Laurie remembers how it was when she was a kid…….
I started on outings as an infant. Mom and Grandma would walk to the store so I was exposed to people 58 years ago. I feel children need to start very young with outings to be exposed to the world. I did the Pike, fairs, zoos, and the city park. At age 3, I went to Disneyland for the first time. This was a lot different than today.
Dad would check the car and make sure there was over half a tank of gasoline. He had cash and camera ready. Mom had me in an ironed dress. We wore our best clothes. Dad drove on side streets about 11 miles to Disneyland. This was before many freeways existed and it was easier to use side streets. Most cars had no seatbelts and GPS, antilock brakes, and airbags were not around.
I don’t remember the first visit. I dreaded the tram ride because you sat facing the street. No doors or belts to keep you from falling out. Unloading the car was simple, as we had Mom’s big purse, a stroller, camera, maybe a camera bag, and jackets or sweaters. There were no phones, chargers, cords, backpacks, fanny packs, and luggage to weigh down a person. I was a fat kid so I used a stroller.
There were fewer signs in those days. We did not need to be told how to behave in public. There were no gates in rides, like the Bobsleds, nor yellow safety lines to stand behind. We knew not to stand up on rides, watch the kids, and stay off the railings. Look at photos to see the changes over time.
The disable often stayed at home. Nobody knew Mom and I were autistic. There weren’t gluten free, allergy friendly foods, artificial sweeteners, and snacks like today. Today, we have fruit snacks, trail mix, and power bars. Back then, there was only wheelchairs and often stairs to limit access. The lack of modern medicine made it hard for a person to leave home, unlike Nebulizers and insulin pumps.
We used tickets which saved money because Mom did not do rides. Tom Sawyer Island was unsafe, but nobody cared. We did not need rails, trimmed outcroppings, and signs. We were explorers out to have fun. We did not mind that the park was small. The best thing was that we were a family, not mindless creatures staring at blinking and whirring machines. We always are tuna sandwiches at the Pirate Ship. They were special for some reason. We would sit on barrels in a tropical pirate hideaway. Gone is the Polynesian dinner show that served exotic meals including ice cream. Gone are the Native Americans that us kids loved because we were invited to dance. I had moccasins from the trading post.
I miss those days, but love Walt Disney World. I quit Disneyland in 2012 when Mom died. I miss the innocence and stress free days when we did not need tape on the ground to remind us to be a good citizen. I do not miss turnstiles and disabled access that makes it easier for strollers and wheelchairs to get around. I wish we did not need people shouting for us to move to the end of the row. I miss the burros at Knott’s Berry Farm and the mules at Disneyland. I sit melancholy in tears as I remember a simple time with loved ones. Yet, I know there is a big bright world waiting for me.