April 1982. The world was a different place. Margaret Thatcher sent troops south to reclaim the Falklands and teach those irritating Argentines a lesson. In my home state of Victoria, the government changed hands for the first time since 1955. I was settling into what I thought would be my dream job, in a bookstore in suburban Melbourne. It still exists today, but I was only there a year and a half so I can’t take much credit for that.
There was no internet – hell, in 1982 Australia had had colour tv for only seven years. Getting a book from overseas was an operation of months, not weeks or days, under the indent system; our info on books in print came on microfiche and was three months out of date when it arrived. The major event reported from the US on April 6 was a snowstorm in the northeast.
Elsewhere in America that same day, a certain little bundle of joy arrived. Only a few years later, future trends began to manifest.
Clothes, glamour, organisation. Some of us discover our calling very early in life – click on the pic for a larger view.
It wasn’t long before Gina decided that dressups was way too much fun for the dolls to have all to themselves.
Barbie still had the better wardrobe in those days, but even at 3, Gina had the hair.
Nowadays Miss President has outfits enough to make any mass produced high maintenance doll’s eyes green with envy.
I first heard of Gina through Tim Blair’s old Spleenville blog. I was back in Melbourne and passing some time in South Yarra. I dropped into an internet cafe and got the major news of the day: Saddam Hussein had been sent to his eternal reward. After reading several dozen comments and finding that I agreed with the general sentiments, I rather idly clicked on this post. I was known online as SwinishCapitalist back then; if I had the chance to repost my first comment today, my reply to Yojimbo would be “Bettie WHO?” A few days later Gina responded with a tease about a calendar for 2008. I see in a later comment there that I was already having troubles with our defence bureaucracy.
The first of the many PUFV motivators. One of Gina’s many noble qualities is her refusal to take herself too seriously; she’s the first to laugh when I play around with her pinup persona. Another is her exceptional dedication. There have been some low moments for Gina, a few disappointments and a few full on freak-out moments. The Idiot Printer Crisis of 2010 produced language I’ve never heard before from Miss President. You wouldn’t believe me if I repeated it. @##$%$%$%$#$%%! @^%&&%^$@#$! That’s not a direct quote, but there were several outbursts of exactly that sort of language. See? I knew you wouldn’t believe me.
But enough of the jokes. A good friend of mine is having a birthday today – still a few hours left of it in the US – and I want to say thank you, Gina. Not only for the good work you’ve done yourself, but for the good work you’ve encouraged from others. You started PUFV at an age when I barely had a clue about what I was doing, or where I was going. Your focus, your determination and most of all your compassion for the old warriors whose lives you brighten are an example to many. You’re living proof that one person can make a difference.
Big birthday kisses, G-girl, lots of. I wish I was there to deliver them in person.
And for you, readers known and unknown… do I really have to say it? Buy a calendar!