The news arrived yesterday kind of like the Spring winds that have been blowing around here for the last many weeks, sudden, and out of the clear blue. Dick Clark had passed away at the age of 82. He was a product of the WWII generation having lived his teen-years when America was at war and in his youth he knew the depression and rationing and doing without. I’ve long believed that his childhood contributed greatly to his love of life and the joy he always seemed to get from sharing the musical acts he invited to his Bandstand each week. It felt personal, like, “Hey Rick, listen to this, I’ve got the Supremes at the house!” And beginning in the 70’s it seemed right that Dick Clark should be the one welcoming each New Year as if it would soon be a record we’d rate. Some of those New Years were easier to dance to than others but they all started with a good beat.
I can’t imagine anyone of my baby-boom generation that hasn’t been touched in some way by the work Dick Clark did in his life. The musical acts he introduced us to on Bandstand became some of the greatest artists of my generation. He changed the music we listened to. I fondly remember turning the dial by hand and then fine tuning the station to watch American Bandstand on Saturdays. Some watched the show to see the kids dancing and learn the latest steps. Others watched the musicians that performed on the show and copied their clothes and style with their own high school band. I watched Dick Clark. I watched how he interviewed people, how he conducted the show and thought how cool it would be to host a program like that!
Today lots of people are saying “I’ll Miss Dick Clark.”, and it’s true they will. But I’ve learned as I’ve aged that what we’re really saying is “I’ll miss another piece of who I am.” With the passing of each family member and celebrity, with the loss of each childhood hangout we realize we’re closing chapters of our own life story. That doesn’t mean we have to stop living though. Now’s the time to become the greatest story teller ever. Now’s the time to move the living room furniture, and dance to old American Bandstand shows. they must be on cable somewhere. It’s time to teach the kids about the things you grew up with, the people who entertained you and how it made a difference in your life. Let Dick Clarks passing be a reminder to all baby-boomers that we have been witnesses to some of the greatest advances in history. We’ve got tons to celebrate..and remember. Mae West once said, “You only live life once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” Dick Clark did it right. That’s why we miss him…and the part of us he represented. Rest well dear friend.