My blogging friend Jennifer's tribute to Michael Jackson on her blog, Broken Bananas, made me think of one of my memories of him.
When I talked to my sister the other evening, she told me how much she had been affected by his death--much more so than her husband had been. I think it has a lot to do with a person's age. Those of us who were his contemporaries, or close to it, might be more likely to be touched in some way by his passing. Women in general seem to be more nostalgic than men. It reminds us of our own mortality...and it also makes us remember how he touched our lives in some way.
I remember when MTV became all the rage--and "Thriller" was one of the most exciting movie videos of that era. I remember the sweet little Michael Jackson of the Jackson 5 era. And my sister and I were obsessed with "Free to Be You and Me" in grade school...here's a video of that sweet little Michael Jackson and Roberta Flack singing "When We Grow Up"--who knew how ironic a statement that would be about his life.
Michael Jackson never seemed to have a real childhood, and he never grew up either. I don't know whether he was perverted or morally corrupt. I don't know whether he bleached his skin or had a skin disease. Who am I to know these things? But he was an amazingly talented human being. When I had heard he had died at the age of 50, I was not surprised in the least. He seemed to be the kind of person who was destined never to grow old--to go out in the prime of his life. I will not hold him up as a role model to my children, but I do remember the music he made and how it affected our lives.