Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your interests in general?
I‘m not sure when this started, but now I look at my life like ’chapters’ in a book. This chapter I’ll call “The Here and Now”. Before I start with that, though, I’ll quickly flip back to “The Career Years”. I spent most of my 25+ year career working in one aspect of computer technology or another. I started as a programmer/systems analyst and eventually found that I had a knack for teaching computer topics to adults. I fell in love with everything related to teaching and ended up as half-owner of a computer training business. It was sometime in 1996 when I realized I would have to ’retire’ early because of various health problems. I spent a year tying up loose ends and technically my last year of work was 1997. I really do miss teaching and hope someday to try my hand at teaching something less demanding.
In “The Here and Now”, I live a quiet life in northwest Georgia with my husband of almost-25 years and 3 dogs, 2 cats and 2 parrots. I’ve always loved critters of all kinds. Some now may call me an ‘amateur ornithologist’ (my neighbors probably call me “The Crazy Bird Lady”). In 2005 I started a love affair with Eastern Bluebirds. Growing up in Pennsylvania, I never saw any of these beautiful birds. I found out later that‘s because they were on the endangered list. Even though I’ve lived in Georgia since 1990, I didn’t notice the bluebirds till 2005 when a pair took up residence in a nest box in our front yard. In only a year, I’ve gone from casual observer to bluebird addict! In 4 nesting periods between last year and this year, there have been 12 beautiful babies raised in this nest box and I’ve watched every phase of their life cycle.
As I wait for next spring and hopefully for more baby bluebirds, I watch the birds that stay here in the winter (we feed them year round). And occasionally we get some northern birds who stop for a meal and a rest.
I read a lot; my interests are very eclectic, to say the least. Give me a good vampire novel or a good romance novel and better yet, give me a great vampire romance !
And don’t try to take away either of my Tivo boxes! Here’s another case of how technology has helped me to cope with my physical limitations. I can’t imagine how I managed to use a VCR to record shows (lots of big, bulky tapes and crazy ways or programming every different VCR). Now that I’ve become a Tivo-er or Tivo-ite, I can follow a wide range of great shows including ‘Battlestar Gallactica‘ which is my favorite. My husband has warned me that if I continue to watch and record all the ‘home improvement’ and DIY shows that he will take away my Tivos (he says they give me too many ideas as to how to make more work for him).
Last but not least, without my Internet connection I’d be lost. It is my link to the world and my connection to my primary social life. And it is how we’ve been able to establish and expand the range of “Band of Angels” which I’ll talk about soon.
Did the series Beauty and the Beast have an impact on your life? In what way?
I wish I could think of a word that fully embodies how my life changed for the better the day in February 1994 when I found the “Beauty and the Beast” (BATB) TV show (I have a vague recollection of watching a few episodes when it was on originally but that was during the chapter “Linda the Workaholic” when I rarely watched TV).
In Feb. 1994, The SciFi channel was running the show and to this day I don’t remember what episode I saw first. I vividly remember the feelings I had when I watched more and more episodes (the episodes were run one a day except for the weekends so it was what I now view as an immersion course in BATB). At the time, my life was a disaster: we had a cat with an obscure type of cancer, my in-laws were declining quickly in Pennsylvania while we were in Georgia so my husband was gone for 8 weeks to care for them, and my health problems were getting worse making it obvious that my life/career would have to change.
I didn’t think of these things when I was living inside each of the episodes, one each weekday. I hated the weekends because I had to wait 2 days to see the next one.
This was during the time when the Internet had just become a tool available to the home computer user. Somehow, probably by divine intervention, I found the Genie bulletin board system. It was a place where people could post messages on lots of different subjects. The technology was certainly archaic compared to what we have available now. It took me some time to figure out how to navigate through the topics but lo and behold there was a topic for the “Beauty and the Beast” TV show.
As significant as it was to find the show on TV, if I had not found this piece of ‘heaven’ on the Internet, I would have probably just moved on to something else, frustrated that I had no one with which to discuss the show. But I found a group of incredible people who felt the way I did about BATB, most of who found the show when it first aired in 1987. Since SciFi had just started to air the show, there were about 4 of us who arrived at the BATB topic in Genie at the same time, anxious to discuss every aspect of every episode. With the support and tutelage of the fans who had been established on Genie and in BATB, we ‘newbies’ posted long messages expressing our views and asking our questions. The synergism of the fans from the original airing of the show and the newbies was incredible! We were even honored to have George R. R. Martin pop in occasionally to offer some ‘behind the scenes’ tidbits. Wow, that was an exciting time, one which helped to balance all the stresses of my daily life at the time.
I found the show in Feb. of 1994 and the Genie bulletin board maybe the same month or a month after. My new friends told me about wondrous things like zines and cons and fandom and all that went with them. They told me that there would be a con in Las Vegas that July. Prior to that time, I was not one to make rash decisions but I remember that it was in April that I picked up the phone and made the necessary arrangements to go to Las Vegas (of all places; my parents were horrified when they found out--afterwards, of course) to meet with people I’d never met, to spend money on a suitcase full of zines and pics and art and such from a TV fantasy show about a ‘big lion guy' (my brother‘s description as he questioned my sanity)! After I made the arrangements, the sudden realization hit me that I’d have to explain this to my husband who had never seen me do anything like this in the time we’d known each other. He, also, questioned my sanity.
I could go on and on recounting the adventures I’ve had since then and singing the praises of the wonderful people I’ve met in the years since then. I think the title of this chapter has to be “My Never Ending Adventure.”
We understand that you are the coordinator of a group called "Band of Angels" Could you tell us what it is and where the idea came from?
One of the most exciting aspects of my new life (my secret life, in some ways), was when I went to my first convention in 1994 I found myself elbow-to-elbow with celebrities from the show…actors…characters in the show…I had a hard time trying to separate them at first.
Edward Albert was the very first celebrity I saw and I know that my heart stopped beating as I watched him talk to a fan not far from me. I was petrified with fear that he’d look my way because I had no clue as to how to act, what to say. I watched him and the other celebrities and found them to be a very funny, intelligent, giving people. I was especially drawn to Edward. He sang and played guitar for the audience, spent hours with convention activities, and he seemed to be enjoying himself. He told wonderful stories of his life and of course about what went on behind the scenes of the show. I signed up for every event I could that first con and at one, I found myself sitting right next to Edward in a roundtable activity where he read passages from Shakespeare. What a voice! So resonant, so filled with emotion! It was a small group and I do remember feeling that I would faint if he should turn and look at me directly which he did at one point and I thought I would faint having seen his wonderful blue-green eyes so close to mine. I came away from the con with lots of memories but also with a feeling that this was just the beginning of an incredibly wonderful adventure.
After the con, I heard that there was a fan club for Edward and I joined immediately. There was just something so very real and warm about him, I wanted to learn more about the man--having met him in 1994, I knew he was so much more than an actor; he was a very passionate, interesting man. I signed up for the 1995 con in Los Angeles and as a member of The Official Edward Albert Fan Club, I attended a breakfast meeting. Edward was there with Paulette Edwards, who was the fan club coordinator. I think it was then that she announced that Edward had asked her to be his Personal Assistant (PA) and that she had accepted (it may have been at the 1994 con; I apologize if I‘ve gotten it wrong). I knew he’d made a wonderful choice since Paulette was not only very organized but also was very articulate and in-tune with the needs of both Edward and his fans.
Edward talked to us about many things and one of them was about his wish that his fan club could be more than just for him, about him. The complete text is below of what I call the words that were the birth of BOA. I remember having an overwhelming feeling that if he were going to ask for volunteers to help in any way, I had to raise my hand. Despite my extreme nervousness, I knew that my fate would be entwined with Edward’s that morning. So, I did raise my very shaky hand when volunteers were asked for and this was the beginning of the chapter “Band of Angels: When One Door Closes, Another One Opens.”
And as Edward and I knelt to the side of that beautiful outdoor room, whispering about what name would be good for his group, I suggested 'Circle of Love'. He paused and very quietly but with much emotion said 'I would like it to be called the “Band of Angels" (it‘s become abbreviated BOA). It was years later that I found out from him why the name was so important. When his mother was dying from cancer, he sat by her bedside for countless hours. She was the one who came up with the idea that people should help others, to band together as 'earth angels'. He promised her before she died that he would create such a 'Band of Angels'. She died in 1985 and from that time through 1995, he did have friends, co-workers, family, as his 'Band of Angels', supporting each other, helping each other. In essence, he added us, the current members of his fan club, to his band “Band of Angels.”
How did “Band of Angels” (BOA) progress from its start?
We consider the birth date of BOA to be the day of the Fan Club breakfast in LA July 8, 1995. It’s especially appropriate that we use this date since our help was needed that very same day at the con. An attendee who was also a member of Edward’s fan club had an unexpected family illness and she couldn’t get home any earlier than she had planned. Edward spent hours talking to her, consoling her, and just being with her. Later in the evening, an attendee and “Band of Angels” member from Australia was mugged while walking back from a nearby restaurant with a group of other convention attendees. She was pulled to the pavement by her camcorder strap (the muggers wanted the camcorder but she wasn’t about to give it up). We knew she had at least a concussion and were afraid there might be complications so we called for an ambulance. While waiting, Edward held an ice pack to her head and reassured her that all would be well. Once the ambulance picked her up, one of the local folks took 3 of us to the hospital where we spent a very long (and scary) night in the waiting room of a downtown LA hospital. She was ok but when we brought her back to the hotel, she had to be wakened every few hours (because of the concussion) so we didn’t get much sleep that night. The first birthday of “Band of Angels” is one we won’t forget!
Edward did not give me any guidelines as to how to structure the group, he just told me to use my creativity and we’d see what we could come up with. When the convention was over, the first issue was how to establish communication between members and those who needed the help of BOA. I consulted Paulette Edwards, his Fan Club President and Personal Assistant. She was instrumental in making sure Edward was always "in the loop". She also gave me ideas as to what she thought was needed for BOA since she had been in fandom for many years.
I also consulted long-time fan Sally Newman who had been doing outreach in the BATB community for many years. The scope of her organization “Father’s Fan Fare” (FFF) was BATB fandom as a whole. We shared ideas and agreed that having two outreach groups would be the best way to go since our objectives did not overlap. We shared the names of people who needed help, and when we knew there was a need within the fan club, I would enter the pertinent information on a list that Paulette would publish in her monthly fan club newsletter.
What was the purpose of the organization at its inception and has it changed over the years?
Perhaps the best way to answer the first question is to quote Edward when he spoke to us at the memorable fan club breakfast:
Edward said: "While I was listening with half an ear, I heard Paulette ask for hugs for somebody…I was blessed enough to grow up in a very loving family, a very large family, encompassing several continents actually; and the longer I'm alive, the more I realize how important family is. And I don't just mean blood relations; I mean people that share bonds, that share this time and this space on this pale blue orb that we all live on. It would make me extremely happy and very, very proud of all of us if we could find more and more ways of helping each other…I'd like this to become more than a Fan Club; I'd like to become an extended family. You have already helped me in many ways; the letters that you send in support of the shows I care about are very, very meaningful. I would love it if we could find a way of becoming a support system for each other that went beyond just being fans. If indeed it's my Fan Club and I'm the "Poppa" of the group here, I would love it if there was the possibility of when you are going through something difficult in your life, in whatever way, you can let us know. We can galvanize our increasingly large family, whether it's for letters, or prayer…whatever. I think maybe we will be coming together for something that has real value, not only in this life but in whatever other spheres and dimensions and lives there are. Let's start thinking of ourselves as a family that is pulled together by not only common interests, but a common sense of passion, and a common, in a sense, wisdom of choice-of knowing that if we include something, if we have something in our lives that makes us feel more alive, that makes us feel more cared for, that makes us feel a little bit more protected, that no matter what else happens, we have done something wonderful. Thank you!"
The purpose of “Band of Angels” at the beginning was to create a group of people, an "adopted" family, who would help each other as we navigated through life’s twists and turns. Edward suggested that the way we could do this is by sending letters, prayers, whatever we felt might help. At the beginning, having a monthly column in Edward’s fan club newsletter was sufficient. It soon became obvious that there were times when we needed immediate communication with members. Paulette was kind enough to share her information and I contacted each fan club member to make sure they wanted to also belong to “Band of Angels.” I then set up BOA’s email list and also a list of BOA members who did not have computers. With these lists, I could contact members whenever there was a need for help.
Over BOA’s 11 years, we have supported people with a wide range of needs and we‘ve responded with a wide range of help. We’ve sent healing energy, prayers, good thoughts, letters, cards, e-mails and e-cards, etc. There have been times when someone has had a need for financial help (contributions are always voluntary). Whatever the needs have been, we have done what we could do to meet them and we continue to do so.
Our purpose is basically the same as was defined by Edward in July 1995: “…I would love it if we could find a way of becoming a support system for each other that went beyond just being fans. If indeed it's my Fan Club and I'm the "Poppa" of the group here, I would love it if there was the possibility of when you are going through something difficult in your life, in whatever way, you can let us know. We can galvanize our increasingly large family, whether it's for letters, or prayer…whatever. I think maybe we will be coming together for something that has real value, not only in this life but in whatever other spheres and dimensions and lives there are…”
What has changed is our method of communication and the range of BOA’s membership. We do whatever we can to meet the needs of those who cross our paths.
What do members of BOA do?
Our motto is: “We are each of us angels with only one wing.
And we can only fly embracing each other.”
- Luciano de Crescenzo
In simplest terms, sometimes we are the ones who offer a wing to another, sometimes we accept a wing. There are always more than one wing to help others to crawl, walk or fly.
Many members pray for those in need. Because we are non-denominational, we accept that not all members interpret this word in the same way. However, we view the intention of the word prayer to be similar to sending good thoughts, healing light and energy. Research studies have shown that the positive energy of traditional prayer is similar to the positive energy of these other forms of directed energy.
BOA is not restricted to fans of “Beauty and the Beast.” Our original membership base came from fandom but since our inception in 1995, we have branched out to include anyone who wants to become a member. The only requirement I have is that if someone wants to join and I don’t know anything about them, I need to have some kind of a reference from a member of fandom or a BOA member. The reason I do this is because we share a lot of personal information and I want to make sure that it remains secure.
In practical terms, BOA members do what they can which varies by need, and by the resources and time of each member. There are no specific membership requirements.
When I send out a message that describes needs, I try to provide contact information. If I do not have a direct connection to the person in need, I often use the email or mail address of someone who is in contact with them. Sometimes it’s impossible to provide any contact information right away but I try to get that information when I can. And when I do have contact information, I make sure that those in the Needs List entry are told in advance to expect communications from the "earth angels" of “Band of Angels.” In that way, when members contact them, they can figure out who it is contacting them.
To meet most needs, members respond as best they can with the time and resources that they have. Perhaps one week I send out e-cards but the next week I only have time to hold in my heart the people in need as I read of their problems. Here are some of the most common activities:
- Read the description of a need and hold those affected in our heart in prayer, healing light, meditation or good thoughts. I remind members that if they do just this, they are doing something extremely beneficial.
- If there is contact information, a member might send an email, e-card, printed card or note. Some people send inspirational enclosures or small pockets cards in cards they put in the mail.
- Depending on the need and a member’s other affiliations, a need on our list might be added to another prayer or meditation group, such as one might find in a church or support group.
- Occasionally, we have a need for financial help. Contributing to such requests is optional.
Some people feel uncomfortable writing to people they don’t know. We stress that members must identify themselves as a member of “Band of Angels” when they write to someone they don‘t know. Most of the time, I have already written to the person in need telling them that there are “earth angels” of the “Band of Angels“ who are keeping them in our prayers, thoughts, and light. Our members don’t have to write a lot of words of their own. Many people buy boxes of cards with different sentiments for different occasions and there’s no need to write anything else. Also, you can contact me for help in wording what it is that you want to say.
How many members do you have and are you accepting more members?
Right now the number of members on our email list is about 70. In the early days of BOA, we also sent out regular Needs List messages in the mail to those who did not have computers. We have not been doing that the last year because we have had so few members who do not have computers. However, in 2007 I will once again be mailing out BOA News to those who request it.
This is a critical time for BOA membership. Many of our current members have been with us for 11 years! In the last year our numbers have been dropping and I’m afraid we are seeing some "burn out". Even though we share the good news of new births, marriages, birthdays, anniversaries, and wonderful accomplishments, a lot of what we share are the challenges of life. But in our motto, the one wing that we each share is offered to fellow members so that we can help to keep us flying too! And as I mentioned above, we welcome new members from your own circles as well. Our goal for 2007 is to have our BOA family grow--the more wings the better!
I have had some questions as to whether BOA will continue after our “Poppa” Edward’s untimely death on Sept. 22nd, 2006. I believe that Edward would want “Band of Angels” to continue and so we will as long as we are needed. I like to think that Poppa Edward will always watch over our family, the family of support he promised to his mother, the one he nurtured with us.
If someone wanted to join BOA, how would they do so?
That’s easy. Contact me by email. When you email me, just let me know if you’ve read about us here through Winterfest or by some other means. If you need to contact me by mail, it’s Linda Moore, 6116 Brook Lane, Acworth, GA 30102-1543.
Again, I encourage you to become part of our “Band of Angels” family. I am here to answer questions and help you find a place in BOA that is perfectly suited to your time and abilities. It could become one of the most rewarding things that you’ll ever do!
Does BOA have a website and if not, will there be one in the future?
Yes, we do have a website at
Each year, the support for this website comes exclusively from the generosity of BOA members.
In the spring of 2007, I will be working on improving and retooling the website because some of the information has become outdated. However, the basic structure of our organization is explained. There’s also a great section called “Inspirational Readings” where you’ll see quotations and readings divided into categories to inspire you under different circumstances.
You will see features like "an advisory committee" and "guardian angels" that I’ve not talked about here. For various reasons, these features were not supported this year but will be back in 2007. These features will energize our BOA family so that we can get more members involved and allow BOA to offer more support to those who need our help.
To learn more about Edward, our Founder and “Poppa”, there is a section about him on our website and also at “The Official Edward Albert Website”.
Do you have or are you planning to have a group online?
I have talked about a “Needs List” which is just like it sounds: a list of the needs that we currently have for our consideration. This list goes out as what some call a "send only" email. If you reply to the message, the reply comes only to me (which is fine if you want to talk to me).
Over the years, we felt it would be nice to have a place where BOA members could go to support each other in our work for BOA and also in our lives. Sometimes a member has a prayer/good thoughts request that they don’t want to share with the entire group but prefer the intimacy of the smaller group.
This "BOA Support Group" is hosted by the Yahoo Groups feature. If you are a BOA member and interested in joining this Support Group, let me know and I can easily add you. If you are not yet a BOA member, I would like to add you to our main email list (that is, add you as a member) and then I can set you up in the Support Group as well.
Tell us briefly how BOA has helped others?
Imagine that you are feeling poorly, maybe you are facing some medical testing to diagnose a problem, and you are feeling very much alone and frightened. How would you feel if you got an unexpected card in the mail saying "I’m a member of the “Band of Angels” and I just want you to know that I’m praying for you" or "I am sending healing thoughts your way." Imagine that you get more than one card from these "so-called strangers" who seem to know how you are feeling. Or perhaps there’s been a death in your family and you cannot deal with the overwhelming grief. I certainly can relate to all of that and I will tell you that having received cards and email messages and e-cards, I know that I don’t have to go through life’s difficulties alone. Being both a member of BOA and a recipient of BOA’s special power, my life is significantly richer than it was before “Band of Angels.“
Over the years, I have received notes from people who’ve received BOA’s help. The notes tell me how much better they felt having received messages of encouragement, comfort, cheer. I’ve even gotten thank you cards thanking me for sending a card! You may not believe it now but I can attest to the fact that it doesn’t always take a lot to lift a person’s mood or hopes or spirit.
And I’ve also received thank you notes from people who have said that they are convinced that the combined energy of prayers and good thoughts and healing light has been significant in creating a positive outcome when they needed one.
Since BOA’s birth in 1995, we’ve been able to do big things at times but on a day-to-day basis, we do a lot of what others might consider little things but sometimes it’s the cumulative effect of the little things that has the power to make a difference in a person’s life.
One of the most touching stories I have to tell (and there are many) is about a woman who was dying, and one of the BOA "earth angels" sent her an angel pin and a message of support. The woman requested that the pin be put on her pillow where she could regularly touch it. The pin was there when she died and I think it was put in the casket with her.
How long do you see yourself working with BOA?
My hope is that the answer falls into the chapter “My Never Ending Adventure.” Edward gave me a challenge in July 1995 to “… galvanize our increasingly large family, whether it's for letters, or prayer…whatever. I think maybe we will be coming together for something that has real value, not only in this life but in whatever other spheres and dimensions and lives there are…” Even though he is not available in this world to guide me, I trust that he is and always will be “Poppa” to me and to our “earth angels.” If there comes a time when I cannot do what is needed, then I’m sure another will step up to take my place.
Is there anything else you would like to say to our readers about yourself, B&B or Band of Angels?
We are here enjoying this wonderful Winterfest Celebration because we share some things in common. We started out enamored with the TV show, its characters, its worlds Above and Below. I don’t believe those aspects of BATB will ever die even if they become dormant as our lives morph with the passage of time. Maybe we don’t discuss the episodes with the fervor of our early days in fandom. What I believe we share, and why we continue to get together at every opportunity, is that we have a connection. We are a family of “Above Ground Tunnel Dwellers.” As we live our lives, we frequently look for an entrance to the tunnels, to the calm of the Mirror Pool, to the comfort of Mary’s soft voice, to Father’s wisdom, to Vincent’s protection, and of course to the romance between Vincent and Catherine.
Life Above can be very hard, sometimes sad, and often difficult. But life Above can also be exciting, fascinating, and something we want to share with each other. Maybe “Band of Angels” is one of the tunnel entrances we seek. And since these entrances are often hard to find, we owe it to each other to provide the nurturing, comfort and help that strengthens our bond. My work with “Band of Angels” was not an accident - I believe that everything happens for a reason. So if you need help to find one of these elusive tunnel entrances, I’m here, with other “earth angels” to help light your way and to give you an opportunity to provide light for others who are in need.
I wish I could thank every BATB family member who has helped me since I found this family in 1994, everyone who has shared conversation, laughter, love, everyone who has helped me in innumerable ways. I hope that you know how much I appreciate your love and friendship (and I hope that you know who you are; if not, I haven’t done a very good job of telling you).
A special thank you to “Band of Angels” members, past and present. BOA is nothing without such wonderful, dedicated members. I hope that you comprehend how much good you have done and how valuable you are to the future of BOA.
We meet here again this year in the virtual tunnels and once again we have a chance to renew our bonds. And I offer to each of you a place in “Band of Angels” where you will find support and friendship and "a soft place to fall" should you or yours need it.
Edward Laurence Albert
February 20, 1951 - Sept. 22, 2006
“There is no death. . .
Only a change of worlds. . .
Only a change of worlds.”
- From “The Great Spirit Prayer”
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