Too many people I have cared about are going!
Wednesday night, I had a phone call from my friend Geoff. Our mutual friend Teresa De Gabriele, better known to all her friends as Tessie, had passed away in hospital.
It wasn’t COVID. Tessie had not been well for several years. She ended up in care some years ago, after only a few years in her new home, with her dogs and some rescue hens which had been in cages, then pecking and scraping peacefully in her yard. She had looked after her father in the family home till he passed away, because he decided, after the new house was ready, that he didn’t want to move.
I knew her originally from Star Trek fandom, but other fandoms as well, including general SF fandom . We met at Austrek, the Melbourne Star Trek club. Tessie was the most generous and hospitable person I ever knew. She invited her friends over to her home regularly, to chat, eat and play videos, as well as for birthday parties, not only for her own birthday. She had a huge collection of videos from her various fandoms, which she happily shared with us; she used to bring her VCR and chosen videos to my home to help me dub them.
When we all went to Star Trek marathons, in the days before you could rent or buy episodes, Tessie was the one who drove everyone home afterwards. I believe she used to arrive home herself at about 3.00 a.m!
She also shared her media-based fanzines, which enabled her friends, including me, to enjoy fiction we otherwise would never have seen. (Bear in mind, this was before online fan fiction, so you had to order it, often from overseas)
However, she was one of my few friends at the time with whom I could talk about books, especially SF and fantasy. The others just enjoyed media SF, including fan fiction.
In the days pre-COVID the fannish phone/email/social media tree would have passed around the information and we would all have gone to the funeral, but obviously the funeral is not possible now, though the tree has passed around the information as always. Perhaps when it’s all over, we can have a wake in her honour. I hope so; I’ll offer my home for it.
Tessie was a devout Catholic, so I hope she has been made welcome by St Peter and has been meeting all her loved ones who went before.
Vale, Tessie! We will miss you.