Yesterday I met Craig for coffee. We meet about once a week and talk about work, family, and specific programming issues that we’ve been thinking about.

Yesterday he had a question he wasn’t sure how to ask.

His family was helping to put on a memorial breakfast for a girl who had died suddenly a year earlier. One of his daughter’s had been very close with the young girl. They had grown up together, gone to grade school together, and, even though they were in different high schools, they remained great friends.

The girl’s mom was worried. What happens when no one outside of the family remembers her daughter?

I told Craig that we know exactly how she feels. We are relieved when someone else mentions Elena’s name or shares a story with us. In two short years she’ll be gone longer than she was here. We only have so many reruns to watch. We retell stories to each other almost ritualistically. We love when someone else remembers something about Elena and tells us about it.

I love reruns.

I’ve seen the WKRP turkey episode dozens of times. The live turkeys are released from an airplane over a shopping mall as the news reporter wails into his mic “oh the humanity.” Like all good reruns I stay til the end. I smile every time I see the well intentioned station manager return, puzzled and defeated, to the station and sigh “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”

As much as I love reruns, I love new episodes too. Without new episodes, of course, there would be no reruns. But it’s more than that. I love seeing a show with someone I know in one roll from another show playing an inconsequential walk-on in this other episode.

Elena’s life only ran for seven years. That’s fourteen seasons. Sure she lives on in syndication, but I love when someone tells me a story about her that I may not know or a story about her that I do know but from a different perspective.

She died five years ago today.

I still love the reruns.

Published in: on February 22, 2011 at 7:38 am  Comments (1)  

One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Although I did not get to know your Elena before her death, your writing has given me a chance to see this wonderful, lively, irreplaceable girl. I am missing her with you, and mourning that she is not running through your house and into your arms when you get home. Elena’s life, because of you, has touched me deeply. I “know” her because you write, and I am so thankful you do. It makes more of a difference than you will ever know.

    I am so sorry that you and your family have to endure the pain of Elena’s continuing loss. There are no words for how much you miss her every single day.

    Know that whenever you want to write about her, there are people who care and want to listen. It never gets old hearing about Elena.

    Cathy in Missouri

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