Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Scared? Who? Me?



When I grew up I was not acquainted with carnivals or county fairs. Carnivals were sin and as to why I don’t know but it was a no-no. When I left home at 17 to go to Chicago to college it was among the many things I had never been allowed to do or see. North Park was a life changer for me in that I was able to do things I had never been able to do before and threw off the bondage that had held me all my life in many areas.

Chicago, of course, had many sights and places, museums and such that had to be seen and we freshmen were introduced to a world we had never envisioned before. One of the places was the Riverview Amusement Park which had been a popular spot for Chicagoans since 1904 and was billed as the “The World’s Largest Amusement Park." Therefore, one of the requirements when one came to college in Chicago in 1943 was to spend a wild time at the famous park. For some people a trip to Riverview was a rite of passage; for others it became a significant memory and I belong to the latter group.

When the group of students was planning this excursion, I immediately joined in the planning, as I had with all the other rules I had broken. I thought this might be one more notch in my belt of individualism and rebellion. The night finally arrived when we hopped the Foster Avenue bus to go to the corner of Western and Belmont avenues to the exciting brightly lit den of iniquity.

The rest of the group knew that I had never been on any rides before, not even a merry-go-round, so after we had bought our tickets, they all clustered around me and agreed that we all should go on the roller coaster first and then after that none of the rides would faze me at all. I thought that sounded logical and fun so we all went over to the “the Bobs” and were all seated two by two on the ride. I was still so innocently unaware of what I was in for and laughed and joked as we waited for the ride to begin.

It started out going up an incline first and was going rather slowly when it suddenly almost stopped and I took a look and I said, “Oh my God” and I wasn’t taking the Lord's name in vain. We suddenly swooped downward at 100 miles an hour I swear and my stomach was left up on the top of the hill and I was hanging on for dear life. The sound was deafening and I kept telling myself that thousands rode this thing every day and nothing happened but the other voice kept intruding, the one that yelled in my ear, “there is something wrong with this thing now and it must be broken and running out of control and we are all going to die.” The world as I knew it had disappeared and my head was spinning in a wide kaleidoscope of color and I knew I was dying.
Then we hit a low place and we slowed and it looked straight for a while ahead and I thought that I might just live. It must be ending. All of a sudden it started going faster again, almost straight perpendicularly up, and we were upside down and up again and down again and up again and I knew I was in hell.


The ride did finally end and my friends all got off the train and I sat there in my seat not moving. They all said, “Come on, Bernie. Get up.” And when I didn’t they came and helped me off the train and stood me up on the platform and I crumpled to the ground. I did not ride any other rides at the famed Riverview Amusement Park that night. Nor any other night.

21 comments:

Bernie said...

Oh Bernie, forgive me but I am smiling as I too remember my first ride on a rollar coaster which was my first and last time. I have never been a fan of carnival rides and I don't like clowns at all so as you may now be able to tell I am not a fan of carnivals...oh yes my first carnival was at Old Orchard Beach in Maine.....I did love the beach and boardwalk just not the rides.....:-) Hugs

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I used to love roller coaster, but it has been awhile. I wonder if I still do.

Von said...

Hate the things!Happy Easter!

Wanda said...

My first ride on a rollercoaster was with my Dad. I lost the barrette I wore in my hair.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I can do roller coasters that in the dark - like Space Mountain. I'll go anywhere in the dark. But I can't get myself to ride a regular one. I hate that click clack of the long ride up to the top and then the freefall.

Enjoyed this piece. Great details. Felt like I was there.

Wander to the Wayside said...

I hate the things, always have for all the sensations you so aptly described! Have riden them a few times so that I wouldn't be ridiculed or teased, but finally said NO MORE! I have an excuse now, though, as the chiropractor says I must never ride again because of my bad neck that was damaged in a car accident! Woohoo! Not even my grandsons will be able to get me on one!

Deb Pierce said...

I don't like 'em either!

LaraAnn said...

I was never that fond of rollercoasters- I did go on some like the Loch Ness Monster in Busch Gardens and a few in Great Adventure. Haven't done so in about 20 years and don't plan on ever doing so again.

Nezzy said...

I took my daughter on the Orient Express at Worlds of Fun in KC...big mistake. She screamed, "I want off, I want off...now." the whole ride. After almost losing my shoes when I stood up I could not feel my legs. That was the last major roller coaster this chick set foot on.

God bless and have the best day, sweetie!!!

yaya said...

Oh my Bernie, I really smiled at this post..I'm from Chicago and I remember my big brother taking me to Riverview park. The place was amazing! Good memories. When our kiddos were little we always went to Geagua Lake amusement park and lo and behold they had the old "Wolf Bob" rollercoaster from Riverview. It was wood and not a very smooth ride. I did it once with my youngest kiddo and decided that was it for me! He hated it too!

esbboston said...

This reminds me not of roller coasters, for which I have few horror tales, but the times that I have scared people while I was driving, even though I knew I was perfectly in control.

becky said...

Bernie,
This one had me laughing out loud! Your descriptions,
"I knew I was in hell... I crumpled to the ground..."
I'm sure it was terrifying at the time... but you write so entertainingly!

Rachel said...

What a great story...but to start you off on the hardest ride??? I love rollercoasters...and thank God my kids do too!!!

Lanie Rocks said...

Oh I love theme parks and roller coaster rides! The rollercoasters here (Philippines) are not as high and daring as the ones you have over there.

Great story by the way. God bless!

Deb Shucka said...

Whoa! My stomach is back there with yours at the top of that roller coaster. What a great story. I've never been a ride person, so I can totally relate to what you felt. I love your spirit!

scrapberlinerin said...

Good day
my english is bad, I'm from Germany. I will tell them that I love her blog. they all remain healthy all love kerstin

sanjeet said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Fragrant Liar said...

Hahaha! Sorry, that was pretty funny, Bernie.

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fsdf said...

hot girltin hot nhấtfree software downloaddu lịch việt namtravel vietnamenông dân việt namgiao thông việt namDien dan mua banMang rao vatxem phim onlinenghe nhac onlinetivi online

Mar said...

Might it be still the same?.. Young people find freedom when leaving parents home?.. I think it is not like that anymore..
Well, about your "history", i think i will never have courage to try rollar coasters and I have 24! :) a kiss for you, if I'm allowed

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