Thursday, September 24, 2009

Kiddieland drags its dirt-smudged Keds into that good night

Farewell, Kiddieland (1929 - 2009)

There's no escaping fun.

I love Kiddieland. The Tribune photo gallery makes it look like an abandoned carnival in post-meltdown Chernobyl. Lots of concrete and chain link fencing. Another icon from my fading youth goes to the scrap yard. I sigh over sepia-toned memories filled with sepia-flavored cotton candy. You'll never know the trouble I went through to get the Tilt-A-Whirl car with the best spin, or the heartbreak of losing my Notre Dame baseball cap on The Little Dipper roller coaster. How did I lose a hat on that thing? It only went like 10 MPH. It's been many years since my last visit to Kiddieland. Glorified carnival rides at Kiddieland made way for later adolescent pleasures at Six Flags, pleasures like getting whiplash on the Shockwave roller coaster and throwing up a funnel cake. Melrose Park won't be the same when Kiddieland closes its prison-grade fence forever. It's sad. What will children do next summer?

They'll probably watch TV. There's a lot of good stuff on TV. I'm not too worried.