I feel like I need to bring everyone up to date on some developments in my life over the last five months or so. In early June, a longtime cruising friend, sent me the name and email address, of a friend of a friend who was also a long-distance cruiser and had been widowed a couple of years before Janet passed away. He felt that we needed to meet.
Unfortunately she was sailing in the Caribbean, and I’m still in a marina on the south coast of Turkey. So, I was more than a little skeptical, but thought it rude to ignore. I sent off a polite but not very hopeful email to her, and she replied in a similar manner.
Then, it really got like something out of the Twilight Zone. We started exchanging emails, and inserting our comments in the appropriate place in the previous email, and sending it back. Then one of us would insert comments among the comments, and send it back.
The spooky part was that we were so much alike. To the point that I would be reading an email and did not remember writing that particular paragraph. But it was clearly ME talking. And then I realized that she had written that paragraph! Many times I accused her of really being a CIA computer, that was spying on me, and knew my innermost thoughts.
I’m not sure that I have explained it clearly. But, I became convinced that we were from the same zygote, and there was some sort of experiment, like in the movie, “Twins”. Except I was clearly the prototype. They held back her half and greatly improved upon it for about seven years.
With both of us being relatively nerd like, we eventually figured out how she could Skype from her boat. Previously she had to go to a cybercafe onshore, and when you’re on a mooring, in an area that gets frequent torrential rains, that can be a little annoying.
The Skype is ever so much better than an email. Of course it crashes frequently, but it works most of the time.
I have amazed myself with my power of persuasion. She is putting her boat on the hard, and flying to meet me in Istanbul, on November 3. While we are quite aware that there will probably be some learning experiences after she walks out of the International Arrivals door at the airport. We have covered such an incredible amount of conversation since June, that we clearly will be very close friends for life. But, perhaps only as penpals.
Obviously, both of us hope that it will be far more than that, but without actually having been within 9000 km, (abt 5,500 miles) of each other, there is still a great deal for each of us to learn.
A brief curriculum vitae of her many life experiences:
She was born in Massachusetts, to a family that occasionally forgot to put letters in names. She was born, “Robn Gras” (as in Robin Grass). Which actually frightened some of her college friends. They thought that she was going to, “Rob their grass.” But, fortunately for all of us, she never had any interest in such things.
Her father, was the son of an illustrious professor at Harvard, who actually kind of ostracized him, when Robn’s father said that he was planning to go to MIT.
That was considered a trade school. Something akin to aspiring to ride on the back of a garbage truck. Or so Robn’s grandfather claimed. People are really amazing, aren’t they?
But her father knew what he wanted and had a long career as a mechanical engineer including work for the space program. He built the first privately financed, solar heated home in the USA, way back in the 1950’s. Another one of his dreams was to sail around the world on his own boat. Which until recent years, was similar to wanting to be an astronaut.
But he made it happen, and in 1969 Robn, her mom and dad, and two of her brothers left on their around the world trip. In French Polynesia, Robn, became very surprised at her interest in a German single hander. Whom she eventually married. They lived in Germany for a time, and then Sequim, Washington, which is west of Seattle. Not all that far from where Dave was living. They ran a successful plumbing business for many years, and raised a wonderful daughter.
Still infected with the sailing bug, they bought a sailboat and lived on her for several years, leaving on their own round the world trip in 2001. Unfortunately, her husband passed away in South Africa in 2010. And, one of her brothers helped her sail her boat to the Caribbean. Where she has been single handing ever since when crew is not available.
That may be more information than some of you wanted. But that’s just the way I am. And I didn’t even tell you about Gerhard escaping from East Germany.
Robin’s last name is now Diekow, pronounced something like “Dee – Co” as in copilot.
There will be a lot more info in the months to come.