Monday, April 8, 2013

Mouseketeer's passing takes away icon of our youth

How many of us 60ish folks remembered our days of innocence when we heard the news?
Annette Funicello was dead.
Seventy? Nah. She'll always be 13 in our hearts and minds.
I can still see her when she burst onto the American stage with "The Mickey Mouse Club" in October 1955.
The short-sleeve turtle neck sweater.
The pleated skirt.
That curly brown hair and brown eyes.
That smile.
Those mouse ears.
I was 8.
Every afternoon after St. Gabriel School let out, we'd run home.
Me and my brother Jimmy.
We'd sit before our family's little black-and-white TV and watch that show religiously, two of the millions of American kids like us who made it a ritual.
It sounds goofy now, but we imagined being Mouseketeers, too.
I know I did.
Annette Funicello was my first crush before I knew what that was.
It faded when she went onto to do those "Beach Blanket Bingo" movies with Frankie Avalon, but who cares?
The Mickey Mouse Club was a staple of my boyhood.
So was Annette Funicello.

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