Wow! Michael Jackson is dead. Jackson is one of those people who is wrapped up with my traveling life. As a child living in Columbia, South Carolina where wisteria vines draped off trees in our front yard, “ABC” played from my radio, the one I bought when we lived in State College, Pennsylvania.
Moving began early for me, and Michael Jackson when he was part of the Jackson Five was one of my companions that offered consistency.
The summer I came back from the Peace Corps he was in the audience for the Broadway performance of Oliver! I had orchestra seats and clearly remember the buzz when he walked up the aisle during the curtain call. He walked right by my seat, and even though I didn’t know he was in the audience during the show, I recognized him immediately when he passed within a couple of inches.
Remember, I had been out of the country and away from the onslaught of popular culture images for two years. Michael Jackson was my introduction back–big time.
That was the summer my youngest cousin who was 13 was practicing The Moonwalk in his driveway while I watched from a window of his home in Lexington, Kentucky, one of my stops on my mostly Greyhound bus trip across the United States.
When I was living in Singapore years later, one of my regrets is that I didn’t try harder for a concert ticket. Jackson came the first year I lived there, but the concert was just after I had arrived. Between settling into my new apartment and getting used to my job, I couldn’t manage to add “buy a Michael Jackson concert ticket” to my “To do” list.
As much as he’s changed over the years, I still have that glorious image of Jackson as a young adult man, and as a person who had a vision of peace despite his personal troubles. After all, Michael Jackson brought us “We are the World” “Man in the Mirror” and “Black and White.” Yep, I’m stunned. .