By Eilene Lyon
The Slide Years is a series in which I select an image my dad took from 1957-1982 with Kodachrome slide film, then I write a stream-of-consciousness essay – a sort of mini-memoir.
My first amusement park experience was at Storybook Land, near Woodbridge, Virginia. In some respects it was a glorified playground in the woods filled with queer little buildings based on nursery rhymes, like “The Old Woman in the Shoe” and “Humpty Dumpty.”
But they also had some more elaborate activities, including these gas-powered cars. Amazingly, Dad captured me somewhere in the middle of the road, as if I were driving in a straight line. That’s not how I recall it at all. These cars were the real deal – not like many amusement-park autos with contraptions that force you to stay close to a central rail.
I remember turning the steering wheel and driving into the guard rail on one side of the road, turning again until I hit the guardrail on the other side, back and forth, all the way around the track. More like training for bumper-car rides than for driving the family station wagon. Of course, both those activities were many years in the future.
I’m pretty sure this was about the only time Steve ever sat on a horse, or rather a pony in this case. It’s amusing that the lane the ponies have to walk in is much more confined than the car track. And they also are being carefully watched by an employee. Damn those dangerous beasts. Can’t be trusted! Much more dangerous than a car!!