Monday, June 08, 2009

And Then, I Yelled at Those Kids to Get Off My Lawn!

I'm a terrible, sentimental traditionalist. There are certain things that I don't want to change and if it's a memory I hold dear, I really don't want anyone to mess with it.

After a little sentimental Googling this evening, I found out that Santa's Village in East Dundee, Illinois went out of business a few years ago. I remember going there when I was a kid.

It was a Chicagoland area amusement park geared toward younger kids and built in a less-sophisticated time than the time that we live in now, but oddly, as a kid, that was exactly what appealed to me. I was the one that wanted to live in the Dick and Jane readers with a cat named Fluff when everyone else was all Strawberry Shortcake and Barbie's hot pink Corvette.

Santa's Village used to run commercials in the afternoons or on Saturday mornings when kids were home watching cartoons and if I remember correctly, for awhile, they had a jingle that went something like: "Any ride a quarter, six for a dollar!" (Yes, I know - you can't even buy a pack of gum for a dollar, let alone six rides at a theme park - or even a carnival. Now get off my lawn.)

By the time I nagged my mom into taking me, you just paid to get in and then rode all you wanted. We went on a day that wasn't really busy (apparently there were a lot of those, or else it wouldn't have gone out of business) so if we wanted to keep riding what we were on, we'd wave at the teenager running the ride and they'd just let it keep running as long as no one else was in line.

There was a frozen North Pole - coated in ice, even in July. There was a petting zoo too, but the ride that I remember the most was something called the Swiss Toboggan.

(Click HERE to check out other roller coasters of today and yesterday.)

The Swiss Toboggan was really the first "roller coaster" ride that I had ever been on and I imagined that I was quite grown up. The kid from next door and I had a whole elaborate game going on where we were rich and famous and had the park to ourselves, etc. We were always somewhere deep in our imaginations no matter what was going on around us. We always had a little embellishment, a little sparkle to add to the situation.

Do kids still do stuff like that or is it all Nintendo and texting and surfing the 'net?

It made me a little sad to find out that Santa's Village was gone - for childhood passing, I suppose, and the fact that times change whether we want them to or not.


Susan said...

This makes me sad too. It's a lot like when I hear people talk about a place not too far from here being dangerous to go ride the rides. I never thought about that when I was a kid screaming like a maniac.

T. Mininni-Totin said...

Simpler times, I suppose, and we're better people for it.

Roadchick said...

Susan~ no, we never do and somehow, managed to survive anyway.

T.~ yes, I think so too. I'm not sure how things will be now that silly stuff like imagination has been tossed out like yesterday's cell phone.

Anonymous said...

Here's a bit of the past for you... Dispensa's was the "Any ride a quarter..." commercial. Loved it there, too.

Anonymous said...

Forgot the link!