Monday, July 13, 2009

Have You Seen My Childhood?

It's been a while since I last posted. I know. I fail. But also, the day I think of what to post next, something happens.

I will tell you a story.

I had a parakeet named Patrick. He died when I was about 9 years old. Around that time, 3rd grade, I was getting all those tests that every 3rd grader got, and finally graduating from speech therapy (I still don't see why I went. There was nothing wrong with my s's and z's..). One day, my parents and I have to go for a meeting.

Uh oh.

The meeting topic? I need to be in a gifted child program. I'm reading at a high school level. Almost college! So, what do my parents do? Reward me of course! I got to go to the pet store and get a new birdy. After all, it was just my dog in the house and she was oh-so-lonely, right? We'd had a cat but she refused to be litter trained, since she was raised a barn cat.. She had to go back..

So I got a bird. A pretty male parakeet. They were the most colorful, and they were supposedly able to maybe talk! I'd started listening to a new singer (new singer to me that is) and knew EXACTLY what to name our new edition.

Michael Jackson Bird. Yes. Not Mike, or just Michael. Michael Jackson Bird. I was 9, and in love with Michael Jackson.

I wanted to marry Michael Jackson. My best friend, she wanted to marry Michael too. She was also 9, and that's how we became friends. Our love of the gloved one.

I cried when he was put on trial for child molestation a couple of years later. Cried. Hard. I didn't believe it. (I still don't.) My idol couldn't do that.

Let's fastforward about 10 years later. 2003. I'm 20 years old. Just on the cusp of adulthood. Teen years are behind me. That October, my dog dies. My dog, the only dog I'd ever had. We got her when I was 5. She was my childhood, my adolescence. She died in her sleep while I was at a play, and we came home to find her flanked by two cats, who were protecting her.

I cried for 3 days.

A month later, maybe not even.. 3 weeks maybe.. I get a phone call. My first absolute obsessive teen crush, whom I fell in love with when I was 10 years old, and still held a candle for.. had killed himself. Imagine 3 girls, three 20-somethings on the phone together, sobbing because we find out a week later that an actor we all loved so dearly didn't realize how loved he truly was..

I'd thought I'd all but lost my childhood that year.

Fast forward 6 years. My poor little Michael Jackson Bird had died the previous summer (he broke a wing and was just in so much pain.. He'd seemingly lived forever! He used to dance when we played music for him.. He loved Jackson 5 best), and I'm at work, a slow day for once.

"Michael Jackson's been rushed to the hospital." Is the first sentence out of my coworker's mouth when she comes in. Not even half an hour later, I hear calls of "Michael Jackson died." echoing through the pharmacy as a group of coworkers stop in to relay the news.

I think that moment was the true end to my childhood. The moment where I found that the entertainer I thought would never fade away, was ripped away.

Now I'm not saying I still loved him the way I did when I was 9, but I thought him a fabulous entertainer. He was a part of my life, the life of an 80s child. An 80s geek.

Lady: 1988-2003
Jonathan Brandis: 1976-2003
Michael Jackson Bird: 1993-2008
Michael Jackson: 1958-2009

My childhood lays in ruins, a small list of birth and death dates that I wasn't prepared for. I try hard not to shut down the way I did in 2003, brought back only by a 3 hour crying jag that I thought would never stop.

I don't mean for this to be a sad blog post, but I need to say something, don't I? I need to be the pop culture junkie that I tote myself as. I need to admit that my heart broke when little Paris told everyone how much she loved her daddy, and how when I came home, I hugged my father as hard as I could.

I promise my next blogpost will be happier. And may contain pictures of myself dressed up for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Because that is what I need to cheer myself up.