booker (Arvey Shier) with Sam and I
Arvey Shier, who went by the name "booker" online, was a beloved user of my BBS who died on January 14, 1993, after a year-long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was among other things a retired space-shuttle engineer, a poet, a world traveler, a book and bicycle enthusiast, a husband and father, who loved both online and offline discussions and friendships.
I think he would have very much enjoyed today's online world, but like many of those who did not live to see it, it contains no record of his existence other than a Social Security death record and a few bare "in memory of"s in PDF newsletters. In that vein, when I was just updating some of the "where are they now?" links on my page about Pyrzqxgl, the BBS I used to run, I felt bad that booker was not listed among the rest of us, so I uploaded this picture so I would have something to link to for him.
As it would be nice to have something here in his own words as well, here's a message he sent me about six months before he died, looking forward to one more wonderful trip he was going to take between grueling bouts of chemo:
booker, 7-16-92, 14:31
i spent a week in paris with jean (my spouse) in 1985 and had a wonderful time doing a literary odyssey of "lost generation" writers and artists...the men and women writers and artists of the 1920's...i did a lot of research beforehand and we visited the haunts of hemingway, fitzgerald, stein, joyce, sylvia beach, nancy cunard, ezra pound and many more...went to see where they lived and sociallized including all the "famous name cafes" like the select, deux maggots, rotunde etc...i had spent over a year in paris during ww2 so i knew my way around pretty well after i got my bearings...went to my old living quarters back in 1944-45 time period...not much had changed...quite thrilling!...this time i will be familiar with the city again and while my french is pretty poor i do manage to get along...most people you deal with speak english anyway...i prefer to use my fractured french but sometimes people lose patience with you...at least i show some respect for their language and try...some ugly americains bitch if everybody in france doesn't speak english...i'll be with my son and we both are biking fans and will give much attention to the tour de france but we will have plenty of time to get around in paris...one must for me is the picasso museum which is new since 1985...altho i've heard that it's always awfully crowded...if it turns out to be impossible we'll just sit a sidewalk cafe, drink wine, etc., discuss existensialism and watch the world go by....au revoir....as ever....booker...