Monday, April 8, 2013

On the Beach...




I got a call from my buddy, Glen, this afternoon informing me that one of his major fantasy girls had just passed away. I had this horrible mental image of him holding up a picture of Margaret Thatcher with one hand before he told me it was Annette. 

It was amazing how close I came to crying out loud. 

Just a couple weeks ago I had googled to see where she was in the M.S. path. It was heartbreaking to see the recent video of her; frozen, unable to move or speak; unrecognizeable. I know it wasn't all that long ago...

Way, way back when I was an incredibly young DennyHarris, I would watch The Mickey Mouse Club religiously. While I can remember many details of the show; Spin & Marty, Anything Can Happen Day, Talent Roundup Day and so on, the most clear and retrievable memory is Annette Funicello. As I was very young and my fascination with the development of her sweater contours was several years away, I can't tell, for sure, what it was. The precursor to passion is, apparently, wishing she could be my sister. I would do nice things for her (Which I would never have done for my actual sister but don't confuse me with logic. This was Annette and I was extremely young.) and she would smile at me me which, for some reason, was a wonderful, wonderful thing.

You young, sarcastic bastards need to understand that this was a different world then. Pre-Kardassian, being a hideous slut was not considered  to be a plus. There was a finely polished pedestal reserved for a select few. Annette showed up in all the shows I loved. She had a 3 episode arc in Zorro, for Christ's sake! She completely had me even before the Beach movies. (Note to younger folk; Imagine the place Princess Leia held in your erotic fantasies... Multiply by 10)

In 1987, the film "Back to the Beach" came out. A 20-some year sequel to the Frankie and Annette beach movies of the sixties, Annette was, to my mind, more attractive than she had ever been. This was also about the time she noticed that something was wrong. She had trouble walking through the sand without tripping. Some time later, she announced they she was suffering from M.S., after a number of news items had snidely ascribed her clumsy gait to alcohol. From that point on, she served as spokesperson for M.S. and did much to attract attention to the disease.

It's about 7:15 P.M. now. I've had the T.V. on in the background as the news has been playing. There have been disturbing reports about North Korea, tributes to Margaret Thatcher and debates about the state of gun control efforts.

Those are not the reasons I seem to be sobbing like a baby right now.