Hearing of the death of Mary Tyler Moore yesterday brought back so many memories of growing up idolizing the actress and the characters she played. I'm a member of the Mary Tyler Moore Generation.

Mary Tyler Moore was the first famous person I loved. She was beautiful, elegant, intelligent, and had a sweet and bubbly personality. But I guess I never really understood how much she impacted my life until years later when I was watching two of her best roles on Hulu.

First, it was the Dick Van Dyke Show and her portrayal of Laura Petrie. I was just a small girl when I used to watch the show in syndication. To me, she had it all. A handsome and loving husband. an adorable son, beautiful house, and great friends. At that age, that's what I wanted. I wanted to be just like Laura Petrie.

As I got a little older, I became a huge fan of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Mary Richards was beautiful, independent, and brave. She moved to a new community, got a lovely apartment, and a cool job in the media. Although I loved Rhoda's colorful scarves, I envied Mary's quiet, elegant style and nice-girl demeanor. I wanted to be just like Mary Richards.

In reality, I grew up to be a mixture of all three, Laura Petrie, Mary Richards, and Mary Tyler Moore. Like Laura, I had a son (and then had two more). Like Mary Richards, I became an independent woman who works in media, although for me it's radio. And like Mary Tyler Moore, I'm an animal lover who's been married three times.

A woman I've admired all my life passed away this week, and the world mourns her loss. But, for me and others in the Mary Tyler Moore generation, her spirit will live on in our hearts.