I moved to California from Alabama almost exactly 14 years ago.
When I still lived there, I did a lot more cross stitch then I do these days. And part of that hobby was hanging out on the newsgroup, r.c.t.n. rec.crafts.textiles.needlepoint
When we found out that my first husband (fiance at the time) was taking a job here, I immediately hit rctn and asked if anyone was in the area, could tell me anything about it, what could we expect, etc?
Elaine responded. I knew her some already because we also have hearing loss in common. Hers due to illness, mine due to no known cause.
In the middle of a whole mess of getting the fiance moved, finishing up a semester of school, working part time, packing up our house and moving back in with my parents till I could finish my co-op commitment, and getting the dog and cat shipped to to California, Elaine offered advice where she could.
I flew out there for Christmas of 95 and she invited us to her home. Two people she only knew on the internet. She was that kind of person.
We kept in touch while I went home and got approved to start at SSU in the fall. She was excited for me when I got my internship at HP. I was excited to hear about her cochlear implant.
I got into town officially on May 9, 1996 after a very long cross country drive. The following week Elaine kidnapped me and made sure I knew where all the good craft stores were. She took me to lunch for Mongolian BBQ. She made me feel welcome.
4 months later, she and friend back in Alabama, Karin, conspired to make sure my birthday didn't pass by unnoticed. The fiance was working crazy hours and was never really home much. I was so grateful because I didn't know a soul and had no other friends here and classes hadn't started yet and I didn't socialize with anyone from work because the fiance worked there too.
Over the next couple of years we saw each other regularly. We had cross stitch night with friends at my house a few times a year. She and I went to a CATS convention in Sacramento one year (she's a great lady but I never got in a car with her again after that trip - a long story for another time).
I finished my second degree. Got a real job. Got married. Got absorbed with that and while Elaine and I still kept in touch via email, we didn't see each other much again until I showed up at a guild knit night 3 years ago at the local Borders.
We caught up. Her CCI dog was wonderful. Her daughter was all grown up. Elaine knit some beautiful lace. So we shared a love of knitting as well.
We never fully hooked up again. We only saw each other on the occasionally knit night that I made it to during the week.
Elaine passed away on April 15th. She was only 56. I guess the good do die young, because they didn't come any better than her.
I am forever grateful that she made this hick's transition to northern California much smoother and much more pleasant than it had any right to be.