Autor Thema: Tschüss Nobbi  (Gelesen 2426 mal)

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Offline IZ GT33

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Re: Tschüss Nobbi
« Antwort #30 am: 05. Februar 2020, 09:03:06 »
Ich habe Norbert auch nie persönlich kennengelernt, habe aber seine fachliche Seite hier zu schätzen gewusst. Einer von den großen Erfahrungsträgern in Sachen Opel GT.
Auch von mir, mein Beileid...
°O°O Gruß,Tim O°O°
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Offline Radnor

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Re: Tschüss Nobbi
« Antwort #31 am: 05. Februar 2020, 09:18:05 »
Gordon Payton (USA):


This is my eulogy to my friend Norbert. It's very long, better grab a joint and a six pack. Could you German members please pass this on to others that may have known him;

Gordon Payton's Eulogy for Norbert Schnause

One of my few best friends in life has died. He was a fellow in Germany that I met online about 12 years ago through my Opel car hobby. Seemingly, the two of us couldn't have been more different. He was a humble quiet family man living 1/3 of the world away who was very much into knowing all the minute details of every model and year of Opel automobiles. As per the current way that many German Opel collectors are, he believed that Opels should remain stock and unmodified. I'm a wild loud crazy American who loves to modify his Opels. He never really did any changes to his Opels, except to play around with different badging and small decorations on his cars. I had taken an 8 year hiatus from Opels, but got a new one and found the online Opel GT site. I went wild right from the start. I write funny stuff and maybe that's what started our initial bond, because he enjoyed a good laugh. Then I started needing stuff that he could get me in Europe and our long history of sending packages to each other began. Then weekly emailing and having fun with each other on the GT website. Over 10 years he helped me gather the parts and ideas to create my heavily modified "GTX" car, which culminated with me debuting it at the 2016 Opel Nationals where I won Best of Show.

Norbert flew over here for that show! He didn't tell me he was going to do that. His whole plan was to secretly rent a hotel near me and then suddenly show up at my doorstep a few days before the show! His wife talked him out of it at the last second. Here are some of my random memories of the two weeks he was here:

1) I gave him the job of setting up Snoopy in my trailer with PVC WW1 replica machine guns he had previously made for me. He had secretly brought brackets to fasten them to the trailer. He figured out that all the straps on Snoopy's aviator cap were meant to hold goggles. I never knew that. I stepped outside after not seeing him for a while and he had Snoopy all set up to shoot down the Red Baron. He was in Heaven setting up Snoopy for me and went about it with typical German meticulousness.

2) He followed me to the Nationals at Carlisle, PA in my Pontiac Solstice. My GT kept shutting off every 5 miles. It happened 3 times in the first 15 miles. On the 3rd time we field-stripped the engine peripherals looking for an electrical problem on the side of the busy highway. I was horrified that he flew all the way over here for me and this event and there we were on the side of the road almost ready to call the tow truck or try to turn around and drive back home. He wasn't bothered one bit, he enjoyed the Opel moment. Then I recalled that my gas cap was tight and would "gasp" when I removed it during the previous weeks. I removed the gas cap and the car started right up. I didn't vent the gas tank properly and had put a new seal on the gas cap. A vacuum formed that prevented the car from sucking fuel out of the tank. We drove the remaining 2 hours to Carlisle with no incident.

3) At the show he suddenly surprised me with a 1:18 scale model replica of my body kit modified Pontiac Solstice. A total surprise! I was brought to tears with it. Oh my, one of the happiest days of my life!

4) On the way back home, just 5 miles away, my car ran out of gas at the top of the Betsy Ross bridge. Right at the top in the passing lane in heavy traffic at 50mph. The middle of the 3 lanes was under construction, so it was just the passing and the slow lane with no way to pull over to the side of the road. If I stopped and got stuck I would back up miles of traffic and a tow truck would have had extreme difficulty to get to me. I had to coast the whole way down riding the brake. I was waving my hands out window and had the flashers on to somehow let him know I was in trouble. Finally at the bottom, with no engine power, the middle lane construction ended with a pocket of traffic cones, there was a gap in the passenger lane and a breakdown area just beyond at the base of the bridge. With my remaining speed I ripped between the traffic cones, through the pocket, then more cones, across between 2 cars in the slow lane, to safety. AND THERE WAS NORBERT! He stuck to my tail like a rally car driver and was neatly parked behind me! A cop got us some gas.

5) Later that week we drove into Pennsylvania and visited Jeff Lezitsky and his horse Thunder. Jeff was so amusing playing with his horse like a dog. Norbert got to pose for a pic with Thunder. I got the sense that this was the first time he was near a horse. Later we went to a gathering that Duane of Octopelfest fame put together at his house. It was a wonderful time and Norbert finally got to attend one of the awesome getogethers at Duane's house that us eastern Opelers are so fond of.

6) The rest of the week he just came over after I got home from work and we talked about Opels...........and then we went down in my basement and did some Opel modifying. Oh boy was he thrilled by that! My workshop and spare materials were like a candy shop to a little kid to him. We made some little containers for holding sunglasses and spare change and then upholstered them in faux alligator skin together. In later years he frequently stated that that was one of the most enjoyable times of his entire life.

7) Oh my god he talked my ears off. Not so much him talking, as me having to talk in that special, precise, bite off each word, way you have to do when your are speaking to someone who doesn't speak english much. You can't do the American slurallyourwordstogether way of talking. After...two...weeks...of...pausing...for...one...second...after...each...word, my brain was fried. It took me a week to learn how to slur all my words together again! Oh what I would give right now to be talking...to...Norbert...in...that...funny...exhausting...way...again..............:(

8. Once again secretly, Norbert had brought over a football-sized plastic alligator head and a plexiglass sign he had made. My car has a faux alligator skin interior and dash. At one point when I was away from my car, he and the guys arranged to have the alligator head stick out of my grill with the sign under it saying: "Help! Some wackadoodle has stolen all my clothes!"(Wackadoodle was a popular word to bandy about during that time on our website). Imagine, he'd already secretly made the model car, and was planning on secretly showing up at my door just before the show, and on top of that he somehow finds an alligator head and has a sign made, then leaves his underwear at home(joke) in order to make room for it all in his suitcase. Wow, he was such a great guy.

9. Oh, and one day while he was visiting with me I was busy in the house for a while and when I came outside head had put cool Opel letters on one of the spokes of each of my Opelized Pontiac Solstice's wheels. Unbelievable generosity of friendship.

Norbert seemed to have a passion for wanting to do superficial appearance mods to Opels. Nothing too permanent, just personalization with maybe a little humor mixed in. I frequently heard from him that this was frowned upon in Germany. No funny stuff. Opel GT's are the German Ferrari. They should be respected and left unmolested like they are holy relics. I often heard him say that if he did a certain mod, that I had just done to my car, the guys in his Opel club would make him sit in the back of the room. His big thing was to hang a plucked rubber chicken from his antenna(His car was yellow and he was a little chicken-like man, I guess was the joke). He said the guys would give him a hard time about the chicken.

I guess that was our primary bond: Dress up and personalization mods. He loved making the little cars for his friends that featured the little mods they had done to their cars. Making mini replicas of guys' cars is a European hobby. If all a guy did was change his shifter knob and put a chrome oil cap on their car, he would make a replica with just those 2 things changed. OMG, he had a field day making the replica of my GTX car. Every single thing on the car is modified. It took him over a year to make it. OMG, he loved the time period when I was doing the Red Baron thing on my previous car. He contributed to the fun of those years enormously and his enjoyment of it all was probably my primary driver to keep doing more of it. I guess, since he really couldn't go hog wild modding and having goofy fun with Opels in Germany, he lived the wild modifier life through me.

Okay, I've got lots of guys who got a laugh out of my cars and helped me build them with their ideas, assistance, and encouragement, so why has the loss of Norbert hit me so hard(It has, I cried at work today)? Norbert kind of turned into the Dad I never had. My Dad didn't do much with his kids. He was a great/talented/funny guy, but I didn't grow up with him and he had almost no influence on my life. I never really got his approval of what did in life and career. My mom said one day when I was in my 50's: "You Know Gordon, you have spent your whole life trying to get your father's respect." Norbert accepted what I was doing and talked to me like I was a young man in need of mentoring. He was only about 10 years older, but I act as though I'm 30 years younger than I am when I'm online, and Norbert sort of acted like a fatherly wise man who would stop me from going too crazy.

One thing that did seem important through our whole journey was that I stay within the Opel/Lenk/Steinmetz/etc. German family of parts. I got his approval for anything I did with those parts. But should I dare to put American or, worse yet, ASIAN stuff on my car, then he would let me have it. He wouldn't talk to me for 6 months after I put round side rear windows from a Thunderbird on my car. I had to take them out and put something there that resembled the oem windows.

I thought Norbert would have died a year ago, but chemo kept him with us for another year. His German friends gave him the ultimate gift: They did the radical, by German standards, mod of putting a fuel injected 2.2 engine in his car. Wow, what great friends! That was a lot of work to do as a gift to a dying man. Considering how much I enjoyed him, I can't even imagine how much his German friends loved him who had known him much longer and got to see him frequently.

I don't believe in the Afterlife. When your dead you're dead. Gone forever, except for the things you did or made and left behind, children, and friends and loved ones' memories of you. When they're gone, then you're REALLY gone.

So, why do we grieve? In my opinion we grieve not for them, but for ourselves, for that part of our lives that they took with them. Our tears are for what WE have lost. I lost my best friend a few years ago. We had spent every weekend for 20 years together kayaking and mountain biking. Hundreds of adventures and memories we had together. Then he was gone. Never will we sit having a beer reminiscing about this or that that happened while we were sporting. I can't hope to try to share those moments with anyone else. They were snapshots in time that only have meaning and resonance if you were there. 20 years of my life gone.

I knew Norbert for 12 years. My cars and crazy fun stuff I did to them happened largely because of him and his "approval" and enthusiasm.

I hope I enriched his life as much as he did mine. I know I did. That makes me feel better about this. We both gave some of each other to each other. We both made each others' lives better for having been in it.

Where do I go from here?

I've had many set backs in the past 10 years. Both parents and a brother died, best friends died, I had 2 knee surgeries, a foot surgery, and wrist surgery. I've spent half of the past 10 years limping or unable to use my right arm. I am now forced to retire prematurely at 61(in 6 months) because I can't do my job anymore and if I keep trying I'll mess myself up even more. But, I've still been a funny positive guy all these years, right? And I made a pretty cool car. Working on my car got me through it all. I don't have a wife or kids, all I have right now are some aging family and friends and that car.

The best way I can pay homage to the memory of Norbert and keep myself from despair is to keep doing what I'm doing: Working on and playing with my Opel and talking with and playing with my car friends.

They say that the measure of a man is how he handles adversity. Norbert never burdened me or us on the website with the details and play by play of his impending doom. He stayed true to his great love, The World of Opels, right to the end. He gave all his Opel stuff away and made many Opelers happy before he left us. I intend to do the same.

Thanks for being my friend Norbert. I'll think about you every day.
Gruß Klaus, GT Club Vorderpfalz
:hut:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     :flitz:

Offline Egges

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Re: Tschüss Nobbi
« Antwort #32 am: 05. Februar 2020, 17:00:33 »
Gordon,
phew there you went out of your way to make all of your memories, anecdotes and experiences accessible to us.
I only knew norbert from the forum here and was always enthusiastic about the dedication with which he passed on his knowledge.

Thank you for your lines that we were allowed to read them.

greeting egges
Übern Berg isses weiter als zu Fuß ;)

Offline Jeremy

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Re: Tschüss Nobbi
« Antwort #33 am: 05. Februar 2020, 19:01:29 »
Auch von hier, RIP Norbert.


Gruß Jeremy.
Nur ist schöner.

Offline Johnny

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Re: Tschüss Nobbi
« Antwort #34 am: 08. Februar 2020, 13:19:06 »
Kann mich meinen Vorschreibern nur anschließen. Wir hatten ein paar mal Kontakt, leider aber nie persönlich.

Viel Kraft den Hinterbliebenen. Servus Nobby

Gruß aus den Bergen...