One of the earliest memories I have (and no, Sigrid, it's NOT 'when is Adam's birthday?') is as a child being so small everything I can remember is huge. I am sitting on a blond wooden coffee table in an apartment (I have no idea what floor, this is a memory not a dream) and the daylight is streaming through the casement windows in the living room.
I sat on the coffee table every afternoon to watch a TV with a small screen built into a massive wooden cabinet that weighed (I believed) more than anything on earth until my younger brother Kelly flipped it while trying to retrieve something which had rolled under it. That was many years later in the basement of the house on Bloomfield Avenue, three houses (I think) after that apartment in Elechester I think I was the only child in that apartment.
I watched the Dinah Shore Show, and she sang 'See the USA in your Chevrolet' everyday as did I. I have owned one Chevy in my life, a 1963 Corvair Monza, I bought used in 1970. Ralph was right about them. It was only after I stopped driving it that I took up smoking cigarettes. I loved Dinah Shore decades before Burt did, and blew her a kiss every afternoon.
But I was saving myself for Annette. Annette, Bobby, Cheryl, Darlene, Doreen Cubby, Karen, Sharon, Tommy and Obama along with Jimmy Dodd (and it wasn't really Obama; it was John Boehner) were all part of the Original Mickey Mouse club. Meeska Mooska Mouseketeer. Mouse Cartoon Time now is here! The show was in black and white, of course; we had a cold war to win and no time for frilly silly things like color.
Bobby and (maybe Darlene) danced-Cubby O'Brien played drums. They were all incredibly talented, but couldn't hold a candle to Annette. She was a star and so magical, I just assumed I would marry her even before I had any idea as to what marriage was or how crazy that whole idea would have been.
It was a long time ago-I am old now, but she was then-all of twelve or so and I wasn't even half of that. I remember so clearly how she looked and how she talked and sang. Ours was a love that would never die. Rust and forgetfulness were something else entirely.
I forgave her all those beach blanket movies that she made years later as The Beatles and everyone else charged over the musical bridge they'd built from England. The Mickey Mouse Club was long gone by then. At some point, I read in a glossy gossip magazine she had multiple sclerosis and paused to reflect on her, us, really, and then went back to my incredibly busy and important life, already in progress.
And then yesterday, hours after the Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher had died, it was announced Annette Funicello, 70 years young, too, had passed. If it feels like a death in the family, perhaps it should because for Cold War Kids, it is. Mouseketeer ears everywhere are at half-mast today and Jimmy Dodd has another new member to show around the clubhouse. M. O. U. S. E.