Alice Kottmyer has inspired me to write of my family's first
encounter with Mickey Mouse. Thank you Alice, for bringing back
I grew up in a midwest town, a child of the sixties, born in '58.
Dad was a Senior Engineer in Inland Steel making a decent buck, but
with seven children and of course a wife to feed. Back in those days,
you may have only known one or two working moms. Women stayed home
back then, so one income had to stretch far.
My dad was born in 1917, may he rest in peace. Grew up a real horse
trader during the depression. "Always trade up, son" he use to tell
me. I'll never forget the story he use to tell me about starting out
with a pocket knife, trading it for a wagon, the wagon for a bike the
bike for a broken motor cycle, the motorcycle for a car. From a pocket
knife to a car.
Those kinds of dads are cool but don't take 7 kids and a wife to Walt
Disney World. No, my dad found ways to take cheaper trips. Just how
does a man take 7 kids on cheap trips...before mini vans were born?
Well, he bought this slightly used 1957 Chrysler Limosine from Inland
Steel. Got it for cheap, since the thing was a mill car. You guessed
it...all 9 of us use to pile in, and he'd drive us from campground to
campground, all the way to the Rockies every year. I'd like to think
my dad invented the first mini van! (If you saw one of those old boats,
you'd think so too) The trunk was a fully equipped kitchen, as he hand
cooked every meal on Coleman stoves.
The funniest thing I recall about our excursions was that the one
extravagance he would indulge in, is each year when we got west of
the Mississippi, we would find the first western store and he'd buy
us all cowboy hats.
Imagine close to ten Hoosiers, all crowded in a limosine, sportin'
their new, tourist's cowboy hats and headed west! YeeHaW!
As a boy, I could only doze off while laying on the floorboards of
that limosine, and pretend we were headed to Disneyland to meet
As an older lad in the early 70's when they built WDW, the dream seemed
that much closer, but yet so far. Little did I know that it would not
be for another 25 years after the opening of Magic Kingdom, that I
would be able to go there.
I had a child in 1989, and vowed to buy a house. The years ticked by,
and now it wasn't me as a little boy secretly wishing for a trip to
Disney anymore. It was my daughter who routinely spoke of her dream to
meet Mickey Mouse.
She turned 4, and 5, 6, 7...8... I was forlorned, feeling something of
a failure in life. Unable to collect enough for a down payment for a
house, my long tarnished dream seemed all but buried but that's not
what hurt deep down inside anymore. It was having to tell my daughter,
all the years of her life...someday, someday my Christmas angel...I'll
take you to the Magic Kingdom. (she was born on Christmas day)
And each year that I couldn't, I felt like more of a disappointment to
But then one day I decided to pull into a driveway of a house for sale.
The agent happened to be the niece of the owner so it was a family deal.
I made an offer, asked her to pay my down payment for me out of the
agreement sum, and I'd sign the papers then and there. She agreed!
The bank wasn't too happy when I came in and said I want a loan and I'm
not going to give them any of my money. In fact, they wouldn't let the
owner pay my whole down payment. That was ok though, because I had some
saved for just that scenario.
Months later, I bought a new car to boot.
"Daddy," Sarah said, "When can we go to Walt Disney World? We have a
house and nice car now." The time was right.
I took out a credit card, saved up some paychecks, and the dream was
Our character breakfast was to be at The Land, and we didn't expect to
see Mickey and Minnie Mouse there. "Chip and Dale" were the main
characters we were told.
We ordered our breakfast and let me tell you, they served more food
than we could eat, and they serve it country style...still sizzling
in the pan!
We sat there, enjoying our grub when much to my surprise, Mickey Mouse
came walking around the corner. (well, the restaurant is round and
rotating so there are no real corners!)
Mickey Mouse reached down and hugged my daughter and she couldn't hold
the tears back any longer. The embarassing part was...neither could I.
I couldn't hardly see through the viewfinder for my blurry peepers that
I was trying to hide from Mickey. At last...39 years later...it all
boiled down to a few single seconds and a hug, a dream...two dreams come
true, for my daughter and myself. Two entire lifetimes of hoping,
culminating with a warm hug from Mickey to Sarah. It was more than the
spirit could keep inside and we both cried.
Shortly after that, Minnie came by. I'll never forget how she greeted me.
She pressed those huge, vinyl lips up against my ear and made a half-dozen
rapid kissing sounds! I gushed with pink cheeks, no doubt.
Next year, we go back for our third trip. The magic seems so young with us.
From http://www.fool.com by participant tpault