To go from visiting Idlewild as a child every summer to growing up and never visiting it at all to randomly going one day at the end of summer, near my 24th birthday . . . yeah . . . that's what happened.
I was on assignment yesterday for Ligonier Magazine, a publication that I'm working on that will soon be printed by the Daily American. Obviously I can't write a magazine without writing a story about Idlewild, so I called up Idlewild park, told an employee that I needed a press pass for Sunday, and snagged two--one for me and one for my boyfriend, who graciously helped me carry my notebook and camera as I walked through Idlewild for the first time in years.
Admittedly, nothing much has changed. Storybook Forest is still there. The Spider and the Tilt-a-Whirl are still there. But as we walked through the park, I couldn't stop thinking about how much I have changed. I'm not a little girl anymore. My mom, sister, cousins and aunts didn't accompany me on this trip--my fiancé did. There are new families enjoying Idlewild now. The park didn't seem as big. The Round-Up, which took my best friend Cristy years to get me to ride, doesn't seem nearly as scary as it did a decade ago.
As we navigated our way through Storybook Forest, I asked Eric to take a photo of me on the magic carpet. There exists a photo of a younger-looking Kayla surrounded by her younger-looking cousins, sitting on this exact same carpet. So this one goes out to them:
I was pretty thrilled that I got to go on the Tilt-a-Whirl. It was exactly as I had remembered, and just as fun. We also rode the Mister Rogers' Neighborhood train, the Wild Mouse and the wooden roller coaster. One of my favorite "rides" was always Confusion Hill, and this time around, Eric and I got our own personal tour of the place, which was a blast. Since it was just the two of us, I volunteered to be poor old Pete, who sleeps on a chair in the "Four Star Hotel." I remember being picked to go up on the chair when I was little, too, so I dorked out when it happened again:
I'm glad that we took our time making our way through the park. Although it was a little strange for us to be in the park without any children in tow (yeah, some people looked at us a little funny), it definitely made me look forward to taking our kids there one day. They can see what I saw. Have as just fun as I did when I was a little kid. And of course, stuff their faces with sticky globs of cotton candy the whole way home.
Fiction, poetry, and all that good stuff . . .