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..And the MouskeFlag flies at half-staff for Annette

I am a member of of a generation of male Americans whose first crush was on an older woman: Mouseketeer Annette Funicello, who was- alas- born seven years before I was, and who- alas- I would never meet.

Sigh.

The most famous member of the Mickey Mouse Club (other than Mickey himself) and her collegues awaited me and my contemporaries on TV when we got home from school every weekday. The gorgeous brunette was a heart-stopper even for the swing-and-teeter-totter set. As she- and we- grew older, and that shirt with "ANNETTE" on the front of us changed in topography, all the males of my generation watched developments with avid interest.

After a long struggle with multiple sclorosis, Annette died yesterday at 70.

 Getting my head around the concept of Annette even being 70 is tough. But the thought that she's gone brings it home even more powerfully than all the deaths of other icons of my childhood: I am getting old.

If I could find the MoukeEars which adorned my brow back then, I would doff them in her memory- and in memory of a simpler, better time, both more innocent and more wise  when the not-yet-jaded males of my generation  fell in chaste, enraptured love with an older woman of 13.

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