Everyone on the internet seems to hate 2016 and want 2017 to come ASAP. But every year around this time it’s the same reaction. “When will 2015 be over?” “2014 is a terrible year, can’t wait for ’15.” “2013 needs to never have existed.” Yeah, the election debacle this year was exhausting and scary, but with the recent deaths in these last few months, the internet has deemed 2016 the worst.
Although my personal 2016 was actually pretty nice, I did lose some people I looked up to or liked and I’d like to celebrate them here with you. First things first, family.
Stefan Bucek AKA Pop-Pop
Every year my family and I would go down to Florida and stay with Stefan Bucek and his wife. There were no summer vacations without him.
He was my mom’s dad and he was my Pop-Pop. He was outdoorsy, liberal and very Slovak.
There are videos of him and me in his pool, walking on a beach with all of my cousins, and even video when I was a baby and he was holding me.
He was in a car accident which put him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life and I can’t imagine how my family members felt and how he felt because nothing would ever be the same. Although the videos and pictures of him standing and walking and dancing with me exist, I was too little to remember him that way and have always seen him in his wheelchair.
But the accident didn’t stop him from being a great Pop-Pop. He was there for all of his grandchildren’s biggest life accomplishments. He came to my high school graduation. My family and I visited with Pop-Pop back in May and spent every moment rehashing old memories. He had some pretty funny stories and I learned he loved spiders and would never kill a living thing.
Thank you Gabi for aiding him as long as possible. I know he loved you very dearly.
There was no Florida without Pop-Pop.
Debbie Reynolds AKA Halloweentown’s Bad Ass Grandma
Most people know her from Singin’ in the Rain, which is a great musical. But I first discovered Debbie Reynolds as Aggie Cromwell, the bad ass witch from Disney Channel’s Halloweentown, every child wanted as their grandma.
This was the movie I’d look for in October. Even when Disney kicked Kimberly J. Brown out (pictured with Reynolds), I still watched the series because of Reynolds. She may have been in her late 60s but she stole the show. Reynolds was the kind of person you think would never die because she was a star her whole life. If you are also a fan of Halloweentown, check out what Kimberly J. Brown had to say about Debbie Reynolds death.
I know what I’ll be watching first thing October comes around.
Alan Rickman AKA Serverus Snape and the Galaxy Quest
Although Alan Rickman was cast in such diverse movies (Die Hard, Alice in Wonderland, Love Actually) my favorites of his are the Harry Potter series and Galaxy Quest as Severus Snape and Alexander Dane.
I grew up with the HP movies and read a few books, but I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing Snape. Rickman was good in every movie. He made me mad, worried, and sad and it was great acting.
My dad introduced me to Galaxy Quest and it is a very silly movie, but when I first saw it, I thought it was so refreshing to see Alan Rickman in a comedy.
By Grabthar’s hammer, by the suns of Warvan, you shall be avenged.
Christina Grimmie AKA YouTube’s Voice
I was shocked when I saw on Facebook that Christina Grimmie was killed from a gun shot wound. I didn’t watch her on The Voice, but I would click on her YouTube channel once in a while to hear her covers. My favorite ones were “I Won’t Give Up” and “Grenade.” It’s so tragic how she died. She had just finished her concert and was meeting some fans and then her ex-boyfriend showed up and shot her. I wasn’t a die hard Team Grimmie fan but it’s so sad once you hear her voice and think all of the talent that was gone that night.
Gene Wilder AKA the Candy Man
Every time Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory is on, my family and I always watch it. Maybe it was because of some of our favorite lines from the teacher, or the fact my dad knew Mike Teavee when they were kids, but I think we were all captivated by Gene Wilder’s role as the candy man himself.
Of course he was great in Young Frankenstein and his other roles, but he captured the essence of a man infatuated with candy making so well. He’s like Debbie Reynolds – they portray characters you love and you think they are immortal.
Although Wilder is gone, my family and I will always have our favorite quotes to tell each other. “You stole fizzy lifting drink! You lose! Good day sir!” “Two? What do you mean you only opened two?”
Doris Roberts AKA TV’s Mother In-Law
My dad is always late to finding hit shows (sorry dad.) I remember when he found Everybody Loves Raymond and he thought it was the funniest thing and he was mad he didn’t know about it sooner. That was when I was introduced to Doris Roberts, who loved her weird sons and didn’t like her daughter in-law.
I would sit with my dad and watch this show. Our favorite episode is “Hackidu”, a parody of the Pokemon trading card game.
When I heard Peter Boyle died (pictured left,) I was also sad. They were both such great characters who got on my nerves and I was nine or ten, and in doing so were great actors as well.
A common theme throughout this post has been the thought of immortality. I recognize most of these people through pop culture and then of course there is Pop-Pop. And although I didn’t have a connection with 5/6 of them, I know that I will still see them. Thank goodness technology is so advanced. I can watch re-runs. I can watch when ABC Family does a Harry Potter marathon next weekend. I can watch old home movies. And that is how I will celebrate them.