Memories of Hugs

I was working a flight from JFK to LAX in December of 1985.  In my flight bag was a copy of Dr. Leo Buscaglia’s book of lectures, “Living, Loving, and Learning”.  

“Felice Leonardo Buscaglia (March 31, 1924 – June 12, 1998), also known as “Dr. Love”, was an American author, motivational speaker, and a professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Southern California.

Hugging was his trademark. It happened by accident when an attendee wanted to give him a congratulatory hug after a presentation. Seeing this, hundreds of others began lining up to hug Buscaglia, as well. Eventually, the hugging sessions lasted twice as long as the presentations, but Dr. Buscaglia always stayed until he embraced the last person.” Source:Wikipedia 

I recognized Dr. Buscaglia as he boarded the cabin immediately, and checked the names on  my passenger list, just to be sure it was him. Overcoming a lifetime of timidity, I decided to greet him and tell him how much I appreciated his books, “Love”, “The Fall of Freddie the Leaf”, “Loving Each Other”, and the current one in my crew kit. His eyes sparkled…& his smile was one of the kindest I’d ever seen.

In hindsight I wished I had asked him to autograph his book, but, as it turned out he gave me a much more special gift. Dr. Buscaglia rose from his seat and gave me one of his infamous Hugs on a TWA L-1011. 

Hugs… He was the first to state and promote the concept of hugs, as needing 5 to survive, 8 to maintain and 12 to thrive.

We’ve been lacking in our required Hugs this year due to social distancing brought about by this dreadful pandemic, but virtual hugs are still a very real thing & we can still wrap our arms around ourselves and embrace the idea of a healing hug when we can’t physically connect with our fellow humans. 

“It’s not enough to have lived. We should be determined to live for something. May I suggest that it be creating joy for others, sharing what we have for the betterment of personkind, bringing hope to the lost and love to the lonely.” ~Leo Buscaglia