Two Sad Losses On Either Side Of The Pond – America’s Sweetheart and Britain’s Iron Lady

Two Sad Losses On Either Side Of The Pond – America’s Sweetheart and Britain’s Iron Lady

Within several hours of each other, the world lost two iconic and strong women who impacted the lives of millions in very different arenas of the world. Baby boomers around the world will remember Annette Funicello, who passed away today at age 70,  as the adorably wholesome and most popular Mouseketeer in the beloved show, The Mickey Mouse Club airing in the1950’s. In the 60’s, Annette became the wholesome American Sweetheart and Beach Party Girl sharing her beach blanket and dances with Frankie Avalon in a series of beach party movies.

About 20 years ago, to dispel the rumors that her physical condition and impaired walk was due to alcoholism, Annette revealed the devastating news that she was suffering from the neurological disorder, Multiple Sclerosis. I remember reading her autobiography, A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes: My Story, when it was published in 1994. Her kindness and optimism shine through as she recounts her early years and American Dream Lifestyle. Divorce and MS were her biggest challenges yet rather than dwelling in a self-imposed pity party, she inspires us with the courage and light of lessons learned through pain and hardship.

“When you are young and healthy, it never occurs to you that in a single second your whole life could change.” Annette Funicello

Later, in 1993, she opened the Annette Funicello Fund for Neurological Disorders at the California Community Foundation.

Margaret Thatcher died today at the age of 87 and regardless of one’s political views, she was undeniably among the world’s greatest and most influential female leaders. Her words speak volumes of the lessons we can all learn. As a woman, I would also hope that young girls and women around the world follow in her footsteps as leaders, first as individuals and as leaders in the world.

On her conviction for defending freedom.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I stand before you tonight in my red chiffon evening gown, my face softly made up, my fair hair gently waved … the Iron Lady of the Western World. Me? A Cold War warrior? Well, yes — if that is how they wish to interpret my defense of values of freedoms fundamental to our way of life.” Jan. 31, 1976

On the myth of trying to please everyone.

“If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time and you would achieve nothing.” — May 3, 1989, commenting on her 10th anniversary as prime minister.

On tenacity and taking the bull by the horns.

“I am not immortal, but I’ve got a lot left in me yet.” — Sept. 9, 1990.

On your own Power.

“Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.”

And lastly, on the impact of our thoughts.

“Watch your thoughts for they become words.
Watch your words for they become actions.
Watch your actions for they become habits.
Watch your habits for they become your character.
And watch your character for it becomes your destiny.
What we think, we become.
My father always said that… and I think I am fine.”

RIP Annette and Maggie. You have marked the lives of millions with your legacy.

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12 Responses to Two Sad Losses On Either Side Of The Pond – America’s Sweetheart and Britain’s Iron Lady

  1. Great tribute to some amazing women that have walked before us on this wonderful journey called life upon this great earth. The legacy that they leave will live on to inspire others through the rest of eternity. What an amazing time we live in where we can share with each other in this way. Keep your dreams alive! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Tamara Woods says:

    Annette Funicello always seems so young at heart, even as MS was obviously taking its toll on her. I love the quotes you found from Margaret Thatcher. A great post, and thanks for stopping by my blog.

    • Deb says:

      Thanks for your comment. Tamara. Beyond her public life, Margaret Thatcher does leave a legacy of wisdom and values we can all learn from.

  3. Iris says:

    Thanks for sharing this tribute to these two women! I don’t really know much about either one of them, but I know that they each had their own impact on our world, and it’s sad to hear about their passing. Love the Margaret Thatcher quotes!

    • Deb says:

      Thanks for your comments, Iris. I grew up with them, with the Mickey Mouse Club and Beach Parties. Every time these figures pass it revives memories and a bit of nostalgia. Then life continues with new ideas and new influential figures, not to take their place but to keep moving forward.

  4. I agree this is an excellent tribute to these two wonderful strong women that changed the world. One through showing strength in weakness the other by standing strong through opposition. They are both great role models. They will be missed!

    • Deb says:

      Yes, they did both contribute in such different ways and that is what I love about the obvious contrast in personalities and style because at the end of the day, they both changed the world. I’m glad you liked the tribute. Thanks!

  5. Mick Guinn says:

    This is a perfect juxtaposition, Deb. Two very different women who were both in the news yesterday. America’s Sweetheart and England’s Iron Heart. [You can use that if you like. ;-) ] I remember growing up in the late 60′s with Annette more as a teenager with Frankie Avalon, but there was this original sweetness about her that was authentic and not like so many other fake Disney smiles. She was iconic and pure and never seemed to be an imitation of anyone other than her own joy of life. It’s hard to explain because nobody really wants to be around a PollyAnna, but for me, she wasn’t this. The way she eventually dealt with MS and her death was really classy.

    Thatcher was just the opposite a extreme with the one exception of authenticity. She and Reagan were pals during a time when I could define my political beliefs as the basis of the OPPOSITE of just about everything they were in favor of. She broke so many gender barriers that as a young guy in Poly Sci, all I could talk about were her positions. In the same way that I never viewed Reagan’s positions as coming from a MAN, I never really thought of hers as “female.” There were just very conservative positions that myself and a lot of my English friends at Sussex really loathed. The Merryl Streep film was powerful and softened my views of her as a leader, as I was able to know her struggles more as a person.

    Really great idea to compare the two and a well-written piece!

    • Deb says:

      Hi Mick, Thanks for your thoughtful comments and personal anecdotes about both women. Very different personalities and very similar values when it came to self-knowledge and authenticity. How interesting that you mentioned never viewing Reagan’s positions as coming from a man and hers as female. That sounds like a lively topic for all the discussions around masculine and feminine energy in the political arena.

  6. Two voices hushed in death, leaving behind a legacy which will sing their praises into eternity. Thank you for penning such a befitting tribute in honor of two incredible women.

    • Deb says:

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Antoinette. Although their voices had been hushed for a long time with illness, as you said, their legacy will live on.

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