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

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