‘Oh Mickey, you’re so fine
You’re so fine, you blow my mind
Hey Mickey, hey Mickey
Oh Mickey, you’re so fine…’
Toni Basil’s 1981 hit “Mickey” is one catchy tune. But the lyrics took on a new meaning when I found out that my friend Trish had fallen in love with Mickey Mouse eons ago on her annual trek to Disneyland.
Trish is a very special friend. She was my next door neighbor in San Francisco for ten years. The week before we moved in my mother had passed away, so when she knocked on my door with a plate of welcome to the neighborhood cookies, it was a bright spot in my otherwise melancholy existence. Unpacking copious amounts of boxes helped, but so did her smile.
Trish has StarGardt’s, an inherited disease of the retina that causes progressive vision loss, but nothing stops this pint-sized woman. It was years before I even knew she was sight impaired! There’s a saying that I love: “Where God closes a door, He opens a window.” The window into Trish’s magical world has opened my eyes to just how much adversity one person can overcome. She is capable of anything and I am proud to call her my friend, mentor, and hero.
When it came to her certain decade birthday, I hosted – you guessed it – a Mickey Mouse themed party. Her guests included her original Disneyland travel pals. It also happened to be Mickey’s 90th birthday which made shopping easy. At every turn there was Mickey this and Mickey that, from t-shirts to shopping bags, toasters and waffles makers, and stationery galore. Mickey is one popular character, but so is Trish.
Here’s how this adventure played out. For the invite, I bought a Mickey Mouse card in his signature yellow, white, and red, and wrote in the text referring to Trish as ‘our’ favorite character, which she is.
Each guest came dressed as their favorite Disneyland character. Knowing this might turn into a fashion show, I knew I had to step up my game. But nothing could have prepared me for the outfits which could easily have been historical objects in the Disneyland museum: Mickey Mouse overalls, vintage pins, Mouseketeer outfits and more. Trish sported a navy and white cotton poplin dress with Mickey ears lined across the bottom, with matching gold Mickey ‘ear’ earrings.
At the luncheon I prepared the birthday girl’s favorite foods. My garden was in full bloom, so I used early girl tomatoes for the gazpacho, afternoon tea finger sandwiches with cookie cutter Mickey ears, and ice cream sandwiches in the shape of Mickey’s ears. Super fun. Super simple.
‘T’ as she’s known to her friends, offered to provide the Mickey luncheon napkins. They were made by her with love and they also served as a one of the party favors. My calligrapher made mini mouse place card sketches for each guest on children’s Mickey placemats. The world is your oyster online, and I was thrilled to even find the perfect set of Mickey flatware. For one warm magical afternoon we were all kids in our own amusement park.
The party favors were in endless supply thanks to it being Mickey’s birthday. When we moved to London last spring for nine weeks, I popped into the Disney store on Oxford Street and found bags and t-shirts with a London theme. T is also an anglophile, so this was a perfect blend of her favorite things.
The Dollar Tree is one of my favorite go to stores for everything. The Disney jackpot happened one hot morning when I was able to stuff the gift bags full of t-shirts, tissue boxes, crayons and puzzles, cups, flashcards and memo pads. The guests may not use all of the items, but they made for a great presentation and would make great re-gifts.
Walt Disney once said, “Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” If only life were as simple as a fairy-tale. Trish’s birthday and her friends made fairy-tales and childhood memories come to life for one very special afternoon.