A Wiggly Farewell

November 30, 2006

Fans are kind of a funny thing. No one can truly measure another’s fervor. For instance, I can’t say to Tim or my father, “I love Buckeye football more than you because…” Because why? Because I regularly paint my body scarlet and gray (I don’t actually)? Because I yell louder and curse more creatively at the television on Saturday afternoons? No, being a real fan of something is a transaction that takes place on the inside of our being, even though outside indicators can give others an idea of our passion.

My son, Dan, is by all appearances the kind of guy that likes to be a fan. He is the most thoroughly obsessed Buckeye fan I know — he can tell you how many rushing touchdowns a particular player has had this season, how many catches each receiver has in a game, how many missed extra points the team suffered. He can talk the numbers of the BCS with the best of them…but before sports became Dan’s love, he had another love — a first love, if you will — and we all know how devastatingly strong that can be.

When Dan was 18 months old he fell in love with the Wiggles. For those of you not in the know about all things little-kid, the Wiggles are an Australian singing group with four men — Greg (in yellow), Anthony (in blue), Murray (in red) and Jeff (in purple) who dance and sing their way through such frighteningly catchy ditties as “Fruit Salad” and “Big Red Car.” When I say Dan loved the Wiggles, I want you to really understand what I mean:

  • When Dan learned his colors he didn’t call them by their regular names. No, he uttered sentences like, “Pass Murray crayon,” or “Me want Greg plate.”
  • Dan had every Wiggles toy on the market — including the Wiggles dolls, who could not sleep with him because of their seeming hair triggers to begin singing various tunes.
  • Dan had to have a collections of Wiggles-colored everything — yellow, red, blue and purple socks; yellow, red, blue and purple markers; yellow, red, blue and purple balls…and as a parent, you would rue your very existence if one color from one set was missing. “Where Anthony sock? Where Anthony sock?” Dan would wail.
  • We actually took the kids to a Wiggles concert in Cleveland. We found out ahead of time that Anthony (the blue Wiggle, for those of you not keeping up) would not be appearing due to hernia surgery. We had to walk Dan through this: “Anthony has a big ‘owie’ in his tummy. So he can’t wiggle at the concert. Someone else will be wearing the blue shirt and wiggling.” A friend later asked me, “How would he know the difference? It was just some guy in a blue shirt.” Oh, foolish mortal, you don’t know Dan at all.

So today, I read in the paper that Greg Page, the lead singer of the Wiggles, is extremely ill. And he’s no longer going to be a part of the group. While what he has does not appear to be life threatening, it will certainly prevent him from keeping the brutal touring and taping schedule. By any measure, this is very sad news. Still, I can hardly account for the tears (okay I’m a big geek, I admit) that welled up when I read the article. Because, you see, the Wiggles were such a part of Dan, such a part of our household. Between staying home with my toddlers and Tim’s previous job that required he travel a lot, I probably spent as much adult time with Greg Page as with any other adult in my life there for a couple of years. Mock me if you must (and I know many of you have no other recourse), but this feels personal.

What truly surprised me was Dan’s response. The Wiggles have been long gone from Dan’s repertoire, replaced with sports and Game Cube and other Big Boy Pursuits. When I mentioned Greg’s illness to him in passing, Dan paused for a moment and his lower lip began to tremble and tears began to well up in his eyes. “You mean there won’t be any more Wiggles?” he asked, tremulously. I explained that the Wiggles are carrying on with a new yellow guy, but I think he knows, as I know and they must know, that Greg may well be irreplaceable in this wiggly world. Dan dug out his old Wiggles dolls and put in a Wiggles DVD, under the auspices of “showing it” to a younger friend who visited today. While the real toddler quickly lost interest in the Wiggles, Dan sat and watched, mesmerized as he used to be only a few years ago. By this afternoon, the Wiggle dolls and DVD were forgotten.

“I think you may be witnessing a Wiggles memorial,” I said to my friend (mother of the adorable toddler) this morning. In Dan’s own way he acknowledged something: that time passes and people change and even get sick. But fan-love — especially that first time — runs pretty deep.

The Koruna family wishes you the best, Greg Page.

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4 Responses to “A Wiggly Farewell”

  1. nikkip said

    greg could never be replaced! in the same way that joe made blue’s clues got to pot when stever left. greg is the heart beat of the wiggles imho.

  2. bethkoruna said

    I KNOW…I wonder how kids will respond.

  3. kjames said

    greg is the one seemingly NORMAL guy of the group! that sucks!
    (and you know how much i don’t like them… 😀 )

    this post made me laugh and cry. all while trying to drink my coffee. thanks.

  4. Julie said

    That brought tears to my eyes…yes I am reading your blog again:) I love that kid!!!

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