When my granddaughter was nine, Garry and I and her parents took her to Coney Island. Garry and I grew up in New York, so we loved it. Yes, we knew Coney Island was falling apart. It has since been significantly improved, especially the big wooden Cyclone which is now being preserved for future generations.
As a kid, though, watching parts of the coaster fall while riding was part of the experience. Kids are fearless.
It’s about a four and a half hour drive to get there. We left early so we’d have a whole day before heading home. I expected Kaity to be awed by the entire experience. She was, after all, raised in Uxbridge, not exactly action central of the eastern. Thus we suggested some of the tamer “kiddie” rides, which Kaity eyed with one eyebrow up in the air. She gave a couple a quick tries and look bored.
Then, she stood next to the huge, white, wooden Cyclone. She looked at it. Walked around it. Looked at me and said: “I want THAT one.”
I said “Don’t you want to maybe work your up to that ride? It’s a really big ride.”
“Nope,” she said “THAT one! And YOU are going with me.”
Not that I objected to the Cyclone. I was her age, maybe a year younger, when I first rode it with my little neighborhood friends. Once, we rode it all afternoon and we had whiplash for a week. But that was me, after all … and this was my granddaughter.
We rode the cyclone six times that day. Four times in the morning, then twice more in the middle of the afternoon. By then, my legs were wobbly and I just couldn’t do it again.
Kaitlin laughed the entire time. She had the biggest grin on her face. She giggled the entire way. Did I mention she also had a broken arm — in plaster — and I had to hang on to her so she wouldn’t fly out of the car?
I am grateful that her driving is less enthusiastic than her hysterical, laughing roller-coaster experience.