It’s a Clueless World, After All

 

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The first time I went to a real amusement park was kind of disappointing. I was five years old. I had been to the fair before, but I was aware from commercials (and word of mouth) that there were better options out there. I couldn’t wait to explore those options. The amusement park of choice where I grew up was Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio. It was about three hours away, and during the summer months our TV seemed to pour out commercials for thrill rides such as The Gemini and The Blue Streak in a constant stream.

I needed to be on those rides.

Being so young (and short) I would have to settle with the Gemini Jr. I was unable to experience most of the rides I had heard about, and worse- I was forced to watch my two older siblings have the fun I was longing for.

A few years later I was finally allowed to enjoy the park as it was intended. There were many trips to Cedar Point in my younger years. By then I could say I survived The Demon Drop; a new ride in 1983, which even though no one was ever actually killed, all of us had heard otherwise. It’s the whole reason we rode it, I think. But Cedar Point is made for roller coaster lovers. We went to Cedar Point for our eighth grade class trip the year The Magnum debuted as the tallest, fastest roller coaster in the world. I remember bragging that I only had to wait an hour.

I haven’t been to Cedar Point in eighteen years.  When I think about going now, I think about the bad parts; the heat, crowds, long lines, and exhaustion. I think about that simulation I recently watched of their Shoot the Rapids ride malfunctioning. That’s not a thrill I want to pay for.

But now that Teghan is getting bigger, I cannot deny the fact that amusement park rides seem right up her alley. She craves more sensory stimulation, and she is a natural thrill-seeker. So, with this in mind we recently took her to the fair. It seemed like a good starting point.  Continue reading

One Hundred Years Later

First 7 Gray Children (Back: Katherine, Ruth, William, Ed (baby), Ethel. Front: Jack, Florence)

 

It’s no secret that I have an interest in genealogy and history (you can learn more here). It is also the one topic I can discuss with my father-in-law. I don’t need to spend any time researching Teghan’s paternal side of the family tree, because we have volumes of it. It’s amazing.

Usually we get a new binder filled with family history for Christmas. One of the most interesting installments came a few years back. It was filled with correspondence from Dave’s maternal family tree, and half were just letters. Most of these were letters from Dave’s great-grandfather to Dave’s great-grandmother. The letters began before their engagement and continued throughout their marriage (he traveled for business). The dates are from the late 1890s through the 1920s.

I will admit, the part that amazes me the most is how my father-in-law typed all these up from the handwritten versions. I know from experience that this is no easy task.

He even created a topical index.

Their names were William and Ruth. They had nine children; the oldest (Dave’s grandfather) was born in 1900, and the youngest was born in 1919. During those years quite a lot happened to Will and Ruth. William went from working in his father’s shoe store to owning his own envelope company. They lived in several houses throughout New Jersey and Brooklyn. They lost two children.

The letters give you the sense that this was a happy family; Will was definitely a man who loved his wife and children. I am working on another blog which features these letters and this family’s story (I will keep everyone updated for those who enjoy this stuff as much as I do).

But the reason that I am mentioning it here is that for the first time I really started to think about William and Ruth’s fifth child, Jack.  Continue reading