Saturday, January 28, 2023
Church and Kerwin
Some sad events yesterday!
First, this church, which is located just a few blocks from the school where I work, was gutted by a fire that started late Thursday night. The news accounts say it's destroyed, but as I understand it there were structural engineers there yesterday assessing the strength of the walls, so perhaps the shell of the building can be saved. It's Grade II* listed and more than 170 years old, and its loss is significant.
I stopped by after work to check out the scene and take some photos. I'd never been inside, but Dave had -- the music department faculty at our school considered holding concerts there but ultimately decided our band was too large for the space. The choral music teacher held some rehearsals there, though.
There are benches outside along the street where I used to see people sitting in nice weather. Such a shame. Apparently the investigators are still determining the fire's cause.
Then more bad news -- the death of Lance Kerwin, one of my most significant early-teen celebrity crushes! He was a popular young actor in the late '70s, boyish looking but in fact six years older than me. I vividly remember his show "James at 16," especially a scene when he disrobed in a sleeping bag with a girl. Scandalous! The show only lasted a year or so, and I both identified with and subtly pined for the teenage James. Kerwin went on to star in "Salem's Lot," the Stephen King vampire drama, and I remember reading the whole book one night when I was about 14, and looking at the picture section in the middle, and thinking, "Gosh, he's so cute."
And then his acting career more or less fizzled and he went on to have addiction issues and became an evangelical youth pastor. His more recent photos suggest that his adult life was pretty difficult, but I will always remember him as the sandy-haired James who wanted to be a photographer and made my tween gay heart go pitter-pat.
It's always a shock when your contemporaries die, though as I said, Kerwin was older than me -- technically a Baby Boomer, while I am Generation X. (He says, smugly.) I was similarly surprised when Adam Rich died a few weeks ago. He was even younger -- and more of a little brother figure to most of us in TV land -- but he also had addictions and other problems.
So, yeah, a sad day all around!