Cultural icons define each age. As we get older, and some of them pass, contemplating on memories of them often defines our aging. Here’s how we’ve been thinking about those we’ve lost recently.

Topol died, lighting up our memories of seeing “Fiddler on the Roof” in a glamorous old theater. His passing comes not long after news of Raquel Welch dying. Stella Stevens, too. And just before those, it was exit time for Burt Bacharach, Cindy Williams and David Crosby.

Feels like the loss of stars peels the cultural wallpaper off our world, and sweet memories of music and movies get a little bitter now with the realization of how life rolls on.

This happens to everybody who lives long enough. The entertainers and public figures who’ve been parts of our world — helping us enrich the stories of our lives — those people pass on. It’s the order of things: An era fades, another rises. We keep the memories until we’re gone, and when everybody’s gone who could remember, it’s just history.

Meanwhile, we like the memories. They make great places to visit, and we cherish our private, personal recollected worlds — with Barbara Walters’ revealing interviews, Sean Connery’s James Bond, that first Lunar landing, and even the day one of us sold newspapers in the street after Nixon resigned — because they’re rich and wondrous in ways nobody but us can understand.

Maybe a person could happily live in here, spinning all the hits from the memory jukebox and wallowing in the emotions only he or she can appreciate. Maybe a person shouldn’t.

John Prine, the esteemed songwriter, who died aged 73 on April 7, 2020, wrote:

Old people just grow lonesome

Waiting for someone to say,

‘Hello in there, hello.’                                                                                           

We commented on Raquel’s death to the 40-year-old stepdaughter. Her response:


Hard for us to imagine not knowing Raquel Welch. And we thought, but didn’t say, that someday the stepdaughter will mention an artist who influenced her, and her children will ask, “Who’s that?”

Monty & Easton are long-time Rally friends with something to say about aging.