Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner

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2009 was devastating for us Gen-Xers. We lost many icons of my youth during the summer and then, the unthinkable. Patrick Swayze.

Dirty Dancing came out in 1987. I was 17. This movie hit a silly teenage girl’s buttons. It was romantic. It was a simple story with a lot of complex undertones on class differences, race differences, age differences, jealousy, and greed. But it also had romance in spades. It was classic ugly duckling gets the prince. I ate it up with a spoon and came back for more. In fact, until Moulin Rouge came out in 2001 and then The Notebook in 2004, Dirty Dancing topped the list as my most viewed movie.

Strangely enough, the Patrick Swayze movie that I had seen the most prior to Dirty Dancing coming out was Red Dawn. My sister and I went through this crazy phase where we were watching it all the time, even tape-recorded the audio to listen to on days we could not watch the movie. My reasons for liking (ok, being obsessed with) that movie, had nothing to do with Patrick Swayze, even though his role of big-brother-protector, as he played in the Outsiders, was well suited for him.

It wasn’t until Dirty Dancing that I  (and millions of others) saw him as a sex symbol. Yet, Patrick Swayze always maintained a down-to-earth life on his ranch in Texas, far away from Hollywood. He was genuine and smart. It is horribly tragic that as he was getting back into acting by virtue of his new television series, that he should be struck down with a form of cancer few come back from. I feel for his wife, their marriage a rock and my heart goes out to her for losing her partner so early in life.

His loss was another blow to the children of the ’70s. It makes me feel old, I have now reached the age where it is my generation’s turn to start losing its icons, its influences, its cultural beacons. And it also reminds me that life is short and precious and that every day counts. I read a post recently from Sarah Browne, also known as the Guru of New. She reminisced about the phrase: “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”

In it she says:
“So today, whether you were a child of the seventies or not, remember these words. What you did yesterday you need not do today. What you felt yesterday you need not feel today. In this age of ever-emerging technology, with the promise of so much, nothing needs to be a re-run. Not your life, your actions, your spirit.

Your life is all new, all the time.”

And remember,  “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.” You own your life. Don’t waste it.

How about you? Has there ever been a time when you felt cornered and needed a little reminding? Are you a fan of Dirty Dancing? Do you have a favorite scene or quote?

This is my favorite:

Favorite Dirty Dancing Quote

11 Comments

  1. jen
    September 17, 2009

    Fabulous post, Andi. If Stumble Upon wouldn’t kick me off for stumbling too many of the same bloggers posts, I’d stumble this. Somebody STUMBLE this. Just a great memoir. I read another one by – believe it or not – an Examiner in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He wrote about Swayze’s connectiont to Tulsa via the Outsiders, written by S.E. Hinton, a native Oklahoma. We lay claim to all brilliance we can. She and the Outsiders are huge here.

    It has been a rough summer, and technically, he died in summer, too, and there has got to be a blog post in someone about the summer of 2009 – as a juxtaposition with Adams Summer of ’69. There is a coming of age, Andi, and, maybe, a coming of middle age. I was not a huge Swayze fan. I did like Ghost though.

    Reply
  2. Angela
    September 17, 2009

    I agree – Patrick Swayze was one of my favorites! Dirty Dancing stayed on my list for at least a decade. I know his light still shines bright, even if he no longer walks this earth. Great post Andi! Glad I found you through BlogCatalog 🙂

    Reply
  3. Andi
    September 17, 2009

    @Jen, thanks for the compliment. I think that no one would say that Patrick Swayze was a brilliant actor, I certainly would not! It was more the movies he played in that impacted my childhood, Outsiders, Red Dawn, Dirty Dancing – I would have to say Ghost is probably his best, and whereas Whoopi Goldberg was funny, I never thought it was Oscar worthy. But ah yes, we have come of age 🙂

    @Angela, hi and welcome! Love new readers, just saw your post on BlogCatalog, plan on checking our your space as well!

    Reply
  4. Amy Spangler
    September 17, 2009

    Nicely said. I look forward to your Red Dawn commentary.

    Reply
  5. carrie
    September 17, 2009

    Thanks for the great post. It is indeed sad about Patrick and many other cultural icons who eerily passed this summer and fall in almost a weird domino effect. Michael Jackson, Farrah, and more recently Mary Travers just yesterday. It is also worth taking note that unfortunately, it takes celebrities to bring to light many diseases that we would not otherwise think about until they take the national stage. Pancreatic cancer, drug addiction, leukemia – – many fall prey to these illnesses who are not famous, and they all deserve our prayers. Death and illness are unfortunately the great equalizers, no matter how much fame and fortune we attain in our lives. And that is also why celebrating our “new-ness” each day is indeed so important.

    Reply
  6. Sarah Browne
    September 17, 2009

    Andi —
    Thank you so much for your kind comments about my ‘Today is the first day of the rest of your life’ post. Even more thanks for linking it to Patrick Swayze, also a favorite of mine. I have a story about him, too, but best saved for La Note, oui? You are a pleasure to read and a nudge to all bloggers that our blogs are not only about “9 New Facebook Apps that Boost Your Fan Pages” but also about eloquence and relatability.

    Reply
  7. Val
    September 17, 2009

    I agree, it has been a terrible summer of deaths and mourning. But, we’ll always have the movies, music, etc of these wonderful people to remember them by. Swayze’s life – like most of the other’s – was tragically cut way too short and it is definitely a reminder that none of us are immortal in this world. Never take the time that we have with our loved ones for grated.

    Reply
  8. patricia mouille
    September 17, 2009

    my dad died at the tender age of 57…i re-reflected on how young that really is in seeing P. Swayze go so soon and also his life partner left without his companionship and partnership as such an age, not unlike my mommy. We must stop and count all our blessings. You own your own life and that of the folks you love. Cherish and enjoy.

    Reply
  9. Pam
    September 18, 2009

    Dirty Dancing – along with a few other Patrick S movies – are those flicks that when you are flipping channels you just can’t help but stop and watch for the thousandth time!

    Reply
  10. Clarabela
    September 18, 2009

    One of the best things Patrick Swayze did was to make dancing sexy. It was great to see a masculine Texan like Partick dancing the way he did in Dirty Dancing. But my favorite is Ghost. Who can forget the scene with Demi Moore when they are molding the clay pot!

    Reply
  11. Andi
    September 18, 2009

    @Patricia – So sorry about your Dad! It is hard to imagine loosing a parent so young, though I know plenty do.

    @Val – yes it is great to have a legacy that we can tap into whenever we want. This is often not the case when “regular” people die. Before my grandmother succumbed to dementia and Alzheimer’s I had her fill out a memory book, and it is one of the most precious things I have of her. It is not always the case that we photos or stories that we can look back at.

    @Pam – I know! Fingers just freeze over the remote, changing impossible!

    @Clarabela – I know I that clay pot scene makes the movie. Someone else also reminded me of Point Break which I loved as well!

    Reply

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