Tuesday, June 21, 2016

"This Is my Super Bowl"

 "Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today, to get through this thing called life....
Electric word life. It means forever and that's a mighty long time. But I'm here to tell you...There's something else. The after world. A world of never ending happiness. You can always see the sun, day or night" -Prince

"This is my Super Bowl". That was her line. The Emmy Awards, The Oscars, The Tony Awards, The Grammy Awards. Any awards involving celebrities. Or celebs with music. All of the above.

I really can't believe I have to write this. Not because I wouldn't want to write a tribute to a beautiful person, but because I am still in shock that she's gone.

I'm not writing this for sympathy for me. So please, I don't even need or deserve any condolences. Yes, I'm sad. A lot of people are sad though. It's an absolute tragedy that someone so young, beautiful, and sweet is gone. I'm writing this to celebrate someone who deserves to be celebrated. Someone I'm really going to miss- Evangeline Kartanos. I didn't want to put this all on her Facebook page. Writing is just my way of processing.

Vange and I knew each other for what feels like my whole life. She lived around the block from me growing up. We were never close, but we were friend-ly. We'd chit chat in high school, but then we lost touch, as people growing up without social media do. We reconnected on Facebook, in 2009, just after I had E. She congratulated me on the baby and then wanted to know if I wanted to go to one of those focus group things to get paid for talking about One Life To Live. I couldn't go because I was in new mom mode. But I told her to think of me again.

The next time we emailed on FB was when my mom died not that long after. She sent me a really nice message, saying how she babysat my brother a little and that my mom worked at her gym for a little while. I appreciated the message.

I must have seen her posts about our shared interests- soaps and celebrities and started commenting. We loved all the same tv and she'd always tell me when she was going to Soap fan event meet & greet so I could live vicariously through her. We were both devastated when our ABC soaps were being cancelled one by one. Sometime in early 2012, she asked me if I wanted to start and jointly admin a Facebook soaps group. Of course I said yes, and our little group was born.

When we first started the group, it was more active, but that's because we had what we were sure was a legit crazy person in it. Calling this member crazy isn't even being mean or snarky. The member had numerous accounts and thought the characters on the soaps were real people. Like when Brooke Shields was on Friends as the character who believed Joey was really Dr Drake Ramore. This woman was obsessed with the love lives of all the characters of the Bold & The Beautiful and would post incessantly. Long, diatribes on why this one should or shouldn't be with this one. Dissecting their moral fiber, their looks, their personalities. She was always trying to organize boycotts every time the characters were in romantic relationships she didn't agree with. She'd leave and make two new profiles to take the last one's place. She'd make profiles of the characters as real people. I can't even articulate this kind of crazy the way it came across. Trust me.

Vange and I had a good laugh at first. I just went back into all our "admin" messages and we were just dumbfounded at what to do with this woman. Then it got so nuts that we had to give her numerous warnings about her obsession and debated on kicking her out. We didn't want to kick anyone out but her rantings were starting to freak other members out. We were hysterical because I finally, openly told this woman that the characters are NOT REAL. She just ignored me and kept on posting. I told her again. And again. She believed they *were* real.

I think that woman left on her own or she's there still under other aliases. She'd been in and then kicked out of numerous soap groups for doing the same thing. After she left, or at least just stopped posting about B&B, the group slowed down. Down to four soaps left, there was also just less to discuss. I was always really behind too. Our main soap in common was General Hospital and Vange would always get on me to catch up because I was consistently like two months, sometimes more, behind. I couldn't comment much because I had no idea what was going on.

Sometimes, Vange and I would just basically talk to each other in there. I'd post something, and she'd answer, I think, just so I wouldn't feel like I was talking to myself. The last thing she posted was the temporary Nicholas Cassadine recast and was part of the Kirsten Storms recast conversation. I loved that we could talk about soaps and actors like we were discussing important world events. To us, they *were* important world events. We knew the characters weren't real and we weren't living in Port Chuckles, but we loved our soaps together fiercely.

As soon as I'd see a commercial for any of the awards shows, I'd know she'd be posting an announcement that it was on and say "This is MY Super Bowl".

The last time I saw her was a couple of Septembers ago, at Jacqueline Laurita's Autism Speaks event at Westmount Country Club. We talked about what we'd wear and we were excited to see which RHONJ ladies would show up. We weren't at the same table so we didn't get to chat long, but I had been happy to reconnect in person. Time flies, we were both busy, and just never got to catch up in person again. But I got lucky- due to our shared tv/celeb interests, she introduced me to her friend Shirley. Thank you Vange for forging that connection. Your shows, celeb meet & greets, and soap discussions will continue on. If there is one frivolous thing I can do for you, it's that. Shirley, I hope you're on board for that. I have a sneaking suspicion you will be.

I was at E's swim team practice when I received the news. I really just didn't expect it. I knew things weren't good, but I guess I just didn't want to believe they were that bad. I still didn't think this was it. She'd rallied before- she TOLD ME. I quickly went back through our old messages. I went back to 2011, when she told me about the neurosurgery she'd had and how the doctors didn't expect her to make it or be the same that time. Her words: Every day is a gift and that's why I celebrate my "anniversary". I'm certain everyone who knew her would agree that every day she was still around WAS, in fact, a gift - to everyone in her orbit.

RIP Evangeline Kartanos. May you be with all your favorites at an Emmys in the sky for all of eternity. I will never think of the Super Bowl or any awards show without thinking of you too. And how much I loathe football.

There is a GoFundMe someone close to Vange set up to help her family out. I'm posting it in case anyone wants to donate-

Shirley, Vange & I at the Autism Speaks event 9-2013

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