Monday, January 24, 2011

Rest in Peace Jack LaLanne

Jack LaLanne died yesterday. I Twittered about it, I had a toast to the man last night after I heard. Was I a die-hard fan? Did I juice my meals? Did I follow him like a rabid fan? No to all of these, but I miss Jack. Jack LaLanne passed away from pneumonia at the ripe old age of 96 years. His death leaves an empty spot in my soul that is quite visible today, but in time, will just be another spot: like friends from long ago, departed grandparents and other relatives, all still show in my soul, but now covered in the slightest of scar tissue, forgotten unless specifically remembered. Jack is the man in the white shorts in the pyramid above. Why Jack?

Some of my earliest memories are of Jack LaLanne and his dog Buddy. The Stromberg-Carlson Television set, black and white, sat in our Den. Every morning, my mother would turn on Jack's show and do exercises with Jack. I am guessing my age was 3 or 4. To tell you the truth, I do not remember much about that age except Jack LaLanne.  We lived in Norfolk Virginia, in a 2 story house with hardwood floors. Must have been 1962 or 1963. Houses had Den's back then. Your standard house had a formal living room, dining room, den and bedrooms. No such thing as a colored television set, and most TV sets came in elaborate cabinets with legs. My two brothers and myself had one room of the 3 bedroom house, my Mom and Dad the Master bedroom, and my grandmother, Nanny-hon had a bedroom. This was my toddler age. It was a different time, a different age. Kennedy was President, but I didn't even know it. It was all eating, sleeping and being catered to, plus Jack LaLanne.

Throughout my years, I kept up with Jack. His Juicer stage, the birthday stunts he would put on, and the special articles about him in the Newspapers. The San Francisco Chronicle had many interviews with this former Oakland native who resided the last decades of his life in Morro Bay, a few short miles from Hearst Castle. I spent time in Morro Bay on my friends Boat, moored in the harbor. I never got a chance to meet Jack, and in a way, I am glad. Would this meat eating, out of shape, alcohol drinking, and at that time, Smoking, individual be an embarrassment to the workout and fitness Guru, that started it all? "You started watching my show before you could talk? And you wound up like this?" He might have thought. "Where did I fail?"   I didn't want to take that chance.

The final picture below shows Jack LaLanne at the young age of 92 years. I saw a joke on Twitter last night about Jack and I think it is appropriate: Jack LaLanne's  96 year old corpse is in better shape than my 50 year old living body. Sad but true. RIP

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