Michael, Thanks for the Memories

Remembering Michael Jackson

In Her Words

Michael, Thanks for the Memories

I will remember the music, the dancing, the man

-Kathy Campbell

Today I lost a piece of my childhood. As a kid who grew up in the ’70s, Michael Jackson was part of the fabric of my life.

In truth, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t know who he was. From watching the Jackson 5ive cartoon on Saturday mornings, to trying to copy his Moonwalk (and failing), to seeing him in concert twice, to wearing out my copy of Thriller, Michael Jackson was always there.

Read Carrie Seim’s Report from LA:
The King of Pop is Dead in the City of Angels

The first time he toured Australia, I had a friend whose sister was working as a maid at Michael’s hotel. She and some of her co-workers went to clean Michael’s suite and found the carpet had been pulled up and Michael in the center of the room working up a sweat, dancing. “Come and dance with me,” he said softly, smiling, “Come on.” They giggled and shook their heads, worried they would get into trouble if they did, but a voice in their heads was also saying, “Only a fool would try to dance with Michael Jackson.” It would have been like trying to take on Michael Phelps in the pool. But that image is one that has always stayed with me. A lonely guy isolated by his awe-inspiring talent.

He was a man who brought so much happiness to the world, and exhibited such exuberance and joy, but I don’t think Michael Jackson was a happy person. Robbed of his childhood and subjected to abuse by his father, it’s not surprising to me that when Michael grew up, he loved to spend time in the company of children. But that came at a cost. He paid a multimillion-dollar settlement in 1993 to a 13-year-old boy he allegedly abused (charged were never filed), but was acquitted of similar accusations in 2003. I think people tend to forget that he was found not guilty.

Michael began taking painkillers and sedatives like Valium and Xanax in the wake of the child abuse charges. And while he is said to have died of a cardiac arrest today, I fear that (like Elvis Presley) an autopsy will find that Michael died of complications from prescription drug abuse.

It’s hard not to draw comparisons between Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley. The King of Pop and King of Rock and Roll had so many similarities beyond their talent. And their connections were solidified when Michael married Elvis’ daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, in 1994, when Michael was reeling from the child abuse allegations and turning to drugs. “I didn’t believe he did it,” Lisa Marie said. “I wanted to save him. I felt like I could do it.”

But two years later they split and Michael Jackson’s downhill spiral continued. The following years saw the man who broke a record as “the first entertainer to earn 100 million dollars in one year” teetering on the brink of bankruptcy. (Coincidentally, Elvis reportedly had less than $1,000,000 when he died.)

In the same way that people of a certain age can tell you where they were when John F. Kennedy and Elvis died, in years to come, we’ll all remember where we were when Michael Jackson died. But rather than recall June 25, 2009, I will remember the music, the dancing, the man. Thanks for the memories, Michael Jackson.

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0 thoughts on “Michael, Thanks for the Memories

  1. It’s definitely the end of an era, although I don’t understand why people skip over the insanities of his later years – the plastic surgery and skin bleaching, dangling his kid out a window, dressing in burkas – the man was crazy.

  2. i had a white glove similar to that michael jackson’s iconic piece of clothing back in the 80s – for all i know it could have been an original MJ costume piece – i didnt like wearing it very much but wish i had a piece of that history right now – must … find … glove. he was awesome and is finally at peace.

  3. Some people still want to point out Michael having plastic surgery. Look at ALL of the celebrities that’s had plastic surgery. There’s people that are not celebrities that’s had plastic surgery. Who are we to say that he’s had skin bleaching? He may had a disease. It runs in my family to have that same discoloration. Come on, I know that Michael is not the only one that’s held a child over a deck or out a window. I also think that a person can dress as he/she want, as long as they’re dressed and not in the nude. How about pointing fingers at the ones that’s pictured nude or scantily dresses? He might have had problems, but don’t we all have some kind of problem? He without sin cast the FIRST stone. There is not one of us that can talk about another. Live and let live!

  4. i grew up in the 90’s.. I remember being a kid, dancing on my best friend’s bed to Billy Gene, or he and I would take parts to “Scream”. haha. Making friends with two siblings, because they were listing to MJ loudly when their parents were gone.
    I think… that the people who called him horrible things don’t really understand what being abused as a child can do to a person. I personally don’t think he hurt those kids, and that he truly wanted to try and be a kid again himself. Who knows, though – I may be wrong. But whatever really happened, it’s over now. And a legend is gone.

  5. “Live and let live!”

    Yes, dangle that baby over the balcony. How normal can you get? Michael Jackson wasn’t losing his talent, but he WAS losing his mind. You don’t hang out with near-infants of your own sex or the opposite unless you’re a pedophile or have those tendencies — even if you don’t act on them. You don’t have SO much plastic surgery that you look like a bad-luck Judy doll. Yes, lots of celebrities have had plastic surgery, but few have taken it to the level of looking monstrous, which Michael Jackson did. Not too far into his endless operations, he reached a point where he was fantastically beautiful and he should have stayed that way. But there are surgery addicts, and it’s obvious he was one of them. And he was ashamed of his race, something I find it hard to deal with. The disease that causes melanin loss does so in pinkish patches on people of color, not full-body lily whiteness. If he wanted to conceal the disease, it would have been just as easy if not easier to fill in the patches with dye the color of his natural skin.

    I’m afraid that he was so exploited and abused for so long as a child that he hated himself, regardless of his talent, and I feel very sad about that. He chose to become a freak to the hilt.

    It’s a comfort to know that he didn’t suffer a prolonged, agonizing illness like

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