After reading the article about Euclid Beach Park, I thought about my own memories. Doesn't everyone have them? We lived close to the beach and my mother and father would take us there a few times each season.
I was always a wimp a scarredy cat, so my memories are not of breath taking rides on the Thriller but those of breath taking rides on the Merry-Go-Round.
As I would approach the park, I could hear the music and screams coming from the Thriller. At the entrance, you saw all the souvenirs and goodies, and I wished I could have them all.
Forget the outside rides! I headed straight for the building for us young, little people. I felt like my dad (a fireman) in the fire engine. The cages were my favorites. We were closed in and it went up like a Ferris Wheel. I felt so brave as I waved from the top safely locked in.
When I was very young, I would go on the horses on the Merry-Go-Round in the building. Then they decided I was too big and had to go on the one outside. "I'll sit in the carriage, thank you." Those horses where huge and went up and down as the ride went round and round.
I got older but not braver. I would go with my girl friend Sue and we'd watch the skaters. We'd go in the Laugh-in-the-Dark. If it got too much I knew I could close my eyes.
One year I got really brave. My brother and some of his friends went with us. Everyone was going on the Dodge-em. I thought it looked safe enough, it stayed on the ground and the cars went around. Little did I know we had to steer the cars.
I kept causing jam ups and the attendant would keep yelling through a megaphone at me to stop fooling around and causing jams or they would make me get off. I didn't know I was doing anything wrong.
A year or two later another insane brave moment came about and I went on the Whip-It. It didn't go too high and they strapped you in. Dear God! It really "whipped" around.
Even though every one was screaming my screams must have been different because they had to stop the ride and let me off. No one was happy and I was banned from that ride.
The penny arcade was my favorite. I loved to watch the arm reach for, and hopefully drop, the toy I longed for. I loved to get my fortune from the ceramic lady in the glass box.
I collected movie star cards and spent a lot of my pennies on them. What fun!
We'd go in the little booth and get our pictures taken and when we got home cut the strip and exchanged them with our friends.
As I remember, the penny arcade was a muted green building. I'd like to go through it again and see if my grip on the metal hand to test your strength has improved, (or maybe I shouldn't).
My girl friend's grandmother would take the street car and go to the park and stand in front of the laughing lady (Sal) whenever she felt down and laugh along with her for hours. She came home revitalized.
Eventually I took my own children. I tried not to let my fear of the rides show but they were little and happy in the house (just like their mother). I dreaded them growing to the outside rides.
One evening our young dauaghter was leaning out our dining room window watching the woman next door sprinkle her lawn. She fell out and thank God, a black eye and bruised arm were all the injuries.
She was pretty shook up after the fall and visit to the doctors. We decided to take her to the beach for an hour or two before bedtime for a change of thoughts. A frozen custard and popcorn ball would work wonders.
As we walked around the park people would smile sadly at her and give us dirty looks and even a few remarks. Did they really believe we gave our young daughter a black eye and then paraded her around the park? I'm sure today we would be arrested or at least questioned, and rightly so.
Later when I went with my teen age children, they would check me at a park bench: "We'll check back in 2 hours." Good. I can sneak over to the penny arcade and the baby house to check it out, get a frozen custard, taffy, popocorn balls and a box of popcorn.
Maybe even have a laugh with Laughing Sal and get back before them.
I loved and miss Euclid Beach. Don't you?
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