Aug 152015
 

I wrote some drivel a few months ago about how I was thankful that my family took so many pictures every time we’d go to an amusement park, because not only did it help preserve some of the happiest moments of my childhood, but it also served as a time capsule since so many of those rides are no longer around. (Darkrides get no love, yo.)

My mom and grandma were chronic shutterbugs. After my grandma died in 2011, I told my aunt that all I wanted was photos. ALL OF THEM. My grandma kept tomes of photographical evidence of my youth and I want it all. Even the stuff pre-Erin. I’m obsessed with family photos, and maybe I’m grasping at straws here, but I really feel like I NEED these photos to help me hold on to a little piece of the family whom I have barely been able to identify with since 1996. I feel like an outsider in so many aspects of my life, but never as much as I have with my own family.

(Spoiler alert: I did not get a single photo from that house. Thanks, guys.)

Photos of my mom smiling are rare (you saw her wedding photos, right?), so I think this might have been an accident. FUN BEHIND-THE-SCENES FACT: Chooch was looking at this and said, “Wow,  no wonder everyone always says I look just like you. I would have thought that was me in that picture right there.”

“No one ever says that,” I snapped. “It’s always, ‘OMG HE LOOKS JUST LIKE HENRY!'”

“Really? I think I look just like you. People are dumb,” Chooch shrugged.

I love him.

KEYSTONE KOPS! I would give anything to ride this again. I haven’t been to Wildwood since 1992 and even though I want to go back so badly, it pains me to think of how different it must be now. It was hopping back in the 80s and I’m not exaggerating when I say that those summer vacations comprise the majority of my best childhood memories. It was magic. Pure magic. It makes me wonder if anything will be like that for Chooch, what memories will he turn to as an adult when he needs to think happy thoughts. I hope he has an arsenal of them to choose from.

I have absolutely no recollection of this ride, but it was definitely Wildwood, and it looks like a boat ride? Hopefully one of my dark ride enthusiast friends will see this and enlighten me.

This is one of the few photos I have of my step-dad, mom, and me all together. My mom hated having her picture taken, and I’m the same way now. Selfies are fine, but someone standing before me with a camera makes me clench.

This picture is forever one of my favorites! What you can’t see is that the Sea Serpent, Wildwood’s corkscrew coaster, BROKE DOWN with the coaster ON THE LOOP. So that’s what everyone is looking at, except for my Pappap and me, who were too scared to not look at my grandma when she commanded us to LOOK AT THE CAMERA. This is one of the memories that probably most people that day never thought about again, unless they were one of the people on the Sea Serpent, but it always stuck with me for some reason. Like I was A PART OF HISTORY. It reminds me a little bit of the time my aunt Susie and Pappap were trying to get a piece of mail out of the gutter when I was 4 or so, and it was THE BIGGEST DEAL IN THE WORLD TO ME. (That’s honestly one of my favorite childhood memories and no one in my family could ever understand why I thought it was such a big deal!)

Me and some broad on some car ride somewhere.

The Whip at Kennywood. My birth dad was there that day, too.
  

I’m not sure what ride this was at Wildwood, but OUR FACES THO. I can only imagine how much my Pappap hated going on rides but he still did it because I was his FAVORITE. And don’t you ever forget that.

I think was the first time I ever rode the Wildmouse at Wildwood!

This was definitely at Kennywood.

Back when my mom kind of loved me.

The impetus to this post was my friend Liz commenting on my recent Busch Gardens post on Facebook, saying that she still has a souvenir photo of us from Kennywood when we were in middle school, and it inspired me to dig out the above picture of us on the Music Express with my brother Ryan and the FOREIGN EXCHANGE STUDENT * who lived with us that summer. His name was Laurent and he comes up in conversation more often than you’d think for a kid who only lived with us for three weeks one summer. He is also the reason I’m wearing such stank face in this photo, because I did not like him and just knowing he was behind me made me seethe.

*(This link will take you to my old, embarrassing LiveJournal. Apologies in advance.)

So thank you Liz, for inspiring me to get up off my butt this morning and force everyone to jog with me down memory lane. AMUSEMENT PARK MEMORIES FTW.

  3 Responses to “Amusement Park Memories”

  1. That first picture really does look a whole lot like Chooch. Most of the time, I do think he looks like Blake and therefore Henry, but sometimes you take pictures with him pulling a certain face and it’s totally you.

    • Opposite for me: every once in a while I see Henry in his face, but mostly me. Although, I’m going by real life/in person and not pictures so maybe that’s the difference.

  2. “It was magic. Pure magic. It makes me wonder if anything will be like for Chooch, what memories will he turn to as an adult when he needs to think happy thoughts. I hope he has an arsenal of them to choose from.”

    It WAS magic. That’s how it is when you’re at a big, light-filled place with your Pappap and people who hadn’t yet become miserable.

    “That’s honestly one of my favorite childhood memories and no one in my family could ever understand why I thought it was such a big deal!”

    You haven’t lost that sense of wonder and it’s a gift. Life is still magic for you. The evidence is in the whirligigs. It’s part of why you’re such an outstanding writer.

    This is one of my favorite posts. I love Pappap sightings and old memories from better times. Pieces of you from before I knew you; also small gifts.

    See, and you are inspiring me to write down my own gutter letter story before it gets lost.

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