Monday, September 24, 2007

Heather Michele O'Rourke and Childhood Awards

The other day, I was watching a YouTube video that had picures of famous people and their birth and death dates. Must have been some sort of a tribute video. Well, I saw this one girl, who died very young, and she looked familiar, but I could not place her.

Using my mastery of Google, I found her, and I really found her on a sort of creepy site (Find a Grave).

Thing is, I thought was Heather Michele O'Rourke (the little girl in the Poltergeist movies) was Drew Barrymore. Okay, okay, I mixed up Poltergeist and ET (the Extra Terrestrial, not Entertainment Tonight). She sort of looked like the little girl in the Witch Mountain movies, as well (Kim Richards).

She died of "cardiopulminary arrest due to intestinal stenosis". That's fancy for her having an intestinal block, it getting infected, and this leading to a type of heart attack. I read the one page biography by Kit and Morgan Benson, and I was taken aback by the final sentence: "Of her many achievements, Heather stated that she was proudest of being elected student body president of her 5th grade class in 1985."



My take away point: what you expect people to be most proud of may not be what they themselves are most proud of. I won an award in fifth grade, and to this day, I am so proud of that little laminated award. Sometimes laminated paper trumps plaques, fame, or fortune.

11 comments:

kathi said...

Sad. The video was also a bit eerie.

~Deb said...

Wow, how sad. I too, thought that it was Drew Barry Moore. Sometimes, all the amount of money or fame in the world doesn't make us happy. It goes to show how a little girl viewed it with clear eyes.

Joe said...

That was so sad...but your point is a good one.

Anonymous Boxer said...

Find a Grave IS extra creepy. I remember when she died, very sad.

Your Internet sleuthing skills are good.

RWA said...

You make a very good point. To this day, one of my proudest moments was being chosen to play Santa Claus in the school program when I was in second grade.

Leesa said...

kathi: very sad.

~deb: interesting that we both thought it was Drew Barrymore.

joe: thanks, sweetie.

boxer: I have wicked Google skills.

rwa: yeah, I had the lead in a school play in 5th grade. But unlike you, I hated it because I had to memorize so many lines. See, different people value different things. But my laminated award, that was golden.

Dr. Deb said...

Well written, Leesa.

Kat said...

The only thing from my childhood that has stuck with me at all was a comment by my 6th grade math teacher "You're lousy at math, kid, but you have a beautiful smile."

Leesa said...

dr. ~deb: thanks.

kat: that is sort of sad.

Jason said...

That girl's death was tragic. If I remember correctly, she was misdiagnosed and given medicine that didn't agree with her and that lead to her death. From those poltergiest movies and her appearances in the Happy Days episodes as Fonzie's single mom-girlfriend's daughter, she was sweet girl.

Leesa said...

jason: yeah, misdiagnosed. Her parents sued the hospital, and they probably won.