Betsy Chaffe: My Memoir Begins

Betsy Chaffe, Avatar in Second Life

Betsy Chaffe at home in Second Life

I have been asked what it was that my daughter told me about Second Life (SL) that made me want to explore a “Whole New World” on my own.  So to answer honestly eight years later, I have had to delve back over almost 3,000 days.

And,  I think, it was not so much what she had told me about Second Life as it was the impact that being “In World” had made on her real life.   You see, rather than give up her Second Life, she chose divorce . . . that impacts a caring Mom! 

I am certain that she had told me about the creative beauty that can surround you in SL and that she thought I would love spending time in many of the wonderful venues that graced the world, even at that time.

On June 23, 2007, I entered SL as “Betsy Chaffe,” not just a newbie but a real greenhorn! I was then sixty six in real life, and could use my email account and surf the internet, but going into a 3D world was daunting. In those days, while there was an orientation space, there was no “Help Island” or really much instruction to aid in survival.   We were taught to fly and told about the teleport button and perhaps another thing or two.  Then we were set free to sink or swim on our own.

My daughter (Francesca) had told me about Bogart’s being a nice place to dance, so I was set on heading there first.  The person who came in just  behind me happened to be  Zeb Fargis,  a young man from London.   We began to talk and laugh at the way we looked and how we moved when we walked. . . that was indeed the beginning of my first deep friendship in SL.

After studying the SL screen for a bit, I hunted for a teleport to Bogart’s and bingo, there it was!  So I told my new found friend Zeb where I was heading, and he said that he was going to wander a bit, but since we had become “Friends” he would catch up with me later.

I think this is the place I need to tell you about Bogart’s in 2007.  It was not the very formal place it is now . . . at that time it was in its second location right on the beach with large open doorways and many palm trees.   There were always a lot of people there; many were nicely dressed and dancing.  When I landed, the owner “Jade Jewell” welcomed me and offered friendship and a chance to join the Bogarts Group. . . of course, I happily accepted.  Now I had two SL friends!

Jade then took me under her wing and helped me fix my little white linen dress and black flat dancing slippers.  Of course, I still looked like a newbie but “more refined” with short blond hair and a long white linen dress.  She asked if I had a place to sleep when I was off line and I said, “No.”  So she said that I was welcome to use the hammock that was strung between two posts out on the beach, and there was a nice place to sit around a firepit  in the early morning.  So now, I had friends and a place to stay!

Then Jade asked me if I would like to dance with one of the men who had landed.  I explained that I did not know how, so it might be better if I did not dance with someone who was very polished.  She laughed and explained how the dance balls worked.  So, with that I was introduced to Nigel Eun  and we talked a bit . . . he was also from England and had been in SL for about 6 months.   Then we danced and it was such fun!

*** And I want to note this: my daughter’s second husband was a very controlling and difficult man. I think Second Life did her a real favor . . . her life post-Harry improved significantly — so it ended up being the stimulus that pushed her to move forward.

13 responses to “Betsy Chaffe: My Memoir Begins

  1. Great story Francesca.
    I get a feel about the second life as I read your articles but it’s not sufficient unless I experience it myself. I was surprised to know that your daughter had divorce because of the second life!

    Have a great Sunday and a wonderful week ahead.

    Anand 🙂


  2. I’m glad you have a fond memory of entering SL! I was a bit lost for a while, but I seem to have found my way. (And good, controlling men are just SO not worth the pain!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi — It’s Francesca — Mom and I are still figuring out this contributing writer thing, so I hope she’ll be able to reply to you as well. So I just want to say — OH, MY GOD, yes. I have often thanked SL over the last eight years — my life is so much happier without that man.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Yea, it’s been my tool to explore a lot of things about myself and my understanding of who I am alone and with people I need and enjoy… and maybe don’t need or enjoy so much at all. :::P Good luck with the contributing writer thing! I’ve never used that, but ya’all seem to be doing fine!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Francesca, your mom’s post is really inspiring. It was great to read about her experience as a new inhabitant of the Second Life world. I don’t think I’ll be there for a while. Wifey balked at the idea. She thought I wanted to try it out, because I wasn’t happy with my first life – so I haven’t even researched it. If she read this post by your mom, she’d most definitely make sure that all references to Second Life are deleted from my system. (Honestly, she can be controlling too.) Do tell your mom that I loved her post. Does she blog? Perhaps I could follow her blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Anand, My mom will be a regularly contributing writer here. She is already quite enthusiastic and has drafts of her next two posts! What I need to figure out is what permission level I need to grant so that she can get in here and respond — and then frankly, I need to walk her through how to do it. Mom will be laughing when she reads this. She is highly capable in SL, but — new things on the computer, they take a little time :-).

    And I understand about your wife’s viewpoint. It might be, that if you took her with you, the two of you might find it interesting — but together, so it wasn’t something concerning.

    My mom will be on in the morning and will read your post — and if we can’t figure out how to get her to respond, I’m sure I’ll get an email with her response to post to you :-).


  5. An entertaining and engaging article. Thank you for sharing the thoughts and memories from the earlier days of SL well before my foray into it. I loved trying to picture Bogarts back in a very different layout from the current one.

    I can see where the daughter gets her well-spoken intelligence from.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think is amazing that your mother can play and enjoy with SL; people usually think SL and other online worlds are only for young people or geeks, when in fact it’s a hobbie like any other; doesn’t matter how years old are you (sorry if I talk like an alien, I use translator) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s one of the very, very special things about online virtual reality. It’s not the first thing one thinks about, but there are many older people in Second Life, as well as many who are either sick or disabled. Mom has had one friend in Germany who was a paraplegic and another who was on a feeding tube. Both of them obviously have challenges in regular life. It’s something the Ebbe Altberg (CEO of Linden Lab) talks about when he discusses uses for online VR. Also, one of the things my mother will talk about is what this world means to those with mobility issues. — I see a call to her — I need to walk her through coming in and responding herself :-).

      Liked by 1 person

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