Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Disney Story

Since I bought the biography Neal Gabler wrote of Disney, I've been mystified by Walt's picture on its cover. I'd had never seen it before, and many times wondered how undefinable Walt's expression is in this young photo of his. It transmits sweetness, but goes much beyond. In fact, I think it is as enigmatic and involving as that of the Mona Lisa. I've already compared Disney to Socrates (in the power both had of bringing the best, talent wise, out of people) and the parallel with the Mona Lisa is not one of features' similarity, but of inner life's intensity. I also used to wonder how guarded the original picture of Gabler's book cover should be, since one doesn't see it published anywhere else.
When I was coming back from Brazil this last February, after visiting my mother, who was very sick, I had the book with me and, before closing my eyes for a nap, exhausted in that last leg of flying, I inadvertently looked at its cover on the front seat's pocket. For the first time, Walt's expression transmitted to me the same kind of healing I felt when seeing Sleeping Beauty for the first time I went to the movies. As a five year old child then, I'd been constantly suffering in the nightmarish nun school I was sent to, having my parents away for two years in Europe. Life wasn't easy, but on that multicolored, more convincing than reality movie screen, the prince had battled the dragon and put an end to evil. Love prevailed, after all.
Back to last February, as I closed my eyes, feeling somehow elevated by Walt Disney's expression, I had a vision of my mother's face, with her eyes closed, in nirvana-like peace. I was sure she had passed for the better then, and looked at my watch to check the time. As I arrived, a phone call from my brother confirmed our mother had passed at that exact time. The photo of Walt Disney became charged with a positive, transcendent meaning to me. One can imagine my surprise when, strolling down the collectors' forum at D23, I stumbled upon it! It had on the bottom a dedication to Kay Kamen, and it was for sale! Now it is on my wall.

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