by Rich & Nicki Lynch
Memories can be wonderful things. They are moments, frozen in time -- much better than photographs because they are three-dimensional rather than flat, holding so much more than just isolated bits of scenery; they don't fade with the passing of years, either.
We've already mentioned, in our opening comments, that we had been corresponding with Roger Weddall for several years (and had gotten to know each other quite well through the mails, if such a thing is possible), but had only met each other for the first time at the Jophan Family Reunion. It was during the Jophan Family Reunion that we found out Roger was having health problems, and wouldn't be able to visit us in Maryland as he'd originally planned. As Down Under Fan Fund representative, Roger had wanted to spend six months here in the U.S., visiting all the centers of fan activity at least once. But instead, he now could only spend four weeks here (most of which had already elapsed at that point), and would have to return to Australia right after Magicon to continue chemotherapy treatments for lymphoma.
Nicki gets a helpful hand from Roger at Magicon
We didn't have a chance just then to find out more, but at Magicon the next week, Roger assured us that the cancer was controllable -- had been controlled, in fact -- and nothing, but nothing would prevent him from returning in 1993 to complete his DUFF trip. As the convention closed, we bid each other farewell, hopeful that we'd see him again, fearful that we wouldn't. And now, just three months later, we've received that long distance telephone call that we were dreading would happen, the news of Roger's death.
It is difficult for us to accept that we're not ever going to hear from him again. But we're fortunate that in the relatively short time we knew Roger, we managed to accumulate many memories of and about him that we'll continue to treasure: Roger had an unpredictable side where he would do memorable things from out of the blue from time to time, like his 'telephone call from the future' to us one New Year's Eve (he was on the other side of the International Date Line, where the new year had already arrived). We also knew him as someone who would gladly go out of his way to do something for you that he knew you wanted; we've lost count of the number of times we've received letters from Roger where the envelope was almost completely covered with different postage stamps -- all because he knew that Nicki collects Australian postage stamps.
And lastly, there was the Roger we knew from this past summer -- he was so hyperactive at Magicon that hardly anybody had the energy and stamina to keep up with him. That's the way we'll remember him most -- full of life and enthusiasm. Roger was that special kind of person who could brighten up your day whenever he wrote or called; the world will be a less friendly place without him. We will miss him, a lot; we already do.
He was our friend.
All photos by Rich Lynch