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Goodbye, Black Hole

I’m in mourning. I’ve talked about this before, but to heck with it, I’m talking about it again.

Whalom Park is gone. Well, it was technically gone when they auctioned off all the rides, but now it’s gone because they’re flattening the place. I’m one of those stupid blind believers who could drive past the crumbling ruins the past few years and not see the rot and rubble and overgrowth. I could see the train tracks and the Scrambler and hear the sounds of balloons popping from the water game over by the Flying Comet Roller Coaster. I can remember the daily bet on which car of the Octopus would be thrown up in first while I was working cashier at the front of the park. I remember running through the park in the pouring rain because they decided not to open after we were all at work. I remember my parents cramming as many neighborhood kids as possible into our car to drive us all for the Wednesday night two-for-one pricing. I remember actually falling in love for the first time with a guy who didn’t love me back, but still making me feel special because he treated me like a princess in front of all the other girls who had mad crushes on him. (I’m talking about you, Mr. Tilt-a-Whirl.) I remember the fun house when it was full of items that you couldn’t have in a public place for fear of a million lawsuits – the spinning barrel that the kids would do cartwheels in, and the big disk on the floor where you wanted to sit in the middle because then you might be the last to be spun off by the centrifigal force. I remember the horror when we all heard that there had been a fire and the haunted house was gone forever. I remember how every Easter Sunday I would BEG my parents to take us to Whalom for the Easter Egg Hunt, even though we never went. I remember being REALLY little, maybe 4, and riding on the kiddie roller coaster they used to have, and a fence post had fallen across the track but the kid running the ride couldn’t hear us yelling and we were damned lucky the train cars didn’t come off the track. I remember taking Junior as a tiny guy, him loving every ride he went on, and me being thrilled that I was bringing my own child to one of my favorite places.

I remember being grateful beyond words when Mark Chester invited me to meet him at the closed park for one last walk around and photo session. I will TREASURE those photos forever. [Note: I just went to look for these and saw that they are not on the server. I will make sure to re-upload them. I have no idea why they aren’t available.]

Here’s a note from a long ago Dump:

“I didn’t make it to Whalom Park again this year. I dread the time
when Junior becomes aware of it because we’ll have to find another route to Walmart. Not that I spend a lot of time at Walmart, but I won’t want to stop to ride the Merry-Go-Round every time I head off to buy lightbulbs.”

I take it back!!!


2 thoughts on “Goodbye, Black Hole

  1. Jody- I loved this story! It reminded me of the park we used to visit in my younger years–West View Park near Pittsburgh (PA). It sounds very much the same. I too wish my kids could have visited that park. Thanks for the memories!!

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