Saturday, May 19, 2018

WHAT EVER HAPPENED...? My Mickey Mouse (R) Obsession

As I stated in the very first chapter of this book, I am quite the Mickey Mouse collector. Often, I'm asked when this began. To the best of my memory, which is sometimes sketchy because of the brain tumor, it started in the mid-to-late 1980s. Back then, my family went to Disney World a lot because my parents and sisters had moved from upstate New York to Florida. I visited as often as I could, which usually was about three times a year.

Because they lived within a couple of hours’ drive time from the parks, we usually just enjoyed day trips there. My favorite was always the Magic Kingdom and specifically Main Street, USA. When they say Disney World is the “happiest place on earth,” I can truly say that it is for me! When I stroll down that street and peek into all of the shops, I am beside myself with excitement.

I left shopping while on Main Street until the end of the day so I wouldn't have to carry my new purchases throughout the park. I know that many other tourists do the same thing, because there are way more people in these shops later on in the day than in the morning.

I just love how clean everything is there. I visited more than once when I had mysophobia, and it was one of the only places I went into the restroom without freaking out.

The staff at Disney World is so incredibly friendly. No matter how I was feeling when I arrived, I always felt much better when I left.

My condo has tons of Mickey Mouse memorabilia from those fun visits, and it has been dubbed a “Mickey Museum.” One of the ways I got this book started was because of these items, as described as follows:

A former reporter from our local newspaper, the Daily Freeman, attends the same church I do. She wrote excellent articles about collections people have.

One Sunday, I saw her in church, and I said, “Paula, great article about that man's baseball card collection. I wish my collection took up less space and was that easy to dust.”

Paula Mitchell responded by asking what I collected, and I filled her in.

The next thing you know, she's setting up a visit by both her and a photographer, Tania Barricklo, from the paper. When Paula was quizzing me about The Mouse, she asked what I did for a living. I burst into tears, and she shut the recorder off.

I told Paula I had been a teacher for 25 years, but now I'm on disability because the brain tumor has caused permanent brain damage. I told her I missed teaching, every day. The article ended up being front-page news and was about the life I lost as well as my Mickey Mouse obsession.

When I spoke of this at one of my support groups, Dr. Lois Tannenbaum, our facilitator and a writer in my memoir’s Foreword, told me about Douglas Cooper, an editor. She said he could help me put my story on paper so others can learn what happened to me and what I've learned from it all. I contacted Dr. Cooper, and so this book began.

In the chapter I wrote about the things I miss about teaching, I listed a bunch of things we used to do over the years that included MM.

These days, I visit Disney stores in malls and in Times Square. I only go to New York City once or twice a year, but when I visited the Disney store there recently, a few people walked in before me, and the greeter at the door said, “Welcome” to each of them. When she saw me, she said, “Welcome BACK,” so I guess I’m memorable! I’m dressed from head to toe in clothing with Mickey Mouse all over me.

As Walt Disney famously said, “I only hope we never lose sight of one thing – that it was all started by a mouse.”

This book got started because of that newspaper article about that mouse….


For the coming year, I [Douglas Winslow Cooper] will be excerpting, weekly, material from this fine book by Janet Johnson Schliff, M.S.Ed.. She wrote it over a three-year period, with some coaching and editing help from me, through my business, The excerpts are from the almost-final version. 

Her memoir is now available in paperback and ebook formats from and from its publisher, 



Janet Johnson Schliff was on WKNY  Radio 1490 at 9:10 a.m. on Thursday, March 1, Kingston, NY.

Janet Johnson Schliff spoke at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 3, at Barnes & Noble, 1177 Ulster Avenue, Kingston, NYI [DWC] attended, along with almost 40 other people. The talk was especially well received, with several questions at the end, as well.
Congratulations, Janet!

Janet Johnson Schliff spoke at the Starr Library in Rhinebeck, NY, at 7 p.m. on March 6. 

She spoke at the Golden Notebook Bookstore in Woodstock, NY, at 2 p.m. on March 17. 

She spoke at the Morton Library in Rhinecliff, NY, at 6:30 p.m. on March 28. 

She spoke at RCAL in Kingston, NY, at 4 p.m. on April 3. I was able to attend. They gave her an impromptu book-launch party.

On 4/4/18 Janet spoke at the Parkinson's Support Group at the Starr Library at Rhinebeck at 2:30 p.m.

On 4/27/18 Janet spoke at the Stone Ridge Library at 5:30 p.m.

On 5/4/18 Janet spoke at the Hurley Library at 6 p.m.

On 5/9/18 Janet spoke at the Kingston Library at 6 p.m.

On 5/14/18 Janet spoke at the Staatsburg Library at 7 p.m.

On 5/31/18 Janet will be at the Clinton Community Library at 6:30 p.m.

On 6/9/18 Janet will be at the Tannersville Library at noon.

On 6/11/18 Janet will be at the Gardiner Library at 6 p.m.

On 6/20/18 Janet will be at the Marbletown Community Center at 6 p.m.

On 7/13/18 Janet will be at the Esopus Library at 7 p.m.

More signings will be coming up, and a fine feature about her by John DeSantos [845 LIFE] appeared in the Middletown Times Herald-Record on Monday, March 12, as part of Brain Injury Awareness Month. An article about her book was just published in the May 2018 Living Rhinebeck Magazine. She was recently interviewed by the Kingston Daily Freeman, and that interview should be published soon.

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