Meredith Baxter Bernie (MBB) announced a few weeks ago that she is a lesbian. Many people last knew her as the wholesome Mrs. Keaton from the classic sit-com “Family-Ties”. I’m sure the declaration upset a multitude of people concerned with other’s sexual preferences.
On the show, she portrayed an ex hippie type mom, opposite her radical-right-wing-Nixon-admiring son, Michael J Fox. As the Mom, the voice of reason, she doled out advice and consolation to her family. In real life, she married three times, but did not realize until lately the pool in which she was fishing contained the wrong gender. If common sense could have carried over to her real life, maybe she would have stopped marrying men. She could have at least given it some thought between weddings.
I was head over heels infatuated with her back when ‘Family-Ties’ was popular. I liked her almost as much as Emmy hankered after Willy Nelson.
Somehow, in my fantasy I saw Mrs. Keaton and me, running off. We would consummate our relationship on some tropical island beach, living in a grass hut, existing on sushi and margaritas, happily ever after. Being a fantasy and my chances of success so small, I didn’t mull over details such as, what would become of my spouse and kids. Maybe Tiger Woods should have put a little thought into that.
I know my chances were not good with Mrs. Keaton but I have a vivid imagination.
One year, while the Family-Ties sit-com was still in production, Emmy, our two boys, and I were on vacation in Washington DC. I saw Michael Gross, the Dad on the Family-Ties series, at a table near ours in a Bennigans.
Under the guise of getting his autograph for my kids, (not for me, of course) I went over to his table with a pen and piece of paper. I am fully aware that actors on TV are most often not married to, or related to the people they perform with on sit-coms, but I remember studying the people he was sitting with to see if the woman I adored was in attendance. I didn’t even care if the wildly popular Michael J Fox was there. It turned out Mr. Keaton was with regular people, most likely his own family. How boring is that?
I felt bad that I disturbed him; I was committing an unwelcome act. He got up from his chair and walked me back to my table, explaining that he didn’t believe in giving autographs unless he was at a publicity event. He was friendly and courteous then shook my hand and went back to sit with his family. Though I felt like a lout for bothering him, I thought if I were he, I would probably just tell someone like myself to go away or conversely, just sign the piece of paper and be done with it.
I was in a funk about Meredith Baxter, coming out of the closet. Married women tire of their spouses, opening up the possibility for good-looking blond stars to run away with fat old men like me. I can fantasize that they would love to spend their lives in abject poverty on a beach in Samoa. However, when women realize they are batting for the other team they seldom start back with the original line up.
Emmy Lou has been well aware of my fixation for MBB; I’m pretty much an open book. When she came home from shopping I glumly told her I found out Mom Keaton was no longer interested in men. I said I guess that is one more fantasy I’m was going to have to leave behind.
Emmy told me I didn’t have to give up the dream, pointing out that Mrs. Keaton is just as likely to run off with me now, as before she discovered her new sexual orientation. “The odds of it happening haven’t changed a bit.” She said.
As often happens, Emmy’s keen observation brightened my day.