Thursday, January 2, 2020

Ms. Woodstock: An Apathon Legend

Her name was Tauni Stone, but we all knew her as Ms. Woodstock on the Seattle Apathons bulletin board. She took the name because she lived in upper-New York, not too far from Max Yasgur's farm where the famous concert took place. It was an appropriate name for her. She related well to the hippie movement, even if she really was a bit too young to have participated. That was the case for most of us Apathons.

She was open about her battle with multiple sclerosis. She and fellow Apathon, Alizarinred, taught many of us about the struggles posed by the disease through their regular chats about the topic. They talked about the side effects of some of the medications and the pain they suffered on the bad days. They talked of trying to lead normal lives, but we all saw them as extraordinary people.

Woody's personality on the board was magnetic. She had a sly sense of humor that could creatively add a dimension we were ignoring to a topic, or slice through the armor of the trolls who dared enter the turf we called ours with the intention to battle wits with us. We all were coming from a generation in which we were taught that men protect their women. Thanks to women like Tauni, we were emerging into a society in which women joined in the discussions and were not afraid to call out men for patriarchy, misogyny, or inappropriate behavior. She was often the knight in shining armor who gallantly rode in to slay dragons, as well as some fire-breathing mammals!

As we all became less concerned that everyone on the internet was really a government agent ready to call the exterminators in if they could identify and locate us, we all got to know each other better through pictures and meet ups. I don't know how many of us, if any, actually got to meet Tauni, but she was always at those meet ups in spirit.

Our promise to each other was that we would sing Paradise by the Dashboard Lights at karaoke if we ever had the opportunity. We made that promise to each other about the turn of the millenium; we talked about it in our birthday wishes to each other every year.

She was tall and she was beautiful. She was also in love with Jim O'Toole, and married him in 2001. She would share pictures of herself as a wife, a stepmother, and a grandmother. The light in her eyes just seemed to shine brighter!

This morning Jim told us on Facebook that Tauni, our Ms. Woodstock and his Hunny Bunny, passed away. I will think about her often, and I will smile every time, though occasionally through tears. I am sad that she died, but I am less sad that she died than I am happy that she lived!


2 comments:

  1. Tauni and I attended JFK High School together. Very witty and quick in expressing her position on a subject. Followed her on Facebook, will miss her sense of humor and passion.

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  2. Found this on her FB page when I was thinking about her today. I met her for the first time when we were 10 maybe 11 years old. She'll always be a bright star among the people I have had in my life. This was beautifully written, a great and accurate tribute to her.

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