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The Flavia

I have a confession to make, I’ve never been on a cruise. When I lived in Florida, my mother and father took my older brother and sister on a cruise on a ship called The Flavia. Jimmy and I didn’t care because we were afraid of anything that went on the open seas. Seeing Jaws at a young age will do that to you. My grandmother came down from Pompano to stay with us while Donnie, Arlene, Greg, and Mia lived the high life, literally. Years later I was told that during this cruise my mother smelled Marijuana for the first time. The unmistakable smell came from a cabin near theirs and to this day I wonder if it was actually from the cabin my brother and sister were sharing.

While I’ve never lived the cruise life, I did watch a lot of Love Boat as a kid, so I guess that makes me kind of an expert on cruises, or at least cheesy late 70’s TV. Not only did I watch it, but I’d play it with friends. That’s how masculine I am—other kids played war, or better yet team sports. Me? I played Love Boat. Who the hell plays Love Boat? 

 

Growing up, we were friends with Mario Turco and his younger brother Armando. My sister was friends with their cousins, The Cuesta’s. Anne Cuesta was my sister’s age and her younger sister Christine was close to my age. So the cast of characters was me, Jimmy, Mario, Armando, and Christine. Whenever we played anything, Mario had to be the lead character. If we played Star Wars, he was Luke. If we played Tron, he was Tron, and if we played Love Boat, he was Captain Stubings. Jimmy was Doc because he was tall and kind of looked like Bernie Kopel. I was always Gofer because, why the hell not? Christine’s role was easy to assign—Julie McCoy, Cruise Director. Which left Armando to be Isaac. Poor Armando, since he was the youngest, he never got a choice. Whenever we played Star Wars, he was always Artoo. We even made him beep.

For a number of years now, my wife and I have chosen a “classic” show to binge. I’m sure a psychoanalyst could have a field day with this, but it started with Dallas (That JR Ewing was a real rascal!). From there we moved onto ER and just the other night, in the midst of COVID-Craziness, we decided to start The Love Boat. It’s as glorious as I remember.

TV was so much simpler back then. While I love the complexity of shows like Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and Tiger King, the simplicity and happily ever after nature of the dramedies of the 70’s and 80’s are as welcome in my house as old friends that I haven’t seen in a while. Come to think of it, Christine Cuesta left Florida and doesn’t live all that far from me. I’m told Mario and Armando are in NJ and Rockland respectively. Jimmy only lives up the road. It’s time for a little reunion when this madness subsides. Your ship’s Yeomen Purser says so, though Christine will have to organize all the activities—she is our Cruise Director after all. 

 

 

 

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