Monday, April 8, 2013
My first love
I was 9 years old and lived on a small farm in southern West Virginia. I attended elementary school in Union. The sum total of students in my school could not have been more than 150. Television had not been a part of my life for all that long when I discovered the Mickey Mouse Club. It was in black and white and came in fairly clearly on the affiliate broadcasting out of Roanoke, Virginia. I used to go to sleep at night thinking about Annette and would often dream of her. My infatuation puzzled me. It invoked in me yearnings and feelings that I had not beforehand experienced. As I think back on my borderline obsession with her I realize, in retrospect, all women that I was forevermore attracted to had her dark, dark eyes and her dark hair.
The theme for the MMC was well directed and entertaining. They knew just what they were doing with the music and the story lines and the dancing and just general happiness. For a poor West Virginia hillbilly, her life represented something that was so far out of my reach that she seemed like a representative from heaven, an angel of sorts. Such is the fancy of a nine year old boy.
I will celebrate 40 years of marriage to Nancy in 6 days. She had dark, dark eyes and dark hair when I first met her. I thought she was pretty and was attracted to her immediately. She passed the Annette test. Annette brought happiness to me as a nine year old boy. She was the older woman because she was twelve at the time. Nancy is now 65 and has given me 3 terrific children who have in turn given me 7 precious grand children. Nancy still has the dark, dark eyes but the hair is beautiful silver. She possesses my heart like no other ever has and ever will. Ah, but there was Annette.
I learned today that Annette Joanne Funicello has died. She was 70 years of age. She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1992 and rode a wheelchair into her last years of life. I feel a funny longing in my heart. I would love to see an episode of the Mickey Mouse Club and watch her dance and sing and flirt with Spin and Marty. Perhaps I will "You Tube" an episode. I wouldn't mind seeing myself at 9 years of age and reflect on how far I have come in life. Life changes us all over its winding course of serendipity. I hope Annette had a happy life. I see she was married twice for a total of 43 years. She had 3 chlidren the oldest would be approaching 47 years of age. I hope she had grand children to make her smile and cause those dark eyes to sparkle and dance.
I will have Nancy for eternity. Even though we might be separated for a brief period of time, our marriage was pronounced by one having authority in the temple of the most high God. That makes the yearning and sadness of anticipated loss easier. Much, much easier. For time and all of eternity were the words spoken by the man who sealed us as husband and wife.
Good bye Annette. This world is a little sadder and more dismal with your passing. However, the next world is a little brighter and happier with your arrival there. Surely there must be those there that hold you dear. Some famous and some just regular, normal people, like a little 9 year old hillbilly boy from southern West Virginia. I thank you for the respites and joy you brought to me amidst a life that was challenging and filled with disappoinments but has blossomed into one filled with joy, love and happiness. Those feelings that you invoked in me were indeed attainable and I thank you for helping me see the future.