Blast From the Past–Jelly Shoes and Tilt-a-Whirls

1 04 2009


If you were alive and breathing in the 1980’s, you no doubt remember Jelly Shoes. Every little girl in my elementary school had at least one pair and the lucky, spoiled, little princesses had them in a rainbow of colors to complement every outfit. They were the Crocs of their day, only I can not imagine they were at all comfortable.

At the height of their popularity, the carnival came to the small town I grew  up in. It was an annual event, set up in the parking lot of the Montgomery-Ward. The carnival always brought with it bittersweet excitement. I loved the rides (and still do), but with a sister “too little” for them, and a mother totally disinterested and concerned about the inherent safety of a fast moving ride that only a day before had been disassembled and traveling over the highway on the back of a truck, my only hope for getting to go was if the few days the carnival was in town coincided with the weekends I spent with my father.

But this particular year, with jelly shoe excitement sweeping across the land, Mom (who, I should point out, was not yet the bat-shit crazy woman she would become), for reasons lost to time, consented to take us to the carnival. But once there, we were not allowed to ride any of the “grown up” rides alone, and all the ones that interested me required a stronger sense of adventure than Mom had. We finally, after much pleading, convinced her to take us on the Tilt-a-Whirl. I was less than thrilled, but it was the best I was going to get that day.


Mom, sister, and I filled the first available “car” once our turn came.  As the carnival worker came around to make sure all aboard were secure, a lone little girl stepped onto the platform. The worker put her into our car, and for that I am sure she still curses him. The ride starts up. Mom, always dramatic, grabbed the bar. “I don’t know why I let you all talk me into this!” As the ride sped up, sister, unknown little girl, and I, are laughing and having a great time–hands thrown in the air. Mom is sitting with her mouth dropped open, white knuckles digging into the chrome bar, letting out the occasional screech everytime the Tilt-A-Whirl made a sudden reverse spin.

I gotta get off!” Mom shouted about the time it reached full speed.

This is fun!” sister shouted.

No, I’m gonna be sick!”

I shouted, “Bitch, please! On a tilt-a-whirl?” Well ok, my little 9 year old self didn’t use those exact words, but it’s what I was thinking.

A few more whips and whirls and Mom was shouting at the ride operator to stop. Whether the ride slowed then because of her plea or because our ticket’s worth had simply come to an end, I don’t know. But as it slowed to a stop, Mom kept moaning, “Oh God, I’m so sick!”

And then, just as the carnival worker released the metal bar that held us in, she was. All over that poor little girl’s jelly-shoe wearing feet. “Ewwww! Guh-ross!” the poor little girl shouted, as she ran off the ride. Mom likely stammered off an apology but sister and I didn’t hear it, we were too busy laughing.


I’m baaaaack!!

27 07 2008

And if that weren’t an overdone enough title for ya, let me make it a lil more cliche by throwing this in:

Vacation is over…I’m a little more rested than I was…a lot more tan…and dreading Monday as much as ever.

All in all, a good trip. Un-blogworthy for the most part. For the most part…

If you notice in the photo from last Monday there’s an empty lot next door to the beach house. Or at least there was when the photo was taken a couple of months ago. This week, there was a pile of cinderblocks and a bobcat. All in all, the construction next door was unobtrustive, except when they ran the bobcat over our cable connection.

But the construction on the next street was downright unnerving. Imagine being awakened at the ungodly (at least during vacation) hour of 8 AM by what sounds like King Kong stomping down the street. BAM BAM BAM. The entire house shook. The pictures on the walls banged. The blinds clanged against the glass. A look outside revealed a giant crane type of thing that was slamming pilings into the ground. BAM BAM BAM. We counted 12 pilings, and counted down throughout the morning to when we would be able to enjoy the beach in peace. “Only five more!” we thought. “Only three more!”

And then came a truck with another load of pilings.

And another truck.

And another.


all friggin week. Back home, I won’t be able to sleep in the relative silence of the vinyl village.

Midweek the folks came to clean the pool out back and mow the grass. A discussion had come up on whether the pool replenished it’s own water supply. My MOL (that’s mother OUT law in case you didn’t know, cause I ain’t married you see) asked the pool boy (an appropriate name for the kid–who looked to be 19 or 20 and was no doubt cleaning our pool on his break from college) if the pool filled itself.

“Oh no ma’am.” he said. “I’ve got an extra long hose, and I’ll get it filled for ya.” Granted, I have a dirty mind, but how can you not think that’s funny??

Anyway, driving back from the beach yesterday I was reminded of a vacation from years past. I was home for the summer from college, and because one of my brothers was taking a friend with us to the beach, there wasn’t room in Dad’s SUV for everyone.  I somehow got suckered into driving and got stuck with the older of my two younger brothers and his friend–a likeable but troubled hoodlum from the other “side of the tracks” who was staying with us for the summer while  his stripper mother worked through some issues.

The night before we left I overheard my brother and friend discussing some of the “recreational” materials they were packing. I didn’t recognize the names, as I’ve always been a bit naive about such things, but I read between the lines enough to realize that the DEA might be interested in the contents of their duffle bags. I insisted the next morning that their bags go in dad’s car.

We were a couple hours into what should have been a seven hour drive to Kiawah when we stopped for lunch and to fill the tanks of the cars. (Virginia’s gas was always cheaper–in those days it probably meant the difference between paying $1.09 at home or $0.98 in Virginia–how nostalgic I am for those days!)

We had some Burger King and set off. Ten miles down the road, dad made a hasty exit again. I couldn’t imagine why we were leaving the road again so soon, but I followed and parked next to dad’s SUV at a gas station. My younger brother was in the backseat of the SUV and he looked positively green. The child safety locks on the back passenger door had been broken for some time, and my stepmother hurried out of the front seat and placed her hand on the back door just as the little brother emptied the contents of his stomach, projectile-style, onto the glass of the door. By the time stepmom got the door open, there was puke running down the door, into every groove, and onto the floor of the car.

We must have had to stop another 10 times along the way for the poor kid to puke. The 7 hour trip ended up taking 10 or 11. Dad’s car stunk the whole trip.  Luckily, this vacation was nothing like that.


two things I want to mention.

One of the entries I set up to post for y’all while I was sipping gin and tonics on the beach had two Golden Girls-ish clips. Of course I had no idea when I composed that entry that Estelle Getty would pass away last week. I didn’t mean the clip of her to be a tribute of any sort, but I am a big fan of The Golden Girls–and all the ladies who made the show great. She will always be “Sophia” to most of us, and the world is left with a void much larger than her petite stature.

Also, one of the first folks I put on my blogroll was TheRealEstalker. I don’t know him in real life, but his dirt on celebrity house hunting, selling, and buying is delivered in a way that makes the most mundane real estate transactions hilarious. Well, the bitch was on CNN this week talking dirt about celebrity foreclosures. While his “long bodied bitches” Linda and Beverly were not included in the piece, and Dr. Cooter was notably absent as well…I nonetheless congratulate the Real Estalker for hittin the big time.