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Internetjunkies: The Road To Friendship

This interview is somewhat different than the ones I have done before. I have started it over and over again and can't seem to find the right words to use. I have written many articles about some really talented people, but I had never had the honor of meeting them. I had the honor of meeting the people in this interview, though. They have become and will remain a part of my life forever. For this interview, please let them into your lives as well. You will not be sorry you took the time to meet them. Just click on their names to enter into their lives. To view pictures of the trip and meet the people who went on it, please click here.

In March of this year I took a trip to Las Vegas, Nevada. The purpose was to meet some of the people that are members of my Internetjunkies' group. I started this group in December of 1998. It was not meant to become the group it is today. It was started because WebTV did not have the ability to send e-mail via blind carbon copy or bcc. The idea worked that way for a while, but for some reason, we started talking to each other. We would thank each other for the posts that were sent and we comforted and supported those who needed it. We congratulated when congratulations were due and we cried when someone was hurt. We worried when there was illness and we applauded when members submitted pages and stories that they created. It became an e-mail list. To think, I didn't have a clue what one was when I started it.

The group is made up of some very respectable people. We speak when we have something to say and ignore mistakes made by those of us who have made them. The ability to forgive and forget is a strong point in this group. We all know we mess up so we don't chastise each other when we do. We became a family. We decided to have a ‘‘family gathering’’ and it just happened that Norma and her husband, Darwin were to be in Las Vegas so it just seemed appropriate that we have the ‘‘gathering’’ there.

It all started with the road trip. There were three of us going in my car. One person I already knew by e-mail and by sight. Her name is Tracey. She is a dear lady who I call Sis. She has always been a special person since our first meeting. Then there is Robbie, who lives about 3 hours from me. We had never met but had talked on the phone several times. She is a person with a lot of energy and is enjoyable to know. The road trip that followed our meeting will be remembered for quite some time. Some of the things I will remember are the sites, the sounds, the rest areas, the laughter, and being able to talk about anything. These will always remain special.

Our first stop would be at Beanie and Frank's house in California. They are a sweet couple who allowed us to stay overnight with no questions asked. The atmosphere in this house was fantastic. It was like visiting our grandparents and that is what they wanted it to be like. They were excited to see us as well. Frank filled us full of information of his life and what information it was. He is a fascinating and charming man and kept our attention with little effort. Beanie is such a loving lady. When she hugs, you know you have been hugged. She gives her warmth and love with each hug. I thank them both for allowing us to stay in their home. You can see some pictures of their home and of us together by clicking here.

We left Beanie and Frank's home late the next day. We knew we would see them again in Vegas, but it was still hard to let go. Now we were officially on our way to Vegas. No stopping us now. We would be there in no time. Well, okay, about 5 hours later we were there. I won't tell you about how I got turned around and headed back towards Beanie's, so don't even ask. (lol) I won't tell you about the episode where I was suffering from a headache and was about to take a couple of Iburophen when one fell down between the gas pedal and the brake. I won't tell you how Robbie was trying so hard to help me out by reaching down to get that pill.. and don't even ask about the trucks that seemed to be slowing down as they notice Robbie's head moving up and down trying to grab that pill.. and I won't tell you about losing control and laughing so hard that I ended up with Pepsi all over myself and my dash board. Nor shall I tell you how it took all of us well over an hour to quit laughing. So don't ask, cuz I am not going to tell you. :-)

Finally, we made it to Vegas. A place of so many streets. Whew! The beauty was overwhelming. So much to see, so many places to stop. We had one thing in mind at this time, though. We were late and needed to find our hotel. We were to meet Rick, Norma, Darwin, Gina and her husband, Dave. The excitment was mounting and we were pumped. We met up with Robbie's mom, Shirley, who got to Vegas earlier than was expected. She is a wonderful lady. She was not feeling well so she stayed behind. ;-( We decided to take the car to Ceasar's Palace instead of walking. It wasn't really a hard decision, the hotels were about three miles from each other. So we parked the car and went to find the rest of our ‘‘family.’’ Ceasar's is humongous. It is so full of statues, paintings, shops, food court, so many wonderful machines, and for some, a wedding chapel. The quest to find the others was intense. We finally found the elevators. Like I said, the place is huge. :-)

Once we got to the floor where Norma and Darwin were staying, we checked ourselves, took a deep breath and knocked on the door. The outpour of emotion from that meeting was incredible. We were no longer words on a screen. We became living breathing beings. It was marvelous and we hadn't got past Norma to see Rick or Darwin yet. :-) Of course, the same emotions were felt with Rick. He has been a presence in my life for well over a year. He is such a good friend that he allowed me to use him to write my first profile. It was not a hard decision to make him co-owner/co-moderator when the e-mail list began to grow. He is just as sweet in person as he is online. Now Darwin is a person who is not into WebTV or the internet in general. He just happened to be there because he is Norma's husband. (lol) He must have thought us all odd to be so glad to see each other, but he is quite the gentleman so he went along with our shenanigans.

After we settled down a bit, we went gambing. I am not a person to gamble. Norma is a lucky lady. When she gambles, she wins. I, on the othe hand, could lose my shirt if I am not careful. Norma tried to help me. She had her hand on the button with my hand on top of hers, but alas, no luck. I can dampen the luck of anyone who comes near. This is why I stay away from lottery tickets as well as those one-armed bandits. (lol) Now Rick, Tracey, and Robbie enjoyed the gambling part of the trip. They didn't win big but they did have fun. Now it was off to a good dinner and deciding what to do the next day when we finally hooked up with the rest of our family. The reason I metioned taking my car earlier is because when we went to look for it in the parking garage of Ceasar's, we couldn't find it. It is so big with so many levels it was a bit confusing. Rick asked me about the color of the car. I said it was white. There was nothing but white cars on that level. Everywhere!! (lol) After locating the car, we went back to our hotel and played the slots there for a while and then to bed. It had been a long drive and a long exhausting but incredible day.

The next day we hooked up with Gina and Dave. I had met them both a year earlier in California. I already knew how sweet Gina is and how hilarious Dave is. They can both keep a conversation going with little ease. They can treat you as if you have known them forever. You see, like Darwin, Dave does not go online with the rest of us. He hears about us from Gina. To meet him, is to enjoy him. We decided to go touring the strip. Dave became our leader. We went up the escalator and down the escalator, the rest of us following like children. It was funtastic. We did get to see a lot of the strip, but nowhere near all of it. By the time we made our way to Ceasar's, I had blisters on my feet. We walked so far and it was so warm. It was wonderful. No, not the blisters, the company. (lol)

We got back to Ceasar's and met up with Norma and Darwin. Beanie and Frank soon showed up. We were all together now. We went to see the ‘‘Talking Statue's’’ that are a big feature at Ceasar's. They are beautiful but sight seeing means more walking. Beanie knew I had developed blisters on my feet so she suggested we stop and rest for a while. I said it was okay and we could keep going. This lady is so sweet she used her age to suggest we stop again. She said it would be nice if she could just sit down to rest for a bit. I knew what she was doing and admire her for it. That is the type of people we have in this group. Beanie and Frank are not involved with Internetjunkies but we made them honorary members. They are very special indeed.

Dave, Gina, Rick, Robbie, Tracey, and I decided to go look around some more. At the ‘‘Treasure Island Casino’’ there was to be a show. We had to wait a while before showtime so we kidded around with each other. Robbie was trying to take pictures, Dave put up his hand to stop her and the teasing intensified. Robbie had her picture taken with a group of pirates and yes, she had a good sized grin on her face. (lol) Even though we were tired, the show was worth waiting for. If anyone goes to Vegas, make sure this is one show you see. Most casino/hotels have shows outside their buildings as well as inside. They are not only entertaining, they don't cost any money. Just imagine the beauty of the strip at night. Nice!!

There is a lot more that went on in Vegas. There are so many things it is hard to decide which ones to mention. If you click one of the above links, you will see some of the sights we enjoyed while there. When it was time to say goodbye, it was so very hard. The hugs, the tears, the promises of doing this again next year, and the love we felt for each other. The bond that grew between us. There are no words that can describe how intense this was. We didn't want to let go and we never did. The special bond is still within us. Stronger than ever. We are no longer words on a screen. We are people with faces and emotions. We now feel the pain, the happiness, the worry, and the admiration more deeply than just being online. We have become a part of each other's lives. We are family.

If you would like to know what others had to say, please check out our page of comments.

E-mail: Netjunkies or Rick or Linda