In Memoriam 4: a Villain, a Hero, and a Cafe.

These blogs are about how certain people who have passed have touched me personally.

I grew up on ABC soaps. All My Children and One Life To Live were my favorites. I have a theory, that children watch the soaps that their moms or dads watched. My mom was a Pine Valley girl all the way. One day in 1993 while I was sick and my mom was at work, I watched All My Children and I kept the TV on and watched One Life To Live. I fell in love with the citizens of Llanview. Some of the denizens of the city in Pennsylvania were: Victoria Lord, Bo Buchanan, Nora Hannen, and of course Victoria’s daughter, Jessica played by the lovely Erin Torpey, another teenage crush of mine. Who I had the good fortune to meat at the MTV Movie awards of 2003. I sat right next you here!

Every soap has it’s heroine and it’s villain. The villain is so vile that even death can’t keep them down. To OLTL fans, that was Mitch Laurence. He was played with gleeful malevolence by Roscoe Born who unfortunately, unlike his character, died for good this year.

Mitch wasn’t just your ordinary villain. He was a rapist and killer but also a religious cult leader who believed his own hype. Talking about God while doing his vile deeds added an extra creepiness to it all. Televangelists really made the scene in the 1980s. OLTL exploited that phenomenon with aplomb, showing Mitch Laurence preying on his young female followers. The way he treated Vickie and her sister, Tina,was unforgivable. Roscoe Born gave Mitch a malevolent glee. This scene is from 1986.

He was killed in 1986 by Dorian Lord. But that didn’t stop him. He returned in 2002 ,and shattered Victoria Lord’s world. Victoria learned that she has another daughter Natalie. Mitch comes back into her life tormenting her about how he drugged her years ago and orchestrated a rape that lead to her having two daughters, one, Jessie fathered by him, and Natalie fathered by Clint, Victoria’s husband. The way Roscoe Born delivers the lines, I can’t do justice with mere words. You have to see the clip.

He was killed again and came back again. And every time, he did, I, the viewer was entranced. He was brought back during the prison break storyline when OLTL was canceled and he finally was killed for good and brought down to Hell. Thank you Roscoe Born for all your years playing an evil SOB. I know you probably were a gentle good man in life but you played, one scary devil on the TV screen.

The old saying, even Satan will quote scripture to get what he wants, was so apt with Mitch.

Chadwick Bozeman couldn’t be more different. He played heroes on the movie screen and also was an inspiration in real life to thousands of young African Americans. I first saw him as Jackie Robinson in 42. He portrayed him with both courage and anger dealing with the racism and discrimination that he had to face every day. He was not able to retaliate. But he did fight back by being the best that he could be.

When I saw Captain America: Civil War, his T’Challa had an elegance and a grace but also underneath was a rage at losing his father. In the movie Captain America and Iron Man came to blows, almost killing each other, but it was the outsider from Wakanda who showed common sense and the courage to realize that the cycle of vengeance does nothing.

I loved Black Panther. It was beautiful to see, it was wonderfully acted, and had a great philosophical debate between T’Challa and Killmonger. But with every great performance in that movie by Chadwick Boseman, it is this line, in Civil War that keeps replaying in my head. In the year 2020 with police killing innocent unarmed people of color and with politics almost becoming a blood sport, we have to remember these wise words…

And Justice will come soon enough.”

My last entry is not about a person but a place. We all have a cafe, a bar, a restaurant that is ours. It is our safe place. We have memories of birthdays celebrated, our favorite dishes, and conversations. Many people died due to Covid, but also many small business were closed and livelihoods ruined.

There was a cafe named Manna nearby where I lived. They had the best Albacore Tuna melts I have ever had. They also had the tartiest lemonade you could drink. I would go there with my mom. I went there on my own. It was my place. Every once in a while, I would treat myself to their yummy oatmeal pancakes.

Of course I wouldn’t eat that many.

They closed for good in July. I sometimes feel guilty. I think if maybe I ate there more, they would still be around. That is why when I order in, I try to order from local restaurants. There is the Plaza Tavern, that has the best hamburgers in the city of Madison. It is a unique hamburger with a cucumber sauce that is to die for. I don’t want to lose them, like I lost Manna. We all have our special places, we all have probably lost one of them this year. I would recommend when you order in, you order from one of “your” places. You may just be the customer to save it.

If you would like to share any memories of Born or Boseman or of an eatery or a tavern that you have lost. Please reply in the comment section.

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