by Walt Disney
“I was extremely glad to receive your letter asking me to write some impressions of Marceline as I remember it from childhood days. To tell the truth, more things at importance happened to me in Marceline than have happened since – or are likely to in the future. Things, I mean, like experiencing my first country life, seeing my first circus parade, attending my first school, seeing my first motion picture! I know you’ll agree with me that such childhood “firsts” as those are of utmost importance in any human being’s life.
I went with my family to live in Marceline when I was five years old, and I stayed there until I was nine. I clearly remember the day we arrived there on the train. A Mr. Collman met us in his wagon and we rode out to our house in the country just outside the city limits. I believe it was called the Crane Farm. My first impression of it was that it had a beautiful front yard with lots of weeping willow trees. The Taylors lived on one side of us, and, Doc Sherwood on the other. One of my fondest childhood memories is of Doc Sherwood. He used to encourage me in my drawing, and give me little presents for my efforts. One time I think he must have held a horse of his nearby all day so that I could draw it. Needless to say, the drawing wasn’t so hot, but Doc made me think it was tops.
My brother Roy reminds me of another flyer I took in the line of art at that time. I painted one side of our house with black pitch. The outcome must have been slightly frightening, to say the least, and I wasn’t thanked for my efforts by the family.
I can remember the big red brick school house as it if were yesterday. Maybe if I saw it today it wouldn’t look so immense, but it did to my young eyes. My first teacher’s name was Miss Brown. And what fun we kids used to have after school on winter days, going down the hillsides lickety-split on a sled!
Everything connected with Marceline was a thrill to us, coming, as we did, from a city the size of Chicago. The cows, pigs, and chickens gave me a big thrill, and perhaps that’s the reason we use so many barnyard animals in the Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphony pictures today – who knows! You know what the psychologists say about the importance of childhood impressions.
A special event in connection with my life in Marceline was the day I got to go down in the old No. 2 coal mine, which was just a short distance from our place. Before we left Marceline, we moved from the farm into town for a while, where we lived between the Wheelers and the Moormans. Mr. Moorman was the high school principal, and Mrs. Moorman, I must confess, was my first “dream girl.” Of course, I was all of eight or nine at the time, but I can remember what pretty red hair she had.
Other random remembrances include the fact that one of the prides of my life was my Uncle, Mike Martin, who was an engineer on a train running from Marceline to Fort Madison, Iowa. After all, if you can’t be an engineer yourself, the next best thing is to have a relative who is one.
I’m glad I’m a small town boy and I’m glad Marceline was my town. Thanks a lot for letting me write my impressions, and say hello to all the folks. In addition, here is wishing you all congratulations and success in connection with your Golden Jubilee.”
reprinted from ‘The Marceline News‘, 1938