My heart sank when I found out that my favorite Mouseketeer had passed. It was well-known that Annette Funicello had been stricken with Multiple Sclerosis many years ago, and it would be just a matter of time before she would leave this world.
Every day at 5pm my sister and I would plant ourselves in front of our little black & white TV and sing the Mickey Mouse Club song, wishing we could be part of it. But we were part of the club as was everyone we knew in our age group. We loved Annette because she had the same ethnic heritage we did, and my sister and her shared the same name. Of course, we also loved her because she was the cutest, sweetest, most talented Mouseketeer in the club, in our humble opinion.
Bet you didn’t know that Paul Anka wrote “Puppy Love” for Annette, his girl friend at the time. She also wrote an autobiography which was turned into a movie for TV where she appears at the end of the movie in her wheelchair. In 1993, she opened the Annette Funicello Fund for Neurological Disorders at the California Community Foundation.
Annette Funicello suffered enough from this dreadful disease. She will be very much missed and is now dancing in a better place . . . with her mouse ears. R.I.P.