Introduction: Mickey and Donald is an attempt at semi-autobiographical novella. It was an attempt to understand. When my brother—who wanted to be Mickey when he was a child—died I wrote most of it. When Donald died I wrote almost nothing. The names are fictional but one person did love Mickey and the other could talk Duck.  It was an attempt to make sense of the things and to understand me and beyond. They are all dead now and maybe I should return to it. It’s in fragments  and life is fragments. It’s not neat paragraphs and sentences.  Not sure if it’s failed yet, or just put on the top shelf.  There are many things that happened that were impossible to write about then, but should be written about.

Mickey and Donald



One open roll of antacids lay on the bathroom counter, a hair brush, and a new tube of Chap Stick.  I wondered when he started buying the antacids.  The Chap Stick, he always seemed to have a tube.  I bagged the hairbrush in a plastic zip lock and dated it.  I tossed the antacids and pocketed the Chap Stick.   Later I tossed that too.  The hairbrush is still bagged.  Donald has it. I assume in a box.  Mickey didn’t leave much.  Or so it seemed. 



Nine Bags

My fingerings ache.  Why was I unbuttoning all those shirts?  I could just toss them into the large trash. That was it. They weren’t  trash.  They were the artifacts, the remains, of a life. A life where every single shirt had the top button buttoned. Come on Mickey, what about folded and boxed.  Did you ever consider that! Two closets are stuffed.  Mickey was very anal.  Donald is not.  I’m finished, nine bags stuffed and ready to go. Where?  And there was trash. Enough said. 

There were photographs, volumes of them.  Some pictures with scribbling on the backs with dates and names and some blank.  Who are these people? Well, mostly relatives, living—much older—and many others now long gone.  There were pictures of Mickey and Donald as children in different places and at Christmas, but not too many of those.   He still had them. 

Mickey liked everything white: White meat, white soups and mash potatoes.  Breakfast was a croissant and yogurt, when he was up that early.  




He drank Harvey Wallbanger’s, a twist on a Screwdriver, in the 70s and ate the free appetizer and old habits die hard and probably represented his sole fruit intake for that day. The tall bottle of Gallano was in the kitchen, but that might have been from long ago. Remnants of  unused liquor that just keeps being moved from one place to the next.  Re-gifting and sticky figured movers have their virtues.  




Business papers, boxes of tee shirts with a animated cable car in the garage, china, a service for twelve was stuffed in a bottom cabinet in the kitchen behind some brown paper bags.  The china was saved and hidden.  It was unused. It still had the light grey felt dividers between the plates.  It was The Chelsea Rose pattern by Royal Dalton. (Describe it) Like Mickey Mouse, his childhood hero, they were both plane crazy. Maybe Mickey was attached to it because she let him use the other pattern, the one she never liked, for target practice. Those plates were like giant yellow flowers with undulating petals. They were admittedly very difficult to stack, sort of a Rubic cube of china.  That was the year he tried archery.  That’s what she bought with the money she made when she worked in the late 1950s.




There was a how to make money in something and a magazine with expensive airplanes for sale.  His pilot’s license and log book were on the bookshelf in the bedroom. There were a few art books, the large coffee table, type on the shelf with a deteriorating cell from a Disney movie. Nothing significant, just an unknown  Disney character.  The paint was starting to flake off the cell. There were a half dozen airline blankets. A small box had four Mickey Mouse watches and in his closet there was a Mickey tie, a belt buckle, and cummerbund. In the back of the closet on the wall was the Mickey shrine.  Mickey tie shirts, poster and other Mouse merchandise. In the dresser under his underwear where the divorce papers, unsigned. 




The Last  Ferry to Sausalito

Yellow tulips and Reeces (without the wrappers) were sprinkled as the boat skirted across the Bay just after sunset.  It was hard to see if the flowers floated out or just languished and sank. 




Mickey left one other thing behind, a two year-old daughter, and  a  daughter from an earlier marriage who was  now married with a  4 months old son.  The marriages did not endure, but his love of  the mouse did. 




Mickey and Donald criss crossed the State of California with excursions into Reno and Las Vegas at least  about  6 times in those last nine months. I followed their travels via Donald’s posting on Facebook.  Clear Lake, Lake Tahoe,  Las Vegas, San Francisco…..and round again. Not commentary just a visual  log.  

They had gotten a 10 year old black  Mercedes  4-door sedan.  They were traveling all those miles in luxury.  Mickey dreamt of the big pay out and had Donald thinking that too.  That’s why Donald had stayed. 

Gary walking naked around the desert just outside Las Vegas.  

Money Counter in the Swiss Bank

Oh,  the friends you make at camp. 





Lunch with Michael at the Vending Machine at Camp and cutting up carrots and other veggies until he cut his hand.  Taking a course, but the final arrangement, according  to Mickey, of the answers on the multiple choice test were in a different order than on the earlier quizzes. So much for higher education and their tricky tests.  Picking up houses cheap, but then the rents, something that Mickey didn’t think about, dropped and didn’t cover the FHA mortgages. Twenty houses in Texas, and he was from California. The Federal judge didn’t understand and Mickey laughed and told her she was stupid.  Mickey though a lot of people were stupid.  Mickey’s friends thoughts Mickey was a genius. They all said so.  They all wanted Mickey to strike it big. Mickey was fun. Mickey was their lottery ticket. Mickey never paid anyone back. He bartered everything.  Never paid taxes, or SS. Didn’t have any health insurance.  Life was good for Mickey. Mickey had great seats in Las Vegas to Bette Midler New Year’s Eve 1999.  


Asking all adults what they studied in college and pointing out that it had nothing to do with their current occupation. Most cringed. 




Christmas Day Tidal wave on still on the Red Cross Missing list. Who put him there. 

19 Years in the Army Intelligence.  Fort Baker and Flower Power, The hills of Mt. Tam and not really a private place for a sexual interlude.  Tramp, tramp, tramp…

Hated eating alone and wanted his back to the wall. 




Miss Pennsylvania 

Mickey lent her Donald’s apartment. Why not?  Did Donald need it that week? She was a click. She was a ten. She wanted to be a neurosurgeon, but concerned about how do you put on makeup without really good makeup lights.  Or did she want to be an actor.  She was  in the wrong place and going with the wrong person.  He was a CEO that Mickey knew.  She tried to kill herself. There was blood all over the makeup table.  




Sky King! Zorro …

The water polo team, the debate team…perfect pitch and pumpkin chiffon pie.  


Death of a Salesman, Moby Dick, and Lichtenstein Look Mickey, but in this case Donald was not doing the fishing.  It was Mickey who wanted to catch the big one, but it was hit and miss.  A roller coaster life that …

never paid taxes and never paid anyone back…this was his lottery ticket.




 Donald After Mickey




 Letters from Ted Other Friends

Ted died in Vietnam a few months after graduation.  Donald still had his letters.  He was one of Donald’s best friends, but then everyone felt close to Donald. 




Hello all, 


After resting for most of the day in bed, Lee got up last night to watch basketball, 60 minutes, and whatever else he watched after I went to bed. Yesterday he ate the first solid food since he arrived home, but he is also after me to make him home-made mango lassi. 


I learned a bit more about compression fractures from his orthopedist. The web says this -- pain can be knife-like in feeling and is often disabling, taking weeks to months to go away. As far as I can tell, what happened to him was worse than what happened to my hip, because mine was a clean pelvic fracture with no mess attending to it. And since I have no osteoporosis (thank Buddha for being an athlete all my life!) I have recovered well. But this is not about me, is it? I do compare the two of us, of course.


In any event, Tom Irish arrives today (later in the AM), for which I am very grateful. Still waiting to hear from Jess. 


On top of everything else, the washer broke yesterday and spilled water all over the floor of the laundry room. The dryer is on its last legs, so now I have to order new ones. Oh well, at least I will have some help.... Not only Tom, but also our helper Eddie (who has reappeared!)


Popo's lymph nodes are huge. I am waiting to chat with a vet at Tufts to see what they think about whether they should do more radiation today or tomorrow. He is a happy dog, runs around with his sister, barks up offending dogs passing by, eats like a horse, and begs for as many treats as he can get out of me. We will see. I am not anxious to get on the road to MA unless they say I must. 


Writing is going well. Good comments from one of the co-authors. Basketball also going well -- Stanford won, so we are happy.



That's it, that's all. 







I slipped on my Boise headsets.  At last things became soft and muffled, as it in a blackout or blizzard. Just the soft machine humming, the persistent sound of any city. You live. Live in a machine. Bloomberg is too fast and the city is no longer quiet when it snows.  New York is not really the city that never sleeps.  Try finding a place to eat late at night. Not even that late.  On the upper eastside at 10 pm everything is closed, all buttoned up and down for the night. Ok, you could go for a drink at Bellemann’s Bar in the Carlisle.  Very crowded, expensive with locals and tourists both looking for something, something, but what?  Maybe something that’s  just not there anymore.   I nod to the doormen as I walk down 5th Avenue.  The upper Westside around Lincoln Center was a lot later as I discovered one night when I slipped into the bar at Columbus Circle after the ballet. 

Reading Movable Feast made me hungry.  He was hungry.  He was empty. He was trying to fill himself one more time. Food hungry?  He was trying to tell me he should have eaten some bread, not any bread the baguette ancient.  That is what it is now called in Paris. The wonderful hard crunchy outer skin and that  soft  airy and buttery inside, but like everything good is hard to find. There are no goatherds in Paris anymore.  I was surprised to read that there were.  No goats. But, I’m not in Paris now.  I’m in NYC, San Francisco and on the place to Australia.  No sheep on the sheep meadow in NYC either. Children playing, tourists walking, Christo’s  Gates, but not sheep.  Dogs who want to herd, but no sheep just people  to herd.  People look like they are being herded at rush hour. The clock herds us. 


It was raining and I decided on a piece of walnut fudge from the candy store in the Grand Central Food Court.  Not really hungry, but I liked it.  Sure I need to lose weight but I’m putting on weight. It’s healthy weight.  You need weight to throw.   Five pounds, ten pounds maybe thirty.  The five pounds that I put on in, pick a month.  It helps with you’re throwing. I’m headed to the games! I made the team. It’s my dream.  It’s my pot of gold.  Where did I store my pot?  I spread them around. A little here and a little there.  I don’t hoard them in one place.  No pot of gold at the end of the rainbow?  Mine is.  You’re hungry.   So you go to your favorite restaurant at the end of your personal rainbow and you mine that pot of gold that is there waiting.    Like a squirrel or was it more like a bear in anticipation of winter.   Or good empty of bad empty?  It’s fall, but still muggy.  The slow death has started. Hungry: the cooks on the food network don’t have that effect.  Sometimes it’s just the opposite.  It’s not really a feeling of being full, it’s more I just don’t want it. Too much. Too many words telling me how great it is and how easy it is, how fast it is, how….

Are all generations lost?




Donald died election night. He told me he voted absentee for the other liar.  He tossed or threw something. I don’t remember. It doesn’t really make any difference. It was what he wanted to do.  He didn’t win but he didn’t lose either.  His last meal was a kangaroo steak in the middle of Australia.  



Holly Crawford is cross media artist, behavioral scientist, economist and art historian. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Essex in Art History and Theory, B.A  and M.A. in Economics and M.S. in Behavioral Science from UCLA.  From 2004-2006, she was a non-clinical Fellow at NYU Medical School Psychoanalytic Center.  Her art and poetry (www.art-poetry.info) give new meanings and draws categories themselves into question through transformative juxtapositions. Publications: Attached to the Mouse, 2006 and catalogue essay, “Disney and Pop” in Once Upon a Time Walt Disney Studio; Artistic Bedfellows, edited, 2008 and 7 Days, My Art Life, edited, 2017.  Projects: Critical Conversations in a Limo, NY 2006 & 2007 in Melbourne and 2008 in San Francisco; OfferingOrphans, Punctuation Performance and other projects.  AC which she created and directs, www.acinstitute.org is a non-profit in NYC for research, exhibition and publication of contemporary art. She was born in California and now lives New York.