Michael Jackson is dead and I am mourning his death. In that last twenty-four hours I have had time to process why I am mourning his death more keenly than I would have thought...it has to do with the loss of part of me. I was thirteen years old in 1979 when I bought my first Michael Jackson album, "Off the Wall." My brothers and I listened to it non-stop, it was that year for the first time, as young teens, that we sat glued to the television watching the music awards where Michael Jackson made a stunning sweep.
Looking further back , I remember The Jackson 5 as a soundtrack from my childhood, dancing with my older cousins to their music. In 1982 I bought "Thriller" and listened to my cassette tape until I wore it out. I got another one and almost wore that one out as well. I was a teenager and music-lyrics were very important to me. This album, probably more than any other, provided a soundtrack to the year 1982 for me.
As I got older, I watched with dismay as Michael Jackson become more and more strange, almost alien, and unrecognizable to those of us who grew up with his music in our ears. I had always hoped that he would stage some kind of comeback, maybe come back to normalcy, but now that is not meant to be.
I am no longer a teenager and part of becoming middle aged means that those who provided the soundtracks that narrated my youth will pass away and I will continue to grow older. This is what a I mourn... that there are fewer and fewer tangible reminders of my youth with each passing year.
Yes, Farrah Fawcett has also passed on. I mourn her death as well, but not in the same way. Having never been a teenage boy in the late 70's and early 80's with the infamous "red swimsuit" poster tacked to my wall, I don't have the depth of connection that I have with the music world. I used to enjoy watching "Charlies Angels," mostly because I was forbidden to watch it by my parents and had to sneak in episodes with lenient babysitters and at the homes of friends. I remember wanting so much to have feathered hair like Farrah and being envious of friends who could do this, combing all day at their feathers with a rainbow patterned super comb sticking out of their back pockets. My natural curls would not allow me the coveted "feathered look." I will miss Farrah for being the beauty that defined an era and the era that is gone, and only alive in memory for the "old ones" like me.