I met Annette once. Really and truly. It was Easter Sunday 1957. My thirteen-year-old brother, Jack, six-year-old me and my parents, were in San Diego, California visiting my oldest brother, who was a Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton–which is very close to Disneyland. Although it had only been opened for about two years, thanks to the incredible popularity of Disney’s movies and the Mickey Mouse Club it had become the greatest must-see vacation spot in the US. There was no way we were going to miss it.
We were in Frontier Land at a ‘saloon’ drinking sarsaparillas and feeling very much like cowboys of the Old West when suddenly, Annette and her fellow Mouseketeers came onstage and began singing and dancing. I was in total shock. I had no idea they were there. That was miracle enough. But when they finished their act, angled through the crowd, passing out Mickey Mouse ears and candy, Jack and I both swooned. You see, like every other teenaged boy in America, Jack had a tremendous crush on Annette. Fortunately for me, Jackie was not shy. He grabbed my hand, dragged me to the aisle Annette was working and stood right in front of her.
“My little sister wants some ears, please.” Jack’s voice didn’t even crack, though his hand was slimy with sweat and squeezing mine hard enough to cut off the circulation in my fingers.
“Sure!” Annette, Princess of the Mouseketeers, smiled brightly. She handed me the hat, grinned at my brother, gave him some candy, then kissed his cheek. My brother nearly broke my hand.
“Can I kiss you back?” Annette nodded, turned her head offering Jackie her smooth, sweet cheek. Which he barely touched with his lips. A heart beat later her attention was focused on another teen-aged boy and his little sister.
Since Jackie seemed incapable of moving, I tugged at his hand, guided him back to the table. I was thrilled but my brother was over the moon. Needless to say, when we returned home, we were the envy of our class mates. I honestly don’t remember what happened to those Mouse ears, and probably ate the candy before we left the Park. I do know that my brother Jack, didn’t wash his face for days.
Thanks for the memories, Annette.
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