Tuesday, June 3, 2008

"The Loop"

I've been online now since 1993, and over the years I've "met" some wonderful people, some who have become so special to me as to be considered true friends. Back in 1996 I found myself pregnant for the first time, and desperately surfing the web for information on pregnancy. I happened upon a post on a bulletin board, asking anyone who was due in July of '97 if they would like to join an email "loop". I had no idea what this was, but it was my chance to connect with other pregnant women who were all due at the same time as me!






When our loop first started, there were over 30 of us and the emails were sending sparks off our computers, everyone trying to learn every one's names, kid's names, husband's names, locations, etc. This was an exciting time for us. Some were on their first pregnancy, while others were already on their third. There was one woman, who thankfully dropped out of the loop later, that I totally despised. I'll call her Gwendolyn here. Not only was she the most cheap person I'd ever had the non-pleasure of meeting, but she absolutely hated being pregnant, because she'd lost her "gorgeous" 6-days-a-week-workout body. She even said the feeling of her baby moving inside her had her disgusted, and explained it like having a snake slithering around in there. I swear, if I had to hear this woman tell one more story about making a box of mac and cheese stretch for a family of four, I was going to impale myself on the nearest sharp object.
I was overjoyed when she left our little loopie family!

So we all had our babies, and the years passed. Hubbies finally got used to the idea of our close-knit group and constant emails, and even got in on the action to email the loop with birth announcements! We are simply known as "The Loopies". Anyway, the kids grew, more kids came along, and many people dropped from the loop for various reasons. These days we're down to thirteen of us, I think, but we are close and know so much about each other's lives that we may as well be next door neighbors. Over the years some of us have met each other at various places around the country. I've met one loopy a couple of times; once at her home in PA, and once when she came down to FL, we spent the day with her and her family at Magic Kingdom. Met another family from KY at Disney when they came for a visit, and met yet another, this one from Mississippi when she was here on a business trip. It was so fun to get to see my friends face-to-face!

We're scattered all over the country, and beyond. We span FL to NM, to NE, to OH. We have one that lives in Canada, and another who is temporarily living in Costa Rica! We're a pretty varied bunch, with most of us stay at home moms these days, but some that work from home, and others that work away from home. S is a cyber cop for her local DA, C is a nurse, LS a retired physics teacher, D, a stay at home mom of NINE that also home-schools. CB is a writer/editor and has a wonderful way with words and a sharp intellect. CH is the entrepreneur of our group, and works out of her kitchen making fabulous, all natural, lotions and potions. Check her out at www.skindazzles.com and tell her Justine sent ya!

When one of the girls found out she had breast cancer, we all gathered together in the only way we knew how. We each ordered a pink breast cancer awareness bracelet, and vowed not to take it off until C was cured. We said our prayers, gave her a cyber shoulder to lean on and an endless amount of encouragement. I don't think I'm the only loopie who kept that bracelet on until C was well again. When life throws a curve ball our way, we stand solidly together and push each other through until no more help is needed.

Each person in our loop represents something special to me. All of us are different and all of us add something special to our group. One gal in particular is special to me just because of the lifestyle she leads and how different it is compared to anyone else I know. I'll be writing a post about D in the days to come, because her life is so interesting to me. She's probably the polar opposite of me in about a million ways, but there's no one I respect more, or admire more as a mother and human being.

Anyway, the next time someone says to you, "How can you feel close to someone you've never met face-to-face? How can they be a real friends?" You can tell them my story, about 13 women who have been "together" for over 11 years now, sharing everything from childbirth to breast cancer, to children's trips to the ER and the daily comedy that is life.




Until next time, Justine :o )

21 "Sister" Lovin' Friends Said:

  • Buffie

    Amen! Awesome story... never thought I would even have oline friends but I love my online girlfriends too!

  • JagStyle a/k/a Pam

    Another heartfelt and lovely chat. It is funny how you truly can become friends with people you've never met. Isn't that wonderful? I don't have much time but I truly feel like I'm dropping by and hanging out with my "peeps" after work. Thanks for putting into words many of the emotions that I experience.

  • SchmeckyGirl

    Very nice. But now I see who your TRUE loop friends are. Hmph.

  • Patty

    hey now Just - I work outside the home tooooooo!!

    Great post. You write really well!

    Love, [:::]

  • Ladydeembee

    Justine,

    I just read through your blog and I see you are a Ghost Hunter Fan! I have been watching Ghost Hunters for 3 years now! I DONT miss an episode! Every Wednesday I am in my bed by 7:00pm... I even watch the re-runs! I go on to the Ghost Hunter site and browse through all of the pages! I am soooo hooked! LOL... I cracked up when I saw your blog on Ghost hunters!

    I am making an attempt to start a blog... one of these days... I will let you know when... :)

    Donna (Deembee)

  • SchmeckyGirl

    You'd better post my comment!

  • Dazzlemama

    LOL Justine - thanks for the plug! We should be on Oprah or something.
    Candy

  • artis1111

    My two closest friends called last week. We talked of
    days when we wer young and of the stupid things we did. For years I never talked to eigher of them. just lost touch. When my mom passed away I felt so alone. Then one day one of my friends called.She had tracked me down. I then finally located the other one. Now when we talk ,I feel as if I am home. Kathy

  • Patty

    ooh, and I kept that bracelet on too, until she got the all clear sign! Then I gave it to another friend who had just been diagnosed - told her it had loopie luck.

  • Dazzlemama

    I forgot to comment earlier also, that I kept my bracelet on until she was better too... and I work out of the house 3-4 days a week now too! Did I not mention that to the loop? LOL

  • Tootsie

    this is wonderful Justine! I love it! you are lucky to have the loopies! I can totally relate to the closeness. I have several friends that are so close to me that I have never met in person. I hope you and I stay buds for a long time to come!

  • SchmeckyGirl

    Justine,
    Does your email work or not? I'm trying to list links to blogs on my page. I tried to add an element. I think I tried Link List? It's not working. What am I doing wrong. Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeelp meeeeeeeeeee!!!

  • Justine (Justwaaaa)

    Donna, I wanted to comment back to you about Ghosty Hunters, but you don't have any posts up on RMS and I don't have your email. So I'll just say Yeah baby yeah! Another addicted individual!!!!!!!!!!

    Justine :o )

  • Justine (Justwaaaa)

    Candy, didn't some of the loopies write in to Oprah years ago and actually win bikes because of our group? Something like that anyway.

    Justine :o )

  • Dazzlemama

    I think that was Rosie wasn't it? I wasn't a part of the loop then I don't think - I didn't get a bike!

  • Patty

    There were 4 of us and I can't remember who else besides Lori and me (maybe Cindy?). We joined Rosie's Chub Club and every once in awhile she'd pull a name and that team would win something. George Wendt (from Cheers) actually pointed to our name out of a huge list and we each got a fancy Schwinn Airdyne stationary bike. Mine is a beautiful basement decoration, ROFL, but I just can't part with it!

  • Buffie

    Hey Tiney!
    Hey Weeny!
    Whatcha doin'?
    Peelin' taters.
    How you like 'em?
    MMM, I like 'em!
    What you doin'?
    Peelin' maters.
    How you like 'em?
    MMM, I like 'em!
    Who's your boyfriend?
    Johnny Johnson.
    How you like 'im?
    MMM, I like 'im!
    Who's your boyfriend?
    Tommy Thompson!
    How you like 'im?
    MMM, I like 'im!
    Bye Tiney!
    Bye Weeny!

  • Naz

    In someways online friendships can have more meaning because we tend to be more open with our feelings in the written word rather than in person. I really enjoyed reading about your online friends. Kudos for keeping the friendship alive for so many years.

  • Anonymous

    Great Blog today Tiney...

    Love ya! Julie

  • Anonymous

    BTW....Love them Doobies!

    Julie

  • Four in Costa Rica

    Awww, we love you too, Just! This is such a sweet post.

    By the way, I never got a bike from Rosie either. C'est la vie!

    Christine