In a recent conversation with a new acquaintance, the name “Crematia Mortem” came up. I can’t remember just how, but it did, much to my delight.
She was the “ghostess” of the Creature Feature on Saturday nights during the 1980s on a Kansas City television station. Crematia was played by Roberta Solomon, a very talented radio/TV personality in KC . She would introduce each week’s dreadful horror film, plus make comments/do skits going into and coming back from the commercials.
The show had a bargain-basement budget, but Crematia had such a clever, campy sense of humor that she made cheesy seem classy. I loved the character, and if anyone in my presence had made the mistake of calling her the Midwest’s Elvira, I would have growled that Elvira couldn’t carry Crematia’s candelabrum.
I was at my peak of fondness for the show during my junior and senior years at Mizzou. Even if I’d had something supposedly “better” to do most Saturday nights then – which, I can assure you, I didn’t – I would have opted to stay home and watch Crematia and the Creature Feature.
At any rate, I bring this up not just because I had a overwhelming desire to put Crematia into this blog, but also because it made me think about that time, when I was 21. The same age as Epiphanny Prince is now. (Yes, this still is somehow going to be about basketball).
Last week, it was reported that Prince would skip her senior season at Rutgers and go play professionally overseas. A few other women’s hoops players have done this, but didn’t have the high profile that she has. Prince, who said she is still going to get her degree, will be eligible for the WNBA draft next April.
A lot of folks have weighed in on Prince’s decision, which seems mainly motivated by the desire to improve her family’s living situation. But no one who watched Rutgers this past season could have failed to notice the refrigerator that Prince was carrying on her back. With a leader like Essence Carson gone, senior Kia Vaughn in her on-again-off-again funk, and a bunch of what-the-hell-are-we-doing freshmen running around, a big burden was on Prince.
Maybe she was ready to be relieved of that, which was the accelerant on the already existing fire to start earning money sooner rather than later.
I won’t pretend to put myself in Prince’s shoes, as I never felt any financial responsibility when I was 21. All I was worried about was graduating from college on time (as long as that didn’t interfere with my TV obligations like Creature Feature). I figured once I finished school, then I’d start thinking about getting a job.
But where I’m concerned for Prince’s sake is hoping she doesn’t end up regretting this decision. She won’t have a senior night at Rutgers, won’t have another Big East tournament or NCAA tournament, won’t have that one last chance – however elusive it may seem – at a national championship.
Every year, seniors say the same things: “I can’t believe how quickly it’s gone by; I’m sad it’s almost over; I wish I could make time slow down so I could truly relish it.” A lot of athletes will tell you they wouldn’t have given up a minute of their college career, and at least a little part of them will always miss it.
But not everyone feels that way. Plus, consider that Prince already has been to the Final Four and played in an NCAA title game. She may feel like she’s had the best of the college hoops experience and there’s no need to stick around for more.
Or maybe she’s not sure what to think, but the money is too great a lure. It’s not my place to say she’s right or wrong. I will say that when you’re older, you can look back at being 21 and think, “I may as well have been an infant for all I didn’t know about myself and life in general.”
But you don’t realize that then … at least, not like you do later. I’m reminded of the Indigo Girls song “Watershed,” in which they sing, “And there’s always retrospect, to light a clearer path. Every five years or so, I look back on my life and I have a good laugh.”
In concert, I’ve heard Emily Saliers change that to “five days,” and it’s funny because that’s true, too. It’s not just what you did or thought 20 years ago that can make you feel like a clueless moron, but sometimes what you did/thought two weeks ago. I keep hoping there is some end to this (short of death) … like, that you aren’t mortified at age 92 by the silly misconceptions about life you had when you were 91. But maybe not.
In which case, perhaps it’s hard to even gauge how much Prince was supposed to weigh “future possibility of regret” in making her decision.
You can’t be sure until you actually feel it, and then it’s too late.
Oh, by the way, when I got on this “remembering Crematia” kick, I found a recent interview with her, which is on the Internet. In it, she said the station didn’t actually keep most of her shows from all those years, deciding it was too expensive. They just taped each new show over the previous week’s show. So now they don’t have something like a DVD collection of “Best of Crematia.”
It sounded like she regretted that. I know I do.