Thank you for being a friend, Betty White

Published 1:00 pm Wednesday, January 19, 2022

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“Thank you for being a friend, traveled down a road and back again. Your heart is true, you’re a pal and a confidant.

And if you threw a party, invited everyone you knew, you would see the biggest gift would be from me and the card attached would say, ‘Thank you for being a friend.’”

– Andrew Gold, The Golden Girls Theme Song

Longtime comedienne Betty White would have turned 100 years old Monday, but sadly, she left us on New Year’s Eve and closed out a rough 2021.

As I look back at her illustrious career, I am sure Betty would want us to “stay Golden” and remember her for all the contributions she made. She was a regular on my television screen growing up in the 90s. She portrayed Rose Nylund on The Golden Girls flawlessly and was a really smart individual despite acting like a naive, childlike character. From her countless St. Olaf stories to providing care for our four-legged friends, Betty was one heck of a woman. There is no doubt she touched the lives of many individuals, and her memories will forever be etched in our hearts. Reaching the century mark is unprecedented for anyone let alone one of the most revered celebrities of all time.

While I would have been honored to meet her, one memory from my childhood will always be on my mind. When I was 12 years old in 1999, I watched The Golden Girls nonstop. On a whim, I decided to mail her a letter and wait for the outcome. A couple of weeks later, my mother told me after school one day I had received something in the mail from Betty White.

Y’all, my jaw dropped. Inside the envelope was a personalized and autographed letter from the legend herself. It read, “To Zack, thank you for being a fan. I appreciate you. Love, Betty and Kitta.” Kitta was a golden retriever she had rescued. That melted my heart and showed who she was both on and off the screen.

It was easy to love Betty and her character Rose on The Golden Girls. In my opinion, her wit and ingenuity are still unmatched to this day. It’s crazy to think the original script for The Golden Girls had her as Blanche and Rue McClanahan as Rose. Thank goodness that plan never came to fruition because Betty handled it like a champion, and Rue was the ideal Blanche. From 2010 to 2015, she portrayed the character, Elka Ostrovsky, on Hot in Cleveland and had even more classic moments. While we are unsure of the cause of her death, one thing is clear: she left behind a mark unlike any other.

Betty, we had you for 99 years on Earth, and you came ever so close to the century mark. You were a television icon who will be forever missed but never forgotten. Rest easy and fly high, my dear.

Thank you for being a friend.