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Remembering Michael

June 26, 2009

By Lori Hanson

I grew up with Michael Jackson. We were the same age, I lived in Chicago, he grew up not far away in Gary, Indiana. I remember when the Jackson Five hit the air waves and the feeling their songs gave me. I had pictures of Michael hidden on the back of my bedroom door because I wasn’t supposed to listen to rock music. Well to be honest Donny Osmond and David Cassidy were there too. All three my early, heart throbs. But Michael was the one with staying power.

I can still remember watching Michael perform with his brothers, the electricity of his smile, the intensity and maturity of his voice and his moves. So, much fun to watch! As a young girl I couldn’t get enough. When he branched out on his own it got even better. I was browsing in a record store on a Saturday morning in Maryland the first time I heard “You Gotta Be Starting Something”.  I left with the album in hand.

Then there was Thriller. I remember rushing home from work because the Thriller video was going to be on that night. His videos and dancing were captivating. And I never missed a performance of the award shows because watching Michael was always such a combination of feel good and amazement.  There was such an element of mystique around him.

As he became more eccentric I often wondered what losing your childhood to fame does to the soul. Not being able to play outside and be a kid, never having had any real sense of a “normal childhood.” Always in the spotlight and mobbed wherever he went. We’ve seen it with many kids, some get into drugs at an early age, pull out and recover, for others like Michael the impact appeared to be too deep. So much fan and media curiosity, too many allegations and probing interviews, his life took a dramatic turn.

What’s interesting to me is how the media who are always so quick to ridicule and judge are the first to now celebrate his music and life as the King of Pop. Regardless of what happened in Michael’s life, all of the negative media had to be incredibly hurtful. Watching all of the comments and coverage the past 24 hours I can’t help but wish Michael could have seen this outpouring of sentiments before he left. That people do still love and appreciate him for his incredible talent as a songwriter, singer, musician and entertainer.

Michael, thank you for the gift of your music and entertainment, for your innovation and commitment to being the best, the moonwalk , the white glove and your videos. Your music and spirit will live on and be enjoyed forever.

The one positive of losing Michael, is the return of videos to MTV and VH1!

Losing Michael and Farrah in the same day is a reminder that we need to live everyday to its fullest potential. Learn2Balance your life. Live, play, love.


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