So, I’d just published a blog based on a writing prompt that drew on memories from July 1990. And in looking online for a picture of a calendar of that month, I came across this:
and I knew screw the memories of that stupid failed marriage. THIS was the memory that spoke to my heart from that time.
I was standing in my then mother-in-law’s kitchen in the Chelsea section of New York City, talking with her, my husband, and my brother-in-law when the news came on the radio that Jim Henson had died. The brother-in-law (a dweebish teenager at the time) had the nerve to laugh because for some stupid reason he found it funny that Henson had died from complications of the flu (as it was reported). I nearly decapitated him. For me, the news opened a chasm inside.
Sesame Street came along when I was a bit too old for such things. My first experience of Henson and his Muppets (although I don’t believe they were called “muppets” yet) was Rowlf in his regular appearances on the Jimmy Dean Show:
and other variety venues. (I was a kid when I first saw the Mahna-Manha song performed. It still makes me laugh.) I stayed a fan (a bit on the periphery, perhaps), but when The Muppets emerged and gained their own television program, I was hooked. Not only were they funnier than hell (still are), but they are some of the sweetest, gentlest teachers we will ever know.
So that’s my memory from July 1990, the thing my heart knew: That the Earth shook one day, leaving behind a Jim Henson-shaped hole that no one has ever been able to fill.