Sunday, April 6, 2008

Thoughts on Charlie Carter

Charlie Carter died yesterday.

He is someone I remember, and mourn, for different reasons than most of the world. Charlie Carter was a celebrity with whom I shared a common thread. We grew up in the same stomping grounds as kids, tromped through the same emerald forests, traveled the same roads and snowmobile trails, crossed paths on a number of occasions. It was sometimes a very isolated place for a kid, and I, like him, spent most of my childhood in solitude--reading books, hiking trails, developing my lifelong appreciation for nature. His deep roots in the northern woods meant he had strong beliefs about certain issues, and later championed those causes to be revered--and hated--by millions.

He was born a year before my mother, and became an icon in his heyday when I was still in school. I often heard him refered to as "that local boy who made good." He became successful beyond the wildest dreams of most kids from those little podunk towns in the north country.

Many years ago I read a series of interviews on some of Hollywood's greatest stars. They were asked to describe their favorite places. There was Charlie Carter in a cartoon sketch, dressed as Paul Bunyon with axe in hand and leg propped up on a White Pine stump, declaring northern Michigan as being the area that held a special place in his heart.

He returned often over the years. I saw him in person several times, and was always too star struck to introduce myself, although everyone told me I should, that he never outgrew the earthiness of the place he was raised. They said he would talk to anyone. There's a saying that we will regret most the things we didn't do in life, rather than the things we did. I will always regret not shaking hands with Mr. Carter.

May he rest in peace.

Charlie Carter
"Charlton Heston"
October 4, 1923 - April 5, 2008

From AOL News: Movie News
April 6, 2008

"At his birth in a Chicago suburb on Oct. 4, 1923, his name was Charles Carter. His parents moved to St. Helen, Mich., where his father, Russell Carter, operated a lumber mill. Growing up in the Michigan woods with almost no playmates, young Charles read books of adventure and devised his own games while wandering the countryside with his rifle."

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