ELEGY FOR A MOUSEKETEER (tribute to Annette Funicello)

I wrote this the day she died in 2013…

 

I didn’t exist…not quite my era
when she smiled –
donning black felt mouse’s ears
black and white images, perfection
personified on Zenith television sets
around the world, as millions watched
dining on TV Dinners
adored in happy homes
this all American girl from
next door – a member of the kiddie club.

I didn’t exist…not quite yet
when she smiled at Frankie,
donning swimsuits on surfboards
colorful, sunny images where
dreamers & movie theaters
around the world & millions of
hopeful teens saw sweetness,
goodness admired, this girl next door
now a member of the boomer club.

I met her after school…and on Sunday evenings –
Together, smiling in the Magic Kingdom
as re-runs of black felt mouse’s ears
immortalized the epitome of
charming innocence, beach blanket fun, &
panorama-vision with colors which made my
Sony television set alive.
This  was a moment of design –
To be healthy,  hopeful, &
forever youthful,  albeit a momentary
fantasy…covered in pixie dust –
Years passed before news, diagnostics, &
the realization of this disease debacle, then
I too had become a member
of a club like no other, a club whose
membership roster continues
to grow like wildfire.

I couldn’t yet comprehend the pain
which lurked behind her smile while
donning leg braces in chairs with wheels –
black and white or color filled
her life on television sets
viewed by millions
confused by the disease, distraught these
boomers & future generations;
mouseketeer wanna-be’s unable to
identify with or relate to
members of the disabled club.

I feel…I think…I know her well these days –
as sisters & strangers with multiple scars
our badge of honor or initiation into the MS Club.
My smile now hides the pain
others can’t comprehend, but with bittersweet resilience, this smile holds the beauty & the power instilled within that of a MSketeer.

by MPP 6/2013 ~ edited 4/2017

040813_AnnetteObit_article_2

Author: Mary

ABOUT MARY ~ I am a "late-blooming" writer from Texas who specializes in creative writing/poetry. I have a background in music, the performing arts, and enjoyed 14 years in sales/marketing & as a special events planner in the private club industry. I am a 1990 graduate from The University of North Texas who started off as a music major (voice), but I wasn't "feeling" it was the right fit. So, I took a break, changed directions & graduated with a B.S. in Hotel/Restaurant Management. I was an athletic, healthy young woman who also displayed an unfortunate pattern in the men I chose in life (life lessons indeed!). After a brief marriage in the early 1990's, I decided to focus on my career, yet 5 years later I met hubby #2. So, with more maturity & high hopes for success, I married again & became a full time stepmother of two. Along with several rewarding events & fond memories came more challenges, yet I maintained a fun, successful career in the food and beverage industry until 2001. Life...as I knew it changed when I received the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Looking back, I must have been in denial or a state of confused shock as to how dramatically my life would actually change. I attempted to work a few more years after diagnosis, but I was becoming more unpredictable, forgetful, & lost - my job performance was never quite right anymore. You see, this disease affects everyone different. I went through relapses & other issues, but my mobility was intact - then. Unless you REALLY know me, I was then & continue to be labeled an "invisible symptom" case. My MS enjoys messing with my brain, & many other body functions. Anxiety, mood changes, nerve pain, heat & fatigue are debilitating - quite an uphill battle especially when stress is involved. A few more "in denial" years went by & I dealt with this vile invasion of my "internal room-mate". My husband couldn't understand, nor could he handle my ever increasing health issues - he hated every part of it (I don't really blame him for that). But, he avoided being around me when I was suffering - he {didn't sign on for this & I sure didn't look sick}. He was embarrassed as to how my MS affected his lifestyle. So, divorce and other challenges came into play in 2009. Those were painful, rough days. I know now I was suffering from a nervous breakdown. Not yet had I thought to seek the help of a professional therapist to help me cope or to help purge the noisy voices & chaos inside my head, so I began to purge through writing. WRITING saved me! I attempted to compose little songs & dove into playing piano again - I even taught myself a little acoustic guitar & it felt good...soothing. I had found a form of therapy which enabled me to breathe again; a healing tool that didn't require a prescription. This journey to reinvent myself actually seemed plausible via my artsy background & new creative outlets. I've become a student again & the benefits of turning off our "auto pilot switch" & instead focusing on learning new, foreign things & activities is priceless. This "rewiring" of the brain is called Neuroplasticity. Writing (primarily poetry) & music has filled me with a POWERFUL passion, purpose, & endless possibility. This may sound odd, but I'm grateful for the tough times! There's this gift called "resilience" - my MS & other life struggles have gifted this to me. A gift which forced me to find "me" & to focus on the important things in life...to laugh, live selflessly with compassion & passion. Find me on: 🔸Twitter: @pettigrew66, @MSpals, @MSpalsPoets 🔸Facebook: MaryPettigrew48 🔸LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/mary-pettigrew-1b582330 🔸Instagram: 🔸https://www.mspals.org Acknowledgments and Press ~ • Two of my early poems were published in the U.K. in book compilations of poetry: ~The Summer of Sport: Forward Poetry 2012 ~ Poetry Rivals Collection 2013 • Featured in 2 articles in The National Multiple Sclerosis Society's 'Momentum Magazine' ~ 2013 = art therapy & MS ~ 2015 = connecting via social media • My work has been featured/published in various book compilations, blogs, websites, as well as other multimedia platforms including: www.pajamadaze.com www.disabled-world.com www.HealthCentral.com www.MyCounterpane.com www.MS&MeRadio/TBI Network Something On Our Minds (SOOM): funds The Accelerated Cure Project "Twitter Q&A" - A Writers Experience (details forthcoming) • Creator & Co-founder of MSpals: a global organization (2014)

2 thoughts on “ELEGY FOR A MOUSEKETEER (tribute to Annette Funicello)”

  1. If my memory serves me, she pushed on for so many years. I also remember watching her on a Zenith television. To be honest, I had a big crush on Annette. She was my favorite. So many people, put on a Happy face for others. I admit I have done the same thing. I can only say it’s not fair to the ones who truly care. But its even more difficult, not to try and protect them.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s