So this is one of those “where were you when you heard…” moments – similar to the aftermath of “9/11” – that I have to write it about on impulse.
June of 2009 was especially memorable for me because of the celebrity deaths that affected life. Beginning with the wierd circumstances (circumcisions?) surrounding David (“King Fu”) Carradine in Thailand on June 3rd, to Tonight show sidekick and ad pitchman Ed McMahon days before MJ on the 23rd, to one of the first “supermodel” actresses, Farah Fawcett on the same day, the 25th and then for another month thereafter with actress Gale Storm, whose show was one of the first I ever watched on old black & white TV as a boy; then frantic late night TV commercial ad pitchman Billy Mays (no wonder he was so hyped-up! lol), then cherished pioneer television evening news anchor man ( the first one to really popularize that term) Walter “uncle Walt” Cronkite of CBS News, favorite boxer from back in New Jersey, Auterro Gatti (more strange circumstances), football quarterback Steve McNair (a hero even though I’m not a Titans fan) slain by his paramour (I worked only yards from the crime scene at the time and fortunately got off work before the media circus began that day), and finally main-character actor of “The Streets of San Francisco”, Karl Malden. June of the double-oh-nine was a life-isn’t-forever reality check, leaving those of us who remain here in the physical world with the usual unanswered questions…
I remember where I was when I heard the news about Michael Jackson – my friend, “kool Ronnie B” was in town for the week visiting me from Atlantic City, it was hot outside and I was showing him around town. We were driving towards lunch at a cafe` near my house from downtown on Eighth Avenue, when the news came over the NPR jazz station’s top-of-the-hour newscast. Since we were in conversation, during a pause, I looked over to him in the passenger seat of my car and said, “Did you just hear what I heard, Michael Jackson died??” About that time my girlfriend, who had just “officially” dumped me two weeks prior, called to find out if I still wanted her to take Ronnie around town that evening while I pulled my shift at the radio station. I told her it was still on if she was into it and asked had she heard the news about MJ. She couldn’t believe it. The lady stepped-up to the plate and chaperoned my friend around town that night while I worked and then joined up with them late that evening, keeping her word; it must have been her human nature to do so – one of her magnamamous qualities. Oh yes, and that was the other significant death that makes me remember where I was when “the gloved one” passed away – that of my relationship with the girl from Bela lugosi, err, “rus”.
So you see why I say that June 2009 was a bitch for deaths as viewed through my precise and loving lens. So… where were you when you heard the MJ news?