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Meeting Donnie

By Samantha Hardesky


I first met Donnie right here on about a year ago.  I was chasing the Internet identity of “Corbis Darhan,” and through a search at found that he and “Andy S.” were the same person.  Proof was found here at the board, in his post where he says in the same message both names. Incredulous yet pleased with Google (one of the last times I ever was) I started to chase down each entry made by this Andy S. and learned more about him over the next few weeks.  He and I became immediate friends and eventually left the board to chase our relationship through e-mail, snail-mail, cassette and videotapes, and eventually meeting in person.

That time of my life brings back memories of endless Rammstein songs like “Mutter” and “Spieluhr,” but also the dark days of depression settling in.  After discovering Donnie’s column, I became a type of sick fan, looking for any column that could really change me into a “giggling teenager” as Donnie put it.  Andy was a great help and I believe if it weren’t for him I’d be in dire straights today, and Donnie contributed what he could back then as well. 

The best you can do when you’re on the Internet is read and write, and that’s what we both did to change my life.  He taught me that all I had to do was step out of it for a while and look around, and then the rest will come naturally.  Change never comes easily, sometimes it’s forced and others it’s completely unnoticed, but for me it depended entirely on what I could do, and I simply wasn’t up to the task.  I didn’t want to change, I think.


All the problems of yesteryear are gone and done.  I see the whole chunk of my life as wasted, something that could have been, but there’s nothing I can do to change it besides helping others.  At least I can go on, knowing others won’t ruin their lives over nothing.  Life is so fragile…never mind.  Anyways, so Donnie became one of several major people in my life and still is a close friend.  You guys should listen to him; he might sound boring, but he really knows what he’s talking about.  Most adults do, it’s just a matter of how much they care to teach what they’ve learned the hard way to kids.  The alternative is rather selfish, if you ask me.


On this trip across the country, my father and I saw that Paducah, Kentucky was on the way to Andy in the Midwest, so we stopped there on our road trip.  Donnie is the first person I’ve ever met from the Internet, and I assure you there is absolutely no flaw in what he said he’d be.  I’ve heard all sorts of scare-stories about meeting people in real life, but Donnie was, well, Donnie.  He’s big, quiet, thoughtful and watchful.  He’s got a beautiful granddaughter, Ashley, who is silent, yet inquisitive at the same time, just like me when I was her age.  I took to her at once, but I was there to see Donnie of course.  He’s full of words here at and in e-mails, but the only way to find so many words is to discover enough thoughts to conjure up words.  That is Donnie, the thought-person who is content to slouch back during a conversation and look back and forth between the members of his group as if following a tennis match.

He’s playful and even risky; for instance he let me drive his Saab convertible without an emergency brake and the top down.  I had just gotten my license in the week before, and driving in anything like that car was a completely new experience.  Of course, he didn’t want any revving above 3,000 RPM like I’m used to on the low-geared Honda CR-V, but it was still exciting.  I also got to drive his 50-year-old tractor, which was fun if not a little scary.

So, the guy actually exists if anyone was wondering.  He gives a good bear-hug and has a wonder-family, that kind you can’t get very often where people actually listen to each other, enjoy life and like kids. 

His wife Marcia is so cool, you can tell her anything and not worry if she won’t understand because the chances are, she will.  They’re the most playful adults I’ve ever met.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to make the trip again some time, if not this Christmas then next summer.  And maybe this time I’ll take home that cat Donnie hates so much.


Samantha Hardeskey

Meeting Drew

Meeting Ashley

(Other "real-life" visits)

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