Tonight, I am decorating my shack for Christmas …

pics: R.T.

By Rosalie Tirella

… but feeling less twinkly since I heard the news. R.I.P., David Cassidy! They say your liver shriveled up! Caused by your decades-long battle with alcoholism. Your early dementia made things harder.

Some say you were nothing but a sad has-been who never quite recovered from teen idol-hood. Well, tonight, as you sit high above this crazy spinning world on your fluffy purple cloud in TV heaven, take stock. Rest assured. Hear this gal’s prayer to you: David, you will always be the candy-coated, shag-sporting, bell-bottom-wearing, long-lashed heart throb to me and millions of Baby Boomer gals (and thousands of the guys). You were the boy that taught me and all the BB girls how great it was to have … periods! Cuz that meant we had the hormones to go crazy over you – all cute boys! Junior high school was more than just getting my “friend” for the first time. It was more than zits and blackheads, crying in my pillow, wanting to break the rules but school and Ma keeping me tethered to routine. It was more than Midol in its weird blue plastic bottle, Kotex pads that slid all over the place if you weren’t wearing the elastic “belt” right. Nope. The hormones brought lust, too. We didn’t know the word back then, so we called it “love”:

“Last night, I turned out the lights, lay down and thought about you … .”

And … you got this once 12-year-old girl (was I ever that young?!) moving, joyful – singing, jumping and dancing on her old metal bed in her run down Lafayette Street bedroom that the landlord had just painted a lurid lime green (ick!)… She was playing your record on her red portable record player! She was now interested in songs – interested in singing her song! She started to write little essays and began showing them to her mother and teachers at Providence Street Junior High School.

The tunes you sang, David – their melodies and lyrics were so easy to learn. Because of you, my brain was primed for bigger and better. In a few years it was a hop, skip and jump to the Beatles, me first falling for their cuteness, just like I had with you. But then, slowly, discovering they were … WOW. They were, and still are for me, a life-long trip.

I loved your “shag” haircut. I wore one all seventh grade! – in my “year book” picture I look like a mini-David Cassidy! (looking for the pic…) I even bought a paperback about you – a 50-page tell ALL bio – from the Scholastic Book Club. My reading teacher was ashamed of me …

Watching your TV show, The Patridge Family, was one of the highlights of my junior high week!

Like me, you didn’t have a dad. But, like me, you had a great mom! Yours, however, seemed freer than mine. And you didn’t live in the inner city. You lived in the suburbs where you had a big house and a garage, the place you, you mom, your sisters and brothers all played music together and solved each other’s problems.

Solve this problem, Dave: How can you stop all the people you’ve loved in your life from dying?