I’m still taking a break from blogging, but this morning I came across the news on the Pure Eggs & Spam blog, and I wanted to share it with my readers: Palomma Casanova, the owner of The Free Dove (one of Second Life’s most popular and longest-running freebie stores), has sadly passed away after an illness. I’m going to post the complete text of a notecard sent to The Free Dove group by her colleague, Dollen McMillan:
Hello dear friends of Palomma,
It is with great sadness and pain that I have to announce you that Palomma Casanova left us on Saturday, January 14 after a long illness. This is a shock to me and a huge loss. She fought her illness with all the energy she had and endured the pain very bravely. Her passion for her work and for helping others was admirable.
For almost 12 years, this kind, generous and talented woman was by my side day after day. She will be missed by all of us who had the chance to know her. May she rest peacefully with all my love.
About Free Dove
When the subject of her eventual departure was brought up, Palomma’s response was that Free Dove would POOOOF when it was over for her. Free Dove was her baby, the vehicle that allowed her to express her love of people and her willingness to help them, but she didn’t want it to outlive her. She had created Free Dove in 2006 and when she left, her group had reached nearly 150,000 members, a rare achievement. We will remember her as the generous woman who dedicated 17 years of her life to SL citizens.
I have no idea when Free Dove will disappear. In the meantime, I have blocked all payment boxes for Free Dove shops, I am unable to refund your last payments, but your shops can remain in place until the end comes.
Regarding Christmas trees and Christmas gifts, I will be returning them this Wednesday because the holiday season is over. As for last month’s Hunts panels, I will try to change the textures and replace them with an image to pay homage to Palomma.
Concerning The Free Dove group, you will retain the ability to send notices as long as the building exists, but please don’t abuse and follow Palomma’s rules. The day the building disappears, I will remove the ability to send notices to all.
As for creators’ gifts and the prims belonging to other people, they will all be returned the day the land is abandoned.
Thank you for taking the time to read me.
The Free Dove group notices are full of people posting notes and testimonials about Palomma, as word filters out. I do not have further details about Palomma, but I will also miss her and her tireless work in Second Life. I would advise you that, since we do not know when her freebie store will shut down, pay your visit now.
The Free Dove, along with the freebie store at the Ajuda SL Brasil Portuguese-speaking community gateway sim, were my top two picks for the best freebie stores in Second Life (you can see my full list of recommendations here). And, unfortunately, after a recent visit to Ajuda SL Brasil, I must report that this once-excellent freebie store appears to have fallen on hard(er) times.
I noticed that of the vendors who once offered fashionable free items here have vanished, leaving many empty walls in the freebie store. Much of what remains is the older, system-layers-and-flexiprims clothing which most Second Life avatars don’t want to wear. There are still a few good mesh clothing finds here and there, such as this outfit I was able to cobble together for an alt (see image, right).
The Nia top is one of a collection of gifts for women from Fran Gustav on the main floor, and the patched and worn Bella blue jeans are a freebie from Dreams, located on the third floor. (Please note that some of the freebies in mesh clothing at Ajuda SL Brasil come in standard sizing, instead of sizes to fit Maitreya Lara and other brands of mesh bodies.)
On my return visit today to double-check the locations of the free clothing in this image, I noticed that there seems to be some effort underway to move content and reorganize the third floor of the store, but still, a lot of fabulous freebies I remember from before are no longer there.
So, I regret to report that one well-known SL freebie store is closing soon, and yet another is not what it used to be. This could be a sign that the era of freebie stores in Second Life is coming to an end.
UPDATE Jan. 19th, 2023: A memorial, with books of condolence which you can sign, has been set up for Palomma Casanova (and her alt, Dyannia!) just inside the main entrance of The Free Dove, if you wish to come and pay your respects:
Also, there is a discussion thread about Palomma Casanova’s passing on the official Second Life community forums, here. As with The Free Dove SL group I mentioned above, people are sharing stories and memories of Palomma and The Free Dove.
UPDATE Jan. 23rd, 2023: Tastic (one of the many SL brands who had free items available through The Free Dove) has created tops for both men and women, to commemorate the run of the venerable freebie store. (By their calculations, The Free Dove actually started in 2005, so that would indeed make it 17 years, a remarkable achievement!)
The tops are free, and you do not need to join a group to get them. Just click on the signs inside the entrance, near the stairs. The tops come in a wide variety of sizes to fit most male and female mesh bodies.
P.S. these tops will also be available at The Free Dove, next to the memorial to Palomma Casanova I mentioned above, until the store shuts down. Thanks, Tastic!
UPDATE Jan. 27th, 2023: Shelby Monitor posted an update to The Free Dove group yesterday:
Patch Linden will keep Palomma’s Park as a memorial and will not change. [The] Free Dove has 90 [days] till [it] will be no longer [be around]. The store will remain open and untouched till then, and we receive further notice from Linden Lab.
Her land will go to market, and I hope possibly to purchase the land and be able to make a place for people to get help, and
hopefully I can find designers to put [out] free gifts to help those in need.
Thank You everyone for all your support.