Yesterday I lost 2 of my childhood heroes: Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson.
I am 41 years old. I was a little kid in the 70s and a teenager for most of the 80s. I was blessed to have a rich childhood. I had love. My mother couldn't have been a better mother for my brother and me. She was a single mother, my dad and her divorced when I was 5, and she did the best she could, which was a pretty damn good job. I had friends, good friends who were a source of support and joy all during my school years. My big brother and I didn't always get along, but I sure remember those latch key days. And they weren't bad memories at all. I was proud of my mother for going out and making a living. Being a "modern woman", so to speak. That was the 70s, and there were still alot of women who didn't work outside of the home. Mine did so my brother and I took care of eachother. Most of the time. Atleast until we were both teenagers and had learned to dislike one another. But hey, he and I get along well now, so in retrospect, it was what it was.
Farrah embodied that modern woman ideal. Beautiful, confident, smart, successful. Everything we little girls back in the 70s wanted to be. I tell you, I had all 3 Charlies Angels dolls. And there was a Farrah doll too-- One that was taller and was autonomous from the Angels. And yes, my bother had the poster. THE poster. What red-blooded American male didn't? And was she not adorable? I think her smile alone sold alot of toothpaste and prevented many a cavity. Who didn't want to shine like that?
Farrah went on to prove that she was one helluva an actress too. The Burning Bed, The Apostle, Extremities.... This woman could ACT. I appreciate that about her as well. She could've been so easily typecast and written off as a fad but she had staying power and serious skills.
I am just glad that she will no longer be in pain and suffering. RIP, Farrah.
As for Michael... Mike... Wow, Can I tell y'all that I haven't stopped crying.... If I think about it too much the eyes start to well up again. So I will be brief with this.
When I was very small, like pre kindergarten, I remember asking my grandma for a Jackson 5 record for Christmas. She didn't give it to me though... She got me some kind of Christian Singalong record. LOL That was Grandma though. I'm not mad at her for it. :) Luckily, my brother already had quite a few J5 LPs. My favorite songs were Back to Indiana, Never Can Say Goodbye, Mama's Pearl... And I cannot express the fascination I felt when I saw him and his brothers, a little older, on Soul Train doing Dancing Machine. Mike moved JUST LIKE a robot!!
One of my favorite memories of Mike will always be when my friends, Terri and Phyllis, and I went to see the Wiz at the movie theatre. Michael was made for that roll. Who could you ask for to play a better scarecrow? His song "You can't win" is a show-stopper. That evening 3 little girls were mesmerized as we watched singing and wild dance steps while taking us to a magical place inhabited by eccentric characters who had brown faces, similar to our own.
Off the Wall is in my top 5 favorite albums of all time. I cannot express how sad I feel right now. Regardless of the controversies that accompanied his name for the last 15 years of his life, I will always have nothing but beautiful memories associated with Mike.
I guess I still think of myself as young for the most part. 41 was never an "old age" to me, not even when I was a kid and would think of people that age. So once I turned 40 it wasn't a big scary event. And now, as a young person, I have lost 2 of my childhood heroes and I feel great sadness and a deep sense of loss. Maybe it is a coming of age to us Gen Xers in a way... A sense of mortality has hit us that many of us had not yet dealt with.