View Full Version : In Memory of Pootie

Lily H
06-27-2013, 09:05 AM
Hello cryptogram solvers,

It is with great sadness that I write to let you know that our dear friend, Donna, known on the site as Pootie, passed away peacefully after a long and valiant fight against cancer. Those of you who have been long time members of the site will remember her for her wonderful sense of humor and the fun games that she created for us in the forum. She was always there to help whenever one of us got stuck on a quote and was usually one of the first members to welcome new players to the site. Those of you who were not fortunate enough to have known her will no doubt have seen her many witty comments on the quotes and some of her numerous posts in the forum. When she first became ill, she asked me to include one of her favorite poems in the memoriam that she knew that I would write, so I have copied the text here for you.

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Dear Donna, you were taken away from us much too soon. Your pain and suffering have ended, and now you must journey on without us. We said our tearful good-byes a long time ago, and I will miss you. You will always hold a special place in my heart, and I will never forget how much your friendship meant to me. May you have eternal peace. Love you lots, Lilybug

06-27-2013, 09:32 AM

That is a truly beautiful tribute to Donna....our "Pootie"... whose comments and great advice still live on here in Cryptogram-land, and will be of value to those who didn't have the opportunity to chat with her while she was still able to do so. She watched the "chat" until her vision was so limited that it was impossible for her to continue.

I know I'm not the only one who will miss her wit, charm, knowledge and great sense of adventure! She initiated some wonderfully fun games and a few fantastical story-lines that many of us had so much fun adding to...it makes me smile to remember them!!

She was always the first to welcome all new members, and loved to give them plenty of encouragement. She also made it a point to say "happy birthday" on everyone's special day.

06-27-2013, 09:34 AM
That girl thought I was always a thorn in her side, but I loved her like a big sister.
She kicked me in the balls at a time when I was down, but she reconciled with
me. If I ever had a bad thing to say about her, it was only because I felt extreme
depression. Donna never realized that I was a manic depressive schizoid. I hope
she will forgive me, that I needed to take Zoloft and Xanax to cope with everything.
I hope all you cryptogrammers can forgive me.


06-27-2013, 09:57 AM
Oh Joseph, Donna would have been the first one to laugh and clap you on the butt like you WERE her little brother!!! She had such an IMMENSE response to our shared "human condition"... if anyone knew we all had faults, it was "Pootie"....but she still held people in her heart. A good lesson for all of us to remember.

06-27-2013, 12:23 PM
i'm so sorry for your loss, lily h, and all of you who were her friends. i was just getting acquainted with her recently, so it seems rather shocking that she's gone.
and bansai, some of us are in similar "boats", so don't worry (smile). we should all be patient with each other.

06-27-2013, 05:30 PM
Even before she was ill, Pootie was never afraid to speak her mind. That may have alienated many players, while at the same time making them jealous of her frankness. She knew that life is too short not to be yourself, since you are the one you have to live with. Her insight will be missed.

06-27-2013, 09:13 PM
I'm sorry to hear of this. After joining, I started to go back and reread other posts in other topics. In reading some of these, she reminded me of a dear friend on another (now defunct) discussion board. Many of Pootie's comments sounded like something my friend would have said.

The best tribute we can have is to continue to "hug" each other when needed and to "kick your keister" when needed.

And, bansaisequoia, personally I don't see the need for you to apologize for anything...you were sick, you're receiving treatment, and as long as you keep receiving treatment, all's well. (My husband is bipolar, Mom has depression/anxiety, so I fully understand!)

Love to all.

06-27-2013, 10:28 PM
Most of us long-time players knew this day was coming, but it is still unbelievably sad. I remember several years ago telling her to put on her big girl panties and call the dentist after she mentioned having a very bad toothache in the chat room. As it turned out, that was just about the least of her problems. I was amazed that she lasted as long as she did and was at least able to make the occasional chat room appearance for as long as she did. Rest in Peace, Pootie. And thank you, LilyH, for letting us know.

06-27-2013, 10:45 PM
I knew one day I would log on to see this sad news and I dreaded it. Pootie, you are missed. Lily, peace be with you. Bansai, never apologize for who you are -- we all have our challenges and most of us cannot know the true suffering of our friends. To all my friends on the site, stay well and happy.


06-28-2013, 02:02 AM
Pootie was indeed the first to welcome me on this site.
She was a lot of fun to chat with and her pm's were always worth reading.
She had a way of interacting with everybody and I always looked forward to seeing her posts.

06-28-2013, 05:34 AM
my heart is saddened by the news of your passing, we both knew that this day was coming, but i was hoping for a little more time. you were the first to welcome me to this site, we traded pm's and e-mails for a couple of years and today i am happy i kept the voice e-mails you sent me, they are now priceless to me and if it is okay with you i would like to forward them to your big sister Lily H. i am sure she would like to hear them just as much as i do, your laugh is so contagious that i never get tired of listening to them, i am only sorry i never sent you one. till we meet again and compete face to face, i am forever in sadness, forever in darkness, forever your johnny, - jose

Dios te salve María, llena eres de gracia.
Nuestro Señor es contigo.
Bendita tú eres entre las mujeres,
y bendito es el fruto de tu vientre,
Santa María, Madre de Dios,
ruega por nosotros pecadores,
ahora y en la hora de nuestra muerte.

06-28-2013, 08:01 AM
I, too, am saddened to have to say good-bye to our friend, Pootie aka Donna. She was the first one ever to respond to my plea for help when I was new to the website. In July of 2012, I was improving my skills and was able to stay right behind Pootie in the "success rate" monthly challenge. She hit the 2000th solve (100% accuracy) on July 24, and I was in the high 1900's, staying in the shadow of my role model. In the chat room, there had been some mention of her not feeling well, and then suddenly she stopped adding to her points. She stopped at 2000. Since there was still a week left in the month, I would have surpassed her score had I simply kept playing, but I stopped at 1999. There was something much more important than competition here, and it was the spirit of cooperation that Pootie herself had always shown. I felt honored simply to come in next to her, and I treasure her response to the message I sent her.

06-28-2013, 07:40 PM
“I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white
sails to the morning breeze and starts
for the blue ocean.

She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until at length
she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come
to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says;
"There, she is gone!"

"Gone where?"
Gone from my sight. That is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull
and spar as she was when she left my side
and she is just as able to bear her
load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.

And just at the moment when someone
at my side says, "There, she is gone!"
There are other eyes watching her coming,
and other voices ready to take up the glad
"Here she comes!"
- Henry Van Dyke

I didn't know Pootie all that well, but certainly recognize her as a highly respected friend to this site. My sympathies to her family and all of her dear friends. - Chad

06-28-2013, 08:52 PM
what a lovely poem, barnabas--i hadn't heard it before, but will certainly save it.
isn't it awesome to see how many of us she touched so positively, in just this one area of her life?
lily h, can you share these with her sister? family members often have no idea about things like this, and would probably enjoy knowing about another group who thought so much of donna.

06-29-2013, 12:31 AM
I never noticed this yesterday, I'm so sorry.

I am so very sorry to read that Donna is gone, but I'm happy that she isn't suffering anymore. To Lily and all of those of you who were close friends I'm very sorry for your loss.
She was a very special person. A long time ago, I told her she was my hero, and she truly was. She had was so brave, and handled her illness so well.

06-29-2013, 01:25 AM
My story with Donna is much like everyone's; first to greet newcomers, birthday greetings, and such. One weekend When my wife was out of town and I was trying not too successfully to stave off lonliness, I serendipitously ran across a most apropos comment she left on a puzzle. I sent her private message about it which I will share in its entirety.

I just solved a quote from Charles Dickens about having someone to sit with when I read the following comment from you.

"I agree. Someone to sit on a bench in the garden with after a long day, and just watch the sun set and talk about your day, your dreams, your hopes. then he takes your hand and says lets go inside its late and you stand up and hold each other and think yes this is how it should be. my friend, my lover, my confessor, my hope and my future. an equal. whom you look at and without a doubt in your mind think, i love this man and he loves me...what else do we really need? that complete feeling of belonging."

As I sit here writing this, my wife is out of town visiting a friend and I miss her company. I feel exactly the same way as you so eloquently expressed. I have lived more than half my life with her and nothing has been more enjoyable (outside of raising two wonderful kids) than the simple pleasure of her companionship.

Thank you for writing this.


This is the Pootie I will always remember. In keeping with Barnabas' wonderful nautical tribute:

Donna, wherever you are, may the sun always be on your face and the wind at your back.
Farewell, Friend.


06-29-2013, 05:13 AM
As a fairly new member to the site it is heartwarming to hear personal comments made about an online friend. I have noticed pootie while playing and I am sad I did not get the chance to know the person behind the user name. This site is truly a community of real people even though they cannot be seen or touched.

06-29-2013, 07:43 AM
Iam very sad of the passing of one our members. She is no longer with us but she is in a much better place and she won't be struggling with this world her pain is gone.God bless her family in this time of pain. God needed a beautiful angel to join our friends and relatives that have left us.

06-30-2013, 01:46 AM
I am one of the many welcomed by Pootie. Besides guiding me in solving cryptograms, she asked caring questions, answered mine, and made me laugh. She was unfailingly kind to me.

Tu m'as tendu la main. Merci, Donna. Je ne te dis pas adieu mais au revoir.

Lily H
06-30-2013, 09:40 AM
Donna's sister has been reading your comments. She wanted me to thank all of you for sharing your stories about your experiences with Donna. She was overwhelmed by the love and respect that all of us had for Donna. She is grieving now, but she may come and thank you personally some time in the future.

06-30-2013, 09:46 AM
never underestimate the impact you can have on others!

06-30-2013, 10:26 PM
I didn't know Donna as well as the rest of you,but I just had the feeling she would always be there.I take it for granted that you all are watching and reading my posts,as I do all of yours,and I can count on you all being here whenever I log on.You make me laugh when I feel so down,I don't think I can go on,and I love you all for that.Pootie was just such a person,welcoming me to the fold and encouraging me on,even though she hardly knew me.I feel towards each and every one of you as my family,and I will truly miss Donna.My sincere sympathy to her family.

07-03-2013, 05:32 AM
I have missed a while, you know, tech difficulties.
So sorry to hear Pootie is gone on her journey with out us. She is in good company, you know.
Thank you Barnabas, for your "Gone from my eyes" poem a wonderful perspective for those of us left behind.
You are all so special, thanks.
Father in Heaven, smile on us today, help us to smile again. Amen
<3 Mary Sunshine

07-04-2013, 07:21 PM
I think detailing Pootie's statistics would be appropriate. The numbers she achieved are much like the person she was... in a word, awesome. Most of the numbers are easily found elsewhere on this website - such as... 151,330 puzzles solved out of 153,817 attempted for a 98.3% completion rate. Points amassed: 43,449,704. These are numbers that will never change; her last puzzle solved on December 22, 2012 at 3:54 PM (website time). Had she not been stricken with her illness, these numbers would undoubtedly be much higher. One number that will change as time passes will be her ranking on the all-time list, and that is the reason I felt it was important to make note of her statistics. When Pootie passed away she was (and still is) ranked 7th on the all-time list. As the years go by she will eventually drop out of the top 10, and then the top 25, and so on. It's inevitable. What's important to realize, though, is this; even in Pootie's hobbies she strived for excellence. And if she could achieve the kind of excellence here that she did, I would imagine that she was a wonderful family member, friend, co-worker, etc. I have no doubt she was the very best.

Lily H
07-05-2013, 06:55 AM
Thank you, Barnabas, for posting Donna's (Pootie's) statistics. What a lovely way to remember her amazing achievement on this site. I was far behind her on the all-time list when she first became ill. I started playing less then because I didn't want to pass her. She encouraged me to play and became my biggest supporter. She even congratulated me when I passed her because that's the kind of person she was. She was a wonderful friend and truly an amazingly brave and courageous woman in the way she handled her illness.

07-06-2013, 09:27 PM
After an unusual break from Cryptos, I am saddened to hear about the passing of Pootie.

Although I didn’t know her (beyond a brief yet hilarious exchange concerning an imaginary overnight food-laden party for Crypto-nuts,) I admired what I saw as a straight-talking, protective, tough yet warm woman who clearly enjoyed this site, defended its integrity - as well as fellow players - and did not suffer fools. She earned and deserved all of the respect and accolades among these comments.

My warm thoughts and regards to her and her family.

- R

07-23-2013, 06:27 AM
Forgive me for not replying sooner.

I thank you all sincerely and with deep respect for all your
kind thoughts, words, memories and condolences.

Pootie loved this site. Thank you Stephen for creating such
a fantastic place for people to come and play and make friends.

Please know that she loved you all in her inimitable way.

Once again, my sincerest thanks.

Please dont forget her.

Everyone take good care and enjoy this great game.

07-23-2013, 06:39 AM
i come across at least one comment from pootie on a puzzle page every day or so, so there's no WAY i can forget her--and i'm sure it's the same for all who "knew" her here! what a great way to be reminded of her--and comments stay forever.

07-23-2013, 09:42 AM
When Donna first joined the site, we were fierce competitors....constantly chasing and passing each other. At that time, I had several different avatars that I would choose from, not being totally satisfied with any of them! And then one day Donna sent me a private message asking if my username stood for "greyhound". THis surprised me 'cause the few inquiries I had received prior to that translated it as "greyhair"..!! At the time, we had our first rescued greyhound. At any rate, the next day she sent me a link to the avatar that I continue to use, and from that day on we became friends. Every time I'm here I'm reminded of her kindness and love not just by my "greyhounds rock!!" avatar but also by her wonderful, witty and charming comments. She will be remembered by everyone who interacted with her ( including those hospice folks!! Jeez, that still makes me laugh!!)

07-23-2013, 09:54 AM
@gryhnd51 - what hospice folks? is there a good story you'd like to share?!

07-24-2013, 02:44 AM
Perhaps the story will be told one day, but it's not mine to tell. Suffice it to say that Pootie made a deep impression on all who met her.

07-28-2013, 07:37 PM
I appreciated Pooties ernest responses and disregard for the ambigueties of the "online" persona.

07-30-2013, 12:22 AM
Your comment on how Pootie found you your avatar reminded me that she also helped me with mine. I wanted to use a family photo, but couldn't get it to work. A lot of people gave me helpful advice in the chat room, but I still couldn't get it working. Eventually, I emailed it to Pootie and she worked some tech magic for me so that I was able to use the photo.

07-30-2013, 02:15 AM
Pootie sounds like a person I would very much like to have known. I regret only that I found this site so late.

01-24-2014, 07:35 AM
As I read Barnabas's moving tribute to Pootie, I kept hearing this song in my head...It's an update of a very old Scottish air, and it vividly evokes a sailing ship setting out to sea. The singer is a young lady watching her lover captain the ship out of harbor, and her voice expresses love, admiration, longing and grief, which I have seen in all your posts as you remember Pootie. I re-read the poem while listening to the song, and it seemed just right. I hope you enjoy it.


01-24-2014, 11:56 PM
Many thanks, Universalmom! While I don't understand the words, the music does indeed evoke feelings of love and loss, sorrow and joy and the endless ebbs of life and death. A truly melodic tribute to the Pootie that many of us miss.

Are you Scottish? Can you share the poem with us....in English?

01-25-2014, 12:12 AM
i found this translation when i was listening to it:

01-25-2014, 09:49 AM
As I was growing up, I knew only a few of the words - "fuaim" was noise, "pog" was kiss etc. The lady in the song fears that she will lose her lover to kisses other than hers. But that sense of standing on the headlands and watching someone sail off to an unknown place is what I thought of when I read Barnabas's post.

01-25-2014, 04:14 PM
I can see where the poem and the song might remind one of the other. When my brother died a little over thirteen years ago, I wrote a poem and read it at the service. The gist of the poem was that he was 1 year older than me, and that for all of my life I was trying to catch up to him. My dad passed away just this last September (which was why I was away from this site for a good portion of that month), and I decided to read the Henry Van Dyke poem at his service (the same that I had left in tribute to Pootie as well). The idea behind reading the Van Dyke poem for Dad was that it was my hope that my brother would be the one taking up the cry, "here he/she comes!"