What do you do when one of your English teachers turns 92?

We say Happy Birthday to Barbara Jean Morehead who was born in Tucson, Arizona, on August 23, 1931. Most of us know her as Barbara Eden and “I Dream of Jeannie.”  It was on the air for five seasons in the 1960s. What can happen when an astronaut finds a bottle with a pretty woman inside? Watch the show!

Well, I remember the show, but my story is more than that. Our family arrived in the U.S. in September 1964.  My brother, sister, and I walked to school every day. My father had two jobs and my mother was at home helping out and keeping everyone in tune. Most of all, we were grateful for freedom, and our parents always kept us current on the situation in Cuba.

Our early days were pretty typical. Most Cubans share similar memories of growing up and watching our parents put everything on the line for their kids. They worked hard and we got to enjoy the new culture and the reality that most of our friends had never seen a Cuban not named Ricky Ricardo or Minnie Miñoso.

After dinner, we waited for our father to get home and we watched all of those TV shows of that time. There were only three channels, but there was something good on each one.  

Today they have 300 channels and I end up watching one channel that features all of those old ones. And this is where Barbara Eden comes in. Her show “I Dream of Jeannie” was a real favorite of my late mother. So we would translate for her and then she laughed at whatever line it was. Imagine a Cuban woman in her late 30s watching Jeannie with so much intensity and interest.  

And that’s one of the ways that we learned English, from “Jeannie” to “Gidget” and all of those shows that celebrated humor without wokedom.

Happy #92 Barbara Eden. Maybe someone’s told her how she taught so many “cubanos” to learn English.

P.S.: Check out my blog for posts, podcasts and videos. (My new American Thinker post)