Saturday, May 14, 2011


Let me start with this: I don't like going in circles. I remember when my older brother first got his driver's license.  It was 1963. We were the first on the block to have the new 'smallest' car, the Chevrolet Corvair. Back then, the corvair was considered so small that it came with a large, mock, wind up key. Cute, huh? (At least the one my father brought home had one...) I searched online to find one of those keys and came up with a blank. It was probably on display and my dad talked them into giving it to him.

So my brother is driving us in the corvair. Fun you might say. I suppose it could have been for most kids. But my experience? Not so good. He drove us down our street to the corner, turned around and headed back to the circle of the dead end street. When we broke into the circle, I was all smiles. But my brother thought it would be funny if we never left the circle--and so, we began our revolutions. 

The first go-round, not so bad. But with each consecutive round, as the speed increased and houses streaked into blur, the realization that this may be the worse event in my life, hit. Clamped onto the dashboard with my fingernails, I tried to get my brother's attention. "STOP!!!! STOP!!" Perhaps he glanced at me, because later, he mentioned that he'd never seen me turn yellow-green before. 

Of course my misery added to the fun. How could it not? "It's like the merry-go-round," my brother shouted on, let me estimate, the tenth round. He had a knack for eventing games. One of his favorites was "A Quarter Stops The Machine." We only played this game when he babysat my sister and me. The moment the front door closed and our parents drove off--he began walking toward us, swinging his arm, hand in a fist, back and forth. "A quarter stops the machine," he said with each step he took toward us.

My brother was not mean, he was absolutely great. He just had a different opinion of what's fun. The 'machine' stopped before he actually reached us, which was thoughtful. And I'm certain he thought my screams were those of glee and carnival ride excitement.

In my mind,  as we circled, the corvair had lifted off the ground and we were whirling around the dead end unattached to anything. Wheeee! Funnnnn!  To me, we were on a collision course toward infinity...which brings me back to the carnival swings. 

Do you realize that as your flying full speed, lifted high from the ground--that the swing you are in, let say you weigh 120 pounds or higher, is held on to the ride by chains? Yes, chains, my friends. Which are checked and maintained by, you guessed it--the carnie ride operators.  I'm not saying anything discouraging about the carnies, but I know what they're thinking. After all, I'm their type. They want to impress me. "I like that foxy woman on the swing. I'll show her how to have a good time." The ride clicks into super-speed mode. That's how the carnie guys strut their stuff. Making sure that you really enjoy the ride.

And if you step off the swing, yellow-green, they know you're itching for more.

1 comment:

Frank C. Balara said...

Nice story, Robbi! The swings always scare me for the exact reason you mentioned - the chains! I had a friend years ago who restored Corvairs, too. You're being frightened was ligit. They are notoriously considered one of the most unsafe cars ever made!