Friday, February 26, 2010

She's All Ears

The above picture is pretty old - it goes back to 1957, not long after the opening of Disneyland - the original Disneyland, well before Orlando fit into the picture. But some things never change - Mickey Mouse ears are still in vogue even fifty years (plus) later. And that is not to imply that any of our children are catching up with us age-wise. Fact is, I venture to say our eldest daughter Linda may have forgotten this picture was ever taken.

It's always fun to go back through old pictures because most of them tell a story beyond the basic theme. So it is with this picture. The focus is on the ears.

The picture was taken in early 1957 at a time when I was attending a school at Hughes Aircraft in Culver City, California. It is a reminder of a wonderful day with all the wonder of Disney and we all carried memories of it for a very long time.

Move, now, to November. School completed, we've returned to Rantoul, Illinois. Summer is gone and an early chill of winter has fallen on central Illinois. We're living in a 38 foot Elcar mobile home that we pulled to California and back and the one toilet has stopped working. Pull the handle and the residue in the toilet starts to go down the drain. Suddenly, like a geyser, it burps back, and almost as quickly, the toilet contents begin to go down the drain - very slowly. Pull the handle - the water starts to go but stand back - the geyser happens again and again. Obviously, there is a problem and with four of us in the trailer a backed up toilet will not do.

So, I turn off the water, disconnect supply tubing, remove the bolts from the floor, and the entire toilet ends up in the yard. Nothing is evident in the hole in the trailer floor - no blockage there. But when I checked out the toilet, voila! The problem is obvious - there is a Mickey Mouse hat in the toilet drain.

Needless to say, the Mickey Mouse hat and ears ended up in the trash. The picture remained - memories of a fun day remained with the faded picture. But the real memory was not so much of the day at Disney as it was of the Ears in the toilet. I venture to say Linda doesn't even remember that event (or THOSE EVENTS) but for some of us we are always reminded of a couple of special memories every time we see a Mickey Mouse hat. And we are reminded that with little kids, one never knows what will end up in the toilet.

Oh, there was another time - this time it was a little girl's toy teacup saucer that did the same thing - but it acted like a flapper valve. The bowl would start to flush - then, with a vengeance, it became a geyser - just for a moment or so - and then would drain as if nothing had happened.
The force of water, to begin with, rotated the saucer blocking the drain. Then, when the water pressure ended up, the saucer would rotate back to an open position. Removal of the saucer solved this problem as well.

Events like this make one wonder if maybe the old outhouse concept might have some value - one didn't have to depend upon the force of flushing water. But December in at outhuse leaves a lot to be desired. Especially when the snow is a foot and half deep between the house and the facility and the temperature is down around zero with a 20 mph wind blowing out of the north. Kids toys in the toilet become less stressful when you think about that.

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