Old school Twitter…

I came home from dancing last night and was checking into to Twitter before bed.  One of the people that Twitter said I needed to follow was @ashPEAmama.  Instantly my eyes filled with tears and I went to bed with thoughts of Ash on my mind.  I woke up this morning with a DM from a caring friend asking about @ashPeamama.  My first response was to send a message on Facebook, but then decided that it was a story worth sharing.

In the early days of Twitter, there was a small town community feeling.  Ashley was the first person in my Twitter stream to be pregnant, and we laughed and teased her about her visits to the doctor and her constant need to pee.  That’s what pregnant people do!

When Ashley went into labor of course it was tweeted, and we all celebrated the birth of her daughter.  We followed the progress of that new young life in only the way Ashley could tell it.  There were times when I would sit at the computer with tears running down my cheeks from her goofy tweets.

Then one night my phone rang, and I had tears on my cheeks for a different reason.  Ashley was killed by a driver who did not stop at a stop sign.  I was speechless when @brendajos and @mosqueda called me.  You know this was some random person that I had never met.  But today, as I write this, it still makes me cry.

The Twitter family rallied, and we raised money for her family, it just seemed the right thing to do.  We were all so shell shocked, it was the first death we would experience on Twitter.  For me, it’s been the only death and I would like to keep it that way.

When Ashley was pregnant, I made her a small baby quilt and knitted one of the infamous Kandahar bears to go with it.  A few months after she died I received a letter in the mail from her sister-in-law with a thank you note that Ashley had written and had not put in the mail yet.

***

Twittering on the Edge blog 2/4/2008

“I knew it was coming…when I looked at the address on the back of the envelope–Louisiana. I took a deep breath and opened the envelope and read the letter sent by Sue Spencer–Ashley’s sister-in-law. There was a small envelope with a card inside–a thank you card written to me from Ashley.

When our Twitter baby Lucy was born I sent her a hand quilted baby blanket and a Kandahar bear in soft yellow baby yarn. It just seemed the right thing to do. I had a DM from Ashley when the present was received, I knew she was surprised and appreciated the gift.

I know how hectic life can be for a new mom with two children so small. The DM was thanks enough for me…but Ashley thought differently:

Dear Ann,
Thank you so much for the wonderful surprise package. The baby blanket is one of my favorites and is used the most. The teddy bear she “talks” to, complains to, and allows it to hold her pacifier in. Thanks! –Ashley and Lucy

***

I know that there are people in my life that shake their head at my *online* friends.  I know it’s a hard concept to understand if you’ve never been part of a community of caring and giving people to get this.  Someone posted a tweet the other day that seemed so ridiculous to me, “Every Tweet you send is time taken away from your family”. I’m tossing the bullshit flag on that one.

11 thoughts on “Old school Twitter…

  1. I don’t think these days are over. Our brand new community had a similar thing happen. A new member joined and was 9 months pregnant. Prior to meeting I used twitter to learn more about @capturedcharms a local photographer who was willing to contribute photos for our new meetup group. Tiffannie’s due date was the date of our next meetup and we all loved having a very pregnant friend to watch over during the evening. After a few days of not hearing news, I learned that there were complications and that she lost the baby. While only meeting her once, I knew I wanted to help. I created a chip in page for her and her husband and our community, less than 3 months old, was able to raise money to help our new friend.

    I know that we don’t hear many stories like this with so much marketing and noise going on via Twitter these days (I contribute my share), the good news is when it comes down to it. It’s still about the people behind the tweets and posts and people still care.

    Thank you for sharing this story.
    C

  2. Thank you Ann! I joined twitter a few years back and @ashPEAmama was one of the group from yours that took me in the fold and followed me, and I her. I did not know the story of her untimely passing and it saddens me as well.

    My mom has asked, “how do you know anything about these people you meet online” and I ask her back, “how do I know anything about ANYONE I just met???” People online don’t judge me by my race, age, family, background, job…They get to know ME, I prefer it that way. I wouldn’t have met you, Ann! 🙂

    Even though this has been a while past, I am sorry for the family and friends of Ash for their loss, I can tell she is missed and will continue to be!

    Jen

  3. Ann, I just met some Twitter friends in person for the first time today and I told them the story of AshPeaMama. I still can’t believe it. Thank you for writing about her and making the case for the importance of the family you really do find in social media.

  4. Steve *hug* and thank you for the comment.

    @CherylLawson your comment warmed my heart, I am really glad to hear that there are still great things like this happening in twitter beyond the noise of what twitter has evolved in. A great big @AnnOhio huggin’ the stuffin’ hug for sharing that story.

    @DevBear singing “We are family” I truly feel honored to be part of such a great big community of love.

    @ComaSowJen Thanks for asking me about the story of @ashPEAmama it was emotional to tell but I think that speaks volumes about how much we all cared for Ashley and her family. I had no idea back then what an impact Twitter and my friends would have on my life in since that first tweet.

  5. I think of @ashPEAmama all the time. Just about every time I have to pee, actually and I joyfully exclaim outloud to the chagrin of my kids, “I have to PEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!” (And then I giggle to myself remembering how many times that would come across my Twitter stream.)

    I remember when I received the call, from a Twitter connection that has since been broken, ad then my subsequent call to @brendajos. I visit Ash’s Twitter page now and again, was just there this week actually. I think of her and wonder how her husband and our baby Lucy is doing.

    Thanks for this post Ann. ❤

  6. I remember @ashPEAmama too. I don’t get on Twitter much these days because of the “noise” but I do remember those times fondly. Blessings to you for the remembrance. Hugs to you, darlin’.

  7. When Shel Israel was writing Twitterville, he asked me for stories about the Twitter community. I told him about @ashPEAmama and put him in touch w/ @mosqueda. He interviewed Dan for the book. I’m so glad he put that story in the book. I think of Ashley every time I see LSU play football; she was such a passionate fan. “gone too soon”

  8. I am humbled by the response to this blog post. The comments and the 275 people that clicked a link and shared with me my memories of Ashley. I write blog posts mostly to get things off my mind or off of my heart, not really thinking all that many people will read my words. Today..wow…I was able to ripple out the love in a very big way and I hope that for a few minutes for a few people that the world was a little gentler, a little kinder…a little more hopeful.

  9. I just came across your post and with great coincidence as I was just remembering @ashPEAmama the other day. I’ll never forget losing her. It’s odd having got distracted with RL and having stepped away from Twitter for awhile and coming back to it now. So much “noise,” so much a feeling of “every post is trying to sell us something.” I miss “the original group” and thank you for all still being there for me. You all have no idea how much you have added to my life. Thank you!

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