Life lessons from the Love Boat
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Life lessons from the Love Boat

I watch too much television.

When I was younger, I wasn’t really allowed to watch it; I let my boys watch it because I was going to be a different type of parent, and now two out of three of them don’t watch it at all. (#3 is still to be determined…) Perhaps because of those nonsensical reasons, I just watch too much. And now there is Hulu and Amazon and Netflix and basically you could theoretically watch different shows 24 hours a day and never leave your house. I have even joined a Facebook group for Jewish women who are television addicts. The struggle is real, kids. The struggle is real.

That being said, I have recently come across reruns of “The Love Boat” (channel 273 if you have Direct TV). These are my findings. Every episode of “The Love Boat” has three subplots. One more riveting than the next. Surprisingly, they have held up pretty well over the years, though fashions have changed, the #metoo movement has become vocal, and everyone who was still firmly locked in the closet has been given the freedom to come out (hopefully). Though I must admit that the first cruise I went on, I was terribly disappointed. A real cruise doesn’t look anything like the Love Boat!!! Where is the winding staircase? Where is the captain coming to greet me, or Julie the cruise director telling me what cabin I am in? And those rooms on the Aloha deck do not look anything like the rooms on a real cruise, when you can wash your hair, go to the bathroom, and brush your teeth all at the same time!!!! Unless those rooms are on a different deck. Better go ask Gopher!

Each episode has a bunch of guest stars —stars who were really famous either at one point or at the point the show aired, in the 70s and early 80s. And because I have too much time on my hands, my new pastime is that as I watch each episode, I google all the actors and actresses to see who is still alive. Unfortunately, not many of them are. Not many at all. Then I get depressed about how old I am getting and I delete the episode, never finding out if father and daughter will reunite or if the married guy whose wife missed the cruise ends up with the single gal who is also a fortune teller.

As I said, the story lines have held up really well. Not one smart phone anywhere on deck. Do you know what that means? That means that Captain Steuben’s daughter, Vicki, gets to play shuffleboard and ping pong and various card games for the whole cruise with all of the other kids who also haven’t discovered a smart phone!!! Isn’t it amazing that we found other things to do for so many years, before Apple had to come and take away our power to think for ourselves or do things for ourselves and basically obliterated any chance of our children learning how to write a letter in script, or even in print! Rest in Peace, written letters placed in envelopes and mailed with a stamp…. Wow, now that brings back really good memories.

So ya, the Love Boat. Brings you back to a better time in your life. A younger time (for me anyway). A time when reality wasn’t so scary, because someone else was always worrying about it for me, so I could be a kid and feel safe. My dad had that amazing ability to constantly remind me that I was okay. If I didn’t do well on a test, he would leave me a note reminding me that it was okay that I didn’t do well, and I will do better the next time. That is what a kid needs. A hero. So when a kid loses his hero — what is next?

Three kids lost their hero this week. And when their mother spoke at the funeral, and many of us don’t know how she did that, she did it for them. To teach the life lesson that “This too shall pass.” Somehow you will find strength and somehow you will find the ability to put one foot in front of the other. Somehow.

But I do believe that with the amazing support system that they have in place (and the “amazing” cousin who will continue to send annoying texts until they block me) this too will pass. Their hero always will be a guiding force in their lives, through the lessons he taught his family and the love he gave them. And their strong, beautiful, superstar mom will make sure that it will be so.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again, don’t forget to tell the important people in your life that you love them. Every. Single. Day.

Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck took this love boat thing to a dark place, but it has been a pretty dark day…

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