My friend Carolyn is such a dork. A loveable, kind, one in a million friend. She moved to the other side of the planet (actually Houston, but it feels like the other side of earth) and I miss her very much. She sent me this video and it really got me thinking. For those who might remember Joyland, not just the park, but the era. And if you grew up in or near Wichita, I'm sure you do remember!
It was THE happenin' place to be! Cotton Candy, Sno-cones, popcorn, tilt-a-whirl, and not just any swimming pool, the BEST swimming pool in town. HUGE-est pool in town. Best diving boards. It was a treat to get to go there. It was expensive, unless you had good grades. Every year, you could take your report card to Joyland and earn free ride tickets. What an incentive! And sometimes, your dad's work would have a "company day" and you got to go and ride all day! If you're at least my age, you probably even remember the old woman who lived in a shoe.....and her "spanking" her tot when you peeked in the window!
Some of these are really new, and some are pretty old.
I found this picture of Joyland before there was even much of a town around it. It opened June 12, 1949, so it really IS a Wichita Landmark!
The Roller coaster!!!!!!!!!!
After the make sure everyone is buckled in.....it slowly pulls away from the dock..... remember seeing that guy slamming some bar? It was the brake!! The train picks up a little speed as it rounds the corner, then the anti-rollbacks GRAB onto the line of cars as you ascend....tension building......
no turning back.......
The view from the top is really cool!
Here it comes!!!!!!
This is the best picture I can find, but it truly does not do it justice. It feels like you are rocketing into the 80 foot drop, bursting through the trees, and into the second rise, and down again. You jerk into the left turn and start praying that you don't flip over the sides, because all of the sudden, you've realized this is a WOODEN roller coaster, and it feels rickety!!! Maybe it's the constant rumble and shaking, I don't know....
Just when you think it's slowing down, You get two more really good "bumps" and start to realize you don't have a prayer of stopping!
Then, you come screaming into the station, thank goodness for the bar that little man is pulling with all his strength to stop the train!!
Remember the BANG as you went through three doors, with squares on them that got smaller and smaller so it felt like you were traveling down a tunnel?? And how it was so cool to go through the turning cylinder inside and just as you thought you would splash into the water, it turned with a big jerk?? It, too, is a one-of-a-kind attraction. It was added in 1975.
I don't know this lady, but the expression on her face kind of says it all!!
And just for Carolyn....a picture of her friend Louie.
This is only one of two Military Band Organs (meaning it duplicates the sounds of 25 band players) and is the ONLY one of it's kind available for public viewing in the U.S. It has survived refurbishings (some of the pipes were taken during World War II for the metal shortage). In 1912 it cost $5,500.
I am so grateful that she sent me the video and got me to think. I could go on and on about memories here. riding the Mad Hatters teacup and saucer ride, and getting reeeeeally sick. the smell of the blacktop and how hot it was there in July. Going there with family, friends, neighbors. Of the place it played in my life and the people I've been there with. And even this place makes me think of if only I could have "do-overs"......