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The Death of Rick Nelson

January 14, 1986

I drove my Mustang at 5 in the morning to Pasadena for the parade when I heard over the radio, "Rick Nelson has been killed in a plane crash in Texas." The rock music came on again.

I couldn't believe it. Tears came to my eyes. Then, I thought, "What's wrong with you? You don't even know him!" But I do! I grew up with Ozzie and Harriet. All of us baby-boomers did.

I'd watch them on television and laugh after a hard day at school. Rick and Dave were like my brothers. Then, later, a crush.

The Nelsons showed you that families didn't have to be perfect. Everyone does dumb things. It was hardly unusual not to know what Ozzie did, because I hardly knew what my father did. I admired Rick's character to make a statement to his audience in "Garden Party." He was not just Rick Nelson, the teen idol, but a changing, growing human being.

PAM CALDECOTT

Reseda

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