I’m sitting in a hotel in San Antonio, TX. I’ve been flying for 6 hours (thanks Work for always getting me the worst flights so that you keep your costs down!) and I’m trying to unwind by eating my $14.00 airport Waldorf salad while watching some kind of episode of Teen Mom 2 on MTV. (I don’t own a television in real life, so when I get a chance to boob tube it, I find it quite foreign and exhilarating.) And what’s that scrolling across the bottom? Whitney Houston…R and B superstar… is found DEAD?!?!?!
You’ve got to be flippin’ kidding!
Why do I feel so sad?
Is this what growing old is all about? When an icon from your youth and your entire high school existence disappears from the world we share… for GOOD? Is this the same feeling my mom felt as I sat there in my diapers in her bed as she wept watching the funeral of Elvis Presley on television? (We only had 3 channels back then. All the channels were showing ‘live coverage’ I’m sure.)
Who hasn’t sung “The Greatest Love of All”? Who hasn’t tried (in vain) to sing the karaoke version of Whitney’s “I Will Always Love You”?
In her heyday, she was strikingly beautiful, incredibly talented, and seemingly poised! She seemed like she could go on forever! But how quick life is, how quickly we become dust again. Whitney Houston will only live in our memories and then we’ll die and the memory of her will become thin, and then her name will be as known to our descendants as much as the prehistoric painter’s name who did the Chauvet cave in France.
You can say we’re only as big as the lives we touch as we live ourselves.
Whitney was there for me: from the first flutterings of actually liking a boy; to the trials of learning how to slow dance to “Saving All My Love for You” with an actual boy; to the first heartbreak crying/singing/bellowing “Where Do Broken Hearts Go?” while drinking my first Bartles And Jaymes wine cooler.
In fact, Whitney Houston gave me my very first best friend.
In grade school, this girl ‘Desiree’ and I were assigned to make a staged ‘something’ for the school-wide chocolate bar rally. We had to make a skit that would make people want to buy/sell World’s Finest Chocolate Bars! (Support your local school. Buy one of those darn candy bars, no matter how much you hate it.) We trudged home in our green Catholic school plaid skirts. We lied on her bed, glum. To cheer ourselves up, we started singing “The Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston to her pet cockatoo, George.
“What are you doing?” he mom scolded us. “Do your homework!”
“We are!” Desiree yelled back. “We’re ‘brainstorming’!” (‘Brainstorming’ was a big word and teachers loved using it.)
“George,” we queried. “You’d buy a chocolate bar from us, right?” And we continued singing the song, albeit with these lyrics,
The greatest bar of all,
is in our little hands!
(Blah blah, you get the picture.)
Okay, the lyrics sucked. But we loved it. We even recorded it. (On a thing called a tape recorder.) And with all the pre-pubescent joy we could muster, we went on stage one week later for the chocolate rally and sang that song with all our might!
Desiree is now a happily married mother of 4, I’m the godmother to one of those rug rats.. and I have Whitney Houston to thank.
People shouldn’t be mean. Everyone has a comment about how drugs ruined her. (265 comments so far!) Yeah, and she’s paid the price. Be nice people. She may have died early, but she had to have touched your life at some point.
If anything, watch this fabulous performance where she makes Mariah Carey totally nervous on stage while singing a duet. Okay, she was a diva. But darn, she was good at it.
RIP Whitney. Thanks for the memories.