One of the best parts of growing up are those full circle, ‘ah hah’ moments which make life utterly fantastic.

Last week, I was on a panel for the NAACP play festival and enjoyed one of those  moments when I discovered that I was sitting on the panel with Ted Lange, who was, like me, an actor turned playwright.

Okay…maybe not exactly like me. But he did come into my living room every Saturday night.

Growing up, I was a Love Boat and Fantasy Island fanatic. Every weekend, I’d have sleepovers with girlfriends and we’d swoon over our various shipboard crushes before being terrified once ‘Da Plane, Da Plane‘ arrived on the mystical island.

My friends all had different infatuations. A few loved Doc. Several loved Fred Grandy’s goofy Gopher. One of them with daddy issues loved Captain Stubing. But I was always devoted to Isaac Washington; The Love Boat’s bad boy bartender with a million dollar smile and a mustache that probably made Tom Selleck swoon with jealousy.

To sit on the panel with Ted, yes…I call him Ted now, was mind blowing. One of the best things about growing up is that one day, your childhood crushes can evolve into professional colleagues.

I’ll share an umbrella cocktail with you any day, Ted Lange.