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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. 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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