Howard Cunningham got it.  The man understood relationships. He loved his wife, raised two wholesome boys (although one disappeared without a trace) and sent Joanie to her room. He knew when to give a guy a warning cough before opening the door on a “study session,” and he didn’t judge a leather-bound book by its cover. He was a father and a father figure.

These days are ours, share them with me.

Of course Howard Cunningham wasn’t real. He was just a made-up man on a fictional show set in the mythical town of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  But Happy Days was filmed before a live studio audience, and for 10 years of my youth I found myself there in the Cunningham’s living room, sitting on it.

These happy days are yours and mine. 

Tom Bosley was well-known for many things.  He was Father Dowling. He was the sheriff on Murder, She Wrote. He sold us Glad Bags. The man lived.

Tom Bosley passed away today, October 19, 2010 at the age of 83 from a staph infection.

By all accounts he was a good man. It is said that he was a loving husband, father and grandfather, and while I understand that he was, in fact, Tom Bosley and not Howard Cunningham, I find it difficult to separate the two.

There are things from my youth which I think back on fondly, and Happy Days is among them.  Howard Cunningham will be there, always.

 

Well, what can I say? Both of our children are married now and they’re starting out to build lives of their own. And I guess when you reach a milestone like this you have to have to reflect back on, on what you’ve done and, and what you’ve accomplished. Marion and I have not climbed Mount Everest or written a great American novel. But we’ve had the joy of raising two wonderful kids, and watching them and their friends grow up into loving adults. And now, we’re gonna have the pleasure of watching them pass that love on to their children. And I guess no man or woman could ask for anything more. So thank you all for being, part of our family… To happy days.

                                – Howard Cunningham

                                   (from Happy Days, last scene of last episode)

Goodbye, Mr. C.

Goodbye, gray skies. Hello, blue.

 

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