The Chattanooga Homeschoolers
Inspiration can come from anywhere. Some find it in the people that surround them, while others see it in their dreams. The stories behind our most creative people in history often go untold. In some cases, the stories are hidden in memory for fear of unbelief. Such was the story of a dreamer named Walt.
Walt glanced up to the top of the Eiffel Tower and then back down to the heart shaped rock that he held in his hand. He turned it over, and then ran his finger across the scars that ran across its rough surface. The note on his desk had told him that he would find what he was looking for under Paris. Sitting on top of the note was the strange rock. It could have been chipped from volcanic rock or found in the parking lot outside of his office. He didn’t care. Life had thrown him a twist and according to the note, Paris might just be the inspiration he needed to keep going. Now that he was standing in front of the city’s most famous landmark, he didn’t quite know what to do. He examined the rock once again to see that the lines looked as if they had been hand carved into the rock. He flipped it over, and then held it up in front of the tower. Of course, the rock wasn’t shaped like a heart; it was the tower. He didn’t know why he had not seen it before.
Walt entered the elevator, ready to be carried to the top. At the top he was sure to find his next idea—the one that would change everything. As he reached for the button, the rock was pulled from his hand. It stuck to the wall like a magnet to a refrigerator. Suddenly, instead of going up, the elevator began to fall. At first he thought the tower of terror would end his life. He should have been afraid, but there was an element of fun in the unknown. The elevator came to a halt, the rock hit the floor with a clang and the door slid open.
Walt stepped out. He knew where he was. His brother had spoke often of this secret place in the underground world of the catacombs of Paris. All of the world’s creative people were said to have visited at least once in their life. Whichever path you chose to follow, would lead you to your future. Walt placed the rock in his pocket and studied the five tunnels in front of him. Deprived from sleep from his nine hour flight, he yawned. His eyes felt heavy and his body tired. He didn’t feel like finding a logical way to pick the right path, so he put one foot in front of the other and started walking into the torch lit tunnel directly in front of him.
Suddenly, he felt a flutter across his left foot, and then he heard a “squeak”. Walt jumped as the tiny mouse scurried around him. The little creature reminded him of the one that visited his office in Kansas City. “Hey there, buddy. Want to come along on an adventure?” The mouse stared at him. “I can’t guarantee where we will wind up, but we’ll do it together.”
In the distance, he heard gently moving water. As he approached, with the mouse at his heels, he could see a wooden boat awaiting his arrival. He climbed inside, removed the rock from his pocket, and waited. As he suspected, the rock was drawn to the wheel of the boat. The boat took off, faster than he thought a boat this size could go. “At this rate, I will be in the Pyrenees by nightfall,” he said to the mouse who had seated itself beside him.
As the boat sped along, he thought about the rock that had started it all. The note had arrived during a time in his life when he needed inspiration. After Oswald the Lucky Rabbit had been stolen from him, he was ready to call it quits. His brother begged him to hang on, to give it another try. Not long after, the rock and the note had appeared on his desk.
“Do you travel this way often?” he asked the miniature creature. Walt knew he was tired since he was talking to a mouse. An idea was what he needed, and his brother Roy, said he could get it here. The boat picked up speed, going up and down, and around corners. The coolness of the air whipping along his cheeks was exhilarating. When it finally stopped, he reached for the stone and climbed out. The mouse followed him.
“Do you plan on following me the rest of the way, little guy?” To the man’s surprise, the mouse nodded. “Well, if you are going to be by my side, I guess you should have a name. I know, Ralph the Mouse!” The mouse shook his head. The man pondered the gray furred rodent. “You look like a Mickey. How about that for a mouse name? Mickey the Mouse.” The mouse nodded again. “Mickey it is.”
On foot, Walt followed the torch lit path, his stomach still spinning from the rapid ride. He knew a few children back in Kansas that would enjoy such a ride. in fact he thought that children all over the world would enjoy riding on a self propelled boat through underground tunnels. He continued on with the tiny mouse at his side. His mind was now soaring with new ideas—images of a place where children’s’ dreams became reality. ”They will need a guide, you know?” he said to the mouse, glancing down at his companion. “They will need a mouse named Mickey. How ‘bout it?” he chuckled.
Walt squeezed the heart shaped stone in his hand. “It must be kind of lonely down here. You need a buddy . . . or a Minnie. Even mice need a little love.” The mouse squeaked and appeared to nod. His brother, Roy, had been right. As crazy as it had sounded, he needed this place—this bizarre hidden world.
The path came to an end. The staircase rose in front of him. He knew he had found what he had been looking for, but he wasn’t ready to go back into his world, so he sat down with Mickey by his side. “What will be call it Mickey, this world of ours?” Walt Disney rested his head against the stone wall and closed his weary eyes. “What shall we call my Walt Disney world?” He yawned. “Mickey, if you can dream it, you can do it. One day, even if I don’t live to see it, there will be such a world.” The heart shaped stone vanished from his hand as thoughts of Mickey, Minnie and all their new friends filled his mind in the catacombs of Paris.