08:40 am (UTC)
Link

I met Abby in the Fall of 1996. I was her roommate/live-in aid while we both attended USC. I was saddened today to see that she has passed on.

She was a wonderful spirit and I feel so blessed to have been able to share the short time we had together.

Love and blessings to Donna and the rest of her family.

<3 and hugs,
Charlotte Hufschmidt

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Christina K  (jackelope hunter!)

Re: Abby

from: butterflykiki
date: Nov. 1st, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC)
Link

Thanks, Charlotte. It's been two years, but it's still good to be reminded of her, and to know people still miss her. I passed this along to her parents.

}|{

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Charlotte

Re: Abby

from: Charlotte Hufschmidt
date: Nov. 17th, 2010 07:34 am (UTC)
Link

Thank you :)

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(no subject)

from: wokodell
date: Apr. 8th, 2011 11:41 am (UTC)
Link

Great, I never knew this, thanks.

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Christina K  (jackelope hunter!)

(no subject)

from: butterflykiki
date: May. 11th, 2011 05:57 pm (UTC)
Link

A late thank you, but good to know people still miss her.

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