Damn, I’m going to miss him – Wayne Borean

John was a nice guy. A really nice guy. I know the difference, having been one of the bad boys in the past.

I really loved listening to John play and sing. He had this focus that came over him when he had a guitar in his hand, you could tell that for a moment the rest of the world had gone away, and all that mattered was the song. Then he’d look up and smile at you, with his fingers going a mile a minute, and you’d smile back.

On the Sunday after John’s death, I drove to the cemetary where Lloyd Landa is buried. Lloyd and John used to talk at filks, so I decided I should tell Lloyd. I tool along my guitar, had a chat with Lloyd, and then played for a bit by his grave.

My guess is that Lloyd and John are organising a filk right now, and waiting for the rest of us to arrive.

Wayne aka The Mad Hatter

Forever Love, musings from Carrie Chapple, John’s former wife

I was recently asked why it was so important for me to attend John’s memorial service when I had not seen him in many years and had communicated only through e-mails in recent years. The answer is that much of the woman that I have become  is directly attributable to John.

Our friendship, courtship, marriage, loss of our child, divorce and subsequent reconciliations lasted from 1980 to 1991, a period of more than eleven years. Sadly, it could have lasted longer than that if I had been brave enough to try yet again with him in 1991.

During our extended relationship, I had my first poem accepted by a publisher, won my first literary competition, did my first public reading in an open mike forum, went on my first protest march, signed my first petition, went to my first political rally, lived in my first housing co-operative, and did my first advocacy for others, all with his support and encouragement. John taught me about social justice and that it was sexy to be an intelligent woman. It is thanks to John’s tenacity in gaining his own degree and his black belts, that I was able to emulate him and devote ten years to the gaining of my own two degrees while raising four children.

John described himself as a secular humanist but he taught me that it is possible to be spiritual without being religious. In my estimation, John’s musical gifts, his respect for nature and his care for those in need was nothing less than Divine.

John helped me to heal from sexual trauma by using great patience and respectful sensuality. He taught me that a man can be gentle without being weak, and strong without being aggressive, angry, or controlling. I loved John passionately, carried him in my heart always, and he was, and will remain, the measuring stick for any man in my life.

I was John’s first lover and he repaid me by teaching me how to live, with integrity and with courage. I am thankful for the privilege of being his wife. I want to share with you that I believe we can best celebrate his life by living our own, each day, to the fullest of our abilities, with creativity, with love,with honour, and with dignity as John did. And we had better laugh loudly and dance our asses off every chance we get!

John,  it’s becoming harder and harder to visualize you just away for the weekend on a “road trip”.  Darn but we loved those roadtrips.

I’ve run out of shortbread cookies…  Vincent is missing his stropping post.  The litterbox has never been so clean.    All is forgiven, come home now!

The stereo is never played too loud, guitars are getting out of tune and we miss you more each day.

Hey, John I just found a picture of the back of your head  — you always thought it was one of your best features — we disagreed!

I am diminished…

…as everyone’s death diminishes me; John Caspell more than most because he was part of my extended family.  When my daughter and John’s brother Paul joined, I acquired Paul’s whole family to include in mine, and that made John my kin too.  I see now from reading the condolences from his friends in music that I knew him hardly at all.

Learning of his accident from my daughter I went to see him on Monday.  We talked – about the accident, yes, but also about science fiction.  He was running out of reading material and bordeom threatened.  My collection is thin when it comes to contemporary science fiction but we settled on Philip K Dick and on Tuesday I took him most of my Dick shelf; he chose to keep about half, all re-reads, but favourites.

I heard John sing only rarely; my family gatherings are given more to talk than music.  My loss.  And now, OUR loss.  Our GREAT loss.  The world is now a less interesting place.

Roberta Rivett

Early memories

I first met John in London, Ontario, shortly after my sister started dating John’s brother Paul.  He seemed kind of scary, but once he started talking and our shared interest in science fiction became apparent I warmed to him.  I remember being amazed at how John’s stammer would completely disappear when he sang.  In those days he always had an enormous appetite as well; I remember that when he was visiting at my parents’ place I always made sure to load up my plate, because with John around, there would be no second helpings.  I’ve since learned that he was working in a lumberyard at the time.  Once when I lived in Toronto I had to move my stuff a few houses down the block; with almost no notice, John happily (and effortlessly) helped me schlep it all.  I will always remember John as bright, cheerful, confident, intellectually stimulating, challenging and larger-than-life (both literally and figuratively).  I will miss him.