Annette Funicello died today, and I literally cried when I heard the news. She was my hero when I was a child, and though I didn’t really keep up with her celebrity as we both grew older, I remember feeling horrible to learn she was suffering from the debilitating disease multiple sclerosis. As a nurse, I knew the pain and suffering she must have endured.
I also wasn’t a big fan of the beach movies she made, but then I wasn’t the beachy kind of teenager anyhow. What drew me to her was the series Walt Disney Presents Annette. There were about 20 episodes and they ran during the Mickey Mouse Show. I remember each episode like it was yesterday. I remember the tragedy of her losing both her parents, and being new in a town and school when she went to live with a rich aunt and uncle. I remember her bedroom and how it was decorated. I remember some of her clothes and a particular sweater. I remember the heartache of her first puppylove and then that missing necklace! The last episode when they found the necklace in the piano and everyone decides to get along and be friends was the best day of my young life. I LOVED THIS SERIES.
Most of you reading this post will not remember much of her, or any of those MMC serials. But the Annette series, Spin and Marty, The Hardy Boys, and The Wonderful World of Disney were to me the best of television, and I was lucky to be growing up in this era.
She died too young, but she leaves many in my generation with wonderful memories. M-I-C, “See you real soon,” K-E-Y, “Why because we like you,” M-O-U-S-E.