I am beginning to understand what it must feel like when friends begin to die. My mother-in-law used to list all those who she had out lived and lament that everyone was leaving her. She left us almost a year ago. Fortunately I am not losing friends, per se, but the writers, artists, actors, politicians who I grew up with are leaving me.
This weekend Marcia Wallace and Lou Reed both left us.
I feel as if Marcia Wallace was a friend. Forget the Simpson’s, I remember her clearly from the “Brady Bunch,” “Love American Style,” and of course from six seasons of the “Bob Newhart Show.” Those were the years when I was glued to the TV. It’s kind of like what they say about sex in the first year of marriage – put a penny in a jar for every time you have sex that first year, then remove a penny for every time you have sex from then on and you will never empty the jar – I filled up my TV watching jar in 1972-73. I was a new transplant to Los Angeles and hadn’t yet formed those friendships which would see me through the following years. On top of that, I was an awkward, nerdy, coke bottle glasses wearing teenager. Marcia played the adult version of me. With her loud, distinctive voice, her not traditional beauty and her character roles, she was confirmation that I could make it.
Lou Reed came into my life many years later. I was lucky enough to be friends with people who were very musically forward. On my own I found bands like Chicago and the Moody Blues. Through my friends I was introduced to the Velvet Underground, Bob Dylan, the Kinks, the Smiths, the Cure and a dozen other bands that never made it beyond that first album. Music is one of those things which were shared between friends. You’d get passionate about a song and couldn’t wait to get others equally excited by it. Now it’s You Tube videos not songs that get shared and go viral. Lou Reed was a revelation for me. He wrote songs that were absolutely original, honest and ground breaking. I remember playing some of his songs for my daughter after she shared with me her latest favorite song which was, if not a rip-off, an homage to Lou Reed. His music was timeless.
The world is better that both these talented individuals were here for a short while to share their gifts.