In Memoriam: Lisa Rogers

Sunni's picture

One of the very few (I think it was only four of us) individuals who had attended all of the Liberty Round Table conclaves died yesterday morning.

I remember very well my first in-person meeting of Ward and Lisa: they had flown out from New Jersey to attend the first LRT conclave, and Lobo and I met them in the Salt Lake City airport. I had an inkling of New Jersey stereotypes, but that didn’t prepare me for Lisa... she seemed to embody them all; and I, being pretty much the complete opposite, had no idea how to deal with her. Ultimately, I ended up “dealing” with the uncomfortable situation by trying to give her a wide berth as much as is possible under such conditions.

That said, a few incidents stand out as examples of what I missed out on by not trying to see under the gruff, New Jersey exterior. Most notable is the time one of my stepsons, running around with some other boys in the dark, kissed a barbed-wire fence. The kids rushed back to the campsite, a jumble of shouts and fear, and my stepson’s mouth very bloodied. Lisa was the person who took charge of the emergency (thankfully minor), directing people for clean water and supplies for cleaning and dressing his wound, lights so that the injury could be assessed, etc. She continued to monitor his recovery for the remainder of the conclave, showing a concern that I had completely overlooked in my haste to pigeonhole her.

I wish I could write that that incident marked a turning point in our relationship, but it didn’t. Lisa was so unlike any person I’d known, and her interactions with Ward were so like the unhappy, constant carping I grew up with from my parents that I couldn’t see past it. In later years (mostly via the LRT discussion list), I was able to see that, unlike my parents’ marriage, Lisa and Ward did truly and deeply love and care about each other. I’m certain there was much more to her that I never saw as well—partly because we lived so far apart and had only rare contact in any medium and partly because I never bothered to look for it.

In his email message to the list, Ward wrote that just a few days after an apparently uneventful knee-replacement surgery, Lisa’s recovery took a turn for the worse. After a few days on life support, it became clear that she wouldn’t recover. Such things “shouldn’t” happen, but they do, and with dismaying frequency when one looks for them on a large scale. I hope her suffering was brief.

Ward also wrote that he hopes to organize a memorial for her at this year’s PorcFest; I don’t know if it will be posted on the site, but that’s a good place to check for updates, just in case.

Rest in peace, Lisa. I may not have understood your vision of freedom nor your work toward it, but I do respect it.

Blessings come in all shapes and sizes...

I only met Lisa twice in person (I think), but we talked a good bit in email and a few times on the telephone in the years since the conclaves. She reached out to me for moral support just once, in a time of crisis, and I'll always be glad I could be here for her.

And yes, I was totally unprepared for the crusty east coast lady myself in the beginning. I never met anyone quite like her and wish I could have known her better.

Rest in peace, Lisa. And my thoughts go out to Ward. I know how hard it is to lose someone you love to an early death. I hope he has friends and family nearby.

Very sad to hear this. I

Very sad to hear this. I have lost touch with the LRT crowd. Sometimes I wish for another Conclave to lift my spirits.

Lisa

Thanks for the kind words, Sunni, Susan, Hazmat.

It's been almost three months. I'm gradually coming to grips with things. Working on clearing the house, getting it ready to sell. Hopefully everything will go smoothly enough that sometime next Spring I can get out of New Jersey for good, up to New Hampshire where I belong. Then I can buy a rolling kitchen and sell chili all over the state, my test runs at several Porcfests have been consistently positive.

I took Lisa's ashes up to Porcfest, but I didn't get around to having a formal memorial. I went with Naomi, who introduced me to Lisa when I wound up staying with her and her husband for a while in early '92 when I came east from California, broke and homeless. Once upon a long time ago, Naomi was my first wife in a polyandry that lasted as long as my parents' "death do us part" monogamy. Naomi had some idea as to the sort of women who could tolerate me, and there happened to be an ex-lover of Michael's around (for varying values of "ex" -- Lisa and Michael occasionally went at it like crazed weasels every once in a while until not long before we lost Michael 2.5 years ago). After the end of Porcfest, we took her ashes to the top of Mount Washington and scattered them just below the summit facing the rest of the Presidential Range of the White Mountains, where they will be scattered further by the 200 mph winds that peak gets.

Spent Porcfest wandering around, chatting with various of Lisa's friends. Carl and Hunter did not attend, but Codehead was around the whole time.

I'm gonna do my best to convince Naomi to move to New Hampshire with me. She and Michael bought 246 acres the hell up in St Lawrence County NY -- beautiful country though a lot flatter than I like. I don't see Naomi shoveling the ten yards or so of snow that area gets annually. Among other things she had a TIA "mini-stroke" a while back and that kind of exertion can make those things worse. She liked what she saw of New Hampshire, from Manchester where we dropped off Lisa's special cat with my mother (it's a lot earier to clear a bedroom if you don't have to keep the door closed to prevent one cat from being terrorized by a couple of younger examples) up to the White Mountains. Besides getting this house on the market, that's my top project for the next six months or so. Wish me luck.

Ward Griffiths
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Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. Denis Diderot

Wishing you luck and more

Thanks for the update, Ward. I hope you are successful in persuading Naomi—it's important to have such a good friend close by.

Friends in New Hampshire

Friends I have in plenty up in New Hampshire, not merely FSP porcupines but even a few left over from high school, for instance I've already picked my primary physician, once upon a time (I was a senior, she a junior) we won the state math competition together -- when we met Birgit at a Worldcon about a decade back Lisa was happy as a pig in shit to finally meet someone not a family member who could tell her what I was like in my misspent youth.

I need Naomi as a companion, a partner. I know from experience that I do not do well on my own. No need for formal marriage, in fact getting married in the sight of the government would cut off her widow's pension from the USPS. We weren't formally married the first time, after all, she was legally attached to Bill, there was no space on the paperwork for my name.

Ward Griffiths
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Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest. Denis Diderot

YAY!

Good to get the updates, Ward. I was just thinking of you the other day and wondered how you were doing. Kudos to you and Naomi! And I hope you are very happy in NH for a long, long time. :)