1984

Late 1984.

The Parents had rented two movies from Blockbuster.

“The Karate Kid” and “The Wizard of Oz.”

I had a friend spending the night on a Friday night for a sleep over. We were young. Too young to go hang out at the mall, but old enough to have some sort of social life, in the form of sleepovers.

I really wanted to watch “The Wizard of Oz.” It was an all time favorite of mine. “The Karate Kid” just seemed to boyish. Granted, I knew nothing about the movie, other than there was karate in it, and well, I was a girly girl!

My friend wanted to watch “The Karate Kid.”

The Parents had to take me aside and gently explain to me that since my friend is a guest, perhaps we should watch the movie she wanted to watch.

Fine!

Well, in those 2 hours and 7 minutes, I was transfixed. I could not take my eyes off of the television. Oh how I wanted to as popular as Ali. I mean she had two guys after her! Daniel, the new kid in town, struggling to fit in, yep, totally relate to that. Johnny, the popular guy who was a bit bitter because Ali now liked Daniel. Would a guy like that ever like me? Who can forget Mr. Miyagi? The mentor who took Daniel under his wing, and showed him the true meaning of karate.

As a young girl, I would watch “The Karate Kid” with hope and anticipation. It took me to another place, that was so different from my own school. It made me feel things that were hard to feel as a young insecure girl.

I started writing letters to Ralph Macchio, asking him “If you’re not too busy can you please send me an autograph picture?”

He did. Well, it was either him or The Parents. I suppose I will never really know.

As the years went on, “The Karate Kid” was always a favorite. I tell people all the time Ralph Macchio was my first pretend boyfriend.

For me, “The Karate Kid” was a “coming of age” movie for me.

January 1, 2021

Season 3 of “Cobra Kai” dropped on Netflix. My family stayed up all night watching it.

“Cobra Kai” takes place 34 years after the original. Same characters, same actors, and it is freaking amazing. Even my own children, who are about the same age I was when I first saw “The Karate Kid” are totally into it. To set the scene, I just ordered us all matching “Cobra Kai” sweatshirts.

Watching “Cobra Kai” I was filled with the same emotions I was 34 years earlier. Different though in some ways. The anticipation came in the form of wondering if my own children are watching with my eyes. Are they comparing themselves to Samantha like I compared myself to Ali? Are they looking at Miguel the same way I looked at Daniel?

“Cobra Kai” brought me to an old familiar place. A safe place.

January 2, 2021

In the early morning hours I found out my aunt had passed away. To say it is a devastating lost is an understatement. My aunt is the first family I have lost as an adult. I did not know how to cope. I just sat on the sofa, frozen. Wanting to do something, but not sure what that “something” was.

For 48 hours straight, I sat on the sofa, while Joe and kids let me be. For 48 hours I watched “Cobra Kai” constantly. I laughed, I cried, I mourned. Then, come Monday, I finished up the last episode for the 20th time, got myself off the sofa, took a shower and got myself ready for work.

As ridiculous as it sounds, had it not been for the distractment of “Cobra Kai” I may still be sitting on my sofa.

We all have that one movie, that one television show that evokes so many emotions in us.

Mine began in 1984 and has stayed with me all these years.

And will always continue to do so.

“Put good into the world and good will come back to you” -Kumiko Season 3 Cobra Kai

~Jennifer

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