Celebrating our seas - and Lucas Wolenczak

Early a few mornings ago, I was writing important semester dates onto my desk calendar. I was tired; my brain felt sluggish. As I looked at December 23, one thought came to mind: "Lucas Wolenczak's birthday."

Not sure who Lucas Wolenczak is? From 1993 to 1996, there was an American television show called SeaQuest that I watched obsessively. It was like Star Trek, except it took place under the ocean. The first season was set in 2018 - a year that seemed absurdly distant at the time of the show's airing. Wolenczak was a teen genius living aboard the SeaQuest, a giant, high-tech submarine. Wolenczak’s fictional birthdate was Dec. 23, 2004.

For Christmas one year, I received a calendar featuring the actor who portrayed Wolenczak, the now-late Jonathan Brandis. I liked one of the pictures so much that when that month expired, I cut it out and put it in a frame.

During a family celebration, some younger cousins were visiting and noted my then-heartthrob’s wind-blown, romantic-looking picture in its wooden frame. One of them asked if he was my boyfriend. This pleased my tween-self immensely. I said “yes.” The three of us then spoke about "my boyfriend" at length.

I had not thought about this television show, let alone this character and this childhood incident with my cousins, in a long time. Why his birthday came to mind at that moment, I have no idea. I told one of my cousins about the recollection and asked if she remembered this incident.

Unfortunately, she remembered it. She remembered it well. In fact, she remembered it better than I did. Then she said it all made sense at the time; she looked up to me and it did not at all seem strange that her older cousin would be dating an 18-year-old boy wonder living aboard a U.S. submarine.

I may not know how this incident suddenly came to mind. But my cousin and I ultimately decided to capitalize on the embarrassing memory by having a little celebration in December 2018 in honor of the advancements of the SeaQuest and the hopes we have for continued exploration – in our seas and beyond. There may even be a picture of Lucas Wolenczak. We'll see.

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