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A Winter's Tale

I was born in Melbourne, Australia, on the 9th of March, 1946, and grew up largely in the eastern/south eastern suburbs.  By a great deal of scrimping and saving on my parents' part, I was sent to a rather upper middle class private school, Ruyton Girls' Grammar, which was supposedly "non-denominational" but in reality was High Church of England - people were like that in those days...

I suppose in some ways I was a little precocious - reading novels and writing longhand (script) well before I went to kindergarten. On the whole though, at school I was a pretty mediocre student who could have done very well if I'd wanted to, but was only interested in doing the minimum work to get a Pass mark.  About the only subjects I did really well in with consistent marks in the A+/high 90's, were Art, English Expression (grammar et al) and English Literature. Anyway, in 1962 at the tender age of 16 I finally finished my Matriculation year, still undecided as to what I wanted to do with my life. As fate would have it, that decision was taken away from me when I became very ill and spent the next three years in hospital. No-one is quite sure exactly what was wrong with me, however it's generally agreed that it was something similar to meningitis which left a great deal of scar tissue behind which in turn caused me to have epileptic-type fits. Years passed, and by the time I got married to my first husband I was off all medication and back to... whatever passes for normal these days, I guess.

Aged 27, living in the 'burbs with two small daughters, I realised that this existence wasn't for me.  I divorced my first husband in 1978 and struck out on my own as a somewhat bohemian - some might even say eccentric - single parent.

More years passed until finally, in 1985 with my then partner, I discovered computers, modems... and Bulletin Boards.  The rest, as they say, is history.  I took to Bulletin Boards like a duck to water, and in January 1986 I started my own. I was fascinated by the young people I met and the wondrous advantages and opportunities that these primitive, dial up message forums offered us social "misfits", who weren't interested in sport or cars or other so-called "normal" youthful activities.  So fascinated, in fact, that my partner issued an ultimatum.  Either the modem went, or he did. I thought about it for fully ten seconds then said "Goodbye then, I'm sorry, I can't give these people up - they're my friends!", and they were... Most of them still are. I even married one of them.

The children, the Bulletin Board, the hectic pace of keeping a virtually constant Open House for the Users of my BBS and being everyone's taxi service at just about any time of the day or night kept me extremely busy for the next 11+ years.  Running "The REAL CONNECTION" as The REAL ARTICLE (Honorary member of H.A.C.K.), and later "death... by chocolate" as Ginger, was a wonderful, wonderful experience. My two daughters, Lisa and Kate, grew up into kind, generous and loving young women, and I met the love of my life, my soul mate, and now my husband of 12 years.

I met Julian shortly after I started The REAL CONNECTION in 1986, and when I was also running a rather large RPG group. A friend brought him along because Julian was interested in RPGs, as well as the fact that he was also a User on the BBS (with a nasty habit of being over generous with, ummm, pirated files that he wanted to share - and which crashed my computer. I always knew if he'd been online when I got up in the morning and found my BBS waggling its feet in the air and doing a very good impersonation of a dead system)  Julian was 19, twenty years younger than me, and he was gorgeous. At first I thought "Wow, he can leave his shoes under my bed any time!", and then I thought "Forget it Freddie, he's too young for you! He's probably got a string of gorgeous young girlfriends as long as your arm anyway!", so I put all romantic thoughts very firmly out of my head and we became friends. He helped out technically with the BBS and looked after its C=64 section. We fell in love, which scared us both, and by mid July he'd moved in permanently. We married on December 14th, 1990, which together with the birth of my two girls, was one of the happiest days of my life.

Well, the barn storming glory days of the BBS ended with the advent of the Internet and easy access to the World Wide Web, but Julian and I are still forum freaks and computer nerds (we play computer games together in our spare time)  Few people who frequent the Internet forums today realise that without the groundwork and experimentation done by people like us, they wouldn't have their forums, or indeed, quite a lot of what comprises the World Wide Web today.  Ah well...

Along with my interest in modems and forums, I also kept up my interest in Art - oils and physical materials being too expensive for me, digital art work was ideal. For my first web site I used the graphics and themes which came with the software I'd bought, but they were pretty boring and the layouts uninspiring, so I started making my own and the whole thing just sort of snowballed. Cathedral Graphics, my first Web Graphics site, was quickly overtaken by Digital Tapestries, which will shortly also be undergoing a major re-write and re-organisation.

So there you have it - Winter in a nutshell. I have ash grey hair, hazel eyes, and bad arthritis in both my ankles and in my lower spine. I love reading, cats, travel, music and chocolate in no particular order, and I want to see the pyramids before I die.


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