Tuesday, June 10, 2008

All In The Family: Part One

There are some things that I do just some of the time; such as this blog. Then there are some things that I do all of the time; such as think about Disney. Hey, that is why they call it an obsession. Right? But like you there are other things in life that are important. More important in fact. Family comes to mind.

Every now and then I will allude to someone in my family. Not often, but every now and then. I do mention my wife, Mrs. Doc, on a few occasions. But this evening I was feeling particularly nostalgic and was going through some old photographs. I ran across one that has prompted me to want to share a moment in my Disney history that involves my family and has stayed with me all these years. It may be a little long in the telling so please bear with me. It starts, this evening, with a photograph that lives on a bulletin board just over my shoulder here.

In April 1989 my grandfather passed away after an extended illness. My grandmother had not been alone in over fifty years and like most people would in a similar circumstance was having difficulty dealing with the separation. So early the following year I thought it would be nice to take her, along with my children, on a vacation to Walt Disney World. It was quickly becoming my "Happy Place" and I hoped that it could become that for her too. It was my hope. But...

In the years that followed my passion for Walt Disney World gave way to obsession. I became a collector, visit the parks as often as possible, and spend way too much on souvenirs. This did not turn out to be the case for my Nannie (my name for my grandmother) and she never could understand why I was so fascinated with Disney. She never understood the commitment of so much time and money. In today's vernacular she would be among those who did not "get it." My mother, one of my "enablers" would try to explain it, but it made no difference. She simply didn't understand why I couldn't take up a different, say, more grown up hobby. But, there was this trip in 1990 I could hold to.

It happened when we were walking through the turnstiles into the entrance plaza of EPCOT Center. Once in, we all, my grandmother, my two children and I, stopped and looked at Spaceship Earth. After a moment, Nannie turned to me, and with a little tear in her eye said, "I never thought I would live to see this."

In that moment and for that moment, she got it!

I was in my happy place on November 6, 2006. I had just finished my first ride of Expedition Everest and was walking out of the gift shop when my cell phone rang. It was Mrs. Doc. My grandmother died while I was on the mountain. After I regained my composure I left the Animal Kingdom and went over to Epcot. I walked inside the gate and just stood for awhile looking up at Spaceship Earth and thinking back to that day in 1990. She made it.

(My daughter and Nannie, Tomorrowland, 1990)

I hope you don't mind my sharing this with you. Like I said, I was feeling a little nostalgic tonight and wanted to share a little bit about my family with you, my Disney family.


Well Behaved Krissy said...

Oh this was sooooo sweet. What a great post. :)

Craig Wheeler said...

What a touching story. It is great that you had the opportunity to have that experience with your grandmother. You'll always know that you helped to show her a little bit of magic while she was still with you.

Princess Fee said...

A beautiful story - thank you for sharing it with us. I think for many Disney fans, it's family that help us create our Disney Obsessions.
My papa passed away when I was 10, and every year after that my Gran would come on holiday with us. It makes me sad whenever I go to WDW and she's not with us, because she just loved it all. While not being a Disney Geek, she appreciated and enjoyed everything the parks had to offer. I can't watch the fireworks the same way anymore.
But a lovely post and I adore the photo as well - so natural!

CheriBibi said...

That reminded me of my own grand ma, picture her french and in Disneyland Paris. She usually liked to hang out in the resort while we would go to the parks. She's the only french grandma I know to have stayed in DLP 4 times in her life.

She even did Big Thunder Mountain, way past her 80's. That may sound common in the US, but not here :)

Thanks Doc, beautiful story.

sambycat said...

thats awesome

Well Behaved Krissy said...

Haven't heard from you in a while? Are you on a secret mission to WDW?