Disney Memories: Haunted Mansion 1970

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Disney Memories: Haunted Mansion – March 1970

Here’s how I remember it: For my fifth birthday, my parents took me and my three year old brother to Disneyland. (This was my first trip to the Magic Kingdom). My memories of that day are bookmarked in my head by two glossy black and white photographs with crinkly edges adhered to a black construction paper page in a long lost photo album that had a deep red cover. In one photo, taken on the Dumbo the Flying Elephant Ride, is my mother and my little brother in the elephant directly behind me and my dad. In the other photo, taken by my mother, is me and my dad in our elephant.

Another memory returned to me the other night while I was remembering being on Tom Sawyer Island: my first trip through the Haunted Mansion.

This is what the front of the Haunted Mansion looked like, circa 1970. A huge thank you to Dave (“Major Pepperidge”), author of Gorillas Don’t Blog, who graciously allowed me to use his personal Haunted Mansion photo.

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Haunted Mansion, Disneyland, circa 1970 – photo courtesy of Dave, Gorillas Don’t Blog

Imagine if you will, a five year old girl entering a large, dark foyer, holding her father’s hand. A wall in the foyer opens and a very solemn host ushers a large group of people from the dark foyer into a even darker octagonal-shaped room with four portraits hanging way up high. Keep in mind that the little girl stands about buttocks high to many of the other guests in the tightly packed room. (I think my dad might have picked me up – I had my hands over my eyes for most of this ride.) Then the wall closes again and that deep, resonating voice tells it’s tale while the walls stretch to reveal some unusual portraits: “And consider this dismaying observation: this chamber has no windows and no doors. Which offers you this chilling challenge: to find a way out! [laughter] Of course, there’s always my way.” And with that, lighting cracks, thunder rumbles, and the ceiling reveals a body hanging from a noose.

That was IT for me – I was completely terrified. And we hadn’t even gotten out of the elevator yet. Then we walked down that long, dark hall leading us to our fate, me taking in the paintings that changed with the lightening. The busts at the end of that hall following us with their eyes as we walked by. We climbed into the aptly named Doom Buggy and rode the ride, me and my dad, and I held my hands over my eyes, with my head against my dad’s chest, for most of it. (I do remembering peeking a FEW times. Once down the hall of doors, but a glimpse of the breathing door stopped that nonsense. But curiosity got the best of me a few more times:  Another peek while passing through Madame Leota’s seance. I’m also pretty sure I peeked during the dining room scene – Hamilton and Burr in a duel, I remember that. And once during the graveyard scene: a ghoul popped up from behind a headstone and that was the end of peeking for me!)

I’ve ridden that ride at least a hundred or so times since that first time, and I love it every time. It’s never the same – I see things I missed during the last ride, and I really enjoy the holiday overlays for Halloween and Christmas. But that first time, whew! Still surprised we got out alive.

That’s all for now. Until later, remember to look for the magic!

 

Remembering

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Remembering

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photo courtesy of Roger Bultot

When I was an adolescent, I could sense extraterrestrials visiting Earth. I would hear a high-pitched tone in my right ear – always the right ear. The first time I heard it, I felt compelled to look to the skies and saw, far off, a shining, oblong shape. It occurred during recess, while playing with my classmates. I believed it was a spacecraft. I shared this information with my playmates. After that, I kept that information to myself. The visits continued to occur for a few years, eventually stopped. I grew up, out grew, forgot. Yesterday, I heard the ringing again.

~~~

I hope you enjoyed reading this, as I enjoyed writing it. Thanks to Rochelle for posting the photo prompt for Friday Fictioneers. Special thanks to Roger Bultot for his thought provoking photograph.

http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=663286

Education: Test Anxiety

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Education: Test Anxiety

Depression. Irritability. Sadness. Stomach pain. Headache.

I am getting better at identifying my symptoms of test anxiety. Knowing why I’m feeling these symptoms helps a little.

The most difficult part of taking college classes -for me – is the tests. I fear failure. Because good enough isn’t. It’s a core value I was taught – “That’s pretty good. I think you can do better.” (This lesson is most likely based in good, encouraging intention; personal interpretation is subjective though) And, really, who wants to bring home less than an A?

I imagine some of the people who suffer from this get over test anxiety as they mature – after all, it’s only a test. And I have become a very good student. My gpa is a consistent 4.0. I pass all my quizzes and exams with high marks. I study and I do well.

Still, those symptoms returned over the weekend – I have two quizzes scheduled this week. American Government and Liberal Math.

Recognizing that I still have fear of failure and knowing I do well on quizzes, doesn’t eliminate the somewhat Pavlovian response to these necessary academic measuring sticks.

And maybe my fear lies in knowing these are the last two classes I need to finish my AA degree in Liberal Arts. Not passing – which, based on my track record, is highly unlikely – means I’ll need to take these classes again in the Spring. Not a big deal (unless you think the symptoms indicate otherwise) but also not part of the plan. My plan. To put this type of education in the rear view for now.

Time may be the only answer – keep taking tests until this response is almost nil. If you’d like to respond, I’m open to anything you’ve actually tried that helped you.

The Squash Garden Patio Project

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The Squash Garden Patio Project

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June 21, 2016: Future Patio cordoned off

I had this grand plan over the summer – I wanted a patio area, so we could entertain. We live in a small house of maybe 900 square feet on a large lot of around 6,000 square feet – all the comforts without any extra interior space. Literally, the office, the living room, the dining room and the den are all in one room – about 16 feet by 18 feet. Having folks over for dinner or a visit is a bit of a challenge. So, the Grand Plan: cordon off some outside space, have a patio installed, build a cover and voila – Space to entertain!

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June 21, 2016: Facing North. The Grand Patio Plan (15 feet by 17 feet)

But time was against it – another project held higher priority – and it didn’t get done. And because I had watered the area in anticipation of obtaining bids and going forward with that installation, some kind of squash volunteered to take up space.

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August 7, 2016: Volunteers and Recruits

Seeing an alternative opportunity, my husband decided to supplement the volunteers with some recruits – having started seedlings without borders – and planted some corn, some pumpkins, some butternut squash, some acorn squash, some spaghetti squash, some zucchini and some yellow squash, and some watermelon. A seemingly innocent plan for some winter vegetables…

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August 19, 2016: Volunteers are the larger plants, Recruits are smaller but catching up, Corn rises in the North.

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September 9, 2016: Baby Pumpkin, one of many

Then we went out of town for 10 days during which time my son came by to water the plants so they wouldn’t die off. We came home to a small field of green leaves.

The garden just keeps growing…

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September 13, 2o16: There are many immature fruit under all that leaf cover: butternut, acorn, spaghetti and pumpkin. Watermelon volunteer sports leaves in the foreground. (Can you spot the baby watermelon?)

This is the squash garden, with corn accompaniment, today:

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September 18, 2016: Around 9:00 am this morning… and still it grows.

I’m not clear on how we are going to get the squash out of the garden – I picked two zucchini last night, found after a ten-minute search. Horticulture Professor Husband says that the winter squash plants die off when the fruit is ready, so that will make those easier to find, if the plants don’t cover the entire property first. We can walk behind. The watermelon and the zucchini squash … that’s a different story.

I am truly grateful that we have a place to grow such an abundance of food, that the soil is happy and healthy, and that the plants seem bountiful. I hope you enjoyed this snapshot of the fall garden. Patio project on hold until next Spring.

Disneyland Memories: Tom Sawyer Island

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Disneyland Memories: Tom Sawyer’s Island

Last night, as I was falling asleep a memory returned. My mind was going over things I’d been thinking about for a couple of days now as my mind does right before I drop off. Thoughts like trying to remember my first trip to Disneyland, and any subsequent visits during my childhood. Earlier this month I even asked each of my offspring about their memories of their first times at Disneyland (more on that in another post). And as I started to drift into sleep a very distinct memory popped into my head.

Tom Sawyer Island (until now I thought it was Tom Sawyer’s Island, but the photo of the brochure below cleared that up), when I was maybe 11 or 12. In 1975 my dad married a woman who had a couple of sons. I have a brother of my own. That gave my dad and his new wife four children. Have you ever taken four children to Disneyland for the day? I have. It’s pricey.

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Anyway, the memory is of me and my three brothers on Tom Sawyer Island. I remember going through Injun Joe’s Cave, bouncing across the barrel bridge, climbing up and down the inside and outside of Castle Rick, walking and running around the entire island pretending we were on our very own island. And my favorite part of that adventure, besides cruising over to the island on the raft, was Fort Wilderness (see a link below for visual reference and history).

Fort Wilderness history courtesy of Yesterland.

Fort Wilderness was practically a working fort with turrets and pretend guns and telescopes for spotting the enemy. There were diorama rooms of life back in the 1800s in a Fort. It was the coolest place I’d ever been, playing on Tom Sawyer Island. At home, my brother’s and I played a lot of pretend – they were all younger than me by a little – but we never had this much ‘playground’ to fuel the imagination.

That’s what I love the most about Disneyland – the inspiration and the stirring of the imagination. Imagining life in a small town while walking down Main Street, racing cars in Autopia like an adult, shrinking to the size of an atom, and taking a rocket to Mars or a shuttle out into space with a droid. Imagining. Walt did such a great job of bringing out the kid in a kid, and reminding adults of what it was like to have an imagination. I am grateful to him for creating a park where an adult can be a kid.

I also recall (I was around 11 tears old, so keep that in mind) that my dad was not too happy that he’d brought us to Disneyland (at some expense) and all we wanted to do was play on that island until the Park closed. I think we played on that island for two hours and left reluctantly to visit the other exciting attractions Walt and the Imagineers had come up with for our enjoyment and further inspiration.

I also wish I had photos from this trip and others like it from my youth. Alas, I do not. I will make sure I always take photos of my visits, of the surrounding landscape that exists until it does not, for history – mine and yours.

That’s all for now. Until later, remember to look for the magic!

Self-sustaining, mostly

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Self-sustaining, mostly

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From left to right: Zucchini and Cube of Butter squash, beefsteak tomatoes, and red and yellow onions.

Gardening. More specifically, vegetable gardening. This is one of my passions:

preparing a plot of earth, pulling weeds, amending soil with compost and fertilizer, planting vegetable seeds, watering the bare earth, waiting for small green shoots to appear, watching those little spouts grow and flower and bear fruit, harvesting the bounty for consumption and doing this over and over again.

I haven’t gotten tired of doing this for over 25 years.

There is a peace that I find when I’m in the garden, tending to the plants, removing the plants I didn’t plant (weeds, we call those), watching a small flower bloom, waiting for the small fruit to become what it becomes.

I do love to garden, to dig in the warm, rich soil, to check on the progress of my efforts.

I enjoy the sense of control when I enter a garden overgrown with weeds, and the satisfaction of removing the weeds, leaving only the plants I wish to nurture. From chaos to harmony, just pulling the plants I didn’t want there in the first place. I also enjoy the quiet time spent pulling those weeds, achieving a semi-meditative state. Methodical, ordered, control.

Gardening brings me closer to nature, to my inner self.

My Happy Place

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My Happy Place

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Ballon Vendor and Guest in front of World of Disney, Downtown Disney, Anaheim, CA

 

I re-discovered Disneyland in August 2013, when I took a friend (now my husband) who hadn’t been there in almost 40 years – to use up the last of an annual pass I had purchased but never really used.

That day – August 25, 2013 – began a rekindled interest and newfound love for everything Disney.

I hope you’ll indulge me as I begin to share my Disney experiences with you.

Right now, though, I’m off to class.

Until later, look for the magic in every moment.

Writing, Just to Write

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Writing, Just to Write

I haven’t written since July. The last thing I posted was the Door Knob. I was inspired to write about the door knob. It came to me, I got it down as soon as I could, and I really liked it. Write, just to write.

Often, when I want to post something, I’m nowhere near a pen and a pad of paper, or a computer, or cell phone. When I sit down in front of the computer and open up the Post page, I can’t remember the profound, amazing thought I was having earlier.

I was in self-pity last night: that my youth, my potential for future success was stolen – by circumstances beyond my control, by poor choices that were in my control. That lasted about 10-15 minutes. Then I put it away and went to sleep.

Last night’s pity party began in fear: “I only have so much time left”, “I spent so much of the time between 1979 and 2008 just getting by, and I feel like I’m getting closer every day to my purpose and WHAT IF I run out of time before I realize it?” I am afraid of running out of time before I ‘make my mark,’ leave behind a worthy legacy, prove (to who? to me? to the committee?) that I have value, and I DIDN’T waste so many years of my life. So, there’s where some of the fear lies.

I finished reading Walt Disney: An American Original a couple of weeks ago, and I cried during the part where he dies. (I knew he had died, but to read about his entire life and then get to that… well, read it. You’ll get it.)

See, early on in Walt’s life, he was concerned that he didn’t have enough time to do all the things he imagined, and some of the things he hadn’t imagined yet. And when he died, he wasn’t done yet (Walt Disney World was still on the drawing board, and a ski resort was in the works, too). He pushed himself hard every day, and never settled for second best (and had a nervous breakdown), and he still had so much to give. It seems, from what I read, that Walt knew very early in his life what he wanted to do, he followed that dream, and no one ever knocked him off that path. And his legacy – the people he touched, and who carried his vision – continued long after he passed. It’s still going. And his story resonated deeply in me.

Last night, I felt robbed. And I felt like the thief.

I don’t have a degree – yet. Heck, I don’t have a high school diploma. I’ve rarely had a single direction. (Think pinball) But I didn’t let that stop me from making a good living, having a family, doing enjoyable things and living my life.

And today – right now – I realize that: 1) I have enough time, b) I’ve already left a legacy, and iii) I will do what is in front of me today, and trust the outcome will be exactly what it is suppose to be. No more spending energy feeling like I missed something – like the boat or the call. No more wondering where I fit in, and what I am suppose to be doing. (Okay, realistically, there may be a little of that – of both those things – occasionally, but I’m going to keep it to a minimum and let it go the minute I recognize that I’m sliding back into self-pity.)

I’m in my final semester of community college, I’ve almost finished the bathroom counter top mosaic, and the garden is healthy. My romantic relationship is strong, as are my friendships and my family relationships. I am healthy, I have a washer and dryer right outside the backdoor and I am grateful every day for the life that I have been given. I do the best I can each day with what I’ve got, and every day I’m a little better than I was the day before.

As for my purpose, maybe I’ve already realized it and I just haven’t recognized it – yet.

Doorknob…as a Higher Power?

Doorknob…as a Higher Power? 

I heard this again yesterday during a meeting, that a doorknob could be ones Higher Power. The person sharing added that while it didn’t make sense to them, it was heard often enough to merit…what?  And I had a brief flash of insight – clarity, if you will. 


A Higher Power means, to me and to most in these rooms, a power greater than me. Now, I don’t know about you, but I – of my own power – have never been able to open a door without the aid of a doorknob. Whether I had to turn one in order to get the door open, or even just to grasp and pull, as some closet doors have those false knobs. 

A doorknob is, in my opinion, a power greater than self. Without one I cannot open a door and pass through. Much like this program – without which I never could have opened the door to recovery and entered. 

Thanks for letting me share.