I wish I had a picture of my brother and I sitting in front of our black and white television set with our Mouseketeer ears on our head. Every afternoon we’d sing along with Annette and the other kids – “Hey there, Hi there, Ho there, we’re as happy as can be. M I C, K E Y M O U S E!”
I loved The Mickey Mouse Club, and I never missed an episode. I’d proudly wear my mouse ears, singing and dancing with the kids who came into my living room through the television, pretending I was one all of them. Besides the performances of the Mouseketeers, I’ d watch the adventures of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew. And of course, there were sweet cartoons with Mickey Mouse, and his girlfriend, Minnie, Donald Duck, Pluto and the rest of the characters. It was a great kid’s television show in the 50’s.
Yesterday’s passing of Annette Funicello after a long fight with Multiple Sclerosis brought back many childhood memories. Annette was my favorite of the famous group. She was so talented, and thank God, Walt Disney protected her and insisted she be kept innocent.(Unlike Britney Spears who was turned into a sex symbol as soon as she could be exploited.) But then, we all were allowed to be innocent. It was time when the bad news was saved for grown-ups, and children were protected from the ugliness of the world.
I know that you never can go back, but this program was dear to all of us who were children in the 1950s. Now, children grow up too fast; things are more immediate, video games have taken the place of a simple television show, and kids are far more sophisticated than I was when growing up. In a way, I feel sorry for them.
So goodbye, Annette. Maybe I’ll be able to sing and dance with you in heaven. Save me a place in the club.