Reclaiming my nickname: Say hello to Mickey!

Remembering the past, I’m working on “Earning My Ears”

When I was a kid, my parents gave me the nickname “Mickey”.  I never understood why they did this.  Perhaps it was because my Dad was such a fan of Mickey Mantle when he was a kid.  Or perhaps they liked the work of Mickey Rooney.  I don’t know.  Maybe it was because my Mom liked Mickey Mouse?  Who knows?  But here is what I do know.  When I was a kid, I hated the nickname!  I thought it was a case of dumbing down a perfectly good name, Michael — or Mike for short, and calling me Mickey was just not something I really liked.  But, being a kid, I endured it, even when other kids in school would sing the Mickey Mouse song to me.

When I was ten, my Grandma and Grandpa took my Mom, sister, and myself (my Dad was home working) to Disney World.  It was my first trip to Disney, and as excited as I was with the trip, somehow it still didn’t sink in that I was in the home of the Mouse.

Even as I continued my visits to Disney, ironically, I became a teenager, and surprisingly my Grandparents were finally able to start calling me by the name I wished to be called: Mike.  Finally, even my Mom and Dad were able to change their thoughts and started calling me Mike.  My “lifelong” (funny that I say that as I was only about 15 years old when this happened) ambition to be known as Mike, and not Mickey, was realized.

In the year 2000, I met a wonderful person, the woman who would later be my wife, Cindy.  She is everything to me; my heart, my soul, my best friend, the person I can and do tell everything to.  In July of 2000, the month before we got married, we spent two days at the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.  It was Cindy’s first visit to Disney World, and we had a great time.  Funny, but while she called me “Mikey” (side note: my nephew Brett, when he was a baby, called me Mikey, and it stuck.  Funny I didn’t mind that for some reason), still I didn’t think about Mickey, and she didn’t call me Mickey very much.  Usually just when she was teasing me.

The following year, 2001, was when we had Sophie.  At that point our Disney hiatus began.  Although I wouldn’t realize it right then, looking back, it occurs to me that the softening of my dislike of the nickname started to soften around the time that Cindy and then Sophie came into my life.  I can’t really pinpoint when I was okay with the nickname; it hasn’t been all that long ago, but recently, I realized that there are certainly worse names that I could be called.

I started My Dreams of Disney on September 8th, 2010, and since then I have gone from having very few readers (mainly just myself), to having some of the Moms Panel read my blog, then branching out to other blogs, and finally, to becoming a writer for the Chip & Company site!

After forty-two years, many Disney trips, and meeting some really incredible Disney fans, I have come to the following conclusion:  Being called Mickey isn’t a put-down, it isn’t a way of turning a man into a kid or a way of keeping a kid from becoming a man.  Being called Mickey is an honor.

You can call me Mickey