Jul 25, 2014

A retro childhood item that followed me for decades

One of the many pieces of my childhood I've managed to buy back over the years, is this guy that you might recognize..

I've always loved Mickey Mouse and all things Disney, and as a child I was nearly obsessed.  In fact, the nickname my father affectionately gave me at the age of five was "Mickey".

As a wee young lad living in southern California, my room was basically a shrine to Mickey Mouse and Disneyland.  I had Mickey Mouse sheets, blankets, pillow cases, curtains, books, a Mickey bubble gum machine, a Mickey AM radio, and the pride and joy of my collection, a Mickey Mouse bank just like the one above, that sat on my night stand. On nights when I was scared from listening to spooky radio shows with my brother, I would lie in my bed next to Mickey as he watched over me until I fell asleep.

I actually remember the very day my mother bought me my Mickey bank. It was around 1976, because I remember playing with a J.J. pull string doll from the TV show 'Good Times'.  I'll give you one guess as to what J.J. actually said when you pulled the string on his back.

My Mickey bank was one of those items from my childhood that for some reason was really special to me. It remained a constant in my life for close to thirty years. I would use my Mickey bank to house my silver and paper money throughout my entire youth. During my brief stint as a bachelor, the Mickey bank graced my dresser. He followed me to three different states, and when his nose got broke in one move, I carefully glued it back in place. As I got older, it was like my Mickey bank was a link back to the past for me. He allowed me to still hold on to a little bit of my youth and helped me to not take myself so seriously. It must have been somewhere around the age of thirty that I realized he was gone. I believe he got lost in a move from Virginia Beach to Colorado.

Fast forward to August 2009. While on vacation in Florida, I had the pleasure of visiting an exhibit at Disney's Hollywood Studios that focused on Walt Disney's life from beginning to end. Among the numerous displays showcasing Disney antiques and artifacts, was a glass case that displayed a variety of old toys marketed towards children over the years. Guess who was in the glass case staring right back at me? An old Mickey Bank identical to my old bank!!

I honestly can say that my Mickey bank hadn't even passed through my mind for almost ten years. I quickly grabbed my wife and kids and showed them the bank and started reminiscing about my youth. As they moved on, I stood there for a few more minutes, getting as close to the glass as I could to examine the thirty some year old bank.

A few weeks passed and the Mickey bank weighed heavily on my mind. One evening I got on eBay to look at Disney memorabilia and decided to do a search for Mickey banks. Lo and behold there were several auctions for my the exact same bank I possessed for all of those years! I put in a bid, won the auction, and was reunited with my old pal Mickey less than a week later!!

It's amazing what kinds of information your brain can store and recall when triggered. I unpacked my Mickey bank and immediately recognized the smell of the plastic, the feel and texture of the paint, and even the markings underneath the base.  It's like we were never separated.  I suddenly felt reminiscent, giddy, almost like a kid again.  And go figure.. it was all because of a little mouse.

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