Amusement Park Lessons

Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family

Getting to work at ten in the morning to go stand in what I charitably referred to as the Hut for eight hour stretches was probably not how most people envisioned their summer but when you live in Santa Cruz for as long as I have, working at the Beach Boardwalk seems almost like a rite of passage. This is our Disneyland – part carnival, part amusement park and right on the water. When I was hired, they gave us an overview of the park in case anyone asked. It was originally built as a special events venue in 1909 but burnt down only a few years later. The mini golf course used to be an indoor swimming pool, and the park itself has been around for over a century. I already knew the history. I grew up here, so the Boardwalk was a constant in my life since before I could remember.

In summers, we went more than once a week. We learned to stand as straight as we could so we could be tall enough to get onto the ‘big kid’ rides and to slouch down when the younger kids from the daycare wanted us to partner with them on the rides we were too old for. We played laser tag and mini golf on weekends and video games in the casino arcade when school was cancelled. Our junior year prom was held at the adjoining venue hall. Still, even though I...

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