Monday, September 14, 2009

He's like the wind

Rest in peace, Patrick Swayze.

When I was in 4th grade, my world consisted of two movies: Grease and Dirty Dancing. I was convinced that my soon-to-be high school experience would resemble Grease in at least its musical numbers (sadly, this was not so), and I was convinced that my soon-to-be love life would resemble Dirty Dancing in that I would meet my soulmate on a family roadtrip to a mountain resort. Sadly, this too was not so, though I can live with my fate of instead marrying another kind of soulmate.

Nevertheless in 4th grade, the stars of these two movies were it. It was John Travolta and Patrick Swayze, mano y mano, in my table-group debates with girlfriends about the strengths of each man ... like we even knew what a real man was back then at 9 years old. (Tom Cruise playing "Maverick" from Top Gun was always runner-up behind these two "hunks", as we called them. Zack Morris, who was a "boy" compared to these "men", we'd retort, was a distant third.) I loved me some Travolta, but was always on Team Swayze, without a doubt. I would recall to my table-group friends, while some dug into their snack bags and nibbled on pretzels during break time, that Patrick Swayze was a legend in his own right ... a modern-day Rudolph Valentino, if you will.

"Do you remember the scene from Dirty Dancing where he finally broke down in his room with Baby and admitted that he envied how strong she was?" I would ask, and they would nod, pretzel crumbs sprinkled down the fronts of their shirts. "That's a real man," I'd say, pointing at them, assured in my conviction. His chiseled features. His smile. His endearing dance moves, even when he was forced to do the merengue. For much of my young life, I remember using Patrick Swayze as a marker for what I wanted in a man, and it wasn't just because of his roll in Dirty Dancing (although it was my favorite). Roadhouse, Ghost, Point Break, heck -- even Too Wong Foo -- I grew up with Patrick, and therefore it saddens me to hear, as I read the news tonight, that he's died at the young age of 57.

It's just another day when famous people in your parents' or grandparents' generations pass on, inevitable of their old age. It's quite another when someone you've grown up with, and even heralded in elementary school, dies. I can't believe he's gone. As I listen to his recording of "She's like the Wind" on repeat, I can't help but think it's like the passing of an ideal, yet I suppose such is the way of life. I have no words.

11 comments:

Mandy's Life After 30 said...

I know, I'm so sad! He was definitely an icon of our time. I actually just wrote a post about him too. After reading your great story, I went back in and linked you to my story. I hope that's okay. Here is my post where I talk about how I played the role of Johnny at summer camp one year - http://www.mandylifeafter30.com/2009/09/nobody-puts-baby-in-corner.html

Thanks for sharing your memories of him Crystal. I really enjoyed hearing it and can totally relate! Is it crazy though that I still consider he and Zack Morris in my top five? :-)

Being Brazen said...

I Love Dirty Dancing and Ghost. I was so sad to hear that Patrick Swayze lost his battle with cancer. :(

EMH said...

I was always in Camp Swayze too... and thought I was destined to meet the man of my dreams in a resort in the mountains ;)

Suzanne said...

Well said. Great pic. I know I'm late to the party, but glad you're back!

Vodka Logic said...

I am quite a bit older and it was team Travolta for me all the way. Welcome back Kotter....

Patrick Swayze was older than I thought he was but way to young to die and what a miserable way to go.

RIP
xx

Vodka Logic said...

PS thanks for stopping by my blog :)

Tamela said...

He left us way too soon. It was so sad because yesterday I had seen a cover of a tabloid that said he has gone home to die. I didn't want to believe it and then later that night news broke he had passed away. :(

Thanks for the comments on my blog! Following you too!

Anonymous said...

Always, always was a Team Swayze girl. Every time we watched someone stand up for someone else, the phrase "nobody puts Baby in a corner" was said. He'll be missed.

AuntBT said...

Always, always a Team Swayze girl. "Nobody puts Baby in a corner" will forever live on in our hearts, when we stand up for others. He'll be missed.

A Fist Full of Dandelions said...

So Sad...Dirty Dancing was a classic. He was so young. I just can't believe it.

jadejohnh said...

This is a terrible loss, for his wife-first, then for his extended family and friends, then for Hollywood. He was a great actor and now cancer took his life. Well, life is short and the unexpected does happen!

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